Oracle Ships 'Columnar Compression' for its Storage Systems

By Stuart J. Johnston

In a move to help create a homogenous set of solutions among its families of storage systems that it outlined last summer, Oracle said Friday that it will release Hybrid Columnar Compression technology in two more of its storage products at Oracle OpenWorld in San Francisco next week.

Originally pioneered in Oracle's (NASDAQ: ORCL) Exadata, the company is now releasing its hybrid columnar data compression capabilities on both the Sun ZFS Storage Appliance as well as its Pillar Axiom Storage System, in an update to its Oracle Database 11g Release 2 at the conference.

"With this announcement, Oracle is bringing the storage efficiency of Hybrid Columnar Compression to customers using Oracle's NAS and SAN systems to manage the lifecycle of data using in-database archiving for OLTP databases and data warehouses," a company statement said.

The announcement comes on the heels of Teradata's announcement a week ago of its own upcoming columnar compression capabilities, although Oracle's Exadata has had the technology for some time.

Because columnar storage can lower the data footprint and optimize speed of access by saving data as columns instead of rows, its use has become increasingly popular in recent years. Columnar data also tends to be easier to compress. Oracle's hybrid approach saves data in both rows and columns, according to an Exadata whitepaper (as PDF).

The release of the columnar compression technology across the top three of the company's storage solutions gives Oracle a leg up on major competitors like NetApp and EMC, the Oracle statement said.

In its statement, Oracle claimed the addition of Hybrid Columnar Compression gives it 10x to 50x compression for most data sets, and said that customers could achieve 3x to 5x reductions in their storage footprints and energy usage compared to competitors.

Oracle acquired the ZFS Storage System in early 2010 when it purchased Sun Microsystems. Last summer, Oracle acquired Pillar Data Systems and its Axiom Storage System.

Last summer at an event to explain the company's storage strategy to media and analysts, company executives that the best way for customers to deal with their storage needs is to go with a completely homogenous Oracle solution. Providing Hybrid Columnar Compression across the company's storage offerings appears to be a move in that direction.

Stuart J. Johnston is a contributing editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of Internet.com, the network for technology professionals. Follow him on Twitter @stuartj1000.

This article was originally published on October 01, 2011