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many of its predecessors. This brief summary traces the evolution of Oracle from its initial inception to its current status as the world moist flexible and robust database management system. Founded in August 1977 by Larry Ellison, Bob Miner, Ed Oates and Bruce Scott, Oracle was initially named after "Project Oracle" a project for one of their clients, the C.I.A, and the company that developed Oracle was dubbed "Systems Development Labs", or SDL. Although they may not have realized it at the time, these four men would change the history of database management forever. In 1978 SDL was renamed Relational Software Inc (RSI) to market their new database. 1979 - Oracle release 2 The first commercial RDBMS was built using PDP-11 assembler language. Although they created a commercial version of RDBMS in 1977, it wasn't available for sale until 1979 with the launch of Oracle version 2. The company decided against starting with version 1 because they were afraid that the term "version 1" might be viewed negatively in the marketplace. USA Air Force and then CIA were the first customers to use Oracle 2. In 1982 there was another change of the company’s name, from RSI to Oracle Systems Corporation so as to match its popular database name. The current company name comes from a CIA project that Larry Ellison had previously worked on code named “Oracle”. 1983 - Oracle release 3 The Oracle version 3 was developed in 1983. This version was assembled using C programming language and could run in mainframes, minicomputers, and PCs – or any hardware with a C compiler. It supported the execution of SQL statements and transactions. This version also included new options of pre-join data to increase Oracle optimization. 1984 - Oracle release 4 Despite the advances introduced in version 3, demand was so great that Oracle was compelled to improve the software even further with the release of version 4 in 1984. Oracle version 4 included support for reading consistency, which made it much faster than any previous version. Oracle version 4 also brought us the introduction of the export/import utilities and the report writer, which allows one the ability to create a report based on a query.
1985 - Oracle release 5 With the introduction of version 5 in 1985, Oracle addressed the increasing use of the internet in business computing. This version was equipped with the capability to connect clients’ software through a network to a database server. The Clustering Technology was introduced in this version as well and Oracle became the pioneer using this new concept – which would later be known as Oracle Real Application Cluster in version 9i. Oracle version 5 added some new security features such as auditing, which would help determine who and when someone accessed the database. Oracle version 5.1 was launched in 1986 and allowed for supporting distributed queries. Later that same year Oracle released SQL*Plus, a tool that offers ad hoc data access and report writing. 1986 also brought the release of SQL*Forms, an application generator and runtime system with facilities for simple application deployment. 1988 - Oracle release 6 The PL/SQL language came with Oracle version 6 in 1988. This version provided a host of new features including the support of OLTP high-speed systems, hot backup capability and row level locking – which locks only the row or rows being used during a writing operation, rather than locking an entire table. Prior to the hot backup feature, database administrators were required to shut down the database to back it up. Once the hot backup feature was introduced, DBA’s could do a backup while the database was still online. Oracle Parallel Server was introduced in Oracle version 6.2 and was used with DEC VAX Cluster. This new feature provided high availability because more than one node (server) could access the data in database. With the increased availability this feature also accelerated the performance of the system that was sharing users’ connections between nodes. 1992 - Oracle release 7 1992 was a memorable year for Oracle. The company announced Oracle version 7, which was the culmination of four years of hard work and two years of customer testing before release to market. This version of Oracle provided a vast array of new features and capabilities in areas such as security, administration, development, and performance. Oracle 7 also addressed security concerns by providing full control of who, when, and what users were doing in the database. Version 7 also allowed us to monitor every command, the use of privileges and the user’s access to a particular item. With Oracle 7 users could use stored procedures and had triggers to enforce business-rules. Roles were created at this version to make the security maintenance easier for users and privileges. The two-phase commit was added to support distributed transactions. Oracle7 Release 7.1 introduced some good new capabilities for database administrators, such as parallel recovery and read-only tablespaces. For the application developments, Oracle inserted the
dynamic SQL, user-defined SQL functions and multiple same-type triggers. The first 64-bit DBMS was introduced within this version as well as the VLM (Very Large Memory) option. The feature Oracle Parallel Query could make some complex queries run 5 to 20 times faster. In 1996 Oracle 7.3 was shipped, offering customers the ability to manage all kinds of data types; including video, color images, sounds and spatial data. 1996 also brought the release of Oracle's first biometric authentication for a commercially available database. This technology could analyze human characteristics, both physical and behavioral, for purposes of authentication. 1997 - Oracle release 8 The Oracle 8 Database was launched in 1997 and was designed to work with Oracle's network computer (NC). This version supported Java, HTML and OLTP. 1998 - Oracle release 8i Just one year later Oracle released Oracle 8i which was the first database to support Web technologies such as Java and HTTP. In 2000 Oracle 8i Parallel Server was working with Linux which eliminated costly downtime. 2001 - Oracle release 9i Oracle Real Application Cluster came with Oracle 9i Database in 2001. This feature provides software for clustering and high availability in Oracle database environments. Supporting native XML was also a new feature of Oracle 9i and this was the first relational database to have these characteristics. Version 9i release 2 enabled Oracle to integrate relational and multidimensional database. Despite the fact that hard disks were becoming cheaper, data was increasing very quickly in databases and Oracle 9i came with a special technology named table compression that reduced the size of tables by 3 to 10 times and increased the performance when accessing those tables. 2003 - Oracle release 10g Although Oracle 9i had only been in the market for two years, Oracle launched version 10g in 2003. The release of 10g brought us the introduction to Grid Computing technology. Data centers could now share hardware resources, thus lowering the cost of computing infrastructure. 10g was also the first Oracle version to support 64-bit on Linux. With Oracle Database 10g and Real Application Cluster it was now possible to move from very expensive SMP boxes and mainframes to an infrastructure that relies on low costs such as UNIX or Windows servers, which have high availability, scalability and performance. Oracle has long strived to make their software products available through the internet; but this effort was only enhanced with the creation of the 10g Express Edition. With the introduction of the
10g Express Edition in 2005, Oracle gave small business and startup corporations a viable option to integrate Oracle into the workplace at no cost. 2007 - Oracle release 11g The latest version of Oracle Database is 11g which was released on July 11th 2007. This version introduced more features than any other in Oracle history. This version includes: Oracle Database Replay, a tool that captures SQL statements and lets you replay them all in another database to test the changes before you actually apply then on a production database; Transaction Management using Log Miner and Flashback Data Archive to get DML statements from redo log files; Virtual Column Partitioning; Case sensitive passwords; Online Patching; Parallel Backups on same file using RMAN and many others.
Oracle is known for growth and change, which is why it is important to continually study its history and previous lessons learned while embracing new features and functionality. Throughout its history Oracle has acquired Database and Software Applications companies in order to provide more complete solutions to its customers and increase the credibility of its products. Today Oracle has more than 320,000 customers and is present in 145 countries making it one of the elite companies in its field.
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