Oracle Database

Evolution of Oracle Database Versions: All Major Releases

Introduction to Oracle Database Versions

  • Oracle V2 (1979): First SQL-based RDBMS.
  • Oracle V3 (1983): Client-server architecture, PL/SQL introduced.
  • Oracle V4 (1984): Read consistency.
  • Oracle V5 (1985): Distributed queries.
  • Oracle V6 (1988): Row-level locking, PL/SQL stored procedures.
  • Oracle7 (1992): Declarative referential integrity.
  • Oracle8 (1997): Object-relational database.
  • Oracle8i (1999): Native internet protocols, Java support.
  • Oracle9i (2001): Real Application Clusters (RAC).
  • Oracle10g (2003): Grid computing.
  • Oracle11g (2007): Advanced compression, Automated SQL tuning.
  • Oracle12c (2013): Multitenant architecture, in-memory database.
  • Oracle18c (2018): Autonomous database features.
  • Oracle19c (2019): Automatic indexing, Active Data Guard DML redirection.
  • Oracle21c (2020): Blockchain tables, JSON enhancements.

Oracle Database, a name synonymous with enterprise data management, has seen a series of significant releases over the years.

Each release has brought with it a slew of new functionalities, enhancing the database’s capabilities and ensuring it remains at the forefront of the industry.

In this article, we’ll journey through the significant releases of Oracle Database, highlighting the groundbreaking features introduced with each version.

Oracle Database Versions 1-23c

Oracle Database Versions

The journey of Oracle Database began in 1979, marking a significant milestone in the history of computing with the introduction of the first commercially available relational database management system (RDBMS).

This was just the beginning of a revolution in data management and storage.

Oracle Database Version 1 (1979)

Oracle Database Version 1 (1979)

Introduction:

Oracle Database debuted, establishing itself as the pioneer among commercial RDBMS. Its introduction heralded a new era in database technology, emphasizing structured data management.

Key Features:

  • Foundation on SQL: The database laid the groundwork for using SQL (Structured Query Language) to access and manipulate data. This choice underscored SQL’s flexibility and effectiveness in managing relational data models.

The Story of Oracle Database Version 2

The inception of Oracle’s database software is a tale that intertwines technical innovation with a strategic market insight by Larry Ellison, Oracle Corporation’s co-founder. T

The designation of Oracle Version 2 as the first real Oracle database is not just a branding quirk but a deliberate marketing strategy rooted in Ellison’s understanding of consumer psychology and market expectations.

The Tale of Oracle Version 2:

  • Skepticism About Version 1: Larry Ellison, aware of the challenges of new software in gaining market acceptance, believed that labeling the initial release as “Version 1” would deter potential customers. The concern was that Version 1 would be perceived as untested or incomplete, a common apprehension towards first-release software products, which could significantly hinder its adoption.
  • A Strategic Leap to Version 2: Ellison and his team boldly decided to market their first commercially available relational database management system (RDBMS) as “Oracle Version 2.” This decision was based on the premise that Version 2 would instill confidence in prospective customers, suggesting that the product had undergone revisions and improvements, even though there was never a publicly released Version 1.
  • Immediate Market Impact: The strategy proved to be insightful. By starting with Version 2, Oracle effectively positioned its database as a mature and reliable solution right out of the gate, overcoming initial market resistance and laying the groundwork for the widespread adoption of RDBMS technology.
  • Setting a Precedent: This unconventional start marked the beginning of Oracle’s journey as a pioneer in database technology and showcased Larry Ellison’s knack for strategic foresight. It set a precedent for Oracle’s future innovations and its approach to overcoming market barriers..

In retrospect, the decision to launch with Oracle Version 2 was a masterstroke that helped bypass the hesitancy typically associated with first-version software, ensuring Oracle’s place in technology history.

This move underscores the importance of perception in the technology market and highlights Larry Ellison’s unconventional thinking and strategic insight.

Oracle Database Version 2 (1983)

Oracle Database Version 2 (1983)

Four years later, Oracle Database underwent significant refinements with the release of Version 2.

Introduction:

This version evolved from its predecessor, building on the original’s capabilities and introducing enhancements that would define the future of RDBMS.

