Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Some Great New Features

I've been off exploring Oracle 11g for a little bit trying to figure out a strategy to upgrade my environment. Oracle 11g has a ton of new features, most of which are now "options" (in other words they cost more money).

When Oracle came out with compression at the segment level in 9i, I thought it was a great feature, at least in theory. But as I got to use compression, I found out that DDL didn't exactly work the way you expected. Then I found out rows had to be added in a certain non-standard way and decided that while the feature was great in theory, in practice it was only about 80% of what I really wanted. Fast forward to 11g and we find out that now segment compression works the way you think it should; except now it costs you extra.

Another feature, Data Guard, is quite frankly awesome. Sure, you have to license both hosts in a data guard setup, but that's the penalty you have to pay to have data in two locations. One of the things that always bothered management was that the standby host is essentially idle just waiting for a disaster that may never come. Sure, you can open the standby in read-only mode, but you have to stop keeping it up-to-date in order to do that. Flash forward to 11g and now you have the ability to have the standby database applying logs but you can also run queries against it!  Wow, this will make my management really happy...until they find out they have to pay to use an incremental enhancement to a basic EE feature.

I should not really be surprised.  Oracle came up with a free statistics collection tool called "StatsPack" way back in 8i.  Using the statistics you could do all sorts of historical trending and figure out why your database was slow after the fact.  Flash forward to 10g and we have this new product called Automatic Workload Repository (AWR) ... but now you have to pay for it.  It's really just StatsPack version 2, but now they need to garner extra revenue for it.

Meanwhile, my support bill is due this month so I can pay for "Software Updates and Support" for another year.