Upgrading enterprise databases is a ritual that occurs annually or at least every two or three years. This year, there’s bad news and good news. The bad news is that, as always, databases lag hardware in addressing the 50 to 60 percent yearly increases in the organization’s typical needs for data processing. The good news is that enterprise databases are doing better than ever at delivering upgrade value.
Today’s focus is on “hot” data processing—analytics and Big Data. Tunnel vision shouldn’t blind the savvy IT strategist to the critical role that a new version of enterprise database software can play in delivering improvements to the application portfolio or business processes in key areas such as:
• Performance and flexibility
• The speed with which information is turned into insights
• Faster adaptation to change
• Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) savings
• Better management of IT’s business-related risks.
A simple way to understand how these benefits play out in a typical organization is to classify IT into three categories:
• Keep the organization running
• Service the organization
• Deliver competitive advantage.
Figure 1 shows how a new enterprise database can deliver added value in each area.
What’s New in Enterprise Databases
Lifecycle compression is the primary factor giving the latest enterprise database versions a big jump in performance, scalability, and cost-effectiveness. Technologies such as sophisticated indexing (often associated with columnar technology), increased concurrency, and better use of the new multi-core chips are also factors, but similar technologies were introduced in earlier revisions of Oracle Database, IBM DB2, and so on. Two new methods that have given an extra “kick” to the usual technology upgrades are:
• Implementing data processing in which the size of the data is shrunk from the point it’s created to the point it’s archived (and beyond)
• Allowing more data on a disk or a chunk of main memory, which means you can process more data per unit of time.
Beta users of IBM DB2 10 are reporting gains of 50 percent in performance when moving between the second and third generations of this technology—little more than a year after the technology came out.