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OracleWorld: Self-managing tools are among 10g's perks

Oracle's 10g-whiz features include automated performance assessment and storage tools, as well as something called Database Control (the new Oracle Enterprise Manager). It's all part of Oracle's effort to cut database management costs in half and give DBAs a few more vacation days.

SAN FRANCISCO -- Promising to relieve database administrators of their daily grunt work, Oracle yesterday revealed new self-managing features contained in its most recent database release, 10g.

In technical sessions and keynote presentations at OracleWorld 2003, Oracle told its 10g story. The database project involved more than 200 engineers and half of the company's database architects. The release marks the largest number of database enhancements made to any new Oracle database version.

The end goal, aside from ease of manageability, was to cut the customer costs associated with managing databases by 50%.

New additions and major enhancements to the database include the Automatic Database Diagnostic Monitor (ADDM), capable of system-wide performance assessments; the Flashback Database, which enables users to trace their data back in time without having to perform a recovery; and a new Web-based console called Database Control.

Database Control provides a graphical diagnostic window into the database as it operates; it is essentially the new version of Oracle Enterprise Manager. Database Control can identify poorly written application code, suggest better code and automatically provide optimal performance.

Ken Jacobs, Oracle's vice president of product strategy and the man known as Dr. DBA within the Oracle community, said that 10g won't put DBAs out of business.

"I hear this question a lot," said Jacobs, who spoke during an afternoon OracleWorld presentation. "The new capabilities of Oracle 10g really take away some of the drudge work DBAs do." Database administrators can raise their profiles, and advance their careers, Jacobs said, once they are spending less time setting up alerts and conducting similar routine tasks.

"The DBA will no longer have to worry about lots of dials and knobs," Jacobs said. "Instead, the DBA can be involved with much more important activities, like database design."

Oracle 10g also includes Automatic Storage Management (ASM), a features designed to simplify storage management for the database. The new feature is supposed to eliminate the need for DBAs to constantly monitor systems for "hot spots" or performance bottlenecks.

Carl Olofson, research director at Framingham, Mass.-based International Data Corp., said Oracle 10g represents a "great stride forward."

Oracle 10g has "new self-managing features that help automate statistics collection, instance tuning, memory tuning, and more," Olofson said. One of 10g's key objectives is "more effective database administration," he said.

Easing the lives of DBAs is a relentless theme at this week's OracleWorld, a five-day event dedicated this year to the power of grid computing. Database version 10g, named as a tribute to grid computing, is at the core of Oracle's grid computing strategy.

At an afternoon session titled "Oracle Database 10g: The self-managing database," Richard Sarwal, Oracle's vice president for database development, told attendees that 10g users would be able to install the database in 20 minutes.

Sarwal said the automated tuning optimizer in 10g, which can identify "bad" SQL code, can also provide recommendations for SQL replacements, a feature he said no SQL tool can offer.

Pascale Jacques, a DBA at Miami-based Knight-Ridder Corp., listened to Sarwal with guarded optimism.

"You always approach this stuff hesitantly," Jacques said, "until you get back and get your hands on it."


Read's special coverage of OracleWorld '03.

To provide your feedback on this article, contact News Editor Ellen O'Brien.

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