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7/15/2014
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Oracle Joins SQL-On-Big-Data Bandwagon

Oracle Big Data SQL release promises secure, SQL-based access to databases, Hadoop, and NoSQL without moving data.

Oracle announced Oracle Big Data SQL on Tuesday, a new tool designed to run SQL queries across Hadoop, NoSQL, and Oracle Database, minimizing data movement while breaking down the silos of otherwise separate platforms.

Oracle currently offers a number of connectors for moving data between platforms including Oracle Database, Hadoop, and the Oracle NoSQL database. Oracle Big Data SQL goes the next step of supporting SQL-based querying across platforms. The new feature runs on the Oracle Big Data Appliance, an engineered system that includes Oracle Sun hardware, Cloudera's Hadoop Software distribution, and the Oracle NoSQL Database.

[Want more on multi-faceted big-data analysis? Read Will Spark, Google Dataflow Steal Hadoop's Thunder?]

Multiple vendors have introduced unified access layers and SQL-on-Hadoop options. The idea is to eliminate time- and labor-intensive data movement while taking advantage of the skills of workers who are familiar with the SQL language.

Teradata's Unified Data Architecture and Query Grid, for example, supports SQL-based querying across Hadoop, MongoDB, and, soon, the Teradata Aster data-discovery platform, which supports SQL-based MapReduce, time-series, graph, and R-based analysis. Microsoft offers PolyBase, a feature of Microsoft SQL Server Parallel Data Warehouse, that supports combined analysis of relational and non-relational data. And then there are database vendors, including Actian, Exasol, InfiniDB, and Pivotal, that have ported existing (SQL) relational databases to run on top of Hadoop.

Oracle is set to detail its Oracle Big Data SQL release in a July 15 webcast to be presented by Executive VP Andy Mendelsohn.
Oracle is set to detail its Oracle Big Data SQL release in a July 15 webcast to be presented by Executive VP Andy Mendelsohn.

Based on Oracle's descriptions, Oracle Big Data SQL sounds similar to Microsoft's PolyBase or Teradata's Query Grid features. Additional details are to be shared in a one-hour Webcast to be presented by Oracle Executive VP Andrew Mendelsohn on Tuesday. Oracle already offers a SQL-on-Hadoop option by way of Cloudera Impala, which is included with the Cloudera software shipped with the Oracle Big Data appliance.

"Impala enables customers to query data with SQL natively and efficiently in Hadoop," said Cloudera founder, chief strategy officer, and chairman Mike Olsen in a statement from Oracle. "For customers who need to query and analyze data residing in both Hadoop and Oracle Database, Oracle Big Data SQL offers support for HDFS, preserving existing SQL skills and security policies, and making it easier to integrate Hadoop with existing Oracle infrastructure.”

The big question with Oracle Big Data SQL is just what type of data analysis it will support other than conventional SQL? MapReduce was initially the key form of data processing against unstructured data that set the Hadoop platform apart. With Hadoop 2.0, the big data community is looking beyond the complexity and batch-oriented nature of MapReduce. Alternatives like Spark support machine learning, graph processing, and streaming analysis as well as SQL. With Aster, Teradata uses SQL to support MapReduce, graph, and R-based analyses as well as SQL.

We'll be watching Tuesday's presentation from Oracle to report on just what Oracle Big Data SQL can do.

InformationWeek's June Must Reads is a compendium of our best recent coverage of big data. Find out one CIO's take on what's driving big data, key points on platform considerations, why a recent White House report on the topic has earned praise and skepticism, and much more.

Doug Henschen is Executive Editor of InformationWeek, where he covers the intersection of enterprise applications with information management, business intelligence, big data and analytics. He previously served as editor in chief of Intelligent Enterprise, editor in chief of ... View Full Bio

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GregS618
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GregS618,
User Rank: Apprentice
7/15/2014 | 5:17:48 PM
Re: Encouraged by Oracle's Commitment
Laurianne:

Oracle is moving at the right pace. Offering a Big Data appliance and creating flexibility with their existing product base is fine for now. The obvious solutions for Big Data from the sales and marketing sectors have built this platform. Over the next few years we will see Big Data concepts explode into every vertical that utilizes large diverse data. From our engineering position consider the massive amount of data that is being acquired from electronic sensors built into equipment today. We are very interested in how we might utilize the Big Data analytic output with visualization techniques to help spot anomalies. We hope that our analytics tools produce conclusions but sometimes allowing a human to visualize the output is the only way to make sense of this massive amount of data. So maybe Oracle should investigate high density visualization techniques to highlight their Big Data solutions. This would be a step beyond normal BI visualization.

Laurianne
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Laurianne,
User Rank: Author
7/15/2014 | 11:05:04 AM
Re: Encouraged by Oracle's Commitment
Thanks for sharing your perspective, Greg. Any other steps you'd like to see Oracle take in this regard?
GregS618
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GregS618,
User Rank: Apprentice
7/15/2014 | 10:45:30 AM
Encouraged by Oracle's Commitment
Here at Missouri University of Science & Technology we are heavily committed to teaching "Big Data" to the extent of purchasing our own SAP HANA Appliance. But the reality for us and many of our corporate partners is that we live in an Oracle DB environment. Of course we are into Hadoop and the many options but I am encouraged by Oracle putting together a better appliance approach that spans all data repositories. I would expect we will explore this for the same reasons we acquired HANA. Great potential exists for how we might tie together the "Big Data" approach to many of our STEM research opportunities.
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