introduction to oracle


Database Management System (DBMS)

A database management system (DBMS) is software that controls the storage, organization, and retrieval of data. Typically, a DBMS has the following elements:

  • Kernel code

    This code manages memory and storage for the DBMS.

  • Repository of metadata

    This repository is usually called a data dictionary.

  • Query language

    This language enables applications to access the data.

A database application is a software program that interacts with a database to access and manipulate data.

The first generation of database management systems included the following types:

  • Hierarchical

    A hierarchical database organizes data in a tree structure. Each parent record has one or more child records, similar to the structure of a file system.

  • Network

    A network database is similar to a hierarchical database, except records have a many-to-many rather than a one-to-many relationship.

The preceding database management systems stored data in rigid, predetermined relationships. Because no data definition language existed, changing the structure of the data was difficult. Also, these systems lacked a simple query language, which hindered application development.

Relational Model

In his seminal 1970 paper “A Relational Model of Data for Large Shared Data Banks,” E. F. Codd defined a relational model based on mathematical set theory. Today, the most widely accepted database model is the relational model.

A relational database is a database that conforms to the relational model. The relational model has the following major aspects:

  • Structures

    Well-defined objects store or access the data of a database.

  • Operations

    Clearly defined actions enable applications to manipulate the data and structures of a database.

  • Integrity rules

    Integrity rules govern operations on the data and structures of a database.

A relational database stores data in a set of simple relations. A relation is a set of tuples. A tuple is an unordered set of attribute values.

A table is a two-dimensional representation of a relation in the form of rows (tuples) and columns (attributes). Each row in a table has the same set of columns. A relational database is a database that stores data in relations (tables). For example, a relational database could store information about company employees in an employee table, a department table, and a salary table.

Relational Database Management System (RDBMS)

The relational model is the basis for a relational database management system (RDBMS). Essentially, an RDBMS moves data into a database, stores the data, and retrieves it so that it can be manipulated by applications. An RDBMS distinguishes between the following types of operations:

  • Logical operations

    In this case, an application specifies what content is required. For example, an application requests an employee name or adds an employee record to a table.

  • Physical operations

    In this case, the RDBMS determines how things should be done and carries out the operation. For example, after an application queries a table, the database may use an index to find the requested rows, read the data into memory, and perform many other steps before returning a result to the user. The RDBMS stores and retrieves data so that physical operations are transparent to database applications.

Oracle Database is an RDBMS. An RDBMS that implements object-oriented features such as user-defined types, inheritance, and polymorphism is called an object-relational database management system (ORDBMS). Oracle Database has extended the relational model to an object-relational model, making it possible to store complex business models in a relational database.

Brief History of Oracle Database

The current version of Oracle Database is the result of over 30 years of innovative development. Highlights in the evolution of Oracle Database include the following:

  • Founding of Oracle

    In 1977, Larry Ellison, Bob Miner, and Ed Oates started the consultancy Software Development Laboratories, which became Relational Software, Inc. (RSI). In 1983, RSI became Oracle Systems Corporation and then later Oracle Corporation.

  • First commercially available RDBMS

    In 1979, RSI introduced Oracle V2 (Version 2) as the first commercially available SQL-based RDBMS, a landmark event in the history of relational databases.

  • Portable version of Oracle Database

    Oracle Version 3, released in 1983, was the first relational database to run on mainframes, minicomputers, and PCs. The database was written in C, enabling the database to be ported to multiple platforms.

  • Enhancements to concurrency control, data distribution, and scalability

    Version 4 introduced multiversion read consistency. Version 5, released in 1985, supported client/server computing and distributed database systems. Version 6 brought enhancements to disk I/O, row locking, scalability, and backup and recovery. Also, Version 6 introduced the first version of the PL/SQL language, a proprietary procedural extension to SQL.

  • PL/SQL stored program units

    Oracle7, released in 1992, introduced PL/SQL stored procedures and triggers.

  • Objects and partitioning

    Oracle8 was released in 1997 as the object-relational database, supporting many new data types. Additionally, Oracle8 supported partitioning of large tables.

  • Internet computing

    Oracle8i Database, released in 1999, provided native support for internet protocols and server-side support for Java. Oracle8i was designed for internet computing, enabling the database to be deployed in a multitier environment.

  • Oracle Real Application Clusters (Oracle RAC)

    Oracle9i Database introduced Oracle RAC in 2001, enabling multiple instances to access a single database simultaneously. Additionally, Oracle XML Database (Oracle XML DB) introduced the ability to store and query XML.

  • Grid computing

    Oracle Database 10g introduced grid computing in 2003. This release enabled organizations to virtualize computing resources by building a grid infrastructure based on low-cost commodity servers. A key goal was to make the database self-managing and self-tuning. Oracle Automatic Storage Management (Oracle ASM) helped achieve this goal by virtualizing and simplifying database storage management.

  • Manageability, diagnosability, and availability

    Oracle Database 11g, released in 2007, introduced a host of new features that enable administrators and developers to adapt quickly to changing business requirements. The key to adaptability is simplifying the information infrastructure by consolidating information and using automation wherever possible.

  • Schema Objects

    One characteristic of an RDBMS is the independence of physical data storage from logical data structures. In Oracle Database, a database schema is a collection of logical data structures, or schema objects. A database schema is owned by a database user and has the same name as the user name.

    Schema objects are user-created structures that directly refer to the data in the database. The database supports many types of schema objects, the most important of which are tables and indexes.

    A schema object is one type of database object. Some database objects, such as profiles and roles, do not reside in schemas

  • Tables

    A table describes an entity such as employees. You define a table with a table name, such as employees, and set of columns. In general, you give each column a name, a data type, and a width when you create the table.

    A table is a set of rows. A column identifies an attribute of the entity described by the table, whereas a row identifies an instance of the entity. For example, attributes of the employees entity correspond to columns for employee ID and last name. A row identifies a specific employee.

    You can optionally specify rules for each column of a table. These rules are called integrity constraints. One example is a NOT NULL integrity constraint. This constraint forces the column to contain a value in every row.

  • Data Access

    A general requirement for a DBMS is to adhere to accepted industry standards for a data access language.

    Structured Query Language (SQL)

    SQL is a set-based declarative language that provides an interface to an RDBMS such as Oracle Database. In contrast to procedural languages such as C, which describe how things should be done, SQL is nonprocedural and describes what should be done. Users specify the result that they want (for example, the names of current employees), not how to derive it. SQL is the ANSI standard language for relational databases.

    All operations on the data in an Oracle database are performed using SQL statements. For example, you use SQL to create tables and query and modify data in tables. A SQL statement can be thought of as a very simple, but powerful, computer program or instruction. A SQL statement is a string of SQL text such as the following:

    SELECT first_name, last_name FROM employees;
    

    SQL statements enable you to perform the following tasks:

    • Query data
    • Insert, update, and delete rows in a table
    • Create, replace, alter, and drop objects
    • Control access to the database and its objects
    • Guarantee database consistency and integrity

    SQL unifies the preceding tasks in one consistent language. Oracle SQL is an implementation of the ANSI standard. Oracle SQL supports numerous features that extend beyond standard SQL.