Key Features:

  • Advanced SQL Support: Oracle Database Version 2 expanded the functionality of SQL within the database system, offering users more sophisticated ways to query and interact with their data.
  • Transaction Control: Perhaps the most notable addition was the support for COMMIT and ROLLBACK operations. These features allowed for greater data integrity and consistency by enabling users to finalize or revert transactions based on the execution outcome. This capability was crucial for applications requiring high data reliability and accuracy levels.

The progression from Oracle Database Version 1 to Version 2 laid the foundational blocks for an extensive suite of database solutions tailored to meet diverse data management needs.

Oracle Database Version 3 (1983)

Introduction:

Released in the same year as Version 2, Version 3 of Oracle Database was a landmark update that transitioned the database system to a Client-Server architecture.

This architectural shift enabled more scalable and flexible data access across networks.

Key Features:

  • Introduction of PL/SQL: Version 3 introduced PL/SQL, Oracle’s procedural extension to SQL. This extension allowed for more complex and efficient data operations by combining the power of SQL with procedural programming capabilities.
  • Embedded SQL Support: This version also improved upon its SQL capabilities by embedding SQL support directly into the database, allowing for more sophisticated data manipulation and retrieval directly through SQL queries.

Oracle Database Version 4 (1984)

Oracle Database Version 4 (1984)

Just a year later, Oracle continued its rapid pace of innovation with the release of Version 4, focusing on broadening its applicability and enhancing data consistency.

Introduction:

Oracle Database Version 4 aimed to extend its utility across more platforms, ensuring that Oracle could meet its users’ diverse environments and needs.

Key Features:

  • Read Consistency: One of the significant advancements in this version was the introduction of read consistency. This feature guaranteed that all data returned from a single query was consistent with a single point in time, despite any concurrent updates, ensuring data integrity during transactions.
  • Distributed Queries: Version 4 also introduced support for distributed queries, allowing data to be accessed and combined from multiple databases. This feature paved the way for more complex data environments and systems where data could reside across different locations yet still be queried as if from a single source.

The releases of Oracle Database Versions 3 and 4 were instrumental in shaping the future of RDBMS by introducing fundamental concepts like client-server architecture, PL/SQL, read consistency, and distributed queries.

Oracle Database Version 5 (1985)

Three years later, Oracle Database Version 6 was released, introducing features that underscored Oracle’s commitment to serving enterprise-level applications and their complex data management requirements.

Introduction: Version 6 set a new standard for database functionality, catering to the growing demand for advanced data manipulation and integrity controls in enterprise applications.

Key Features:

  • Row-Level Locking: This feature marked a significant improvement in database concurrency and integrity, allowing multiple users to access and modify different rows of the same table simultaneously without conflicts, optimizing database performance and user productivity.
  • PL/SQL Stored Procedures: The introduction of stored procedures in PL/SQL enabled complex business logic to be encapsulated within the database, improving performance, reusability, and code maintainability.
  • Triggers: Triggers allow for the automatic execution of specified database operations in response to certain events, such as changes in data, enhancing the database’s ability to enforce business rules and data integrity without manual intervention.

The advancements in Oracle Database Versions 5 and 6 expanded its technological horizons and solidified Oracle’s position as a critical tool for managing the complex data landscapes of enterprise environments.

Oracle Database Version 6 (1988)

Oracle Database Version 6 (1988)

Introduction: Version 6 was pivotal in preparing Oracle Database for the demands of enterprise-level applications, offering enhanced data control, integrity, and processing capabilities.

Key Features:

  • Row-Level Locking: This innovation allowed for more granular control over data, enabling multiple users to access and modify different rows in the same table simultaneously, thereby reducing contention and improving performance.
  • PL/SQL Stored Procedures: With stored procedures, users could now encapsulate complex business logic within the database, streamlining application development and enhancing performance by reducing the need for multiple database calls.
  • Triggers: The introduction of triggers provided a mechanism for automatically executing predefined actions in response to certain events, such as updates to a table, thereby ensuring data integrity and enforcing business rules directly within the database.

