Oracle Announces Database Fail-safe

Promising database recoveries in as little as 30 seconds, Oracle Corp. said it will be shipping a parallel fail-safe configuration for the Oracle8i database on Monday.

The feature is aimed at application service providers and others conducting e-commerce on the Internet.

Companies using databases from all the major vendors have had to rely on the recovery functions within the operating systems, running redundant systems or running the same database on two separate systems.

With these options, when one database version fails, the other picks up the slack, but data can be lost. There's always data residing in memory that hasn't quite made it onto the database's disk, typically because constantly rewriting to the disk takes away from a system's throughput, said Anne Thomas Manes, an analyst at the Patricia Seybold Group in Boston.

When a system crashes, information in the memory is lost and requires administration between the two versions of the database to recover, a process that can take 30 minutes or longer, said Manes.

Oracle's parallel fail-safe configuration aims to address that problem for Oracle users. "The parallel server fail-safe has the ability to dynamically flash the state that's currently running in one machine to the other," Manes said. "It gives you a much faster recovery time. They're saying that they can do this in 30 seconds. That's a real 'wow' factor," Manes said.

"I see it as something that all the ASPs have been asking for. It's really based on [ASPs] trying to be as responsive to customers as you can be," said Gary Heyes of USBid.com, a business-to-business auction house for electronic components in Melbourne, Fla.

"One thing people don't associate with the telcos is the sophisticated software they have to make sure they don't have outages, and I think that's the thing we need for the Internet as well. The need for us to absolutely maintain six 9s [99.9999%] of uptime is going to become an increasingly more important thing for us," Heyes said.

The catch: The first iteration of the product is only available for the Hewlett-Packard Co. server platform.

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