The first confusion a beginner DBA encounter is what exactly Oracle is? Is it the name of company or is it the name of product? Is it the name of database or is it the name of database management system? In order to nullify these confusions, lets start with some definitions:
A database is an informational unit. It is used to store data for future use. Database enables to store and retrieve data in an efficient and flexible way.
Database management system:
It is software by which a database is used. DBMS enables the storage, manipulation and retrieval of data from the database.
Oracle Server is the flagship product of Oracle Corporation. Oracle Server is the DBMS for Oracle Database. The word Oracle is used to describe both Oracle Server and Oracle database. It depends on the context in which the term Oracle is being used.
Features of Oracle:
Oracle stands out from the crowd of numerous other databases due to its sheer array of outstanding features, some of them are discussed below:
Oracle allows simultaneous access to same data by multiple users without any locking issues. It is done through Oracle powerful transaction mechanism.
It means that while accessing the data, the reader of same data never block other reader and writer. The writers don’t block the readers of same data. Only writer of same data block the other writers.
Oracle has got the ability to operate on all major platforms. It can be transferred from one platform to other with little or no effort at all.
Self Managing Database:
To ease the burden of DBA and make him more productive, Oracle 10g has automated many things like space and memory management, undo management and backup/recovery etc.
Being an enterprise level database, Oracle understands the need of enterprise across the world regarding 24/07/365 availability. It tackles this issue with Real Application Cluster (RAC), RMAN, Data Guard, Oracle Flash Back, Redo Mechanism etc.
The rapidly shrinking world has introduced many new challenges. One of them is the support of multi-lingual support. In order to represent the multiple language, a global character set has been developed, which is Unicode. The latest release of Unicode is its version 4, in which it can support 1,226 new characters. Oracle’s Unicode character sets, AL32UTF8 and AL16UTF16, have been updated to support Unicode 4.0 in Oracle Database 10g Release 2. The Globalization Development Kit (GDK) is also included in Oracle 10g with enhanced features.
Moreover, Oracle throws its shadows on various areas. Its scope ranges from Data mining to Data Warehousing, from OLAP to BI, from Multimedia to Spatial, from mid-tier software to front end developer suites and much more.