Oracle Database: What Is It?

This tutorial will provide you with an overview of the Oracle Database, including its features and editions.

What exactly is a database?

A database is a collection of structured data kept electronically in a computer system that is well-organized.

When the computer was first invented, it was primarily utilised to execute computations fast in scientific research.

As the computer became more widely used, the demands on it grew, requiring the computer to store a bigger volume of data for faster retrieval.

The flat file structure was extensively used to store data before the database system was established. Here’s an example of a comma-separated value (CSV) file that stores employee data:

first name, last name
sam, smith
TestFirstName, TestLastName

The CSV file is divided into three columns, known as fields, and rows, known as records. When the flat file’s number of rows grows to a million or more, it becomes unmanageable.

Dr. Ted Codd, a computer scientist, developed the relational model for database administration in the 1970s. Many of the problems that the flat file format causes are addressed by the relational approach. Instead of merging everything into a single structure, his model organises data into entities and attributes.

A person, place, or thing is an entity, and qualities characterise the person, place, or thing.

Because each employee may have one or more contacts, you may build a contact entity and link it to the employee entity via a one-to-many relationship.

Entities are frequently referred to as tables, records as rows, and fields as columns.

The relational approach is superior than the flat file model because it eliminates redundant data, such as when employee and contact information are stored in the same file. Employees with multiple contacts will show up in many rows.

The Relational Database Management System, or RDBMS for short, is a database management system that maintains relational data. Oracle Database has the biggest market share of any RDBMS.

Other RDBMS products are available in addition to Oracle Database. Here are a few famous examples:

  • IBM’s Db2 database.
  • Microsoft SQL Server is a database management system.
  • MySQL, another Oracle product, is the most popular open-source database.
  • The most advanced open source database is PostgreSQL.

Benefits of Oracle Database

You can store and retrieve data quickly and safely with Oracle Database. The Oracle Database has the following integration benefits:

  • Oracle Database is a platform-agnostic database management system. It runs on a variety of platforms, including Windows Server, Unix, and several GNU/Linux variants.
  • Oracle Database features its own networking stack, which enables applications from different platforms to communicate with Oracle Database without causing any issues.
  • Applications that run on Windows, for example, can connect to a Unix-based Oracle database.
    Oracle is an ACID-compliant database, which ensures data integrity and reliability.
  • Commitment to open technologies – Before GNU/Linux became a commercial product in the late 1990s, Oracle was one of the first database vendors to support it. This open platform has been supported by it from its inception.

Oracle Database is well-known for various structural features:

  • Oracle stores data using a logical data structure, which allows you to interact with the database without knowing where the data is physically kept.
  • Partitioning is a high-performance feature that allows you to break a huge table into multiple sections and store each piece separately on different storage media.
  • Memory caching — the memory caching architecture enables you to scale up a huge database while maintaining great performance.
  • The Data Dictionary is a set of internal tables and views that help you better manage Oracle Database.
  • Backup and recovery — protect data integrity in the event of a system breakdown. Oracle contains a robust tool called Recovery Manager (RMAN) that allows DBAs to make database backups and point-in-time recoveries using cold, hot, and incremental backups.
  • Oracle Real Application Clusters (RAC) delivers high availability, ensuring that the system remains up and operating without interruption of services in the event that one or more servers in a cluster fail.

Database Editions from Oracle

Oracle Databases are available in three different editions:

1) The Oracle Database Enterprise Variant (EE) is the most widely used and most expensive edition. The following are its characteristics:

  • There is no limit to the number of CPUs that can be used.
  • There are no restrictions on memory or database size.
  • Premium features that aren’t available in other editions are included.

2) Enterprise Variant (EE) Standard Edition (SE) is a limited edition of the Enterprise Edition with the following features:

  • CPUs are limited to four or fewer.
  • There are no restrictions on memory or database size.
  • Many features are included, although not as many as EE.

3) Oracle Database Expression Edition (XE) is a free-to-use version of the Oracle Database that runs on Windows and GNU/Linux. Oracle Database XE 18c has the following features:

  • There are just two CPUs available.
  • It features a maximum RAM of 2GB and a user data storage capacity of 12GB.
  • Features are really minimal.
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