Oracle Integration and Consolidation Products

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Oracle Information Integration, Migration, and Consolidation

The definitive book and eBook guide to Oracle information integration and migration in a heterogeneous world

Data services

Data services are at the leading edge of data integration. Traditional data integration involves moving data to a central repository or accessing data virtually through SQL-based interfaces. Data services are a means of making data a ‘first class’ citizen in your SOA.

Recently, the idea of SOA-enabled data services has taken off in the IT industry. This is not any different than accessing data using SQL, JDBC, or ODBC. What is new is that your service-based architecture can now view any database access service as a web service. Service Component Architecture (SCA) plays a big role in data services as now data services created and deployed using Oracle BPEL, Oracle ESB, and other Oracle SOA products can be part of an end-to-end data services platform. No longer do data services deployed in one of the SOA products have to be deployed in another Oracle SOA product. SCA makes it possible to call a BPEL component from Oracle Service Bus and vice versa.

Oracle Data Integration Suite

Oracle Data Integration (ODI)Suite includes the Oracle Service Bus to publish and subscribe messaging capabilities. Process orchestration capabilities are provided by Oracle BPEL Process Manager, and can be configured to support rule-based, event-based, and data-based delivery services. The Oracle Data Quality for Data Integrator, Oracle Data Profiling products, and Oracle Hyperion Data Relationship Manager provide best-in-class capabilities for data governance, change management hierarchical data management, and provides the foundation for reference data management of any kind.

ODI Suite allows you to create data services that can be used in your SCA environment. These data services can be created in ODI, Oracle BPEL or the Oracle Service Bus. You can surround your SCA data services with Oracle Data Quality and Hyperion Data Relationship to cleanse your data and provide master data management. ODI Suite effectively serves two purposes:

  • Bundle Oracle data integration solutions as most customers will need ODI, Oracle BPEL, Oracle Service Bus, and data quality and profiling in order to build a complete data services solution
  • Compete with similar offerings from IBM (InfoSphere Information Server) and Microsoft (BizTalk 2010) that offer complete EII solutions in one offering

The ODI Suite data service source and target data sources along with development languages and tools supported are:

Data sourceData targetDevelopment languages and toolsERPs, CRMs, B2B systems, flat files, XML data, LDAP, JDBC, ODBCAny data sourceSQL, Java, GUI

The most likely instances or use cases when ODI Suite would be the Oracle product or tool selected are:

  • SCA-based data services
  • An end-to-end EII and data migration solution

Data services can be used to expose any data source as a service. Once a data service is created, it is accessible and consumable by any web service-enabled product. In the case of Oracle, this is the entire set of products in the Oracle Fusion Middleware Suite.

Data consolidation

The mainframe was the ultimate solution when it came to data consolidation. All data in an enterprise resided in one or several mainframes that were physically located in a data center. The rise of the hardware and software appliance has created a ‘what is old is new again’ situation; a hardware and software solution that is sold as one product. Oracle has released the Oracle Exadata appliance and IBM acquired the pure database warehouse appliance company Netezza, HP, and Microsoft announced work on an SQL Server database appliance, and even companies like SAP, EMC, and CICSO are talking about the benefits of database appliances.

The difference is (and it is a big difference) that the present architecture is based upon open standards hardware platforms, operating systems, client devices, network protocols, interfaces, and databases. So, you now have a database appliance that is not based upon proprietary operating systems, hardware, network components, software, and data disks. Another very important difference is that enterprise software COTS packages, management tools, and other software infrastructure tools will work across any of these appliance solutions. One of the challenges for customers that run their business on the mainframe is that they are ‘locked into’ vendor- specific sorting, reporting, job scheduling, system management, and other products usually only offered from IBM, CA, BMC, or Compuware. Mainframe customers also suffer from a lack of choice when it comes to COTS applications. Since appliances are based upon open systems, there is an incredibly large software ecosystem.

Oracle Exadata

Oracle Exadata is the only database appliance that runs both data warehouse and OLTP applications. Oracle Exadata is an appliance that includes every component an IT organization needs to process information—from a grid database down to the power supply. It is a hardware and software solution that can be up and running in an enterprise in weeks instead of months for typical IT database solutions.

Exadata provides high speed data access using a combination of hardware and a database engine that runs at the storage tier. Typical database solutions have to use indexes to retrieve data from storage and then pull large volumes of data into the core database engine, which churns through millions of rows of data to send a handful of row results to the client. Exadata eliminates the need for indexes and data engine processing by placing a lightweight database engine at the storage tier. Therefore, the database engine is only provided with the end result and does not have to utilize complicated indexing schemes, large amounts of CPU, and memory to produce the end results set. Exadata’s capabilities to run large OLTP and data warehouse applications, or a large number of smaller OLTP and data warehouse applications on one machine make it a great platform for data consolidation.

The first release of Oracle Exadata was based upon HP hardware and was for data warehouses only. The second release came out shortly before Oracle acquired Sun. This release was based upon Sun hardware, but ironically not on Sun Sparc or Solaris (Solaris is now an OS option). The Exadata source and target data sources along with development languages and tools supported are:

Data sourceData targetDevelopment languages and toolsAny (depending upon the data source this may involve an intensive migration effort)Oracle ExadataSQL, PL/SQL, Java

The most likely instances or use cases when Exadata would be the Oracle product or tool selected are:

  • A move from hundreds of standalone database hardware and software nodes to one database machine
  • A reduction in hardware and software vendors, and one vendor for hardware and software support

Keepin It Real
The database appliance has become the latest trend in the IT industry. Data warehouse appliances like Netezza have been around for a number of years. Oracle has been the first vendor to offer an open systems database appliance for both DW and OLTP environments.

