Oracle updates TimeTen in-memory database, aims at SAP HANA

Performance, scalability and analytic capabilities are the key new features in TimesTen 11g Release 2.

Oracle on Thursday rolled out an updated version of its TimesTen In-Memory Database, which is a key component of its upcoming Exalytics appliance as well as a competitor to SAP's HANA platform.

TimesTen 11g Release 2 is a relational database "designed to run in the application-tier to provide both rapid transaction response time and high throughput required by mission-critical applications," Oracle said in a statement.

The new release's features include increased performance and scalability that will allow it to support additional concurrent users and sessions as well as larger amounts of requests, Oracle said.

Oracle has also added capabilities to support analytic workloads as well as the OLTP (online transaction processing) jobs TimesTen has long been associated with. To the latter end, Oracle also announced that the release will ship alongside its Communications Billing and Revenue Management application, providing significant leaps in speed and scalability, according to the company.

The vendor has also added columnar compression capabilities that allow up to a 5:1 compression ratio for data stored in memory. That feature is aimed at giving customers of Exalytics machines, which will each contain 1TB of RAM, the ability to process more information at once.

TimesTen's role in Exalytics will also allow Oracle's Business Intelligence Foundation Suite, which is also used in the systems, to run up to 20 times faster, Oracle claimed.

"The key feature is the in-memory columnar compression," said Forrester Research analyst James Kobielus. "I expect them to see them improve that to the level of efficiency on the Exadata platform, where they can achieve 10:1 to 40:1 compression."

Even with those ratios, the amount of data Exalytics would store in memory is small compared to the petabytes users can store in Exadata machines, which are also capable of handling both analytic and transactional workloads.

But the use case for TimesTen and Exalytics is different, Kobielus said. Those products are geared "for real-time, interactive BI, submitting one query after another to [the in-memory database] and iterating through a given problem space. You need to be able to consider a lot of scenarios very quickly."

Exalytics has not yet been released, but given its emergence this week on Oracle's public price list, a launch seems imminent. Overall, the market will see competition heighten between SAP and Oracle, Kobielus said.

"It's a horse race to see who can integrate their in-memory appliances the most quickly and thoroughly, and with the most stability, throughout their entire portfolio," he said.

SAP released the first version of HANA in June, and so far has aimed it primarily at analytic workloads, including through a series of specialized analytic applications that will run on top of the database. But the company also plans to port HANA to its various ERP (enterprise resource planning) software applications as well, including the flagship Business Suite, which many customers now run using Oracle databases.

Chris Kanaracus covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Chris's e-mail address is

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