Oracle Database Version 7 (1992)

Introduction: Version 7 represented a significant leap forward, introducing various features that enriched its functionality and cemented its role in modern database management.

Key Features:

  • Declarative Referential Integrity: This feature allowed for enforcing data integrity constraints directly within the database, simplifying application logic by ensuring that relationships between tables remained consistent.
  • Enhanced Stored Procedures and Triggers: Building on the foundations laid by Version 6, Version 7 introduced improvements to stored procedures and triggers, making them more powerful and flexible for application developers.
  • PL/SQL Packages: Packages grouped related procedures, functions, variables, and other PL/SQL components into a single logical entity, promoting better organization, reusability, and code maintainability.
  • Shared Cursors: Shared cursors reduce memory usage and increase the efficiency of SQL statement processing by enabling the reuse of cursor memory areas for executing SQL statements that appear more than once during a session.

Oracle Database Versions 6 and 7 marked significant milestones in the database’s evolution, introducing features that would become fundamental to enterprise database management.

These versions enhanced the database’s performance, scalability, and reliability. They introduced key concepts such as row-level locking, triggers, stored procedures, and packages that have become standard in modern database systems.

Oracle Database Version 8 (1997)

Oracle Database Version 8 (1997)

Oracle Database Version 8 was a milestone release that expanded the database system’s capabilities to meet the evolving needs of complex applications and large databases.

It was designed to support the growing demand for distributed databases and data warehousing.

Key Developments:

  • Extended Data Types: This version introduced support for larger and more complex data types, accommodating modern applications’ diverse data storage needs.
  • Object-Relational Database: Version 8 made strides towards an object-relational database model, offering features that allowed developers to store object-oriented data alongside relational data, broadening the scope of applications that could be supported.

Oracle Database Version 8i (1999)

Version 8i, with “i” signifying Oracle’s leap towards the internet, was a transformative release that integrated the database system with the web, marking Oracle’s commitment to internet-enabled applications.

Introduction:

This version was crafted in response to the explosion of internet usage and the need for web-based applications.

Oracle 8i was positioned as a database solution that could seamlessly integrate with the internet, offering robust support for web standards and technologies.

Key Features:

  • Native Java Support: Oracle 8i embedded a Java virtual machine, allowing Java code to be executed within the database. This native support for Java paved the way for developing more dynamic, server-side applications directly within the Oracle environment.
  • Internet Protocols: With enhanced support for internet protocols, Oracle 8i facilitated easier access and manipulation of data over the web. This included built-in support for protocols such as HTTP and FTP, enabling the database to interact more directly with Internet applications.
  • Virtual Private Database (VPD): The introduction of VPD technology allowed for the creation of security policies that could control access to data at a granular level. This feature was pivotal for developing multi-tenant applications and for organizations that needed to enforce strict data security and privacy measures.

The transition from Oracle Database Version 8 to 8i was a testament to Oracle’s vision of adapting to and leading in the Internet age.

By incorporating features that leveraged the internet’s capabilities, such as native Java support, internet protocol integration, and the Virtual Private Database, Oracle expanded its technical prowess and applicability to a wider range of web-based applications and services.

Oracle Database Version 9i (2001)

Oracle Database Version 9i (2001)

Oracle Database Version 9i arrived with a focus on enhancing the database system’s capabilities to better serve the needs of the internet-driven market.

Introduction: This version was developed to bolster Oracle’s performance and reliability for internet applications, providing a more robust and scalable database solution.

Key Features:

  • Real Application Clusters (RAC): One of the standout features, RAC, allowed multiple instances of the Oracle database to run on different servers, accessing the same database. This architecture improved application scalability and provided fault tolerance by ensuring that the failure of one instance would not affect the availability of the database.
  • XML Database Support: Recognizing the importance of XML as a standard for data exchange over the internet, Oracle 9i introduced integrated XML support, facilitating easier storage, retrieval, and management of XML data alongside traditional relational data.

Oracle Database Version 10g (2003)

With the introduction of Oracle Database 10g, Oracle underscored its commitment to grid computing. This technology allows for the pooling of resources across networks to create a flexible, scalable computing environment.

Introduction: The “g” in 10g stands for “grid,” highlighting this version’s focus on leveraging grid computing to enhance database manageability, performance, and scalability.

