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"How do you relate a user handle to a person?" asked Neil Mendelson, vice president of big data and advanced analytics at Oracle. For anyone trying to do social media analysis, that can be a thorny problem, since it typically requires going through data stored across a mix of platforms. Oracle's new extension of SQL, called Oracle Big Data SQL, aims to help users answer that kind of question.
Oracle Big Data SQL is an option for the Oracle Big Data Appliance, which supports processing data on Hadoop and NoSQL systems. The new technology is able to generate SQL queries that can pull data from the Cloudera edition of Hadoop and the Oracle NoSQL Database built into the Big Data Appliance, as well as Oracle's flagship relational database running on its Exadata database appliance. That makes it easier to find data about things like the relationship between a social media handle and a current or prospective customer, Mendelson said. Oracle's data management and security tools work across all of the supported environments, providing a single administration framework.
Merv Adrian, an analyst at Gartner Inc., explained that Oracle Big Data SQL works by "pushing from the center to the edge." In other words, more processing is happening outside the core Oracle database, which reduces the amount of data that has to be moved into it for querying and analysis. Adrian said that Oracle Big Data SQL is currently "very limited in scope," but that it is a "very generalizable technology."
According to Adrian, data governance and usage policies develop over time in big companies, and new technologies like Hadoop and NoSQL have the capability to undermine those policies if they aren't managed properly. Oracle Big Data SQL brings Hadoop and NoSQL data in range of Oracle's security tools, making sure the data "doesn't come in outside the framework," he said. Oracle isn't alone in seeking to do so: "The largest vendors are all working on how to bring these things in without breaking anything," Adrian added.
Oracle Big Data SQL requires Oracle Database 12c and is scheduled for release one month after the next update to the database. At the start, it will also require the use of Exadata to run 12c. However, Mendelson said plans are in place first to eventually expand support for the new technology to all of Oracle's engineered systems and then to not require their use at all.