Blog | Sep 4, 2013

Get Plugged into Oracle 12c – Part 1

In July, Oracle released Oracle Database 12c and declared it “The First  Database Designed for the Cloud”.  As The Application Management Experts, all of us here at TriCore are especially interested in everything Oracle and everything Cloud, so we’ve dug in to better understand exactly what Oracle has done with the 12c release.

We’ve learned that Oracle set out to solve three major challenges with Database 12c:

   • Consolidating Databases                                                                                                                         
   • Lowering Storage Costs
   • Redacting Data

We’ll walk through each of these in a bit more detail starting with Database Consolidation.

Consolidating Databases:
When we look at the paradigm shift towards OS virtualization that has occurred over the past decade, there have been a few different approaches for trying to share compute resources and realize the same benefits at the database layer. Running each Oracle database in its own Virtual Machine was the simplest approach, but could have many implications including licensing, performance, and maintenance overhead. Having a shared Oracle home with several different databases running under it was the next approach towards increased consolidation, followed by running each database as a separate schema within the same database. Each of these approaches had its merits, but also some pitfalls. Oracle database versions would have to be kept in sync across disparate applications; maintenance could be problematic when a restart/patch/upgrade of Oracle was necessary; applications may have needed to be rewritten to run under a different schema; the list goes on and on.

With 12c, Oracle has introduced Pluggable Databases in an attempt to allow organizations to reduce IT cost, reduce the number of separate databases to maintain, and to keep database applications isolated and unchanged. This is possible through the introduction of the concept of a Container Database (CDB) that acts like a parent database to each Pluggable database (PDB - the children). The system resources (memory/SGA, background processes, and some dbfiles) that would historically be allocated to each individual database are now allocated at the Container level, which can be multitenant. The Pluggable databases contain the system catalog for items specific to that database and each one serves as a fully functioning database. From a connected client perspective, the PDB looks no different than a non-PDB and foreground sessions can only see the PDB they connect to. Existing databases can be upgraded to Oracle 12c in place and then plugged in to a 12c Container database.

To demonstrate the benefit of this concept, Oracle provided an example of a single server running 3 separate Oracle databases each using 25-30% of the system resources on the server – which was about 80% utilized as a result. In this scenario, each database has separate system resources (memory, cpu, and processes) allocated to it. By moving to the 12c Container/Pluggable Database model, the one Container database would have the system resources allocated to it and would manage the 3 Pluggable databases under that single pool of system resources, greatly reducing the overall utilization of the server. This means more databases per server, and perhaps just as important to many customers, more databases running under the same processor licenses.
Oracle states that 12c Multitenant requires 6times less hardware resource and is 5 times more scalable (up to 252 PDBs can run under a single container).

The Multitenant Pluggable databases have several other benefits including:

• Resource Management
o Each Pluggable database can be given a priority in the event of resource contention
• Simplified Patching and Upgrades
o Apply changes once for all databases or –
o Create a new Oracle Home/Container Database for the new release, then unplug from the old, plug into the new (also beneficial for fall back/contingency)
• Ability to manage many databases as one
o Backups can be performed at the Container level and recovery can still be done at Pluggable level
o One Standby Database can be used to replicate all Pluggable databases (DataGuard)
• Fast, Flexible copy and Snapshot
o For creating Dev/Test environments
• Cloud/Hosting and SaaS
o Each customer can be given their own private database running under a centrally managed Container
• No application changes required!
o Applications will still see the Pluggable databases as standalone databases

The Multitenant design of Oracle 12c certainly opens up many options for consolidation and more efficient use of resources than ever before. TriCore will leverage our expertise and these new Oracle features to provide our customers with highly available, highly secure, high performance Oracle systems that save our customers time, money and resources.

Check back soon for Part 2, where we’ll take a look at Oracle’s enhancements around storage management and data security.

We’ll also leave you with a question to be answered in Part 2:
How will Oracle 12c help customers migrate from one platform to another?