Oracle's 11g Database Unveiled Without Windows Version

Oracle on Wednesday took the wraps off the long-anticipated new version of its flagship database. The latest release of the Oracle 11g database, according to the company, provides a substantial increase in performance, storage management and availability.

However, in keeping with its major new releases of the recent past, the company only introduced a Linux version, which will ship in August. If Oracle follows its historical patterns, a Windows version of the product will follow within the next several months, although Oracle would not commit to any timeframe.

"All we are announcing today is Linux shipping this quarter. We will come back to you on the other platforms," said Oracle President Charles Phillips when asked about plans for the Windows release at a press conference following the two-hour launch event in New York.

The Oracle 11g launch is nonetheless significant to Redmond developers because the features of the new database will be carried across all of the major platforms it supports, Oracle officials said.

"Traditionally, we provide all of the products, options and functionality on all the platforms," Robert Shimp, vice president of Oracle's global technology business unit, told Redmond Developer News. As far as timing for a Windows release of the Oracle 11g database, he said, "We try to bring out all the platforms as expeditiously as possible."

Oracle 11g is the first major new database from Oracle in more than three years. The company is the leading provider of enterprise databases, with a marketshare of 47 percent for 2006, according to market researcher Gartner.

"Oracle is the undisputed leader when it comes to databases and 11g is definitely showing that leadership with innovation and advancements in database technologies in the areas of availability and unstructured data, integration with applications, and .NET, as well as performance and security," said Forrester Research Principal Analyst Noel Yuhanna.

Microsoft and Oracle are clearly in a battle for enterprise customers building new applications. Oracle 11g comes as Microsoft is readying its own major database upgrade, SQL Server 2008. Formerly code-named Katmai, SQL Server 2008 is also in beta. Microsoft said this week that its new database will be part of its 2008 Global Launch Wave on Feb. 27.

Oracle is touting 400 new features in 11g. Among the key advances is Real Application Testing, tooling aimed at making it easier for IT organizations to handle system upgrades and changes. The Database Replay functionality within it can take a snapshot reading of real-life production workloads, which IT employees can then run on their test system and assess the effect of changes, according to Oracle.

A feature called Total Recall allows administrators to query data based on past instances, and a function called Oracle Flashback Transaction supports the rollback of transactions and anything dependent on that transaction. Oracle has also extended support for file types, including radio frequency ID (RFID) data types, and medical images based on the digital imaging and communications in medicine (DICOM) standard, as well as 3D spatial support.

The 11g release also offers added options for storing and manipulating XML data within the database.

When Oracle releases its Windows version, developers can anticipate improved integration with Microsoft's Visual Studio and the .NET Framework, said Forrester's Yuhanna.

"They also are providing much more integration with ASP.NET providers, which is an important factor for application integration," Yuhanna said. "They are really providing much easier integration points."

About the Author

Jeffrey Schwartz is editor of and news editor of Visual Studio Magazine.