Key Features:

  • Emphasis on Manageability: Oracle 10g introduced a range of features to simplify database management tasks, reducing the complexity and cost associated with database administration.
  • Grid Computing: By embracing grid computing, Oracle 10g enabled organizations to distribute computing and data storage across multiple servers, optimizing resource utilization and ensuring higher system availability and reliability.
  • Automation: A significant theme of Oracle 10g was the move towards automation of routine administrative tasks such as performance tuning and storage management. This shift reduced the burden on database administrators and contributed to more consistent and efficient database operations.

The release of Oracle Database Versions 9i and 10g marked significant advancements in Oracle’s technology, catering to the evolving needs of businesses in the Internet age and beyond.

These versions introduced critical features such as Real Application Clusters, XML support, grid computing, and automation, each contributing to database management’s scalability, reliability, and efficiency.

Oracle Database 11.2.0.4

Oracle Database 11.2.0.4

Introduction: As the terminal release of the 11.2 series, this version represented a culmination of Oracle’s efforts to solidify the stability and performance of its database offerings.

Key Features:

  • Advanced Compression: This feature significantly improved storage efficiency, enabling organizations to reduce storage costs while maintaining high performance. It optimized the storage of large volumes of data, making it a valuable asset for data-intensive applications.
  • Active Data Guard: This enhancement expanded Oracle Data Guard’s capabilities by allowing read-only access to the standby database. This enhancement boosted performance and ensured high availability and disaster recovery by facilitating real-time data reporting and querying without impacting the primary database.
  • Edition-Based Redefinition: Introduced a revolutionary approach to performing online application upgrades without incurring downtime. This feature allowed businesses to update their applications seamlessly, ensuring continuous operation and service availability.

Oracle Database 12.1.0.2

With the launch of the 12c series, Oracle took a significant leap forward, introducing features that aimed at improving and transforming database management.

Introduction: Oracle Database 12c (the “c” standing for “cloud”) was designed for cloud computing, offering flexibility, efficiency, and a more streamlined approach to database consolidation.

Key Features:

  • In-Memory Database: Oracle introduced a dual-format architecture that delivers real-time analytics and accelerated transaction processing. This feature enabled data to be simultaneously stored in both row and columnar formats in memory, facilitating faster access and processing of information.
  • Multitenant Architecture: One of the hallmark features of 12c, the multitenant architecture, allowed for managing multiple pluggable databases within a single container database. This innovation simplified database consolidation, making it easier for organizations to manage and scale their databases in cloud environments.
  • Advanced Security: Oracle 12c introduced enhanced security features, including data redaction, which provided dynamic data masking to protect sensitive information. Additionally, the version offered improvements in transparent data encryption, further bolstering data security and compliance capabilities.

Oracle Database 12.2.0.1

Introduction: This version is built upon the foundational changes introduced in the 12c series, adding new features and enhancements to further solidify Oracle’s position in the database market.

Key Features:

  • Sharding: Addressing the need for horizontal scalability, Oracle introduced sharding to distribute data across multiple physical databases, effectively managing large volumes of data and high transaction rates by leveraging a shared-nothing architecture.
  • Enhanced Multitenant: Oracle 12.2.0.1 expanded the capabilities of its multitenant architecture with the introduction of hot cloning and relaxed pluggable database (PDB) limits. Hot cloning allowed for the cloning of databases without downtime, while relaxed PDB limits increased the scalability of container databases.
  • Database In-Memory Enhancements: With improvements to the In-Memory column store, this version offered even better performance for analytic workloads, enabling faster data retrieval and processing.

Oracle Database 18c

Oracle Database 18c

Marking a significant milestone, Oracle Database 18c, also known as the “Autonomous Database,” introduced features that automated routine database management tasks, fundamentally changing how databases are maintained and optimized.

Introduction: Oracle 18c was designed to reduce the complexity and lower the costs associated with database management. It introduced levels of automation and machine learning to achieve self-managing capabilities.

