Oracle Database 12c R2 includes improvements in three key areas.
Its multitenancy capability has been increased from 253 in R1 to 4096 in R2.
The significance of a multitenanted database is that it is easier to manage (there's only one copy of the database software and of the operating system to be managed and updated), and it improves agility by allowing a new pluggable database to be set up in much less time than is needed to configure a virtual machine, database software and the specific database.
Thus 12c R2 delivers breakthrough cost reduction, according to senior vice-president for database systems, Juan Loaiza.
Sharding — spreading a database across multiple nodes for greater availability and better scalability — is natively supported in 12c R2, including the ability to execute a single query across shards, and to reshard an active database.
In-memory databases were introduced in 12c, providing high-performance access via columns as well as rows. 12c R2 adds the unique feature of Active Data Guard, which automatically and rapidly duplicates the in-memory columns to multiple servers to minimise downtime.
12c R2's in-memory performance is as much as 12 times faster than release 1, according to executive chairman and chief technology officer Larry Ellison.
"We're moving into an in-memory world," said Loaiza
12c R2 is initially available as part of Oracle Database Exadata Express Cloud Service, the newly announced entry-level Oracle Database in the cloud, running on Exadata hardware and priced from US$175 a month.
It will be available as part of additional cloud services in November, Ellison said, and on the Exadata Cloud Machine (part of Oracle's Cloud at Customer strategy) in December. The implication is that on-premises customers will have to wait until 2017.
“You will see as we develop features for the cloud, we’ll also start delivering our software in the cloud first. Clearly it’s going to go on-premises, but the first deployment of our database and a lot of our software now is going to go to the cloud first," said Ellison.
Loaiza also mentioned that an Exadata engineered system with in-memory technology using flash storage would be coming "very soon".
Another forthcoming system is the Exadata SL, where SL stands for SPARC Linux. This model will be an addition to the current Intel-based Exadata family, delivering almost twice the performance of the current top-end system.
Disclosure: The writer attended Oracle Open World as a guest of the company.