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Oracle plans to create a NoSQL standards body

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April 5, 2014

Oracle is apparently planning to create a NoSQL standards body, we just learned late yesterday. The decision was disclosed to IT Direction on Friday by reliable sources at database firms who were each familiar with the news.

The informants, speaking on condition of anonymity, say Oracle is trying to create a new standards body dedicated to NoSQL databases, and is seeking participation from NoSQL startups.

Details are still a bit sketchy but the emphasis of the planned standards body will be on go-to-market strategies, marketing, promotion and further commercialization of the technology rather than defining technical specs.

NoSQL databases are typically open-source DB management systems whose development is stewarded by upstarts like MongoDB, Basho, DataStax, and a few others.

The various technologies are designed for very large datasets, and usually favor availability over consistency (guarantees about the results being correct).

Oracle, by comparison, prides itself on the stability and reliability of its venerable technology, but this usually comes with a high cost. The company also stewards the development of MySQL, the most popular relational open-source database.

NoSQL (short for Not Only SQL) represents a threat to Oracle's future business as NoSQL databases have taken root among many young startups that need to build highly available storage systems for vast web apps.

As these startups continue to develop, some of them stay on those technologies, and buy support or additional features from their respective databases' developers, rather than go to Oracle as was typical in the past.

To combat this threat to its business, Oracle released the Oracle NoSQL database in 2011 at Oracle OpenWorld, based in part on the BerkeleyDB storage engine that the company acquired with its 2006 purchase of Sleepycat Software Inc.

Since then, the Oracle NoSQL database has had multiple releases with the company announcing version three of the technology on Wednesday.

But so far and as much as we can tell, Oracle's NoSQL database doesn't appear to have caught on much in the market. One database-use ranking system shows MongoDB and Cassandra have the most momentum.

Now, it seems that Oracle is trying to rope in the wider database community to help it gain a better sense of the market. Given its vast cash reserves and dominance of the enterprise database market, many expect Oracle to soon make an acquisition in this segment.

Oracle was not available for comment at time of publication. It's perfectly understandable why the database giant want to create this new NoSQL standard: to protect its own turf. We'll keep you posted on this and other developments as they happen.

In other IT news

It's finally confirmed-- the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) has approved the development of the 400 Gb/s Ethernet specification.

Now known as IEEE P802.3bs, the standard has an official IEEE task force working on it to make it a reality and a short-term goal to “Define Ethernet Media Access Control (MAC) parameters, physical layer specifications, and management parameters for the transfer of Ethernet format frames at 400 Gb/s.”

Dell's John D'Ambrosia, acting chairman of the study group promoting 400 Gb/s Ethernet, has opiniated that the new standard will “debut towards the core of networks”.

He also thinks that the impact of work on this and other internet standards will not be felt for five to ten years.

In 2024 or thereabouts, it's entirely conceivable that plenty of cloud-scale data centres will be very glad of the chance to run 400 Gb/s connections at their core.

And maybe more than a few smaller-scale data centres will welcome it too: a few tens of thousands of virtual machines running on several thousand eight-core, ARM-powered femto-servers (based on technology pioneered in Samsung's Galaxy S10) pushing data into and out of the all-flash virtual SANS of 2024 are probably going to make quite an impact.

In other IT news

Red Hat has joined Cisco and is now working with its OpFlex protocol. Cisco sees ACI (Application Centric Infrastructure) involvement as a way of spreading its KVM technology and possibly dropping VMware in the process.

Red Hat announced its participation in the ACI effort with Tim Burke, vice president for virtualization and cloud development, stating-- "Red Hat firmly believes that collaborative development is the driving force of innovation. Linux and OpenStack are remarkable examples of what can be accomplished through this community-powered innovation. Red Hat is excited to be collaborating with Cisco to offer our customers an Application Centric Infrastructure that is integrated with Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform."

It continued-- "Application-centric networking requires tight integration of the Linux operating system and KVM hypervisor with advanced policy-based networking provided by Cisco's ACI system."

To be sure, there are three levels of innovation, Burke says:

  • OpenStack Networking (Neutron) - network plugins enabling the configuration and policy, as well as upcoming OpenStack Orchestration (Heat) program;
  • Open vSwitch - by integrating Cisco's OpFlex interfaces supporting policy, Red Hat will accelerate the ability to efficiently perform configuration between switches and controllers;
  • OpenDaylight - controller level complement enabling the policy and configuration to take effect on the network plane.
  • He added-- "The most awesome aspect of Cisco's collaboration with Red Hat to drive this open source innovation project is that by working together, writing code and defining the interfaces with the community, we are creating a new de facto multi-vendor standard."

    Red Hat does have storage software, but it has had relatively little impact in the recent past. A Cisco UCS server running RHEL and KVM with attached Invicta flash arrays and Cisco networking equipment could be a nice converged system in deed.

    In the converged infrastructure stakes, you need server hardware, server software, networking hardware and software, storage software and its related hardware.

    Cisco has server hardware, networking hardware, software and some storage: the Invicta all-flash arrays. Partnering Red Hat to get the server virtualization part looks good from here on end.

    If Red Hat introduces a VSAN-like storage software offering so much the better. For its part, EMC does have some storage hardware and software as well. But it has to partner for server and networking hardware.

    In-house is fundamentally better than partnering, as converged infrastructure's integration can be so much deeper and co-ordinated.

    EMC may well have to partner with maybe a Taiwanese white box server manufacturer. It also needs networking hardware. Brocade would be eager to partner with EMC.

    How can EMC compete effectively with the cloud (Amazon, Google, Azure) which presents all its infrastructure as converged, unless it has its own in-house converged infrastructure which it can sell at affordable prices?

    This could be Joe Tucci's last great challenge; how to move EMC up to the next level and compete on an equal fitting with Cisco, Dell, HP and IBM. Does he want EMC to do this? Has he got the energy and ambition to do it?

    In other IT news

    Apple, Microsoft, IBM, GE, DuPont, Ford and Pfizer have all joined forces to endorse the basic soundness of the U.S. patent system as it stands now. The overwhelming message is that patents are good for business and the average consumer.

    The seven companies, which call themselves the Partnership for American Innovation, hopes to stem what their members see as overblown negativity and hostility toward the patent system in Congress, the courts and especially in the media.

    The group's charter members are Apple, Microsoft, IBM, GE, DuPont, Ford and Pfizer, and its senior advisor is Dave Kappos, the former director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, who is now a partner with the law firm of Cravath, Swaine & Moore.

    The group expects additional members to be enlisting in the days ahead, according to a spokesperson. "We must move beyond rhetoric that the system is broken and trolls are bringing businesses to a complete halt," Kappos said in a press release, "to a discussion of calibrated improvements for what is actually the best patent system our country has."

    The group's bottom-line message is astoundingly basic, and not tied to support for, or opposition to, any particular patent reform bill now pending in Congress or to any one issue now being weighed by the U.S. Supreme Court.

    Source: Oracle.

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