Oracle Database Review

It has ACID compliance, strong backup and recovery features, smart cost optimizer, very good stability, performance, and it includes disaster recovery solutions.

Valuable Features

There are several valuable features that we've found in our experience, including ACID compliance, strong backup and recovery features, smart cost optimizer, very good stability, performance, and it includes disaster recovery solutions.

Improvements to My Organization

The company I'm currently working for is an ISV that develops applications for the healthcare system, where High Availability is the main concern. Oracle puts the database layer at the highest level of reliability. As a plus, the smart optimizer can compensate for a poorly written SQL, giving good response times.

Room for Improvement

The biggest improvements are mainly high license costs and the unavailability of Enterprise edition options on the Standard edition. For example, on the Standard edition, you cannot buy transparent data encryption, needing the Enterprise edition to access that option (which has to be paid for separately). Official certification for VMware environments would also be an improvement.

Use of Solution

I've used it since 2001, mainly on OLTP systems, as it is well-suited as an OLAP solution.

Deployment Issues

We have had no issues with the deployment.

Stability Issues

All software has bugs and Oracle database is no exception. Oracle's RDBMS offers a high level of stability, but the increasing complexity (added functionalities and options) is in some way increasing the risk of hitting a bug.

Scalability Issues

We have had no issues scaling it for our needs.

Customer Service and Technical Support

The level of technical support is quite low compared to the software level. It's hard to find a skilled specialist and response times are high. On the other side, except for really heavy load systems, it's quite rare to have to engage support.

Initial Setup

The Oracle setup process has been simplified over the years, but it's still a complex task, at least when it comes to High Availability/disaster recovery solutions (RAC, DataGuard).

Implementation Team

I was an Oracle on-site consultant so it is one of my major responsibilities to set up the Oracle Database according to best practices. Always start from RPO/RTO constraints to design the solution and read the Oracle manuals -- they’re wide but very well written.

Pricing, Setup Cost and Licensing

I would advise that you carefully evaluate the compatibility of the software solution with Oracle Standard Editions which are way less expensive. Also, take a look to the new Standard Edition licensing model (called Standard Edition 2).

Other Solutions Considered

I'm currently studying PostgreSQL, which is an interesting RDBMS solution and it's open source (similar to BSD license).

Other Advice

From a technical perspective, it is the best RDBMS solution on the market so far. For mission critical solutions, I suggest engaging a senior Oracle database consultant to do the job. An experienced DBA can configure the system to leverage the full potential of the RDBMS both on the performance side and on the availability (backups, BC, DR).

**Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: My company is an Oracle Gold partner. There are several advantages in being a partner among other access to discounts on training and certification exams, free webinars, and so on.
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