Eye on Oracle

Sep 23 2008   12:26PM GMT

IOUG’s new chief gets competitive

Shayna Garlick Shayna Garlick Profile: Shayna Garlick

How many people have a (data) warehouse today?”

Almost all hands shot up when Independent Oracle Users Group (IOUG) president and data warehousing expert Ian Abramson asked this question to a packed room of about 150 people Monday at Oracle OpenWorld.

Chances are, if all OpenWorld attendees had been present, the number of raised hands may have been well into the 30,000’s. But since it’s impossible to attend all 1,800 OpenWorld sessions, I have some highlights and tips from Abramson’s talk, “Oracle 11g database features for your data warehouse needs.”

Abramson told the audience that the key to data warehousing is being able to “compete effectively in today’s challenging environment.”  So, which Oracle tools and features help to do this?

Here are just a few of many :

Partitioning: The partition option has been around since Oracle 8 and is the key enabling function for managing large volumes of data. Partitioning methods include list, range (best for fact-based data), hash (best for more dimensional data) and composite (this has been expanded in 11g and includes range/hash and list/range combinations). Abramson also pointed to recent partitioning improvements that include greater manageability, compression enhancements and the release of the Oracle Warehouse Builder for ETL. 

Virtual Columns: The virtual columns feature is a completely new function with Oracle 11g. These columns are purely virtual and stored as metadata only. Read this tip from SearchOracle.com to learn how virtual columns can improve database manageability, availability and performance.

Information lifecycle management: Far fewer people raised their hands to say they used information lifecycle management (ILM) than said they had a data warehouse. ILM is a series of processes that, as Abramson says, “allows you to invest your storage dollars more effectively.” ILM goes far beyond simple database storage automation and allows users to specify different storage policies for different sets of data.

Security: Abramson said it clearly: “You want it, you need it, you better have it.” This message should not be taken lightly, especially since the release of “scary” findings from an IOUG security survey. The findings show that about 20 % of people are expecting their database to be hacked into in the next year – – and the majority isn’t taking the appropriate measures (encryption, database triggers, etc) to prevent it from happening

I later sat down with Abramson to discuss these survey findings, including the risks that internal sources pose to database security. Abramson also talks about his vision for IOUG, what he hopes members will take away from the conference and the results of another IOUG survey on IT salaries. Stay tuned to SearchOracle OpenWorld coverage for a chance to listen to this podcast – – and catch up on other sessions you may have missed! 

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