Oracle Database (commonly referred to as Oracle DBMS, Oracle Autonomous Database, or simply as Oracle) is a proprietary multi-model database management system produced and marketed by Oracle Corporation.
21c / 13 January 2021
|Written in||Assembly language, C, C++|
It is a database commonly used for running online transaction processing (OLTP), data warehousing (DW) and mixed (OLTP & DW) database workloads. Oracle Database is available by several service providers on-prem, on-cloud, or as a hybrid cloud installation. It may be run on third party servers as well as on Oracle hardware (Exadata on-prem, on Oracle Cloud or at Cloud at Customer).
Larry Ellison and his two friends and former co-workers, Bob Miner and Ed Oates, started a consultancy called Software Development Laboratories (SDL) in 1977. SDL developed the original version of the Oracle software. The name Oracle comes from the code-name of a CIA-funded project Ellison had worked on while formerly employed by Ampex.
Oracle products follow a custom release-numbering and -naming convention. The "c" in the current release, Oracle Database 21c, stands for "Cloud". Previous releases (e.g. Oracle Database 10g and Oracle9i Database) have used suffixes of "g" and "i" which stand for "Grid" and "Internet" respectively. Prior to the release of Oracle8i Database, no suffixes featured in Oracle Database naming conventions. Note that there was no v1 of Oracle Database, as co-founder Larry Ellison "knew no one would want to buy version 1".
Oracle Database release numbering has used the following codes:
Older version, still maintained
Latest preview version
Patchset / RU
Patchset / RU
|Current stable version: Oracle Database 23c||23.2.0||April 2023 (Linux) Oracle Database Free - Developer Release||JSON Relational Duality, JSON Schema Validation, Transactional Microservices Support, OKafka, Operational Property Graphs, Support for SQL/PGQ, Schema Privileges, Developer Role, SQL Firewall, TLS 1.3 Support, Integration with Azure Active Directory OAuth2, True Cache, Readable Per-PDB Standby, Sharding with active-active Raft-based replication, Automatic SQL Plan Management, Priority Transactions, SQL Syntax Simplification, Annotations, Data Usage Domains, Column Value Lock-free Reservations|
|Older version, yet still maintained: Oracle Database 21c||21.1.0||December 2020 (cloud)
August 2021 (Linux)
|Older version, yet still maintained: Oracle Database 19c||19.1.0 // 18.104.22.168||February 2019 (Exadata)
April 2019 (Linux)
|Active Data Guard DML Redirection, Automatic Index Creation, Real-Time Statistics Maintenance, SQL Queries on Object Stores, In-Memory for IoT Data Streams, Hybrid Partitioned Tables, Automatic SQL Plan Management, SQL Quarantine, Zero-Downtime Grid Infrastructure Patching, Finer-Granularity Supplemental Logging, Automated PDB Relocation|
|Old version, no longer maintained: Oracle Database 18c||18.1.0 // 22.214.171.124||February 2018 (cloud, Exadata)
July 2018 (other)
|18.17.0||January 2022||Polymorphic Table Functions, Active Directory Integration, Transparent Application Continuity, Approximate Top-N Query Processing, PDB Snapshot Carousel, Online Merging of Partitions and Subpartitions|
|Old version, no longer maintained: Oracle Database 12c Release 2||126.96.36.199||August 2016 (cloud)
March 2017 (on-prem)
|188.8.131.52||March 2017||Native Sharding, Zero Data Loss Recovery Appliance, Exadata Cloud Service, Cloud at Customer|
|Older version, yet still maintained: Oracle Database 12c Release 1||184.108.40.206||July 2013||220.127.116.11||July 2014||Multitenant architecture, In-Memory Column Store, Native JSON, SQL Pattern Matching, Database Cloud Service|
|Older version, yet still maintained: Oracle Database 11g Release 2||18.104.22.168||September 2009||22.214.171.124||August 2013||Edition-Based Redefinition, Data Redaction, Hybrid Columnar Compression, Cluster File System, Golden Gate Replication, Database Appliance|
|Old version, no longer maintained: Oracle Database 11g Release 1||126.96.36.199||September 2007||188.8.131.52||September 2008||Active Data Guard, Secure Files, Exadata|
|Old version, no longer maintained: Oracle Database 10g Release 2||10.2.0.1||July 2005||10.2.0.5||April 2010||Real Application Testing, Database Vault, Online Indexing, Advanced Compression, Data Guard Fast-Start Failover, Transparent Data Encryption|
|Old version, no longer maintained: Oracle Database 10g Release 1||10.1.0.2||2003||10.1.0.5||February 2006||Automated Database Management, Automatic Database Diagnostic Monitor, Grid infrastructure, Oracle ASM, Flashback Database|
|Old version, no longer maintained: Oracle9i Database Release 2||184.108.40.206||2002||220.127.116.11||April 2007||Advanced Queuing, Data Mining, Streams, Logical Standby|
