Oracle7 Server Concepts Manual Go to Product Documentation Library
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This manual describes all features of the Oracle7 Server, a relational database management system (RDBMS). This manual describes how how Oracle functions. It lays a conceptual foundation for much of the practical information contained in other Oracle7 Server manuals.

Information in this manual applies to the Oracle7 Server running on all operating systems. It provides information about the base Oracle Server product and the special options, including the:

Any chapter of this manual that applies to a particular option only is indicated on its first page.


This manual is written for database administrators, system administrators, and database application developers.

What You Should Already Know

You should be familiar with relational database concepts and with the operating system environment under which they are running Oracle.

As a prerequisite, all readers should read the first chapter, "Introduction to the Oracle Server". Chapter 1 is a comprehensive introduction to the concepts and terminology used throughout the remainder of this manual.

If You're Interested in Installation and Migration

This manual is not an installation or migration guide. Therefore, if your primary interest is installation, refer to your operating system-specific Oracle documentation, or if your primary interest is database and application migration, refer to Oracle7 Server Migration.

If You're Interested in Database Administration

While this manual describes the architecture, processes, structures, and other concepts of the Oracle Server, it does not explain how to administer the Oracle Server. For that information, see the Oracle7 Server Administrator's Guide.

If You're Interested in Application Design

In addition to administrators, experienced users of Oracle and advanced database application designers will find information in this manual useful. However, database application developers should also refer to the Oracle7 Server Application Developer's Guide and to the documentation for the tool or language product they are using to develop Oracle database applications.

How Oracle7 Server Concepts Is Organized

This manual is divided into the chapters described below.

Part I What is Oracle?

Chapter 1 Introduction to the Oracle Server

This chapter provides the "big picture", outlining the concepts and terminology you need to understand the Oracle Server. You should read this overview before using the detailed information in the remainder of this manual.

Part II Basic Database Operation

Chapter 2 Database and Instance Startup and Shutdown

This chapter describes how the database administrator (DBA) can control the accessibility of an Oracle database system. This chapter also describes the parameters that control how the database operates.

Part III Database Structures

Chapter 3 Data Blocks, Extents, and Segments

This chapter discusses how data is stored and how storage space is allocated for and consumed by various objects within an Oracle database. The space management background information here supplements that in the following two chapters.

Chapter 4 Tablespaces and Datafiles

This chapter discusses how physical storage space in an Oracle database is divided into logical divisions called tablespaces. The physical operating system files associated with tablespaces, called datafiles, are also discussed.

Chapter 5 Schema Objects

This chapter describes the objects that can be created in the domain of a specific user (a schema), including tables, views, numeric sequences, and synonyms. Indexes and clusters, optional structures that make data retrieval more efficient, are also described.

Chapter 6 Datatypes

This chapter describes the types of data that can be stored in an Oracle database table, such as fixed- and variable-length character strings, numbers, dates, and binary large objects (BLOBs). Among the issues covered are the following:

Chapter 7 Data Integrity

This chapter discusses data integrity and the declarative integrity constraints used to enforce it.

Chapter 8 The Data Dictionary

This chapter describes the data dictionary, which is a set of reference tables and views that contain read-only information about an Oracle database.

Part IV System Architecture

Chapter 9 Memory Structures and Processes

This chapter describes the memory structures and processes that make up an Oracle database system. This chapter also describes the different process configurations available for Oracle.

Chapter 10 Data Concurrency

This chapter explains how Oracle provides concurrent access to and maintains the accuracy of shared information in a multi-user environment. It describes the automatic mechanisms that Oracle uses to guarantee that the concurrent operations of multiple users do not interfere with each other.

Part V Data Access

Chapter 11 SQL and PL/SQL

This chapter briefly describes SQL (the Structured Query Language), the language used to communicate with Oracle, as well as PL/SQL, Oracle's procedural language extension to SQL.

Chapter 12 Transaction Management

This chapter defines the concept of transactions and explains the SQL statements used to control them. Transactions are logical units of work that are executed together as a unit.

