Oracle Database

Evolution of Oracle Database Versions: All Major Releases

Introduction to Oracle Database Versions

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 capabilities of the database 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 1-10: The Foundational Years

Oracle Database Version 1 (1979)

  • Introduction: Oracle’s debut as the first commercially available relational database management system (RDBMS).
  • Key Features: Emphasis on SQL for data access.

Oracle Database Version 2 (1983)

  • Introduction: The refinement of the original Oracle Database.
  • Key Features: Introduction of advanced SQL, COMMIT, and ROLLBACK operations support.

Oracle Database Version 3 (1983)

  • Introduction: The transition to Client-Server architecture.
  • Key Features: PL/SQL introduced, embedded SQL support.

Oracle Database Version 4 (1984)

  • Introduction: Enhancing the multi-platform support.
  • Key Features: Read consistency, distributed queries.

Oracle Database Version 5 (1985)

  • Introduction: Expanding the horizons with distributed databases.
  • Key Features: Client-server architecture, distributed database technology, and the Oracle Forms application.

Oracle Database Version 6 (1988)

  • Introduction: Setting the stage for enterprise-level applications.
  • Key Features: Row-level locking, PL/SQL stored procedures, and triggers.

Oracle Database Version 7 (1992)

  • Introduction: A leap towards modern database management.
  • Key Features: Support for declarative referential integrity, stored procedures, triggers, PL/SQL packages, shared cursors, and more.

Oracle Database Version 8 (1997)

  • Introduction: Embracing the object-relational model.
  • Key Features: Introduction of the native internet protocols and Java support.

Oracle Database Version 8i (1999)

  • Introduction: The “i” for the internet.
  • Key Features: Native support for Java and internet protocols and the Virtual Private Database introduction.

Oracle Database Version 9i (2001)

  • Introduction: Enhancing the capabilities of the Internet age.
  • Key Features: Real Application Clusters (RAC), XML database support.

Oracle Database Version 10g (2003)

  • Introduction: The “g” stands for grid computing.
  • Key Features: Emphasis on manageability, grid computing, and automation.

Oracle Database

The terminal release for the 11.2 series, this version marked a significant milestone in Oracle’s journey. While it primarily focused on stability and performance enhancements, some of the notable features included:

  • Advanced Compression: Improved storage efficiency and reduced costs.
  • Active Data Guard: Allowed read-only access to the standby database, enhancing performance.
  • Edition-Based Redefinition: Enabled online application upgrades with zero downtime.

Oracle Database

Oracle took a giant leap with the 12c series, introducing a multitude of features that redefined database management:

  • In-Memory Database: A dual-format architecture that delivers real-time analytics.
  • Multitenant Architecture: Allowed multiple pluggable databases in a single container, simplifying consolidation.
  • Advanced Security: Introduced data redaction and enhanced transparent data encryption.

Oracle Database

Building on the success of the previous release, this version further enhanced the capabilities of the 12c series:

  • Sharding: A scalability feature that distributes data across multiple databases.
  • Enhanced Multitenant: Introduced features like hot cloning and relaxed PDB limits.
  • Database In-Memory Enhancements: Improved performance for analytic workloads.

Oracle Database 18c

Termed the “Autonomous Database”, this release was a game-changer:

  • Autonomous Data Warehouse: A fully managed data warehouse that provides unmatched performance and security.
  • Automatic Database Tuning: The system is self-tuned, ensuring optimal performance without manual intervention.
  • Polymorphic Table Functions: Allowed the creation of table functions that returned different columns for different input parameters.

Oracle Database 19c

The long-term release of the Oracle Database, 19c, was packed with features aimed at stability and enhanced performance:

  • Automatic Indexing: Leveraged machine learning to automate the index management tasks.
  • Active Data Guard DML Redirection: Redirected DML operations to the primary database from the standby.
  • Hybrid Partitioned Tables: Allowed partitioning between external and internal storage.

Oracle Database 21c

An innovation release, 21c, introduced several cutting-edge features:

  • Blockchain Tables: Provided tamper-proof and immutable data storage.
  • Database In-Memory Automation: Automated In-Memory management tasks.
  • JSON Enhancements: Improved performance and functionality for JSON data.

Oracle Database 23c: (2023)

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


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.


  • Fredrik Filipsson

    Fredrik Filipsson possesses 20 years of experience in Oracle license management. Having worked at Oracle for 9 years, he gained an additional 11 years of expertise in Oracle license consulting projects. Fredrik has provided assistance to over 150 organizations worldwide, ranging in size and tackling various Oracle licensing challenges, including Licensing Assessments, Oracle audits, Oracle ULAs, and more.