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Oracle Essentials: Oracle9i, Oracle8i and Oracle8, Second Edition by Jonathan Stern, Robert Stackowiak, Rick Greenwald

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The Oracle Family

Oracle9i Database Server describes the most recent major version of the Oracle Relational Database Management System (RDBMS) family of products that share common source code. Leveraging predecessors including the Oracle8 release that surfaced in 1997, the family includes:

  • Personal Oracle, a database for single users that’s often used to develop code for implementation on other Oracle multiuser databases

  • Oracle Standard Edition, which was named Workgroup Server in its first iteration as part of the Oracle7 family and is often simply referred to as Oracle Server

  • Oracle Enterprise Edition, which includes additional functionality

In 1998, Oracle announced Oracle8i, which is sometimes referred to as Version 8.1 of the Oracle8 database. The "i " was added to denote added functionality supporting Internet deployment in the new version. Oracle9i followed, with Application Server available in 2000 and Database Server in 2001. The terms “Oracle,” “Oracle8,” “Oracle8i,” and “Oracle9i" may appear to be used somewhat interchangeably in this book, since Oracle9i includes all the features of previous versions. When we describe a new feature that was first made available specifically for Oracle8i or Oracle9i we’ve tried to note that fact to avoid confusion, recognizing that many of you may have old releases of Oracle. We typically use the simple term “Oracle” when describing features that are common to all these releases.

Oracle has focused development around a single source code model since 1983. While each database implementation includes some operating system-specific source code, most of the code is common across the various implementations. The interfaces that users, developers, and administrators deal with for each version are consistent. Features are consistent across platforms for implementations of Oracle Standard Edition and OracleEnterprise Edition. As a result, companies have been able to migrate Oracle applications easily to various hardware vendors and operating systems while leveraging their investments in Oracle technology. From the company’s perspective, Oracle has been able to focus on implementing new features only once in its product set, instead of having to add functionality at different times to different implementations.

Oracle Standard Edition

When Oracle uses the names Oracle8 Server, Oracle8i Server, or Oracle9i Server to refer to a specific database offering, it refers to what was formerly known as Workgroup Server and is now sometimes called Standard Edition. From a functionality and pricing standpoint, this product intends to compete in the entry-level multiuser and small database category, which supports a smaller numbers of users. These releases are available today on Windows NT, Netware, and Unix platforms such as Compaq (Digital), HP/UX, IBM AIX, Linux, and Sun Solaris.

Oracle Enterprise Edition

Oracle Enterprise Edition is aimed at larger-scale implementations that require additional features. Enterprise Edition is available on far more platforms than the Oracle release for workgroups and includes advanced management, networking, programming, and data warehousing features, as well as a variety of special-purpose options.

Oracle Personal Edition

Oracle Personal Edition is the single-user version of Oracle Enterprise Edition. It is most frequently used by developers because it allows development activities on a single machine. Since the features match those of Enterprise Edition, a developer can write applications using the Personal Edition and deploy them to multiuser servers. Some companies deploy single-user applications using this product. However, Oracle Lite offers a much more lightweight means of deploying the same applications.

Oracle Lite

Oracle Lite, formerly known as Oracle Mobile, is intended for single users who are using wireless devices. It differs from other members of the Oracle database family in that it doesn’t use the same database engine. Instead, Oracle developed a lightweight engine compatible with the limited memory and storage capacity of notebooks and handheld devices. Oracle Lite is described in more detail at the end of this chapter.

Because the SQL supported by Oracle Lite is largely the same as the SQL for other Oracle databases, you can run applications developed for those database engines using Oracle Wireless. Replication of data between Oracle Wireless and other Oracle versions is a key part of most implementations.

Table 1-2 summarizes the situations in which you would typically use each database product. We’ve used the Oracle product names to refer to the different members of the Oracle database family.

Table 1-2. Oracle Family of Database Products

Database Name

When Appropriate

Oracle Server/Standard Edition

Version of Oracle server for a small number of users and a smaller database

OracleEnterprise Edition

Version of Oracle for a large number of users or a large database with advanced features for extensibility, performance, and management

Oracle Personal Edition

Single-user version of Oracle typically used for development of applications for deployment on other Oracle versions

Oracle Lite

Lightweight database engine for mobile computing on notebooks and handheld devices

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