Key Features:

  • Autonomous Data Warehouse: This fully managed, pre-configured data warehouse solution provides unparalleled performance, security, and ease of use. It automatically handles database tuning, security, backups, and updates, allowing businesses to focus more on their data and less on database management.
  • Automatic Database Tuning: By leveraging advanced machine learning algorithms, Oracle 18c can automatically tune the database, continuously monitor performance, and apply tuning adjustments in real-time, ensuring optimal performance without manual tuning efforts.
  • Polymorphic Table Functions: This innovative feature allows users to create table functions capable of returning different sets of columns based on the input parameters provided, offering unprecedented data manipulation and retrieval flexibility.

The progression from Oracle Database 12.2.0.1 to 18c showcases Oracle’s continuous evolution and commitment to pushing the boundaries of database technology.

Oracle Database 19c

As the long-term release for the Oracle Database series, 19c focuses on delivering a robust, highly available, and resilient database environment, packing several features that automate and optimize various aspects of database management.

Key Features:

  • Automatic Indexing: This feature utilizes machine learning to automate index creation, adjustment, and removal tasks. It streamlines index management, ensuring optimal database performance with minimal administrative effort.
  • Active Data Guard DML Redirection enhances the Active Data Guard by seamlessly redirecting data manipulation language (DML) operations from standby databases to the primary database. This functionality ensures high availability and disaster recovery without sacrificing the ability to perform DML operations on standby systems.
  • Hybrid Partitioned Tables: This feature allows for the flexibility to partition tables across external and internal storage, allowing for efficient data management and access. It supports large data volumes, combining internal storage performance with external storage solutions’ scalability.

Oracle Database 21c

Marked as an innovation release, Oracle Database 21c introduces cutting-edge features that push the boundaries of database technology, addressing the evolving needs of data storage, security, and processing in the digital era.

Key Features:

  • Blockchain Tables: Introduces a secure and immutable data storage option by incorporating blockchain technology within the database. Blockchain tables provide a tamper-proof data layer, ideal for scenarios requiring high data integrity and auditability levels.
  • Database In-Memory Automation: This enhancement enhances the Database In-Memory feature by automating its management tasks. This improvement ensures that in-memory data is optimally managed without manual tuning, boosting performance for analytic workloads.
  • JSON Enhancements: This release significantly improves the performance and functionality of JSON data processing. These enhancements make Oracle Database 21c a compelling choice for applications relying heavily on JSON data, enabling faster data retrieval and manipulation.

The Oracle Database 19c and 21c releases represent Oracle’s commitment to continuous improvement and innovation.

With 19c focusing on stability and performance enhancements and 21c introducing new capabilities like blockchain tables, automated in-memory management, and enhanced JSON functionality, Oracle demonstrates its dedication to addressing the complex and varied needs of modern data environments.

Oracle Database 23c: (2023)

Oracle Db Versions

A long-term release of Oracle Database

  1. DB_DEVELOPER_ROLE: A new role introduced in Oracle Database 23c that allows administrators to assign all necessary privileges to developers quickly. Source
  2. Enhanced Resilience: Oracle Database 23c has introduced features that make the database even more resilient to failures. Source
  3. Behavior Changes, Deprecations, and Desupports: Oracle Database 23c has brought about specific behavior changes, deprecated features, and desupported functionalities. Source
  4. Oracle Interactive Features: While the specifics are not detailed in the search results, Oracle Database 23c has introduced or enhanced interactive features for better user experience. Source

FAQs on Oracle Database Versions

What was Oracle Database’s first version?

Oracle Database’s first commercially available version was Oracle V2 in 1979, as there was no V1—V2 stood for Version 2, marking the start of Oracle’s commercial journey.

What major feature was introduced in Oracle Database Version 7?

Released in 1992, Version 7 introduced declarative referential integrity, PL/SQL stored procedures, triggers, and the concept of role-based security, marking a significant advancement in database technology.

How did Oracle Database Version 8 change the landscape?

Launched in 1997, Version 8 introduced object-relational database features, allowing for the storage of complex data types and the first steps towards supporting Internet protocols.

What was unique about Oracle Database 8i?

In 1999, Oracle Database 8i (‘i’ for “Internet”) was released, emphasizing native support for Internet protocols and features like Java Virtual Machine (JVM).

