RealTime IT News

Applications to Smarten Up With Oracle Database

Oracle  today issued the latest revision of its TimesTen In-memory database, a product the company acquired in 2005 to offer customers in telecommunications, financial services and other markets meet their needs for real-time information at a higher throughput.

Release 7 boasts tighter integration and caching with the company's flagship Oracle Database 10g, running directly in an application to ferry information more quickly to 10g customers.

The in-memory or cached database approach cuts out the middlemen, such as context switching or other network operations that may impinge data query response times.

This allows data queries to be answered within microseconds, compared to milliseconds or whole seconds typical of traditional databases like Database 10g, IBM  DB2 or Microsoft's  SQL Server.

TimesTen 7, working as a standalone product or connecting to Oracle Database 10g, can boost high volume transaction processing, business activity monitoring, business intelligence and customer relationship management.

Jim Groff, senior vice president business strategy and TimesTen's CEO before Oracle purchased the smaller company, said features in TimesTen 7 include new data type compatibility.

Specifically, traditional Oracle Database 10g data types, such as "numeric" are available in TimesTen 7 for easier application development and caching data in memory.

TimesTen 7 also supports more than 50 database character sets and 80 languages, enabling more users to take advantage of the technology around the world.

Groff said new real-time caching utilities also make TimesTen 7 a no-brainer for companies concerned about speedy data returns.

"What we're seeing people do is make applications more intelligent and personalized because cost of a query to look up a customer profile is almost zero," Groff said.

For example, he said the software now provides "on-demand caching," which is typically used in a customer call center or portal to load data for a customer when they first arrive and add or update data as the interaction is continues.

The new software also delivers "reference data caching" to help Web sites where product catalogs, business rules and metadata are heavily accessed. Flight schedule applications, where data is slow changing but gets queried multiple times, would be common uses of this caching feature, Groff said.

Finally, "sliding time window caching" is primed in TimesTen 7 to power business intelligence and business activity monitoring applications, where, for example, retail sales data are heavily used to make decisions on the fly.

TimesTen 7, available today with pricing starting at $12,000 per CPU, also for the first time supports Oracle Real Application Clusters (RAC), Oracle Fusion Middleware, Oracle SQL Developer and Oracle JDeveloper.

Oracle's competition for TimesTen is unusual.

While most similar processing software niches feature a phalanx of heavyweights and startups vying for the same pieces of pie, Groff said Oracle finds itself competing mostly with homespun applications in the embeddable or in-memory database space.

These include products forged in the software furnaces of financial services powerhouses and telecommunications or networking vendors such as Lucent, Nortel and Nokia.

However, Groff also listed Solid Technology standalone player in the embeddable database space.