InfoCyclone appliance boosts database performance

Oracle customers who run complex queries on their databases but cannot afford to lose performance may find relief in a new...

Oracle customers who run complex queries on their databases but cannot afford to lose performance may find relief in a new product due in October from Tel Aviv-based startup InfoCyclone.

The company's server appliance aims to improve database performance by storing frequently accessed data in its main memory, offloading work from the main server. The first appliances will be offered with 4Gbytes and 16Gbytes of memory, priced at $50,000 and $150,000 respectively.

The appliance watches SQL queries as they come into the database and stores frequently accessed data in memory, organising it for faster retrieval. The next time the queries are run the appliance executes them from memory using a high-speed, read-only SQL engine. As information in the database changes, the data stored in the appliance is kept up to date using Oracle's Log Miner tool.

"We're adaptive in the sense that we're constantly monitoring traffic and rearranging data so that it's always optimally arranged for the queries," said Dr. Ran Giladi, InfoCyclone's chairman and cofounder.

InfoCyclone claimed its product can boost data retrieval times by tenfold and that companies do not have to change their databases or applications. It typically sits in a datacentre between the database server and application server

It first discussed its product a year ago, when it was aiming for a March or April launch date, but pushed the release back to October because it wanted more time to figure out which markets to go after and to tweak the product's performance, said Rob Secontine, its vice president of North American operations.

It also wanted to time the release with Oracle's OracleWorld conference, which takes place next month in San Francisco.

InfoCyclone is working on another version based on Intel's 64-bit processor, allowing it to expand the memory cache to 64Mbytes or more. It hopes to launch that product next year. In the future it intends to offer versions for other databases including IBM's DB2, but for now it works with Oracle8, version 8.0.5 and up, and Oracle9i.

The 4Gbyte system uses two Xeon processors, and the 16Gbyte version four Xeons. Both are built around name-brand servers from the likes of Dell and Hewlett-Packard, running Linux and InfoCyclone's own software.

Industry analyst Richard Ptak, principal of Ptak & Associates, was impressed by the appliance.

"I'm not aware of anyone doing quite the same thing," he said, adding that the price tag seems reasonable.

One rival may be Appfluent Technology, which sells a replication server designed to generate reports faster.

James Niccolai writes for IDG News Service

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