|Old version, no longer maintained: Oracle9i Database||18.104.22.168||2001||22.214.171.124||December 2003||Oracle Real Application Clusters (RAC), Oracle XML DB|
|Old version, no longer maintained: Oracle8i Database||126.96.36.199||1998||188.8.131.52||August 2000||Native internet protocols and Java, Virtual Private Database|
|Old version, no longer maintained: Oracle8 Database||8.0.3||June 1997||8.0.6||Recovery Manager, Partitioning. First version available for Linux.|
|Old version, no longer maintained: Oracle 7.3||7.3.0||February 1996||7.3.4||Object-relational database|
|Old version, no longer maintained: Oracle 7.2||7.2.0||May 1995||Shared Server, XA Transactions, Transparent Application Failover|
|Old version, no longer maintained: Oracle 7.1||7.1.0||May 1994||Parallel SQL Execution. First version available for Windows NT.|
|Old version, no longer maintained: Oracle7||7.0.12||June 1992||PL/SQL stored procedures, Triggers, Distributed 2-phase commit, Shared Cursors, Cost-Based Optimizer|
|Old version, no longer maintained: Oracle 6.2||6.2.0||Oracle Parallel Server|
|Old version, no longer maintained: Oracle v6||6.0.17||1988||6.0.37||Row-level locking, scalability, online backup and recovery, PL/SQL. First version available for Novell Netware 386.|
|Old version, no longer maintained: Oracle v5||5.0.22 (5.1.17)||1985||5.1.22||Support for client/server computing and distributed database systems. First version available for OS/2.|
|Old version, no longer maintained: Oracle v4||184.108.40.206||1984||220.127.116.11||Multiversion read consistency. First version available for MS-DOS.|
|Old version, no longer maintained: Oracle v3||3.1.3||1983||Concurrency control, data distribution, and scalability|
|Old version, no longer maintained: Oracle v2||2.3||1979||First commercially available SQL-based RDBMS implementing some basic SQL queries and simple joins|
Older version, still maintained
Latest preview version
The Introduction to Oracle Database includes a brief history on some of the key innovations introduced with each major release of Oracle Database.
See My Oracle Support (MOS) note Release Schedule of Current Database Releases (Doc ID 742060.1) for the current Oracle Database releases and their patching end dates.
Prior to Oracle Database 18c, Oracle Corporation released Critical Patch Updates (CPUs) and Security Patch Updates (SPUs) and Security Alerts to close security vulnerabilities. These releases are issued quarterly; some of these releases have updates issued prior to the next quarterly release.
Starting with Oracle Database 18c, Oracle Corporation releases Release Updates (RUs) and Release Update Revisions (RURs). RUs usually contain security, regression (bug), optimizer, and functional fixes which may include feature extensions as well. RURs include all fixes from their corresponding RU but only add new security and regression fixes. However, no new optimizer or functional fixes are included.
A 2016 Gartner report claimed to show Oracle holding #1 RDBMS market share worldwide based on the revenue share ahead of its four closest competitors – Microsoft, IBM, SAP and Teradata .[verification needed][clarification needed] A 2021 Gartner Magic Quadrant report named Oracle a leader in Cloud Database Management Systems.
In the market for relational databases, Oracle Database competes against commercial products such as IBM Db2 and Microsoft SQL Server. Oracle and IBM tend to battle for the mid-range database market on Unix and Linux platforms, while Microsoft dominates the mid-range database market on Microsoft Windows platforms. However, since they share many of the same customers, Oracle and IBM tend to support each other's products in many middleware and application categories (for example: WebSphere, PeopleSoft, and Siebel Systems CRM), and IBM's hardware divisions work closely with Oracle on performance-optimizing server-technologies (for example, Linux on IBM Z). Niche commercial competitors include Teradata (in data warehousing and business intelligence), Software AG's ADABAS, Sybase, and IBM's Informix, among many others.
In the cloud, Oracle Database competes against the database services of AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform.
Increasingly, the Oracle database products compete against open-source software relational and non-relational database systems such as PostgreSQL, MongoDB, Couchbase, Neo4j, ArangoDB and others. Oracle acquired Innobase, supplier of the InnoDB codebase to MySQL, in part to compete better against open source alternatives, and acquired Sun Microsystems, owner of MySQL, in 2010. Database products licensed as open-source are, by the legal terms of the Open Source Definition, free to distribute and free of royalty or other licensing fees.
You should not get confused between Critical Patch Update (CPU) and Security Patch Update (SPU) as CPU terminology has been changed to SPU from October 2012.