Its big advantage is from a market perspective. Over 70% of the market uses Oracle Database. It's the market leader in the mid-tier for relational databases, probably, I think, tied with IBM right now.
The support level is good and well-documented. I can go to the web and I can Google just about any problem I have.
And another reason we use Oracle is that it's going to stay in business for a long time. So it's worth investing in training in the software long-term for us as opposed to, say a, smaller open source product that comes and goes.
Improvements to My Organization
It's very easy to get training and resources. Because we use a Linux operating system, our preference is for Oracle. It has a full suite of products and they all play nicely with each other. So if I get something from Oracle, I'm pretty sure it's going to work on my Oracle Database.
Room for Improvement
I'd like them to expand their support for Oracle Spatial and Graph, an app for Oracle Database. It only supports a single node right now. And really, to be practical, you want something with multiple nodes.
Also, while Oracle does have a NoSQL database (called Oracle NoSQL, a version of Berkley NoSQL, which isn't widely used as far as I can tell), I'd like to have the ability to do a heterogeneous join between my Oracle Relational Database and my NoSQL database, and I'd like to be able to use SQL on my NoSQL.
Use of Solution
I've been using it since the 1980s. We use it alongside the Fusion suite, some of the big products there. We use ADF, which is the Java framework that they provide. And we make extensive use of PL/SQL-based products. Traditionally, we used a lot of Forms, but that's being phased out. Now we're using a lot of APEX.
It's pretty easy to install and deploy.
It's very stable. It's a well-known product and, while it does have problems, they're all well-documented. There are traditional security patches and, sometimes, some problems with new functionality. As long as you apply your patches regularly, they're resolved. And Oracle Support Group does resolve them.
We've had no issues with scalability.
Customer Service and Technical Support
The level of technical support is good, but you can put in a TAR and sometimes it will just disappear in space. The challenge for the support often is that if you don't use a straight Oracle configuration, in particular if you use a virtual server, they won't won't guarantee the support because they can't support every possible configuration. However, it doesn't mean that if you have a problem, they won't try to answer it.
It's pretty easy to install. The installation process has improved remarkably since the 80's when I started working with it. It wasn't friendly then, but it's very easy for me now. You just push a couple buttons and move through. If you know what you're doing, you can do it with defaults set up on a basic Oracle Database.
Now if you want to do something a little more complex, like Grid or clustering, you need to take some specialized training.
Pricing, Setup Cost and Licensing
You're always going to find some product that's cheaper. Oracle is never cheap. You're always going to find some product that is, in certain configurations, faster.
Especially for government organizations, it would always be my first pick.