This chapter introduces the challenge faced by organizations when running several different database systems. It briefly covers Heterogeneous Services, the technology that the Oracle Database Gateway for Informix is based on.
To get a good understanding of generic gateway technology, Heterogeneous Services, and how Oracle Database Gateways fit in the picture, reading the Oracle Database Heterogeneous Connectivity User's Guide first is highly recommended.
This chapter contains the following sections:
Heterogeneous data access is a problem that affects a lot of companies. A lot of companies run several different database systems. Each of these systems stores data and has a set of applications that run against it. Consolidation of this data in one database system is often hard-in large part because many of the applications that run against one database may not have an equivalent that runs against another. Until such time as migration to one consolidated database system is made feasible, it is necessary for the various heterogeneous database systems to interoperate.
Oracle Database Gateways provide the ability to transparently access data residing in a non-Oracle system from an Oracle environment. This transparency eliminates the need for application developers to customize their applications to access data from different non-Oracle systems, thus decreasing development efforts and increasing the mobility of the application. Applications can be developed using a consistent Oracle interface for both Oracle and Informix.
Gateway technology is composed of two parts: a component that has the generic technology to connect to a non-Oracle system, which is common to all the non-Oracle systems, called Heterogeneous Services, and a component that is specific to the non-Oracle system that the gateway connects to. Heterogeneous Services, in conjunction with the Oracle Database Gateway agent, enables transparent access to non-Oracle systems from an Oracle environment.
Heterogeneous Services provides the generic technology for connecting to non-Oracle systems. As an integrated component of the database, Heterogeneous Services can exploit features of the database, such as the powerful SQL parsing and distributed optimization capabilities.
Heterogeneous Services extend the Oracle SQL engine to recognize the SQL and procedural capabilities of the remote non-Oracle system and the mappings required to obtain necessary data dictionary information. Heterogeneous Services provides two types of translations: the ability to translate Oracle SQL into the proper dialect of the non-Oracle system as well as data dictionary translations that displays the metadata of the non-Oracle system in the local format. For situations where no translations are available, native SQL can be issued to the non-Oracle system using the pass-through feature of Heterogeneous Services.
Heterogeneous Services also maintains the transaction coordination between Oracle and the remote non-Oracle system, such as providing the two-phase commit protocol to ensure distributed transaction integrity, even for non-Oracle systems that do not natively support two-phase commit.
See Also:Oracle Database Heterogeneous Connectivity User's Guide for more information about Heterogeneous Services.
The capabilities, SQL mappings, data type conversions, and interface to the remote non-Oracle system are contained in the gateway. The gateway interacts with Heterogeneous Services to provide the transparent connectivity between Oracle and non-Oracle systems.
The gateway can be installed on any machine independent of the Oracle or non-Oracle database. It can be the same machine as the Oracle database or on the same machine as the Informix database or on a third machine as a standalone. Each configuration has its advantages and disadvantages. The issues to consider when determining where to install the gateway are network traffic, operating system platform availability, hardware resources and storage.