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Functionality of SYSTEM tablespace in Oracle

What is the functionality of the SYSTEM tablespace?

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All major database systems include something called a Data Dictionary. A Data Dictionary describes the contents of the database. Which tables do I own? What columns are in those tables? Do I have permissions to view other tables? Do these tables have indexes? Where are these tables physically located? What code runs when I execute a stored procedure? The Data Dictionary contains the answer to all of these questions and more. Before any application can access the data in the database, the Data Dictionary is consulted to manage the transaction. Basically, the Data Dictionary is the master guide to everything in the database. The primary purpose of the SYSTEM tablespace is to hold the Data Dictionary. The Data Dictionary is composed of all tables owned by the SYS user. You can query the Data Dictionary through many views which are documented in the Oracle Reference Guide for your version.

This was first published in July 2007

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