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Oracle Database 12c relational database management system overview

Oracle Database 12c delivers strong performance for mission-critical workloads, with features and functionality for diverse processing needs and requirements.

Oracle Database 12c is a relational database management system (RDBMS) designed for both on-premises and cloud uses and deployable on a choice of clustered or single servers. It provides comprehensive features for managing data in transaction processing, business intelligence and content management applications.

Oracle Database 12c Features

A chart on Oracle's website shows a comprehensive list of features by edition. Oracle also offers a Personal Edition of Oracle Database 12 for individual users. In addition, the company makes an Express Edition available as a free offering geared toward learning and basic, introductory usage. However, the Express Edition is currently available for only Oracle Database 11g, the predecessor to 12c.

Oracle Database 12c provides more than 500 new features, including a new multi-tenant architecture that simplifies the process of consolidating databases in the cloud, enabling customers to manage many databases as one without changing their applications. A single multi-tenant container can host and manage hundreds of pluggable databases to dramatically reduce costs and simplify administration.

Oracle Database 12c also boasts a new Database In-Memory column store, which accelerates database queries in an effort to enable businesses to make better and faster decisions. Existing applications can automatically and transparently take advantage of in-memory processing without requiring any changes or losing any existing Oracle Database capabilities.

In addition, Oracle Database 12c offers improved security features, enabling organizations to protect their mission-critical business information internally and externally with data redaction capabilities to remove sensitive application data and a "privilege analysis" function to help identify users and applications with access privileges within the database. Through advanced technologies for encryption, auditing and access control, Oracle also provides a comprehensive set of defense-in-depth data security tools that can help address regulatory compliance.

Oracle Database 12c editions

Oracle Database 12c is available primarily in three editions designed to fit different customers' functionality needs and budgets:

  • Oracle Database Enterprise Edition offers unlimited CPU and memory usage (up to the OS maximum), as well as all of the features of Oracle Database 12c, although nearly 20 of them -- including the Multitenant and Database In-Memory technologies -- are optional add-ons that must be purchased separately. List prices for the Enterprise Edition start at $90 for a Named User Plus license or $47,500 for a processor license.
  • Oracle Database Standard Edition is a lower-cost option with a more limited feature set for small and medium-sized businesses or departmental applications. The Standard Edition can be licensed only on servers with a maximum capacity of four sockets. If Named User Plus licensing is used, a minimum of five licenses is required.
  • Oracle Standard Edition One is an entry-level offering that can be used only on servers with up to two sockets. The other primary difference between it and the Standard Edition is that it doesn't support Oracle's Real Application Clusters and automated workload management technologies.

Oracle Database 12c OSes

Oracle Database 12c is a heterogeneous relational database management system that runs on Windows, Linux and Unix operating systems and is supported across a broad range of server and storage hardware systems. Supported OS versions include:

  • Microsoft Windows x64
  • Linux x86-64 and zLinux64
  • Oracle Solaris (for both SPARC and x86 systems)
  • HP-UX Itanium
  • IBM AIX (PPC64)
  • zLinux 64

Oracle Database 12c licensing

Oracle, the largest relational database management system vendor, offers both perpetual and term licenses, the latter in annual increments from one to five years. The license metrics used for determining the cost of Oracle Database 12c purchases are based either on the number of named users and devices that will have access to the software -- officially known as Named User Plus -- or the number of processors the database will run on.

Oracle Database 12c software licenses are sold directly by Oracle and through resellers. Oracle uses a combination of written agreements to license its software. The overarching license rights are described in the Oracle Master Agreement, and the rights regarding specific products and services are described in the Ordering Document.

Oracle Database 12c data types

In addition to the standard numeric, character and date/time data types supported by all relational database management systems, Oracle Database 12c supports a variety of data types as well as user-defined types.

Oracle's Exadata database appliance is also available for users looking for an easier, plug-and-play DBMS. Oracle provides different configurations based on DBMS usage that include servers tailored for heavy online processing as well as data warehouse applications.

Oracle Database 12c benchmarks

Although it's wise to conduct your own performance benchmarks, Oracle regularly benchmarks its DBMS and publishes the results. Many organizations have achieved high availability and performance using Oracle Database with their applications.

About the author
Craig S. Mullins is a data management strategist, researcher, consultant and author with more than 30 years of experience in all facets of database systems development. He is president and principal consultant of Mullins Consulting Inc. and publisher/editor of TheDatabaseSite.com. Email him at craig@craigmullins.com.

Email us at editor@searchdatamanagement.com and follow us on Twitter: @sDataManagement.

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This was last published in June 2015

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