Oracle Database Versions – Difference between 11g, 12c and 18c

Rebecca Seidu 14-Feb-2018 10:52:59

Oracle Database is still one of the world’s most popular, trusted database systems providing services for some of the largest companies. All the different versions provide a variety of new features and innovative capabilities in all areas including security, development, management, and performance. All providing the database administrator and developer with additional tools to assist creating innovative application on top of a secure and efficient database infrastructure. Oracle is highly recognized for its development and constant transformation, therefore it’s important to continually study the history of older versions, while embracing the new features and functionality of the newer versions.

Today, we’ll briefly analyse the difference between 2 of the latest versions 11g & 12c see what oracle have planned for the next version 18c and why it’s been classed as the game changer.

The first database to support Web technologies such as Java and HTTP originally began with Oracle 8 & 8i. The ‘i’ standing for "Internet". Oracle included the "i" to the name to reflect support for the Internet with its built-in Java Virtual Machine (JVM). The updated version, Oracle 9i added more support for XML in 2001. Released in 2003, versions 10g and 11g was introduced with emphasis on the “g” signifying "Grid Computing", enabling groups of low-cost industry standard servers to be treated as a single unit. This meant Data centres could now share hardware resources, thus reducing the cost of computing infrastructure.

With the latest generation of the world's most popular database, Oracle Database 12c is by far the most important Oracle release in the last 10 years. With the "c" standing for "Cloud”, 12c provides companies of all sizes with access to the world’s fastest, most scalable and reliable database technology in a cost-effective, hybrid Cloud environment. 12c includes a series of innovations that supports customers to easily convert to the Cloud while preserving their investments in Oracle Database technologies, skills and resources. Its newer, more innovative capabilities encourage better performance, increased scalability, and easier data management. Further translating into significant cost savings, reduced risk, and increased flexibility. Oracle Database 12C implements a multitenant architecture, supporting the creation of pluggable databases (PDBs) in a multitenant container database (CDB). This enables easier unification of multiple databases and clouding of databases into IaaS, PaaS, and DBaaS deployments.

Not all versions differ drastically with Oracle offering dedicated database instances with Oracle Databases 11g, 12.1 and 12.2, with a personal choice of Standard, Enterprise, High Performance, or Extreme Performance packaging. Every version sees enhancements in areas the ones prior may have lacked. 11g features built in testing for changes, the capability of viewing tables back in time, superior compression of all types of data and enhanced disaster recovery functions. Full database caching is not implemented in 11g as caching in memory parallel query could not work well with scans contented for cache memory. This was developed further in 12c as Oracle introduces a new concept known as Automatic Big Table caching, improving significant performance benefits for workloads that was previously limited. 11g supports the feature of Oracle in memory tables used to improve full table scans, needed for access to fast data, however doesn’t support the In-Memory Aggregation (IMA) concept which Oracle 12c supports. IMA is designed to provide improved query performance while utilizing fewer CPU resources. In-Memory Aggregation provides fast query performance with fully dynamic aggregation of data without the need for indexes, summary tables or materialized views.

12c also introduces a simpler system to migrate table partition and sub partition using 2 methods, one with online keywords and secondly an offline method. A few enhancements in form of invisible indexes and virtual columns were introduced in 11g but invisible columns weren’t introduced until the release of 12g. This enables the user to define invisible columns in the table. Once defined it is explicitly referred to SQL statement or condition in SQL statement.

It is evident that along with new releases comes major improvements. Every version offers something different and the support provided from the latest and greatest release always seems to be better than older releases. That said, it is inevitable that support resources will become more focused on the newer current releases over time.

“You'll see a migration, an evolution of database skills, where you're focused more on database design, schema design, different kinds of data analytics including machine learning, setting the policies as to what is mission critical, what requires disaster recovery, figuring out those policies.”

Larry Ellison Oracle’s executive chairman and CTO focuses on the future of information technology and the potential greatness in innovation. Speaking at the 2017 Oracle Open World, he reveals the plans for the newest Oracle Database 18c. It is said that 18c will take the position as a refresh to, and was initially going to be released as, however Oracle are the using the new release to change how releases are both named and managed.  The change in the release cycle puts Oracle in position with the rest of the industry that uses the year of the release as the version number.

He goes on to describe the upcoming release as the world’s first 100% “self-driving” autonomous database, which is deemed to be even-more reliable and more affordable as the lower-cost next generation of the company’s flagship database. 18c’s self-patching, self-driving and self-tuning revolutionary capabilities, powered by machine learning systems will constantly patch, back up, tune, and upgrade the system automatically reducing the need for manual involvement, all while the system is active. Therefore, preventing the likelihood human intervention or any malicious behavior, virtually eliminating human error, further helping reduce security risks.

“Authorization—who's allowed to see the data, who's not allowed to see the data, and when. All those kinds of things. And just a lot more…time securing your data because this problem is getting a lot worse.”

As with all Oracle cloud offerings, the company will deliver all versions of its next-gen database either in its public cloud or behind customers’ firewalls under its Cloud at Customer program. Ellison emphasized the notions of Oracle Database 18c’s self-managing capabilities freeing DB managers from routine manual tasks, elevating their roles.

The extensive future of technology is only at its starting point with endless possibilities.