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Oracle 12c Container and Plugable Databases

The Oracle 12c Database has the most new features ever released with any version of any database. As you might have guessed from it’s name, the new version is more focused on Cloud Computing. Larry Ellison had pointed out in his Keynote session, at Openworld 2012, that in-fact it is the biggest release of database that they have done in quite some time. This time there have been some drastic architectural changes in this version, with about 500 new features!

Oracle 12c Container and Plugable Databases

It is a major design change on how Oracle deals with databases and the underlying architecture. This is the most talked about feature in Oracle 12c. Oracle introduces the concept of Container databases and Pluggable databases. The container database has all the metadata which will be inherited by the core Oracle components when it is installed. Pluggable databases will store user’s data and other pertinent metadata.

This concept is similar to the virtual machines in a virtualized environment, hosted on a physical server machine. The virtualized software runs different virtual machines on the host operating system, with each of the virtual machines dependent on the host but having their own identity and their own specific purpose. Additionally the individual machines are also independent of the other. Here, in 12c database, it is defined as a multitenant database with the Container database as a host operating system and each individual virtual machine as a Pluggable database. The main advantage is obvious. Just like in a virtualized server, here too we will be able to better make use of the hardware resources. How?
When you install Oracle Database 12C, a Container database will be created. This database will have all the metadata information related to the Oracle software and will also host the SYSTEM and SYSAUX tablespaces. Then with every new Pluggable database, the SYSTEM and SYSAUX tablespaces will not be created, rather only tablespaces to store user’s data and metadata inside the Pluggable database. The SGA memory area and background is shared between all the new pluggable databases. Each of this Container database can support roughly up to 250 pluggable databases. Each pluggable database in turn will be used as a service by any other application or database.
Apart from this obvious advantage of better resource utilization there are also numerous other advantages. Pluggable databases will be easy to back-up and move to another system. Patching or upgrading the Container database will automatically update all the pluggable databases. Another major advantage is having a single point of administration. From the development perspective developers will not have to worry about implementing Multitenancy into their application code. Rather the simple process of creating a separate database for every different potential tenant will do the trick more easily and more efficiently. Separation of these Plugin databases will also help satisfy Security concerns for some applications.


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