Oracle 19c Database Software Promises Stability and Compatibility

Seen primarily as a stability update, Oracle Database 19c is the final version of the 12c Release 2 line of Oracle’s flagship software. It also brings new features, including automatic indexing, support for external data partitions, and limited capacity to write to standby databases, as well as upgrade issues for the user to be aware of. existing users.

As potential early adopters kick the tires on Oracle 19c database software, they will find that the same core technology runs on all supported platforms. There is “100% compatibility” between on-premises and cloud versions of 19c, as with the Oracle Database 18c update released in 2018, said Penny Avril, vice president of database product management at Oracle.

Don’t throw caution to the wind

Still, companies should take a few precautions before upgrading to Oracle 19c, according to several database consultants who work on Oracle implementations.

“Upgrading to a new version can cause problems,” said Luke Davies, senior consultant at Pythian Group, a database consulting firm and IT services provider. As a result, it doesn’t recommend immediate upgrades of production databases to 19c, which is named based on the year it was released in accordance with an annual update process that started with Oracle 18c. But because the new version promises to be more stable than 18c and 12c version 2, Davies said users of these systems should look to upgrade after some more testing and trial use of the software.

Penny April

“You usually don’t want to be the first to upgrade because you don’t want to be the only one finding all the issues in a new version,” said Rich Niemiec, chief innovation officer at consulting firm Viscosity North. America. This is especially true if you’re using features that many other users don’t, he added.

However, Niemiec said that Oracle is better at beta testing new versions than in the past. Some previous migrations “hurt me,” he recalls. In comparison, he said that Oracle 19c database upgrades would likely be easier, as the automatic indexing feature should help Database Administrators (DBAs) resolve potential performance issues associated with upgrades.

Oracle Database 19c Considerations

Bharath Terala, manager of the Oracle Database Administration practice at consulting firm Apps Associates LLC, noted that a few existing features will no longer be supported in Oracle Database 19c, including Oracle Multimedia and the Oracle Streams data replication.

Oracle’s more advanced GoldenGate software will take over all replication functions from Oracle Streams, which the vendor stopped updating when it released the first incarnation of Oracle Database 12c. Meanwhile, Oracle has recommended 19c users with existing Oracle Multimedia applications to move their media content to its SecureFiles LOBs storage architecture for large objects and to use third-party products to perform processing and converting. images.

Certification of the application is essential

Julian Dontcheff, Managing Director, AccentureJulien Dontcheff

Organizations looking to switch to Oracle 19c may also face challenges at first if the applications they use are not yet certified to work with the new database software, said Julian Dontcheff, managing director. from Accenture. Like Davies, however, Dontcheff said that since 19c is the last version of the 12c Release 2 line, users should consider upgrading once their applications are certified to take advantage of the improved stability.

Once companies are running Oracle 19c database systems, Dontcheff sees another challenge for DBAs and developers to agree on enabling automatic index creation. Automatic indexing could be a big deal for Oracle users who neglected index optimization, he said. Many IT teams struggle to decide which database indexes to create and which already configured are no longer needed, according to Dontcheff. “I have rarely seen agreement and consensus on the subject,” he said.

I have rarely seen agreement and consensus on the subject [of database indexes].

Julien DontcheffManaging Director, Accenture

Dontcheff also worked with users who created indexes larger than the underlying database itself. For example, he reported a telecommunications customer on a critical database that had an index of 4.5TB but only 0.5TB of actual data. “This is what happens when indexes are created on the fly to ‘fix’ problems,” he said.

Oracle 19c’s ability to identify candidates for indexing based on database workloads and validate whether they will improve performance before implementing them should make the indexing process easier, explained. Dontcheff. But the automated indexing feature only works if it’s turned on, he added – and deciding to do so can become a new point of contention in organizations.

Automatic indexing spell relief

Rich Niemiec, Chief Innovation Officer, Viscosity North AmericaRich niemiec

Niemiec said that automatic indexing is the main new feature of Oracle Database 19c. Other automated features have also been added, including functions that can help users collect statistics on query performance and prevent runaway SQL statements. The increased automation will limit some of the performance tuning work that DBAs and developers have to do, allowing them to “focus on the fewest tuning issues that can arise from time to time,” said Niemiec.

Another notable addition is a feature of hybrid partitioned tables. Oracle 19c database users can configure built-in sets of internal and external tables to incorporate more data types into applications or break down large tables as part of a dynamic archiving strategy.

You usually don’t want to be the first to upgrade because you don’t want to be the only one finding all the issues in a new version.

Rich niemiecDirector of Innovation, Viscosity North America

Database administrators, for example, will be able to move partitions containing data that is not actively in use to file systems outside of a database to reduce storage costs, Dontcheff said. The hybrid partitioning capability enables the creation of read-only tablespaces in cloud object storage services, he added. Supported external data sources also include CSV files and the Hadoop distributed file system.

Oracle Database 19c also adds new functionality for standby databases, which run in synchronization with a primary database and can be enabled in the event of a failure. Updates to Oracle Data Guard, the high availability and disaster recovery component of database software, facilitate flashback processes to restore standby databases to a previous state. Some write operations can now be performed to standby databases through the additional cost option Active Data Guard, allowing small inserts, updates and deletions to be performed on the standby side, according to Oracle.

Security improvements in Oracle 19c are aimed at reducing the impact of insider threats – a danger that Apps Associates’ Terala said organizations often ignore. New security features, he pointed out, include predefined default metadata schemas, new encryption algorithms, and the ability to focus database usage audits on SQL statements generated by high level users.

A privilege scan tool that DBAs can run to find unused user privileges is now standard feature of the 19c Enterprise edition; it was previously part of the Oracle Database Vault add-on software.

Maria H. Underwood