Chapter 13 The Optimizer

This chapter explains how the optimizer works. The optimizer is the part of Oracle that chooses the most efficient way to execute each SQL statement.

Part VI Programmatic Constructs

Chapter 14 Procedures and Packages

This chapter discusses the procedural language constructs called procedures, functions, and packages, which are PL/SQL program units that are stored in the database.

Chapter 15 Database Triggers

This chapter describes the procedural language constructs called triggers, procedures that are implicitly executed when anyone inserts rows into, updates, or deletes rows from a database table.

Chapter 16 Dependencies Among Schema Objects

This chapter explains how Oracle manages the dependencies for objects such as procedures, packages, triggers, and views.

Part VII Database Security

Chapter 17 Database Access

This chapter describes how user access to data and database resources is controlled.

Chapter 18 Privileges and Roles

This chapter discusses system and object security.

Chapter 19 Auditing

This chapter discusses how Oracle's auditing feature tracks database activity.

Part VIII Distributed Processing and Distributed Databases

Chapter 20 Client/Server Architecture

This chapter discusses distributed processing environments and the Oracle Server.

Chapter 21 Distributed Databases

This chapter discusses the Oracle Server's distributed architecture, remote data access, and table replication.

Part IX Database Backup and Recovery

Chapter 22 Recovery Structures

This chapter describes the files and structures used for database recovery: the redo log files and the control files. Media and software failure are covered.

Chapter 23 Database Backup

This chapter discusses how to protect an Oracle database from possible failures.

Chapter 24 Database Recovery

This chapter explains how to recover a database from failures.


Appendix A Operating System-Specific Information

This appendix lists all of the operating system-specific references within this manual.

How to Use This Manual

Every reader of this manual should read Chapter 1, "Introduction to the Oracle Server". This overview of the concepts and terminology related to Oracle provides a foundation for the more detailed information that follows in later chapters.

Each part of this manual addresses a specific audience within the general audiences previously described. For example, after reading Chapter 1, administrators interested primarily in managing security should focus on the information presented in Part VII , "Database Security".

Conventions Used in This Manual

This manual uses different fonts to represent different types of information.

Special Icons

Special icons alert you to particular information within the body of this manual:

Suggestion: The lightbulb highlights suggestions and practical tips that could save time, make procedures easier, and so on.

Warning: The warning symbol highlights text that warns you of actions that could be particularly damaging or fatal to your operations.

Additional Information: The OSDoc icon refers you to the Oracle operating system-specific documentation for additional information.

Text of the Manual

The following sections describe the conventions used in the text of this manual.

UPPERCASE Characters

Uppercase text is used to call attention to command keywords, object names, parameters, filenames, and so on.

For example, "If you create a private rollback segment, the name must be included in the ROLLBACK_SEGMENTS parameter of the parameter file."

Italicized Characters

Italicized words within text are book titles or emphasized words.

Code Examples

SQL, Server Manager line mode, and SQL*Plus commands/statements appear separated from the text of paragraphs in a monospaced font. For example:

INSERT INTO emp (empno, ename) VALUES (1000, 'SMITH'); 

Example statements may include punctuation, such as commas or quotation marks. All punctuation in example statements is required. All example statements terminate with a semicolon (;). Depending on the application, a semicolon or other terminator may or may not be required to end a statement.

Uppercase words in example statements indicate the keywords within Oracle SQL. When you issue statements, however, keywords are not case sensitive.

Lowercase words in example statements indicate words supplied only for the context of the example. For example, lowercase words may indicate the name of a table, column, or file.

Your Comments Are Welcome

We value and appreciate your comments as an Oracle customer. As we write, revise, and evaluate our documentation, your opinions are the most important input we receive. At the back of this manual is a Reader's Comment Form which we encourage you to use to tell us what you like and dislike about this manual or other Oracle manuals. If the form has been used or you would like to contact us, please contact us at the following address:

Oracle7 Server Documentation Manager
Oracle Corporation
500 Oracle Parkway
Redwood Shores, CA 94065

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