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Guide to Oracle 12c database features and upgrades

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Oracle 12c Database now available

The Oracle 12c Database touts several new features, though the biggest draw will probably be the paid add-on, Pluggable Databases.

The Oracle 12c Database is now generally available, with its most touted aspect being a database virtualization feature called Pluggable Databases.

The Redwood Shores, Calif.-based IT company announced Oracle 12c Database at its OpenWorld show last year, but at the time the product had been in beta mode for months. Now it is available for download on Linux and Solaris, with an official version number of Oracle Database 12.1.0.1. Mike Dietrich, a senior principal technologist who announced the general availability in a blog post, wrote in comments below the post that Oracle 12c Database will be supported on Microsoft Windows Server and IBM AIX operating systems, but he wouldn't say when.

"I'm looking forward to downloading 12c and trying it out," said Bobby Durrett, lead Oracle DBA at US Foods. "Unfortunately, they don't have 32-bit Windows or Linux versions out -- just 64-bit Linux and a couple Solaris 64-bit versions."

Durrett added that his focus for US Foods is to upgrade its key systems to the most stable release of Oracle Database 11.2. Oracle 12c Database is further down the upgrade path.

Pluggable Databases, now called Oracle Multitenant

The most-talked about feature of Oracle 12c Database has been Pluggable Databases, and database administrators (DBAs) said this week they were interested in exploring the cost benefits around it. The feature, now called Oracle Multitenant, essentially allows a database administrator to set up a container database with multiple pluggable databases inside. During patches and upgrades, only the container database needs changing. Also, a pluggable database can be moved to another container database, either on the same server or somewhere else in the network.

More on Oracle 12c Database

Read more about Pluggable Databases

Watch Rich Niemiec explain some other new features of 12c

Oracle first announced 12c in September 2012

But it will come at a cost. On the Oracle price list, updated this week, the feature is called "multitenant." It will cost about $21,000 per processor or $430 per user in a named user plus licensing scenario.

"With Pluggable Databases there are things you can consolidate, and possibly you can save on the other side, with database management and maintenance," said Michelle Malcher, a DBA, Oracle ACE Director and president of the Independent Oracle Users Group. "I think it's a great option to start to play with; to see what use cases there are."

Amit Das, database engineering architect at PayPal, said Pluggable Databases was one of the top features he was looking at with Oracle 12c Database. Another feature that interests Das is Flex Automatic Storage Management (ASM), which requires fewer ASM instances when running Oracle Real Application Clusters (RAC).

"We have some plans to use this soon," he said.

Malcher added that new security features in Oracle 12c Database are easy to implement and "closer to the core of the database." One of them is called Oracle Advanced Security Data Redaction, which can hide data from SQL query results prior to display based on factors such as a user's IP address.

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Essential Guide

Guide to Oracle 12c database features and upgrades
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