Oracle 11g New Features

With Oracle 11g, as with every new release, there are too many new features to be able to cover all of them, so we'll look at just a few in the broad categories of:

  • change management
  • grid computing
  • data warehousing
  • and performance improvements

 and provide links for more information.

Oracle 11g Change Management Enhancements

The most widely applicable enhancement in this area is what Oracle have dubbed Real Application Testing.  The idea of this is to reduce the risk of change by allowing real production workloads to be

captured and then replayed on a test system to determine in advance the impact of hardware or software changes. 

The ability to capture workloads was implemented in Oracle 10g, new in this release is the option to replay workloads. 

The database replay feature also provides reporting to highlight any potential problems such as any errors encountered or any divergence in performance and recommend steps to resolve these problems.  

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Oracle 11g Grid Computing Enhancements

In terms of grid computing, Oracle 10g release 1 was for early adopters, 10g release 2 made it mainstream and 11g makes it easy and straightforward. 

ASM (Automatic Storage Management) has been improved in terms of manageability, performance and automation. New ASM features include:

  • a fast mirror resync when a failed disk is brought back online
  • support for heterogeneous environments
  • rolling upgrade to maintain database availability during patching/upgrades
  • support for databases of 100s of TB in size

ADDM (Automatic Database Diagnostic Monitor) has been made cluster aware so that it can detect global i/o and interconnect problems.

Oracle 11g Data Warehousing Enhancements

Enhancements for data warehouses/business intelligence systems include new partitioning options, the full integration of OLAP with the database and enhanced data mining and predictive analytics.

New Partitioning Options

  • composite partitioning - list-hash, list-list, list-range and range-range partitioning
  • partitioning by reference (child table references primary key of parent)
  • and auto-range partitioning which eliminates the need to manually create new partitions at specific time intervals

Integration of OLAP with the database

Also new to 11g are cube-organised materialized views which enable cubes to be referenced in sql and the transparent rewrite of queries against relational tables to reference cubes instead. 

Go to part 2 for a more detailed look at the data warehousing enhancements in 11g.

Performance Improvements

Changes in this area include enhancements to the infrastructure for handling large objects (LOBs), known as SecureFiles, enabling the compression and encryption of LOBs as well as automatic de-duplication. These changes  make the handling of LOBs much easier and faster and reduce storage requirements.

Other examples of performance improvements include a new query results-caching feature which saves the results of queries in a separate area of the shared pool and will therefore be of benefit to frequently-executed queries. This cache area is also used to save the results of deterministic PL/SQL functions. See Oracle 11g SQL New Features for more details.

The other big improvement to PL/SQL is the auto-compilation to native code without the need for a separate C compiler. This will be of benefit to highly processor-intensive PL/SQL routines which may be of an order of magnitude faster.

Details on the new features can be found in the Oracle documentation available on OTN. 

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