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 Why Oracle?

Prepared for NOCOUG by Don Burleson. February 8, 2007

Why Oracle?  This was the question that everyone asked when Oracle was displacing the mainframe DB2 systems back in the early 1990’s.  Back then, Oracle had carved-out a niche has being a versatile database, not constrained as DB2 was to MVS and Informix is to UNIX.  At the time, I was charged with making a “buy” decision for the new “mini computer” databases, and I’ve been intimately involved in this question for decades.

Is Oracle the not the most elegant database, and it’s not always the fastest platform.  Oracle rose to the pinnacle of the IT world on other virtues.  Rather than wait for the end-user community to react to market changes, Oracle took a proactive approach and often introduced features far-ahead of the market demand.  For example, Oracle8 introduced parallel query long before most shops had SMP processors, and Oracle remains well-ahead of the curve. 

It’s not a random event that Oracle dominates the world’s database market:

  • Oracle has evolved into the world’s most flexible and robust database, and industrial-strength engine that can manage almost any data application.
     
  • Oracle runs on over 60 platforms, everything from a Mainframe to a Mac.
     
  • Oracle is proactive, introducing features just-in-time to be used in mission-critical applications.

Why not Oracle?

Oracle has many competitors in the marketplace, ready to pounce on any perceived weakness.  We see these arguments from Oracle competitors:

  • Oracle is expensive – Hey, you get what you pay for.  Plus, Oracle now has the free Oracle XE to compete with MySQL.
     
  • Oracle is too complex – Complexity is the natural byproduct of being robust and flexible.  Oracle has addressed this issue with the simplified Oracle, with automated memory and storage management.
     
  • Oracle is not secure – Properly installed and configured, Oracle can be used for TOP SECRET database systems.

Oracle Features lead the way

Oracle was the first to introduce many revolutionary features, and we can see them by release.  Many of the features were introduced before the community realized their value:

RELEASE

GENERAL

SCALABILITY

Oracle7

·       Full table scans support prefetch (asynchronous read ahead)

·       CBO introduced histograms

·       CBO introduces hash joins

·       dbms_job package

·       Partitioned views

·       Updatable Join Views

·       Snapshot refresh groups

·       Advanced replication

·       extents unlimited syntax

 

 

 

Oracle 8

·       Nested tables

·       0NF tables – VARRAY columns

·       RMAN replaced EBU

·       TAF for OPS

·       Materialized Views

·       Bitmap Indexes

·       Table & index partitioning by range

 

 

 

Oracle8i

·       STATSPACK

·       dbms_stats package

·       advanced queuing

·       Functional based indexes

·       Oracle Log Miner

·       SQL analytic Functions (rank, moving average)

·       UNDO tablespace

 

·       Table hash partitioning

·       Composite partitioning (hash within range)

·       Ability to merge partitions

 

 

 

Oracle9i

·       Oracle Streams

·       Oracle Data Guard

·       Oracle Real Application Clusters

·       Flashback Utility

·       Online table reorganization with dbms_redefinition

·       Multiple blocksize support

·       SQL case statement

 

·       Merge statements - Upserts

·       Multi-table inserts

·       Multiple blocksizes

·       Parallel direct loads

·       Update global indexes

·       List partitioning

·       Composite partitioning

 

 

 

Oracle 10g

·       AWR – STATSPACK in the kernel

·       Intelligent advisors

·       Automatic Memory Mgt

·       Automatic Storage Mgt

·       ADDM

·       Oracle Grid computing

·       Data Pump replaces imp utility with impdp

·       SQLTuning Advisor

·       SQLAccess Advisor

·       dbms_scheduler package replaces dbms_job

·       Automated Session History (ASH) materializes the Oracle Wait Interface over time

·       XML support for analytic workspace

·       Partitioned indexes (hash partition and list partition)

·       SQLAccess advisor recommends materialized views

·       The dbms_dimension package

·       Publish/subscribe paradigm

·       Parallel access to log files, leveraging Oracle Streams

·       Parallel transformation of data

 

 

 

Oracle11g

·       RAC instance load balancing

·       Server-side connection pooling

·       Capture/replay database workloads

·       Virtual table columns

·       Automatic Diagnostic Repository (ADR)

·       RAC rolling upgrades

·       Easy RAC provisioning

·       /*+result_cache*/ SQL hint

·       Fully Automatic SQL Tuning

 

·       Interval partitioning for tables

·       Scalable execution

·       Partitioning Advisor

·       Scalable PL/SQL

·       Faster data sorting

·       Scalable Java

·       Hot patching - Zero downtime

·       Partitioning by logical object

·       Automated partition creation

Oracle has always tried to be a universal database and at one time briefly re-named itself as the Oracle Universal Server, but today’s Oracle understand that different storage applications require different mechanisms.  Oracle now has the Times-ten engine, and with the rapidly-falling RAM process, Oracle will remain a leader in the future with solid state database.

When managers make a “buy” decision for database software, they often go with the market leader.  Isn’t that enough?


NOTE: Rampant author Laurent Schneider has some additional insight into creating an Oracle Automatic Diagnostic Repository (ADR)


Don Burleson is considered one of the world’s leading database experts and author of five Oracle press books.  A former adjunct professor, Burleson has 25 years of full-time Remote DBA experience and specializes in Oracle tuning.  Burleson serves as an advisor for many of the Fortune 500 Corporations and has a web site at www.Remote DBA-oracle.com


 

     

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