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What is Oracle?

02 October 2010

Oracle is a data management solution. To truly understand Oracle you must first ask yourself, “What is a database?”

A database is a collection of information of any form. The data can be textual and numeric, like order or inventory data, or it can be pictures, programs or anything else that can be stored on a computer in binary form.

A relational database stores the data in the form of tables and columns. Some databases have minimal feature sets and only store data, while others include programming languages, facilities and utilities to support enterprise-level applications like ERP and data warehousing. Oracle is the #1 database and has the most advanced feature set.

Oracle targets high-end workstations and minicomputers as the server platforms on which to run its database systems. Oracle has long been a champion of network computers. It was the world's first software company to develop and deploy 100 percent Internet-enabled enterprise software across its entire product line: database, server, enterprise business applications, and application development and decision support tools.

How it works

The Oracle program runs in the background, maintaining your data for you and figuring out where it should go on your hard drive. It is made up of a set of processes running in your operating system. These processes manage how data is stored and how it is accessed. The program is so sophisticated it runs in the background maintaining data and identifying where it goes on your hard drive.

Most relational databases, Oracle included, use Structured Query Language (SQL) to access data. SQL allows you to SELECT your data, INSERT new records, UPDATE existing records and DELETE records you want to get rid of. SQL can be embedded in other languages or you can run scripts of SQL directly against the database.

PL/SQL is the procedural language extension to SQL. PL/SQL is a programming language like C, Java or Pascal.

Tools

Oracle Developer - creates forms, reports, and graphics.

SQL*Plus - can access the database, write stored procedures and run SQL commands to retrieve data and run scripts.

HTML DB - is a fairly new application builder geared toward web development. This tool runs from the database and can be presented to the web using the Apache web server that comes with the database.

Oracle Enterprise Manager (OEM) - is the Enterprise GUI tool to manage the database. From this tool you can perform any action in the database that is required. This tool is primarily used for administration but can also be provided to developers for application performance tuning and monitoring.

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