After a hiatus of nearly two years, Oracle today released a new edition of the company’s flagship database system containing a long list of new features and capabilities.
The new Oracle 21c database incorporates capabilities the company built into a release of the software slated for 2020, but which were held back when the COVID-19 pandemic hit in early 2020.
Oracle also said on Tuesday that the company is making its low-code APEX development tools available as a service on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI), an initiative that the company says will help customers and partners build applications based on it. data easier and faster.
[Related: Oracle’s Cloud Roadmap Features High-Power Instances]
The giant software company, which recently moved its headquarters from Redwood Shores, Calif. To Austin, Texas, boasts a number of technological advancements in version 21c, including new automated machine learning capabilities, blockchain and persistent memory.
In an interview with CRN, Jenny Tsai-Smith, Oracle vice president of database product management, touted Oracle Database 21c’s ability to handle a wide range of tasks spanning transaction processing and l data analytics, as well as machine learning, blockchain, and data streaming. and Internet of Things jobs. The database, she noted, can handle multiple types of data including relational, JSON, graphics, spatial, text, XML, and blockchain data, leading Oracle to refer to the software as a “converged database.” “.
“It’s not just about relational data. The bottom line is productivity, ”Tsai-Smith said of Oracle Database 21c enhancements. For the legions of Oracle channel partners, she said the new version helps digitize business processes faster, process and manage more data, and better inject data into decision-making tasks.
“We are the best of all breeds,” Tsai-Smith said of the capabilities of the Oracle database versus competing databases focused on specific “best of breed” functionality. “We don’t just tick the ‘Yes, we can do it’ boxes.”
The new version comes at a time when Oracle’s database is under competitive pressure from all sides. Amazon Web Services, for example, offers a host of cloud-based database products, including its own Aurora and RDS relational databases, as well as databases for more specialized tasks such as database Amazon DocumentDB document database and the Amazon Neptune graph database. On the analytics side, Oracle faces competition from AWS Redshift, Snowflake, Azure Synapse, and Google Big Query.
A number of smaller vendors are also challenging Oracle such as SingleStore (formerly MemSQL) and Cockroach Labs in the relational database market and others such as MongoDB and Couchbase in the NoSQL database arena.
The version of Oracle Database 21c also comes just over a month after the company launched a new cloud service, based on its open source MySQL database, running on OCI.
Oracle has recently been successful in attracting high visibility customers to its cloud database platform, including cybersecurity provider Cybereason and Xactly.
The last major release of the flagship Oracle database was Oracle Database 19c in April 2019. Oracle developed a 20c edition of the database and previewed it in February 2020. But then the COVID-19 pandemic struck and Tsai-Smith said customers, struggling with sudden changes in circumstances, including the need to support employees working from home, seemed unwilling to undertake a database upgrade.
Oracle Database 20c has never been made available to everyone and the features developed for this edition have been incorporated into Oracle Database 21c with new capabilities developed last year, Tsai-Smith said.
In total, Oracle Database 21c offers more than 200 enhancements and new features, according to the company. Topping the list is the use of immutable blockchain tables to bring the security benefits of blockchain technology to database applications. Edition 21c also provides AutoML for machine learning in the database, automatically creating and comparing large scale machine learning models.
New blockchain capabilities are of particular interest to Oracle partners. Retraced is already using blockchain functionality to develop SaaS supply chain management solutions for the fashion apparel industry. “At Retraced, we’ve used database blockchain tables with distributed blockchain platforms to have a decentralized consortium for data validity and immutability, but now also tamper-proof off-chain storage. within the Oracle database, ”said Peter Merkert, co-founder and CTO in Düsseldorf, Germany, Retraced, in a statement.
XView, a consulting partner based in Rome, Italy, plans to use the blockchain tables functionality to help healthcare and industrial manufacturing clients follow the certification documents and approval processes built into them. Oracle Fusion and eBusiness Suite applications.
“Our clients can use blockchain tables for tamper-proof tracking of specific actions approved by who-what-when, as well as for any update to an existing approval,” Allessandro Volponi, CEO of XView, said in a statement. . “Oracle blockchain tables allow us to achieve this by using familiar SQL commands in the database and without the need to implement complex smart contracts or impact other aspects of the organization of a client. “
Oracle Database 21c introduces a self-managed in-memory column store feature that automatically manages the replacement and deletion of in-memory column store objects to enhance the database’s ability to handle transactional and analytical workloads. And the new native database partitioning feature makes it easier to comply with data sovereignty and privacy regulations.
Tsai-Smith said many of the new database capabilities are designed to help customers and solution providers in digital transformation initiatives. “It really simplifies the basics of digital transformation projects, applications and opportunities,” she said.
Oracle Database 21c is now available on OCI. The company will begin shipping the new database for on-premises platforms, including Linux, Windows, and Oracle Exadata Database Appliance, in the first half of 2021 (Oracle is not disclosing the sales breakdown of its cloud databases and on the site).
Oracle now also offers its APEX application development tools as a stand-alone managed service running on the OCI platform. While APEX is already used by some 500,000 developers, it has so far only been available as part of the Oracle database.
The move will help professional and industry programmers and developers from ISVs and solution provider partners to rapidly develop and deploy data-driven applications running on the Oracle database, said Joel Kallman, senior director of software development at Oracle which oversees the development and APEX products. management.
In 2020, demand for low-code development tools skyrocketed “because people needed to build apps that were supposed to be live yesterday,” Kallman said in an interview with CRN. “This is for data-driven applications. It is tightly integrated with the Oracle database. And it gives end users and developers the flexibility to leverage SQL in their applications, natively. We use our technology and deliver it as a low cost service on Oracle Cloud. “
Kallman said independent software vendors and other Oracle partners are already using the development system. “It’s reliable and they can deliver applications faster and cheaper to their customers. And they are able to capitalize on all the capabilities of the Oracle database. “
“For almost 20 years we’ve built our entire business on APEX,” said Michelle Skamene, vice president at Insum Solutions, a Montreal-based Oracle consulting partner, who in a statement called APEX “the benchmark. -or ”of low-code platform development.
“This has given us a huge competitive advantage, enabling us to provide our customers with beautiful, scalable, feature-rich solutions in a fraction of the time compared to any other technology we’ve seen,” said Skamene. “We are excited to see this new offering from Oracle, which provides a simple and more affordable entry point into the world of APEX on Autonomous Database and Oracle Cloud.