Your System – Not Guilty As Charged

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In Memory Data Base Features will Rock Your World!

Posted by Joel Schipper on February 12, 2015


Here is another great example of how to keep your system “not guilty” that comes from the recent JDE Summit 15 in Broomfield, CO, a key gathering of roughly 700 business partners for Oracle’s JD Edwards product line.

Customers of Oracle’s JD Edwards EnterpriseOne product line can purchase a “technology foundation” that provides Oracle’s WebLogic applications server for JD Edwards, and also contains a limited use version of Oracle’s flagship data base, which was upgraded to the “12c” version in the past year. What many customers may not realize is how powerful the “in memory” feature (of the full “enterprise” version of the Oracle 12c data base) can be for a JD Edwards EnterpriseOne customer, both without making any change to their existing application, and even more so by taking advantage of some recent enhancements that are free of charge to a customer on maintenance and a current release. Let’s take a look.

I freely admit that until a week ago, I could not tell you in what an “in memory” data base did, or why it was important. At the JDE Summit, I sat in a session given by AJ Schifano and Keith Sholes that made it straightforward and crystal clear; this is a brief summary.

With Oracle’s 12c data base, the “regular” data base is still there and functioning as before, with it’s “row” structure, but now with another version (or copy) of the data base being maintained at the same time in memory in a “columnar” structure. Using a simple example, this means that every time a new sales order is added to the data base, the regular (row) structure adds the new sales order lines, and stores all the sales information such as customer ID, customer ship-to state, carrier, price, product, etc., in the columns (or cells) of that row of order line data. Now, at the same time, the “in memory” feature is resorting a copy of that data base according to each of those columns, so that the sales orders are automatically sorted by address, by state, by carrier, etc. This eliminates the need to “index” the row data to improve the speed of routine (planned and expected) queries and reports.

In the case of Oracle’s JD Edwards EnterpriseOne, eliminating the time to maintain those indexes will improve the normal (that is, OLTP or on line transaction processing) speed of the data base by a factor of two (or 2X). That alone is huge benefit because it delays the need to buy more hardware (“iron”), and since the in memory portion of the data base is ‘compressed’ it also means only a modest additional (if any) investment in main memory. And with zero change to the JD Edwards applications, any customer on a supported release level (which goes back a number of years) can enjoy this improvement immediately and instantly with zero upgrade effort or any other change on the customer’s part. That’s a gigantic benefit from the JD Edwards commitment since the mid-1990’s to separate changes to the underlying technology from the business processing logic or “applications code.”

Second, with the data sorted in memory by column (“field”), open queries and ad hoc queries will run tremendously faster than over the “row” oriented (and on disk) data base. Tests by JD Edwards developers show these speed gains can be on the order of 1,000 times faster over tens of millions, even a hundred million or more, rows of data. What this means in practice is that if you have one hundred million rows of sales order data, and you have a particular delivery carrier that goes on strike, you can identify the affected sales orders in a split second from the in memory data base, while this could have taken ten to twenty minutes in the normal “row” oriented on-disk data base. While this situation may not have life and death consequences, it isn’t hard to imagine how a steady stream of such ad hoc, open ended inquiries could wind up consuming a “full time equivalent” (FTE) worker, whose cost would pay for the in memory feature of the data base “enterprise” license. And again, this is available immediately, without upgrade, to customers of many recent releases, of Oracle’s JD Edwards EnterpriseOne ERP software.

Now, for customers who are on maintenance and able to upgrade to the latest releases – a program that by itself is the subject of a number of papers and presentations called the “100 day upgrade” (see http://www.learnjde.com) — Oracle’s JD Edwards EnterpriseOne software is offering an enhancement (at no charge) that transforms the multi-day, batch-orientation of the month end closing process into a nearly immediate, interactive process, supported by a “watch list” of accounting exceptions that pop up on the users screen, and lead the user directly to the problem areas that need attention. And this is all due to the in memory data base feature, which makes these new interactive versions of the older batch programs run in seconds over very large sets of general accounting records. In essence, you can simulate “closing” your accounting books every day of the month, meaning that senior management will have final results much faster after the actual end of the month, and will spend less time correcting the numbers and more time analyzing what appropriate actions to take. And, the saved effort in the accounting department, if redeployed to more productive tasks, would pay for the in memory option in even a fairly small company that has several general accounting clerks and analysts.

For the sake of full disclosure, these G/L closing programs are part of the latest G/L application, and are not dependent upon the in memory option; it’s just that no speed testing has been done (to my knowledge) of these new programs on the other data base platforms supported by JD Edwards, since they were written specifically to take advantage of the huge speed gains offered by the in memory option.

Just these few examples should be rocking the tables in every CIO’s office. In my opinion, any company that is already a JD Edwards customer, should be racing to find out what it will take to get bring on the memory option. If they are not a JD Edwards customer, they should be demanding that their ERP vendor provide them these same benefits without having to buy a new version of their ERP software, convert their existing ERP implementation, or having to buy a new hardware/software environment to support the in memory capabilities. The technology changes that used to take five years are now seemingly taking a year or less … the world is moving very fast! A failure to start using in memory data base capabilities will soon be enough to classify your system as “guilty as charged!”

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3 Responses to “In Memory Data Base Features will Rock Your World!”

  1. Melissa said

    Hi Joel, this is good information, is it true one must be on Oracle db for in memory options?

    • Hi Melissa,
      Yes, the in memory option is a key feature of the Oracle 12c data base. JDE Tech Foundation provides you the data base, but you must license an “enterprise edition” to get the in memory option. I tried to point out how this could be justified for even a smaller ($100MM revenue) company based on redploying reporting and G/L headcounts.

      That said, Oracle DB will run on many operating system environments, including Linux, and the various flavors of UNIX supported by JDE. And of course, on any of the Oracle “engineered” solutions including the Oracle database appliance – which is an entry point priced offering that gives a total JDE/Oracle solution via the “gold image” download, and “in my opinion” is a lot like the IT infrastructure experience of the 1990’s when you bought an AS400 and did very little system administration to it … that’s what an Oracle engineered solution can provide today with JDE.

      So by comparison, (again in my opinion), JDE running on either Windows/SQL server or IBM/iSeries platforms appears to carry an unnecessarily complicated infrastructure and related cost of operation. If someone doesn’t want to swap out their hardware, they could explore hosting options from JDE “Cloud” providers who will put convert a customer’s total operation to an all-Oracle platform, perhaps as part of a “100 day upgrade” strategy move. These are things that should form the core of an SC User Group panel / debate presentation. I am not qualified to sit on one of those, but partners could certainly do so. JDE will always support all three major platforms (IBM, Microsoft, and Oracle) so long as there are customers who want them; that’s a core commitment, so please do NOT interpret my comments as saying there is a move away from that. Instead, my comments are intended to show that there is “extra” value for JDE customers as a result of being part of Oracle. My personal slang term for this is the “JDE Sport Edition” (JDE-SE) to take some automotive lingo and make the point as succicently as possible!

  2. and thank you for reading the blog!

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