September 21, 2012

Database challenges in multi-tenancy support

I predicted 2 months ago that Oracle 12c would have some kind of improved support for multi-tenancy; Larry Ellison confirmed on this week’s earnings call that it will. So maybe it’s time to think about what such support could or should mean. I’m actually still on vacation, so I’d like to keep this short, but here are a few notes.


8 Responses to “Database challenges in multi-tenancy support”

  1. Jeff Wright on September 24th, 2012 11:45 am

    Don’t forget backup/restore…

  2. Curt Monash on September 24th, 2012 12:49 pm

    Good point, Jeff.

    Backup/Restore should be granular enough that they can be done tenant-at-a-time, when needed.

  3. Rob Johnson on September 26th, 2012 5:19 pm

    Here’s a multi-tenancy DREAM: When tenants acquire other tenants, their data is combined seamlessly, automatically and instantly.

  4. Curt Monash on September 26th, 2012 9:57 pm


    That sounds like a 2-step process:

    1. Import the data of the acquiree as a separate subsidiary.

    2. Redo the org chart.

    #2 seems like the harder one, but that’s functionality that’s needed for many cases other than M&A. I know the Peoplesoft/Workday folks have thought about reorgs for a long time. No doubt the salesforce people have done so too, given that sales territories are so often restructured.

  5. Aaron on October 1st, 2012 12:42 pm

    *The main competition of multi tenancy is hypervisors*

    Oracle is seeing generic “white box” servers getting powerful enough to support consolidating multiple legacy DBMS servers. With Oracle having limited success as a hypervisor vendor and hypervisors being awkward virtualizers of DBMS load, this becomes their new vision of how corporate DBMS will evolve.

    The top tier is Exadata, serving both as the server for the largest apps and for consolidation of messy apps using RAC.

    The middle and lower tiers become either white box Linux servers or Oracle branded “database appliance” where large installations standardize on strict hardware envelopes, and somewhat on configuration. These can be used for consolidation if they can maintain user trust.

    This structure solves several fundamental problems for Oracle. The knock against Oracle requiring too much administration is reduced by standardization. The flow becomes straightforward within the DBMS – small is accommodated easily to keep Oracle growing, and the critical apps Oracle is judged on goes into and Oracle controlled box – and that box grows to keep attacking the glamorous few monster datawarehouses.

    (BTW – Oracle already offers a rarely used feature, virtual private databases, which append filters to SQL allowing multiple apps to run in the same instance. This is different.)

  6. NuoDB marketing mishegas | DBMS 2 : DataBase Management System Services on January 18th, 2013 5:01 am

    […] 5 is a mess. For one thing, it misuses the term multitenancy. Beyond that, it sounds like a minor performance optimization blown up into a […]

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