Venzi's Tech-Blog

1 November 2013

Best hidden features in Oracle

Filed under: Oracle — Venzi @ 19:38

I seem to get into a lot of conversations around Oracle Database Options lately. Of course the Database Options are great, no doubt about it. But people sometimes seem to forget what the word “option” means. There is a reason why Oracle doesn’t put everything into one big product but gives you editions and options and the reason is simple: Not everybody will probably need the full feature set of the Oracle RDBMS. There are over 380 features within the Oracle Database which make it to the best relational database out there and I haven’t seen a single occurrence yet where all of those 380+ features are exploited within one installation. Most of the time people aren’t even aware of the feature richness of the Oracle Database.
Well, as you can imagine not all of those features ended up in Database Options but a lot of them are part of the core product and available in Standard Edition One, Standard Edition and Enterprise Edition. You got them as soon as you purchased a license for any of those three editions. A lot of you will probably still not need all the features that come as part of the editions but here is a list of what I consider the “Best hidden features in Oracle”:

  1. XML DB (this is probably the best hidden gem ever! Since 11g XML DB became really powerful and is a lot more than just a XMLTYPE BLOB data type)
  2. Text (full text search functionality)
  3. SQL Developer (check out early adopter version 4)
  4. SQL Pattern Matching (new in 12c)
  5. Temporal Database (new in 12c, no more start and end timestamps in every table)
  6. Recovery Manager (aka RMAN, no more full export, shutdown and data files copy every night)
  7. Application Express (also known as APEX, build sophisticated web-based applications directly on top of the database. Another feature that got really powerful lately!)
  8. Locator (ever come across geospatial requirements like which of my customers live closest to which branch of my store?)
  9. Enterprise Manager Express (although Enterprise Manager Cloud Control is free itself, Oracle Database 12c comes with a bundled Express version for its own instance management. This is great when you have just a single installation sitting somewhere which you either can’t deploy to your EM Cloud Control installation or you don’t have an EM Cloud Control installation)
  10. Fail Safe (High availability for Windows)
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