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August 4, 2014

Oracle: There IS a bug in our in-memory database

But there’s confusion over what the bug actually does.

By Joe Curtis

Oracle has admitted that a bug is causing its £14,000 in-memory database option to appear active – even when that may not be the case.

The Database In-memory feature was released with Oracle’s Database 12c last month as a £14,000 per processor optional add-on to speed up data processing by around 100 times.

It is enabled by default, but because the in-memory size parameter is pegged at zero in that default setting, there’s no space for it to operate, and so Oracle deems it a disabled feature, so companies avoid incurring a £14,000 fee.

However, database expert Kevin Closson then claimed on his blog that database architects (DBAs) did not need to alter those parameters from zero to enable the option, but simply pull in the wrong database initialisation parameter file from their repository.

He wrote: "Did I have to jump through hoops and be a raging, bumbling idiot to accidentally trigger usage of this feature? No. There is yet no way I know of to prevent accidental use of the In-Memory Column Store feature."

However, an Oracle spokesman stuck to the official line in response, telling CBR last week: "A DBA would need to explicitly alter the default setting in the parameter file to enable the option."

However others took to an Oracle blog post to say they’ve managed to repeat Closson’s findings, prompting Oracle’s Database In-Memory product manager, Maria Colgan, to admit there is a fault – but she promised it would be solved come October.

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She wrote: "Recording that the In-Memory option is in use in this case is a bug and we will fix it in the first patchset update coming in October."

The trouble for Oracle’s hundreds of thousands of database customers is if they accidentally trigger the in-memory option, they incur a £14,000 fee.

However, Colgan hasn’t said that the bug actually enables the feature, just that it makes the feature appear to the database architect as if it is enabled – which is obviously different..

CBR has asked Oracle to clarify the situation.

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