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Top Five Features for Oracle 11g on RDS

Extending RDBMS as a Service to Enterprises

Amazon RDS Running Oracle Database
We find a recent announcement of plans for the Oracle Database 11g available via the Amazon Relational Database Service by the second quarter of 2011.  It mentioned that the following supporting options are available for the Oracle RDS on Amazon.

  • Bring Your Own License" - (BYOL): Customers with existing Oracle Database licenses can apply them to run Oracle Databases on AmazonRDSwith no additional software licensing or support charges.
  • On-Demand Database Instances (DB Instances): This pay-by-the-hour licensing option requires no pre-existing licenses, up-front fees, or long-term commitments to run Oracle Databases on AmazonRDS.
  • Reserved DB Instances: Reserved DB Instances allow customers to make a low, one-time payment for each DB Instance and in turn receive the option to run that DB Instance at a significant discount on the ongoing hourly usage charge.

However, for a while Amazon RDS support MYSQL database as a service, with Oracle being a  proven enterprise class database and  is known for its features, the following  features in the Amazon RDS  For MYSQL needed  to be enhanced to truly serve a enterprise database like Oracle 11g.

1. Improved Query API
Current  RDS supports HTTP Query-based requests are HTTP requests that use the HTTP verb GET or POST and a Query parameter named Action.  Each Query request must include some common parameters to handle authentication and selection of an action. Some operations take lists of parameters. These lists are specified using the param.n notation. Values of n are integers starting from 1.

While this is good for performing basic Data Manipulation CRUD Statements ( INSERT, UPDATE, DELETE and QUERY), Oracle 11g is  known  for rich set of  SQL extensions  which have tremendous value for application development.  For example

  • Hierarchical Queries, CONNECT BY Option
  • OLAP Queries, CUBE, ROLLEUP etc...
  • Rich set of functionalities exposed using MODEL, DIMENSION queries
  • XML-based queries

To represent all of the SQL features of Oracle 11g, we needed the Query API in RDS be extended much bigger than what it is today.

2. More Storage Control
Current  Amazon RDS for MySQL  provides support for  creation of DB Instances.  But there are no concept of  Table Spaces and specifying the logical Storage groups for the objects within the database. While by the very definition  of  Database As  A Service,  some  consumers  would  be fine with the abstraction of the storage internals.

However the logical separation of table spaces in Oracle forms part of the  database design itself, where  by the Tables and Indexes are kept in separate table spaces to avoid contention. If this can be done transparently then it would be a nice feature,  however it is still better to give the control of logical table spaces to the Service consumers, so that they have more control.

3. More Monitoring Control
Amazon RDS collects performance information for all DB Instances. Using the Amazon CloudWatch webservice APIs, you can access CPU, storage, and database connections metrics. Currently in Amazon RDS  the following APIs are provided  for monitoring the database instances.

  • CPUUtilization
  • FreeStorageSpace
  • ReadIOPS
  • WriteIOPS
  • ReadLatency
  • WriteLatency
  • ReadThroughput
  • WriteThroughput

While these metrics are good.  Oracle 11g databases  boast of a whole array of database monitoring and control features, ranging from.

  • The Automatic Diagnostic Repository
  • Automatic Workload Repository
  • Database Resource Manager
  • Automatic SQL Tuning Advisor
  • SQL Plan Management

Also  most of the monitoring of the Oracle 11g database is traditionally done  through by querying  V$, X$ Tables stored internal to oracle.

So Oracle 11g on Amazon RDS needs to have the support  for more monitoring features than currently provided.

4. More Performance Features
At this time in Amazon RDS for MYSQL  there are not very many features for  fixing the performance issues. The current options are limited to  monitor the CPU utilization and other metrics  and scale up instances further.

However, Oracle 11g provides so many features at the Design and run time to improve the performance of the applications.  These features mentioned below should be incorporated as  part of the RDS for Oracle 11g.

  • Design Time
    • Partitioning Tables
    • BITMAP, FUNCTION BASED INDEXES
    • HINTS
    • GLOBAL TEMPORARY TABLES
  • Run Time
    • Automatic SQL Tuning Advisor
    • SQL Plan Management
    • Automatic Optimizer Statistics Collection
    • SQL Query Result Cache

5. Improved  Support  User Initiated Data Corruption
The typical advantage  of a  Cloud Platform is to abstract the user from typical database maintenance activities like Installation, Upgrades, Backup and Recovery. You can see the following features in Amazon RDS for MYSQL in this regard.

Automated backup is an Amazon RDS feature that automatically creates a backup of your database. This backup occurs during a daily user-configurable 2-hour period known as the backup window. Backups created during this period of time are retained for a user-configurable number of days (the retention period).

DB Snapshots are user-initiated backups of a DB Instance. DB Snapshots are retained until they are deleted by the user.

However  these features  are not enough for the  user initiated data corruption like a wrong  delete  of data by the user or application.  For example some table data is accidentally  lost,   we cannot be dependent  on the automated back ups that may happen  once in a day. Oracle 11g has rich set of functionalities to support this kind of data issues.

  • Flashback database support, which let the DBA to retrieve the older data without having to perform a time consuming traditional recovery operation
  • Recycle Bin and the associated features

Summary
Relational database as service  looks to be a important  driver to adapt to Cloud, as over the period organizations have been dedicating lot of resources  for  database maintenance, backups, recovery, tuning, installation and upgrades.

  • We already find that Microsoft has taken a lead with, Microsoft® SQL AzureTM Database is a cloud-based relational database service built on SQL Server® technologies.
  • Existing Amazon RDS modeled on MYSQL
  • ‘Database.com' as a stand-alone service available via its SOAP and REST APIs to any language on any platform or device.

With Oracle 11g  being the most dominant relational database on the planet, a Database As A Service offering  should encompass all the salient features so that  it provides a valuable alternative to the On-Premise databases.

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