I have a mainframe DBA for the last 20+ years and have decided to learn Oracle! I have a screaming PC running Windows XP Pro. The question is, do I go for Oracle 8i, due to the amazing amount of documentation out there? And will it run on XP Pro? Or, do I go for Oraclce 9i, the latest and greatest, and it does run on XP Pro? For a beginner, does it make much of a difference? I would appreciate your thoughts on the subject.
First, yes, you can run Oracle 9i on XP Pro. And secondly, since you're running XP Pro, you'll have to load a 9i database as Oracle has not certified Oracle 8i to run on XP Pro (and doesn't plan to). Only the 8i client has been certified to work, not the database. So, with your hardware, you'll have to go with learning on a 9i database.
You can download a free trial copy from http://technet.oracle.com or order a trial CD Pack for around $40 or so. You then can choose which version of the database you install to learn from (Personal, Standard, Enterprise). I'll assume that you know SQL, etc., since you've been in the DBA biz on the mainframe side, so if you really want to learn Oracle you'll probably want to look at the Enterprise edition. Installing this should give you a full-featured look at Oracle.
Learning Oracle is challenging when it's brand new, but there are lots of resources, both from Oracle and from many third party sites and forums. There are also lots of CBTs available that you might find helpful. Pick up a few books, browse around this site and others for good Oracle info and links and have at it!
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