How did Oracle Database 9i enhance real application clusters?

Oracle Database 9i, released in 2001, significantly enhanced Real Application Clusters (RAC), allowing for high availability and scalability across databases.

What was the focus of Oracle Database 10g?

Released in 2003, 10g (‘g’ for “grid”) focused on grid computing, aiming to improve resource use and database management across systems.

What did Oracle Database 11g offer?

In 2007, 11g introduced advanced features like Oracle Real Application Testing, Data Pump, and Flashback Data Archive, enhancing database recovery, migration, and auditing.

What makes Oracle Database 12c significant?

Launched in 2013, 12c (‘c’ for “cloud”) introduced the multitenant architecture, allowing for creating pluggable databases to simplify cloud and database consolidation.

How did Oracle Database 18c become known as the Autonomous Database?

Released in 2018, 18c introduced autonomous functionalities, significantly reducing manual efforts for database tuning, patching, and updating through machine learning.In

What innovations did Oracle Database 19c bring?

As the long-term support release, 19c focused on stability and performance, including features like Automatic Indexing and Active Data Guard DML Redirection.

What sets Oracle Database 21c apart?

21c introduced blockchain tables for secure and immutable data storage, among other features like Database In-Memory Automation and JSON enhancements.

How does Oracle continue to innovate with Database 23c?

While specifics about 23c would be speculative, Oracle consistently focuses on integrating cutting-edge technologies, enhancing database automation, security, and performance to meet modern data management needs.

Can I upgrade directly from Oracle Database 10g to a newer version?

Direct upgrade paths depend on the starting and target versions; Oracle provides comprehensive upgrade documentation to outline supported paths and best practices.

Are features like RAC and Data Guard exclusive to certain Oracle Database editions?

Yes, features like Real Application Clusters (RAC) and Oracle Data Guard are typically part of the Enterprise Edition, focusing on high availability and disaster recovery.

What role does PL/SQL play in Oracle Databases?

Introduced in Oracle Database 7, PL/SQL is Oracle’s procedural extension to SQL, enabling the writing of complex stored procedures, triggers, and functions within the database.

How has JSON support evolved in the Oracle Database?

JSON support, significantly enhanced in Oracle Database 21c, offers improved performance and functionality for JSON data, reflecting Oracle’s commitment to supporting modern data types.

What is Oracle’s approach to database security?

Oracle has consistently advanced its security features across versions, with innovations like Virtual Private Database, Transparent Data Encryption, and Data Redaction to protect sensitive information.

How does Oracle Database support cloud computing?

Starting with 12c and its multitenant architecture, Oracle has increasingly focused on cloud capabilities, offering flexibility, scalability, and cost efficiency in cloud environments.With

What is the significance of the In-Memory feature?

Introduced in Oracle Database 12c, the In-Memory feature accelerates analytic queries by storing data in a columnar format in memory, drastically improving performance.

How does Oracle support database management automation?

From 18c onwards, Oracle has introduced autonomous functionalities, leveraging AI and machine learning for self-repairing, self-securing, and self-optimizing databases, minimizing manual administrative tasks.to self-repair, self-secure, and self-optimize databases and minimize

Conclusion

Throughout its history, Oracle Database has consistently set industry benchmarks, evolving with each version to address the shifting data management paradigms.

From its humble beginnings to the latest 23c release, Oracle has showcased an unwavering commitment to innovation, scalability, and robustness.

Each iteration encapsulates the technological zeitgeist of its time and anticipates future enterprise needs.

As we reflect on Oracle’s journey, it’s evident that its legacy is built on a foundation of continuous improvement, ensuring that it remains at the forefront of database technology for years to come.

Author

  • Fredrik Filipsson

    Fredrik Filipsson brings two decades of Oracle license management experience, including a nine-year tenure at Oracle and 11 years in Oracle license consulting. His expertise extends across leading IT corporations like IBM, enriching his profile with a broad spectrum of software and cloud projects. Filipsson's proficiency encompasses IBM, SAP, Microsoft, and Salesforce platforms, alongside significant involvement in Microsoft Copilot and AI initiatives, enhancing organizational efficiency.

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