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No normalization unexpected In-Memory option top feature

Oracle Database In-Memory option beta tester didn't go for Ellison's big-ticket items. He calls freedom from normalization the best use case.

When Oracle CEO Larry Ellison announced the Oracle Database 12c In-Memory option, he highlighted its real-time capabilities, dual-format architecture, fault tolerance and ease of setup. But one beta tester is most impressed with a feature that Ellison barely mentioned.

Amit Das, database engineering architect at PayPal, said he liked how he was able to combine tables without normalization. The In-Memory option lets Das select columns from a table and place them in-memory without having to make changes. Because normalization slows online transaction processing (OLTP), Das said this is a step forward for transaction-oriented applications. Das said that not needing to normalize was the "best use case" for the In-Memory option. Das was also pleased to be able to use larger tables -- not in overall size, but in width -- because this means more columns available.

"This technology will take Oracle way ahead in comparison to all competitors of Oracle," he said.

Das did see one of Ellison's major topics as important. Ellison said that, unlike other in-memory products such as SAP HANA, the Oracle Database In-Memory option does not require new equipment or changes to a company's existing database.

"The biggest advantage of the feature," he said, "is that we will directly benefit without changing anything."

PayPal is on a limited license and cannot promise in advance that it will purchase the new In-Memory option when it becomes generally available in July. However, Das said that the Oracle Database In-Memory option was the motivation for PayPal to migrate from Oracle Database 12c R1 to R2.

Since the In-Memory option is a new feature of Oracle Database 12c, Das did find bugs, but only minor ones that are easy to fix. PayPal has a strong relationship with Oracle and worked closely with Oracle during the beta test. Das explained that because of this he was able to see that Oracle is putting a lot of effort into helping users with their new product. In fact, Oracle is in the process of developing an improvement at PayPal's request -- cluster patching that takes less than 10 minutes.

Looking into the future, Das explained the importance of the In-Memory option in a business.

"This feature also helps to de-normalize the table on OLTP, which reduces joins and delivers faster performance," Das said.

This was first published in June 2014

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