Oracle launching 'Big Data' in-memory appliances
By Chris Bongard
2nd October 2011

The Big Data Appliance and Oracle Exalytics Business Intelligence Machine were lined up outside the main keynote hall on Sunday at Oracle's OpenWorld conference in San Francisco.

A row of security guards stood before the roped-off machines, which also included Oracle's previously released Exadata database machine and Exalogic application server appliance. The guards ordered showgoers not to take photographs of the products until CEO Larry Ellison's keynote, which is scheduled for later Sunday. Ellison will presumably deliver more details on the new products, which have been expected for some time.

Description cards that were visible from behind the security ropes gave a smattering of details about each new machine. The Big Data appliance is engineered to run the open-source Hadoop framework for large-scale data processing, as well the "Oracle NoSQL database." It also integrates with Exadata.

NoSQL is a catch-all term for data stores that are most easily defined "by what they exclude: SQL, joins, strong analytic alternatives to those, and some forms of database integrity," said analyst Curt Monash of Monash Research. "If you leave all four out, and you have a strong scale-out story, you're in the NoSQL mainstream."

"Using NoSQL can make sense when at least one of two things is paramount: low-cost scale-out or dynamic schemas," he added. "What you give up are the query flexibility and the easily automatic data integrity of SQL-based systems."

Meanwhile, Exalytics provides an "optimized BI foundation with advanced visualizations," and is fastest for BI and EPM (enterprise performance management) applications. It is also optimized for Exadata, according to the description.

It was not clear whether the NoSQL and in-memory components are based on existing Oracle technologies, or are brand-new innovations. The Oracle NoSQL database referred to on the card could be based on Oracle's BerkeleyDB product, while Oracle's TimesTen in-memory database is a likely component of Exalytics.



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