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Sometime next year, Oracle will launch a brand new kind of database. It’s called Oracle 12c and the c stands for cloud.Larry Ellison has been eating a lot of crow in 2012 over his previous not-too-high opinion of cloud computing. In 2008, he said cloud computing was nothing but a bunch of hype, “It’s complete gibberish. It’s insane. When is this idiocy going to stop?”
He also badmouthed the basic concept behind the cloud, something called “multi-tenancy,” where multiple companies share the same hardware. For instance, Amazon’s cloud is actually its own IT infrastructure, rented out to whoever else wants to use it. That’s what makes cloud computing so affordable.
Flash forward to Sunday where Ellison acknowledged that he was “very critical of this notion of multi-tenancy” and then said he’s no longer opposed to it and announced what he describes as the “first multi-tenant database in the world.”
Despite the flip-flop, 12c is a really good idea to get enterprises interested in Oracle’s next big version of its database.
12c is what Ellison calls a “container database.” It’s function is to hold lots of other databases, keeping their data separate, but allowing them to share underlying hardware resources like memory or file storage.
12c is for software-as-a-service tech companies that need a way to let multiple customers access a single database. It’s also geared toward large enterprises who may have hundreds of Oracle databases. It would let them consolidate their databases onto less hardware, saving them money on that and making all of those databases easier to manage.
Companies can already do this kind of consolidation to some extent with software from VMware. VMware makes virtualization software that lets lots of software apps, including Oracle databases, share a single hardware server. But if VMware isn’t set up right, the Oracle database could perform more slowly.
With 12c, Ellison promises that Oracle databases will get faster, saying that compared to the current database, Oracle 11, 12c “uses one-sixth as much hardware and runs five times as many databases.”
What Ellison didn’t mention was if Oracle would be changing its licensing structure with 12c. Oracle figures out how much to charge an enterprises for its database by adding up the number of processors on the server. That’s a throw-back to the days when one piece of software ran on one computer. Oracle licensing gets even more complicated when using VMware. When combining lots of databases onto one server, it would be wise to change it’s pricing scheme altogether.
Customers will have the best chance of negotiating better fees if they also consolidate databases onto a new hardware server also introduced Sunday night. It’s called Exadata x3 and its Oracle’s competitor to SAP HANA. The new version can run a mind-boggling amount of data in memory in real time.
With this new hardware you “can ask a question and get an answer at the speed of thought,” Ellison said.
Ellison claims that with x3, enterprises won’t need to buy traditional storage from companies like EMC or Hitachi anymore.
Oracle will clearly try to sell it as the best server for the new cloud database.