Oracle Database

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What Does Oracle Database Mean?

Oracle Database (Oracle DB) is a relational database management system (RDBMS) from Oracle Corporation. Originally developed in 1977 by Lawrence Ellison and other developers, Oracle DB is one of the most trusted and widely used relational database engines for storing, organizing and retrieving data by type while still maintaining relationships between the various types.


The system is built around a relational database framework in which data objects may be directly accessed by users (or an application front end) through structured query language (SQL). Oracle is a fully scalable relational database architecture and is often used by global enterprises which manage and process data across wide and local area networks. The Oracle database has its own network component to allow communications across networks.

Oracle DB is also known as Oracle RDBMS and, sometimes, simply as Oracle.

Techopedia Explains Oracle Database

Databases are used to provide structure and organization to data stored electronically in a computer system. Before they were adopted, early computers stored data in flat file structures where information in each file was separated by commas (CSV files). However, as the number of fields and rows that defined the characteristics and structure of each piece of data continued increasing, it was only a matter of time before this approach would become unmanageable.

Relational models for database management represented the ideal solution to this issue by organizing data in entities and attributes that further describe them. Today, Oracle Database represents the RDBMS with the largest market share. Oracle DB rivals Microsoft’s SQL Server in the enterprise database market. There are other database offerings, but most of these command a tiny market share compared to Oracle DB and SQL Server. Fortunately, the structures of Oracle DB and SQL Server are quite similar, which is a benefit when learning database administration.

Oracle DB runs on most major platforms, including Windows, UNIX, Linux and macOS. The Oracle database is supported on multiple operating systems, including IBM AIX, HP-UX, Linux, Microsoft Windows Server, Solaris, SunOS and macOS.

Oracle started supporting open platforms such as GNU/Linux in the late 1990s. Different software versions are available, based on requirements and budget. Oracle DB editions are hierarchically broken down as follows:

  • Enterprise Edition: Offers all features, including superior performance and security, and is the most robust

  • Personal Edition: Nearly the same as the Enterprise Edition, except it does not include the Oracle Real Application Clusters option

  • Standard Edition: Contains base functionality for users that do not require Enterprise Edition’s robust package

  • Express Edition (XE): The lightweight, free and limited Windows and Linux edition

  • Oracle Lite: For mobile devices

A key feature of Oracle is that its architecture is split between the logical and the physical. This structure means that for large-scale distributed computing, also known as grid computing, the data location is irrelevant and transparent to the user, allowing for a more modular physical structure that can be added to and altered without affecting the activity of the database, its data or users.

The sharing of resources in this way allows for very flexible data networks with capacity that can be adjusted up or down to suit demand, without degradation of service. It also allows for a robust system to be devised, as there is no single point at which a failure can bring down the database since the networked schema of the storage resources means that any failure would be local only.

The largest benefit of the Oracle DB is that it is more scalable than SQL, which can make it more cost-efficient in enterprise instances. This means that if an organization requires a large number of databases to store data, they can be configured dynamically and accessed quickly without any periods of downtime.

Other structural features that make Oracle popular include:

  • Efficient memory caching to ensure the optimal performance of very large databases

  • High-performance partitioning to divide larger data tables in multiple pieces

  • The presence of several methods for hot, cold and incremental backups and recoveries, including the powerful Recovery Manager tool (RMAN)


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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert
Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.