Data grid

Instead of consolidating databases physically or accessing the data where it resides, a data grid places the data into an in-memory middle tier. Like physical federation, the data is being placed into a centralized data repository. Unlike physical federation, the data is not placed into a traditional RDBMS system (Oracle database), but into a high-speed memory-based data grid. Oracle offers both a Java and SQL-based data grid solution. The decision of what product to implement often depends on where the corporations system, database, and application developer skills are strongest.

If your organization has strong Java or .Net skills and is more comfortable with application servers than databases, then Oracle Coherence is typically the product of choice. If you have strong database administration and SQL skills, then Oracle TimesTen is probably a better solution.

The Oracle Exalogic solution takes the data grid to another level by placing Oracle Coherence, along with other Oracle hardware and software solutions, into an appliance. This appliance provides an ‘end-to-end’ solution or data grid ‘in a box’. It reduces management, increases performance, reduces TCO, and eliminates the need for the customer having to build their own hardware and software solution using multiple vendor solutions that may not be certified to work together.

Oracle Coherence

Oracle Coherence is an in-memory data grid solution that offers next generation Extreme Transaction Processing (XTP). Organizations can predictably scale mission critical applications by using Oracle Coherence to provide fast and reliable access to frequently used data. Oracle Coherence enables customers to push data closer to the application for faster access and greater resource utilization. By automatically and dynamically partitioning data in memory across multiple servers, Oracle Coherence enables continuous data availability and transactional integrity, even in the event of a server failure.

Oracle Coherence was purchased from Tangosol Software in 2007. Coherence was an industry-leading middle tier caching solution. The product only offered a Java solution at the time of acquisition, but a .NET offering was already scheduled before the acquisition took place. The Oracle Coherence source and target data sources along with development languages and tools supported are:

Data sourceData targetDevelopment languages and toolsJDBC, any data source accessible through Oracle SOA adaptersCoherenceJava, .Net

The most likely instances or use cases when Oracle Coherence would be the Oracle product or tool selected are:

  • When it is necessary to replace custom, hand-coded solutions that cache data in middle tier Java or .NET application servers
  • Your company’s strengths are in application servers Java or .NET

Oracle TimesTen

Oracle TimesTen is a data grid/cache offering that has similar characteristics to Oracle Coherence. Both of the solutions offer a product that caches data in the middle tier for high throughput and high transaction volumes. The technology implementations are much different. TimesTen is an in-memory database solution that is accessed through SQL and the data storage mechanism is a relational database. The TimesTen solution data grid can be implemented across a wide area network (WAN) and the nodes that make up the data grid are kept in sync with your back end Oracle database using Oracle Cache Connect. Cache Connect is also used to automatically refresh the TimesTen database on a push or pull basis from your Oracle backend database. Cache Connect can also be used to keep TimesTen databases spread across the global in sync.

Oracle TimesTen offers both read and update support, unlike other database in- memory solutions. This means that Oracle TimesTen can be used to run your business even if your backend database is down. The transactions that occur during the downtime are queued and applied to your backend database once it is restored.

The other similarity between Oracle Coherence and TimesTen is that they both were acquired technologies. Oracle TimesTen was acquired from the company TimesTen in 2005. The Oracle TimesTen source and target data sources along with development languages and tools supported are:

Data sourceData targetDevelopment languages and toolsOracleTimesTenSQL, CLI

The most likely instances or use cases when Oracle TimesTen would be the Oracle product or tool selected are:

  • For web-based read-only applications that require a millisecond responseand data close to where request is made
  • For applications where updates need not be reflected back to the user in real-time

Oracle Exalogic

A simplified explanation of Oracle Exalogic is that it is Exadata for the middle tier application infrastructure. While Exalogic is optimized for enterprise Java, it is also a suitable environment for the thousands of third-party and custom Linux and Solaris applications widely deployed on Java, .NET, Visual Basic, PHP, or any other programming language. The core software components of Exalogic are WebLogic, Coherence, JRocket or Java Hotspot, and Oracle Linux or Solaris. Oracle Exalogic has an optimized version of WebLogic to run Java applications more efficiently and faster than a typical WebLogic implementation.

Oracle Exalogic is branded with the Oracle Elastic cloud as an enterprise application consolidation platform. This means that applications can be added on demand and in real-time. Data can be cached in Oracle Coherence for a high speed, centralized, data grid sharable on the cloud. The Exalogic source and target data sources along with development languages and tools supported are:

Data sourceData targetDevelopment languages and toolsAny data sourceCoherenceAny language

The most likely instances or use cases when Exalogic would be the Oracle product or tool selected are:

  • Enterprise consolidated application server platform
  • Cloud hosted solution
  • Upgrade and Consolidation of hardware or software

Oracle Coherence is the product of choice for Java and .NET versed development shops. Oracle TimesTen is more applicable to database-centric and shops more comfortable with SQL.


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