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What is an Oracle Database Used for?

If your business works with large amounts of data, you need a reliable, secure, and robust data management system. Oracle is a versatile database management system used across an array of industries. Whether your company is a small, local outfit or has branches across the globe, Oracle can help you manage your data, prevent security breaches, and provide seamless access to applications. Read on to learn how Oracle databases work and the benefits Oracle can provide to your company.

How Does an Oracle Database Work?

Woman working on a laptop next to a data server
Image via Flickr by WOCinTech Chat.

Oracle is the most used relational database management system (RDBMS) today. An RDBMS is used by businesses to store and retrieve information. Oracle was the first database to use enterprise grid computing (EGC). Enterprise grid computing performs tasks using groups of computers connected by a network. Networked computers can be anywhere in the world. Because your data and software reside on these networked servers, users can access information and applications from any computer on the network. This network of computers can dynamically adjust computing needs for larger jobs without disrupting service to other users. 

Oracle is a cross-platform database, meaning it can run on multiple types of servers and across different operating systems. Users on different platforms can communicate smoothly with each other and the database.

There are three main Oracle database editions available today:

  • Enterprise Edition (EE): EE is the most commonly used and most expensive version of Oracle. Enterprise Edition is robust, allowing for an unlimited number of CPUs on the network. EE offers unlimited memory and database size and includes many premium features not available in other packages.
  • Standard Edition (SE): SE is a more limited version of Enterprise Edition. Standard Edition is limited to four or fewer CPUs. Memory and database size is still unlimited in SE.
  • Expression Edition (XE): XE is a free version of the Oracle database. XE can run on Windows or GNU/Linux. Expression Edition is limited to two CPUs, 2 GB of RAM, and 12 GB of user data.

Oracle also offers Oracle Lite, a version designed for use on mobile devices. Oracle Lite only uses part of your company’s entire database and is therefore not a standalone database. Oracle Lite allows data to be gathered and synchronized from multiple users and mobile devices.

Benefits of Using an Oracle Database

Here are some of the many benefits your company and users can experience with an Oracle database:

Scalability and Performance

Businesses can choose the Oracle version that suits their computing needs and budget constraints. Oracle is also highly portable, allowing you to upgrade to new servers as your needs change. 

No matter which version you choose, Oracle will allow users to access your database concurrently without compromising data integrity or efficiency. Large databases can be partitioned into smaller pools and stored across multiple devices. With Oracle’s logical data structure, data can be stored and accessed from anywhere on your network.


Like any other database, your Oracle system must be managed by a database administrator (DBA). Oracle is unique in its self-management features. Oracle’s infrastructure automates many routine DBA functions to use a minimum of memory, disk space, and human resources. This high level of automation allows one administrator to oversee large groups of servers.

Database Backup and Recovery

Oracle’s database has several features that handle the most common types of database failure with ease. You can recover your entire database or portions to an exact point in time. Most importantly, your database can remain operational for other users while damaged portions are recovered. The most common sources of system failures include:

  • User Error: If a user accidentally deletes data, Oracle allows for exact point-in-time recovery. Your database can be recovered to a point in time before data deletion.
  • Instance failure: An instance failure is any event that prevents work from continuing, such as a power outage or operating system failure. Oracle automatically performs an instance recovery when the database restarts after a failure event.
  • Disk failure: If a server fails, your database administrator can restore files to a point in time before the disk failure, without interrupting user services.

High Availability

With Oracle, data and software are configured to provide almost full-time availability to users. Oracle uses clustering, integration features, and redundant software/hardware to keep the system open and functional even when failures occur. 

Business Intelligence Features

Oracle stores data tables in a compressed format to reduce memory and disk use and increase processing speed. Oracle’s parallel processing dramatically reduces processing time. Data mining can occur side-by-side with database applications. Oracle’s partitioning of large pools of data into smaller pieces increases system performance and data availability while appearing seamless to software applications and users.

Content Management Features

Oracle has several special management features:

  • Oracle Spatial allows you to store and manage location content, such as roads, assets, and buildings.
  • Oracle Text indexes documents to make retrieval fast and accurate.
  • Oracle Ultra Search allows users to index and search database tables, mailing lists, and websites.
  • Oracle interMedia allows for the efficient deployment, management, and retrieval of multimedia content.

Security Features

Oracle includes many security features to prevent data breaches. System security features include validation of user IDs and passwords and user resource limits. With Oracle, you can also define which users can access specific tables or functions and audit user actions. Oracle’s data encryption prevents unauthorized database access. Oracle’s data encryption is also compliant with many regulations, including Service Organization Control (SOC), International Standard Organization (ISO), Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), and Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

Data Integrity and Triggers

Oracle allows you to define rules for your business to maintain data integrity. Your system automatically checks user-entered data to ensure that it meets the constraints set by your database manager.

Information Integration Features

Oracle allows users to access, share, and modify data from their local system to remote systems. Your database will appear transparent to users, even when it is spread out over several machines.


An Oracle database can be deployed and accessed from anywhere in the world. You can also set up your system to automatically present data to your users in their home language and format.

Oracle is a powerful, elegant solution to database management. If you need database support without the hassle of running your system in-house, Dimension Systems Inc. offers 24/7 support, including issue resolution, upgrades, data conversions and migrations, and performance enhancement. Contact us today to see what we can do for you.