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CERNDB1/ACCDB Moves to Oracle 8i

Nilo Segura , IT/DB


The central public database service CERNDB1/ACCDB will upgrade its Oracle RDBMS software to release 8i to accomplish the increasing demand of new functionality only offered in the new release.


The central public database service CERNDB1/ACCDB will upgrade its Oracle RDBMS software to release 8i. The last upgrade took place more than two years ago. During this period, the current release 7.3.4 has proven to be a very stable database version, and has offered at the same time a very good performance to the user community.

We have tested the successive releases of Oracle RDBMS software; starting with the 8.0.x series (8.0.4, 8.0.5 and 8.0.6), checking the new technologies that Oracle was adding to the database engine (Objects, VLDB, Java...) with every new release. It was decided to skip the 8.0 series because we felt that it was an intermediate development step that led, finally, to Oracle 8i.

The latest version is 8i Release 3 (aka 8.1.7 Terminal Release). This means that this is the last version in the 8i series, ending effectively, the development cycle for 8i. All the features announced during the development cycle are already implemented.

Oracle Corporation has also published a "desupport" notice for 7.3.4, stating that 31-December-2000 is the date when the official support will end for this version.

Therefore, in order to continue with the best technical support, we have decided to move forward and upgrade all our database servers (those controlled by IT/DB) to 8i Release 3.


There has been a plethora of new functionality added throughout the successive 8.0 and 8.1 series. We briefly mention some of the features that are most interesting for the CERN community.

  • Java: very exciting technology like SQLJ, Java Stored Procedures, Java Servlets, EJB and Java Server Pages are all now part of the database engine. A Java Virtual Machine has been implemented inside the database, and to further enhance the performance of the Java programs, a Java compiler is used.
  • CORBA: as part of the Java extensions, a CORBA compliant ORB runs inside the database allowing the CORBA programs to communicate with the database using IIOP.
  • VLDB: Oracle can now much better handle large amounts of data thanks to new technologies like Partitions, Bitmap and Function Based Indexes, Materialized views, Parallel Query etc
  • XML: The Oracle XML Developer's Kit (XDK) contains the basic building blocks for reading, manipulating, transforming and viewing XML documents. This toolkit is available for Java, C, C++ and PL/SQL.
  • Objects: OO technology (objects,methods etc) is being added to the RDBMS (becoming now an ORDBMS). Full OO support (inheritance, polymorphism) is in the works (Oracle 9i).
  • Intermedia : this option allows the database to handle specific multimedia content (images,sound,text), using specific storage and retrieval methods that improve the performance of the operations on these new complex objects..

All these features and many more are explained in the Oracle documentation.


As announced in the last Oracle Developers Forum held at CERN (October-2000), the foreseen schedule is the following:

  • October 2000 - devdb8 already upgraded
  • March 2001 - devdb upgrade, this includes the merge of devdb and devdb8 (devdb8 will then be dropped); this operation will take place during the first week-end of March
  • April 2001 - cerndb1/accdb upgrade, this operation will take place during the first week-end of April

The Oracle Designer database service, casedb, will also be upgraded once the correct version of Oracle Designer is fully certified to work with 8i Release 3.

Once we have completed the upgrade exercise, we will start testing the new Oracle 9i (expected availability by Summer 2001). Should we wait another couple of years before the next upgrade? Should we move to 10i directly? Time will tell.

For matters related to this article please contact the author.

Vol. XXXV, issue no 3

Last Updated on Mon Dec 18 13:51:01 GMT+03:30 2000.
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