Getting to Know Oracle8i
Release 2 (8.1.6)

Part Number A76962-01





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This chapter presents an overview of the Oracle8i database server. This chapter contains the following sections:

Introducing Oracle8i

Oracle8i, the database for Internet computing, changes the way information is managed and accessed to meet the demands of the Internet age, while providing significant new features for traditional online transaction processing (OLTP) and data warehouse applications. It provides advanced tools to manage all types of data in Web sites, and it also delivers the performance, scalability, and availability necessary to support very large database (VLDB) and mission-critical applications.

Oracle8i is much more than just a simple relational data store. A new option, Oracle8i interMedia, allows businesses to manage and access multi-media data, including image, text, audio, video, and spatial (locator) data. The interMedia Clipboard and Web Agent work together to Web-enable interMedia. WebDB is a new HTML-based development tool for building HTML Web pages with content based on data stored in Oracle databases.

Oracle8i introduces new support for Java by including a robust, integrated, and scalable Java Virtual Machine (VM) within the server, named Oracle JServer. This expands Oracle's support for Java into all tiers of applications, allowing Java programs to be deployed where they perform best--in the client, server, or middle tier--without recompiling or modifying the Java code.

Not only does Oracle8i introduce breakthrough technology, such as a Java VM, it also has significant new features and functionality for traditional OLTP and data warehouse applications. For data warehouses, Oracle8i now provides sophisticated summary management features to store aggregates that are commonly queried, greatly reducing query processing.

For OLTP applications, Oracle8i introduces the optimizer plan stability feature, allowing users to ensure that the optimizer selects the same tuned plan every time the same query is executed. Advanced Queuing has been enhanced to support a publish/subscribe paradigm. OLTP applications benefit from the many new and enhanced features that improve the recoverability and availability of the database during routine operations, such as index rebuilds, and in disaster situations where a standby database may be activated.

Oracle8i introduces database resource management. This gives DBAs the ability to control the processing resources allocated to a user or group of users. Two new partitioning methods, hash and composite, complement the established range partitioning method to provide a rich set of partitioning methods from which DBAs may choose the best method to fit an application's profile and workload.

Oracle Parallel Server features a new architecture in Oracle8i. Cache fusion is a new "diskless" ping architecture that greatly improves inter-instance communication. New networking features improve the ease of use for Oracle Parallel Server, and system administration is made easier through the enhancement of Oracle Parallel Server Management, the new Oracle Universal Installer, and the Oracle Database Configuration Assistant.

Oracle8i extends the functionality of advanced replication, focusing on mass-deployment applications. Data can be replicated to servers that are closer to users and have only the data those users need, providing better performance. Security has been improved. The replication manager has been rewritten in Java and is no longer constrained to run on a Windows-based machine.

While Oracle has expanded its support of multimedia data through interMedia, and other complex data types through the separately packaged Visual Information Retrieval, Time Series, and Spatial options, it has also provided a new extensible architecture for independent software vendors (ISVs) and other developers to exploit when developing support for new types of data or specialized processing. There is significant enhancement to Oracle's object relational technology, and Oracle8i makes it available in both the standard edition and the Enterprise Edition.

Language improvements for PL/SQL, Pro*C/C++, Pro*COBOL, and the Oracle Call Interface (OCI) include significant new functionality. A new book provides information on the enhanced features with National Language Support.

Fine-grained access control and application context features build row-level application security into the database, rather than leaving it at the application level. Stronger security is provided throughout the enterprise by expanding or enhancing methods of authentication and authorization, centralizing user management, and supporting standards.

There is greater Windows NT integration in Oracle8i. It provides full, native integration with Microsoft Transaction Server (MTS) in the Windows NT environment. Application development is made simpler by the Oracle Application Wizard (AppWizard) for Visual Studio, which provides developers with a GUI tool for creating a Visual C++, Visual InterDev, or Visual Basic application accessing data in an Oracle database. The generated code framework includes Oracle Objects for OLE (OO4O) classes for connectivity and data access to Oracle databases.

Finally, Oracle8i includes Oracle Enterprise Manager, which is the comprehensive management framework for managing the Oracle database and application environment. Oracle Enterprise Manager presents an easy-to-use centralized console, a rich set of management tools, and the extensibility to detect and solve any problems that may arise. It also includes several administrative applications for performing day-to-day tasks for databases and applications, such as scheduling backup routines.

Oracle8i is designed to access and manage all your data using the style and infrastructure of the Internet. Oracle8i is the most complete and comprehensive platform for building, deploying, and managing Internet and traditional applications.

Oracle8i provides the lowest cost platform for developing and deploying applications on the Internet.

A Family of Database Products

Oracle8i is available in four standalone versions:

The Oracle8i database is available as Oracle8i, Oracle8i Enterprise Edition, and Oracle8i Personal Edition. Not all features and options are available with all editions of the Oracle8i database.

See Also:

For feature and option availability, see Chapter 5

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