Basics of Oracle 12c - dummies

By Chris Ruel, Michael Wessler

Many seasoned IT people agree that Oracle 12c makes the most advanced and reliable databases in the world. Your authors happen to agree with that opinion, too. Oracle offers several databases targeted for different uses and audiences at varying price points, including Oracle Enterprise Edition, Oracle Standard Edition, Oracle Berkley DB, Oracle NoSQL, and MySQL.

Additionally, Oracle offers a programming extension of SQL called PL/SQL, which is used to implement application logic within an Oracle database.

Oracle 12c as a database

Oracle databases are extremely advanced and sophisticated software components that are state of the art for RDBMS. Many features and options are available. The highly advanced features, such as Real Application Clusters (RAC), remote data replication, and engineered solutions such as Exadata, are for customers who require the cutting edge of technology for specialized implementations. Click here for more details on these advanced technologies.

The sophistication and technological advancement that make Oracle databases so great can also make them very complex. Skilled DBAs devote their entire careers to learning the finer points of Oracle databases — it’s a never-ending (but often rewarding) process.

Fortunately, Oracle understands that not everyone wants to commit themselves to learning the complexities of Oracle databases. Therefore, Oracle provides a robust, web-based administration tool, Enterprise Manager, where you manage and monitor your databases and the environment supporting them.

Oracle 12c just does databases, right?

Wrong! At one point in time, if any Oracle product came into an IT shop, it got passed straight to the DBAs for implementation because it had to be database related. Those times are long gone, and understanding the history of Oracle is important so you’re not confused by the myriad of Oracle products.

Oracle Corporation started as a database software company but, through remarkable success and a series of acquisitions of other companies, now has a bunch of products. The acquisition of Sun Microsystems yielded SPARC UNIX server hardware, the Solaris operating system, storage systems, and the Java programming language.

The purchase of BEA Systems provided the well-respected webLogic Java application server. Other purchases, such as PeopleSoft and Siebel, provided Oracle with new applications software.

Today, Oracle products include (but are not limited to) databases, operating systems (Linux and Solaris), database and web application server hardware, disk and tape storage devices, web and application server software, Business Intelligence (BI) software, Java programming language and supporting software, and multiple business applications.

As you design your next computer system, you likely will have the option to have most, if not all, the components supplied by Oracle. You can consider the pros and cons of that (end-to-end support versus vendor commitment, for example), based on your mission requirements.

What is the “c” in Oracle 12c?

Following on the success of the previous Oracle database, release 11g (g is for grid), the most recent Oracle database release is 12c; the c stands for cloud computing, but what is that?

Cloud computing is an architecture where services (such as databases, applications, development environments, or even server infrastructure) are available over the network to the consumer (user). The cloud service provider supplies the product and bills the consumer based on usage.

For example, say you wanted to use a type of computer server but you didn’t want the overhead of buying and maintaining physical computer hardware and software. A cloud provider could sell you access to that computer server hosted in their cloud.

You would pay the cloud service provider a fee based on your usage and the provider would give you access to the servers in their cloud. You get the benefits of having access to the cloud based server without the hassle and costs of buying and maintaining your own servers.

Cloud architecture allows consumers to choose only the services they need and pay for only what they use. Benefits to the consumer include lower cost, not having to provide their own IT service, and generally faster delivery of services than if they built the computing environment themselves.

Oracle 12c is engineered to run on the cloud and be accessible as a service. Through virtualization and multi-tenant architecture, each database application can appear to have its own private database but, in reality, the system is a shared database environment.

The use of shared resources and virtualization is a method used by companies and database providers to reduce costs. However, there is no requirement that Oracle 12c must run in the cloud; you may run Oracle 12c just like you run other versions of Oracle without the cloud.