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New Technologies

Oracle is a broad topic; topics related to Oracle and Oracle data storage are even broader. This section will touch on several new technologies such as optical disk, RAM disk, and tape systems that should be utilized with Oracle systems whenever possible. Proper use of optical technology can result in significant savings when large volumes of static data are in use in the database (read-only). RAM drives can speed access to index and small table data severalfold. High-speed tapes can make backup and recovery go quickly and easily. Let’s examine these areas in more detail.

Optical Disk Systems 

WORM (write-once, read-many) or MWMR (multiple-write, multiple-read) optical disks can be used to great advantage in an Oracle system. Their main use will be in storage of export and archive log files. Their relative immunity to crashes and their long shelf life provide an ideal solution to the storage of the immense amount of data that proper use of archive logging and exports produce. As access speeds improve, these devices will be worth considering for these applications with respect to Oracle. They have also shown great benefits in read-only tablespaces and in transportable tablespace sets, a new feature of Oracle8i and 9i,.

Tape Systems 

Nine-track, 4mm, 8mm, and the infamous TK series from DEC can be used to provide a medium for archive logs and exports. One problem with doing so, however, most installations require operator monitoring of the tape devices to switch cartridges and reels. With the advent of stacker-loader drives for the cartridge tapes, and tape libraries such as those provided by StorageTek, this limitation has all but been eliminated in all but the smallest shops.

Random Access Memory (RAM) Drives

Though RAM drives have been around for several years, they have failed to gain the popularity their speed and reliability would seem to warrant. One reason has been their small capacity in comparison to other storage mediums. Several manufacturers offer solid-state drives of steadily increasing capacities. For index storage, these devices are excellent. Their major strength is their innate speed. They also have onboard battery backup sufficient to back up their contents to their built-in hard drives. This backup is an automatic procedure invisible to the user, as is the reload of data upon power restoration.

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