I have been to a SOUG last Thursday.
We first had a presentation from Thomas Koch about performance in Zurich Kantonalbank. As I have been working as a DBA for about two years in that bank, I already had my opinion about performance there
The second presentation was about TimesTen. I must say I have never used Times Ten. So I was glad to hear Stefan Kolmar from Oracle presenting the product. Ok, here it is in a few lines.
In TimesTen, the whole database is in the memory. TimesTen is an Oracle Product and a Database, but it is not an Oracle Database. The objective must be to have a response time in microseconds and hundred of thousands of transactions per second. You have a log buffer, and you can decide to asynchronously dump the buffer to file.
Let me try to explain the example from Stefan :
You have a mobile phone company. Foreign call can be fairly expensive, so those transactions will be synchronously dumped to the disk. Local calls cost about 1 Euro in average. So if you dump the log to disk every ten transactions, in case of a failure an average of 5 Euros will not be billed. In this way you can select the transaction to have synchronous and the one to have asynchronous. It looks promising, but probably not for critical businesses like banking where you are required to guarantee zero data-loss.
There is an additional functionality in TimesTen which is called “cache for Oracle”. It is a layer between the client and the database. It does not offer the same functionality as Oracle. For example, you cannot do PL/SQL. But it may offer microsecond access.
I will document two examples :
1) read only
You have a flight reservation company. Flight reservation are very important, so they will be in the database (no data loss). Flight schedule are read-only for the client. They will be cached in TimesTen. So when accessing the timetables, it will be ultra-fast. When booking, it may take a few seconds.
2) on demand
You have a call center. When a customer phone, all data relative to the customer (history, name, contracts, contract details) are immediately loaded from the database in TimesTen. So when the Call Center employee asks for any info, they are immediately available
How much does it cost? Check on store.oracle.com
For a tiny database up to 2Gb it is 6000$/processor for 3 years. More options, more money…