Understanding Oracle Features and Options
Last Updated April 23, 2014
features and options constantly change, so please call your CSR or
check MOSC for the latest Oracle features and options packages.
Oracle is one of the world's most powerful and complex
software packages, and Oracle professionals often struggle
to understand its wealth of features and options.
savvy Oracle professional must carefully evaluate the
available options and choose the appropriate
implementation of Oracle that provides all of the features
that they require without buying features that they will
When downgrading from Oracle EE to SE you must carefully test to
ensure that you are not using any EE features and many shops will hire
an Oracle licensing expert to certify a new database for SE.
Oracle licensing is quite complex.
List of features by release
The allowed features within each release change, so please refer to
these Oracle documents:
11g product family and features by release (SE1 SE and EE)
Oracle 10g product family and features by database edition
Oracle currently has three main "editions" of the
Oracle database, each with different features and prices:
Oracle Express (XE) - Oracle Express
contain some DBA features, including basic read-only
Enterprise Edition (EE) - The flagship Oracle
offering with a vast array of tools and features for the
Standard Edition (SE) - Oracle SE contains
the basic database management functions for small- and
medium-sized shops at a far lower cost than the EE.
Standard edition also has RMAN.
Standard Edition One (SEO) - Oracle SEO is
specially-priced for single CPU servers used by small
Oracle Enterprise Edition
When choosing the appropriate Oracle edition for your
shop you must recognize those database features that you
really need. There are many features of EE that are not
available in SE, for example.
Many companies that choose to forgo the advanced
features of the Enterprise Edition may save thousands of
dollars per year in licensing fees. The features available
in Oracle Enterprise Edition that are not available in
Oracle SE and SEO include many features that your
application may not require.
Note: This article was first written in 2005 and things
change, so please re-verify this information.
- Advanced Replication - This tool provides one-way and
multi-master replication (via database links) for
distributed systems using the dbms_repcat package.
- Transparent Application Failover (TAF) - Used to
re-direct in-flight transactions to a failover database
in the case of a server crash.
is available in Oracle SEO as of release 10.1.
- Fast-start fault recovery - This is a method for
quickly recover and synchronize the Oracle database in
cases of hardware failure.
- Oracle Data Guard - Data Guard is a semi-automated
standby/failover database for database replication.
- Advanced Queuing - A software scheduling package for
advanced scheduling the serialization using the dbms_aqadm package.
This is available in Oracle SEO as
of release 10.1.
- SQL Optimizer Plan Stability (Stored Outlines) -
This is a tool to freeze Oracle execution plans during
software upgrades and change vendor SQL when you cannot
touch the source SQL.
- Online index rebuilds - The ability to rebuild an
Oracle index while it is being updated.
- Export transportable tablespaces - This provides the
ability to transfer encapsulated tablespaces between
- Materialized Views - This is a powerful tool to
allow for the pre-summarization of aggregate data
(averages, counts, sums) and pre-join tables together.
Materialized views are especially useful in low-update
databases and data warehouses.
This is available in Oracle SEO as of release 10.1.
- Bitmap indexes - Bitmaps are a unique indexing
structure for fast combinations of low-cardinality data
columns. Bitmap indexes are especially powerful for data
warehouses and low-update databases. Bitmap index
can only be used with Oracle Enterprise Edition (EE),
not Standard Edition. Hence, STAR transformation
queries are impossible on Oracle SE and SEO.
- Oracle Parallel Query (OPQ) - Parallel query is a
divide-and conquer approach whereby Symmetric
Multiprocessing (SMP) and Massively Parallel Processors
(MPP) can get super-fast response time for large-table
- Parallel DML - This is the ability to perform
database changes (inserts, updates, deletes) in
- Parallel index rebuilding - This allows large Oracle
indexes to be rebuilt in a fraction of the time required
by a single CPU system.
- Parallel index scans - This feature allows for
parallel fast full-index scans and multi-block reads of
index data blocks.
- Parallel backup & recovery - This allows Oracle RMAN
backups to be parallelized for super-fast backups of
- Incremental backup & recovery - This feature tracks
database changes and only backs-up those components that
have been changed since the last backup.
- Oracle connection manager (CMAN) - Thos tool is used
for Oracle databases that must support large volumes of
concurrent user connections.
- Oracle Streams - Oracle offers many different
methods for database failover including standby
database, Oracle Data Guard, Oracle RAC and Oracle
Streams. Oracle Streams provides high-speed system
replication and failover software for mission-critical
Reader comment on Oracle
Streams: "I have found contradictory
information about Oracle Streams… appears to be available
with 10.1 SE/SEO, at least as far as AQ requires… The
matrix on MOSC for “Differences Between Different
Editions of Oracle Database 10G Release 1” says that
Oracle Streams is not available; but, AQ uses Oracle
Streams, and AQ is available, therefore, some aspect of
Oracle Streams is available. " - David Russell,
3E Company, 5./12/2009
Function-based in indexes: - Oracle SE
may allow you to create a function-based index, but you must
pay for an EE license to use FBI’s.
Tablespace point in time recovery (TSPITR)
- This feature will give the error RMAN-06455:
Tablespace Point-in-Time Recovery requires Enterprise
Edition if tablespace point in time recovery is
attempted to be used in SE.
Flashback Data Archive - Starting with
126.96.36.199 Total Recall ( now named the Flashback Data
Archive) no longer needs additional licensing In Oracle
standard edition SE.
Extra-cost Oracle Options
In addition, Oracle offers many extra-cost database
features that you can buy independently from the
edition. These include:
Partitioning Option - Oracle divide-and-conquer
approach for super-large databases. Partitioning is
generally used for databases over 100 gigabytes.
Oracle Real Application Clusters (RAC) - RAC is the
Oracle flagship software for scalability and high
availability. Free with Oracle Standard Edition and
extra-cost with Enterprise Edition, RAC is an integral part of Oracle10g Grid
computing, Oracle RAC is an extra-cost option for
systems that require continuous availability and
Oracle OLAP - Oracle is a leader in data warehouse
technology and has Online Analytical Processing (OLAP)
tools for advanced decision support and multi-terabyte
Oracle Data Mining - Advanced data warehouse systems
require tools to locate hidden trends and correlations.
Oracle offers a tool with advanced artificial
intelligence for finding hidden data correlations in
- Oracle Database Diagnostic Pack - This covers access
to the Oracle10g AWR and ADDM components:
- AWR - Automatic Workload Repository
- dbms_workload_repository package
- awrrpt.sql and awrrpti.sql reports
- dba_hist_* and v$active_session_history views
- ADDM - Automatic Database Diagnostic Monitor
- All dbms_advisor package with "ADDM" as the
value to the "advisor_name" parameter.
- The addmrpt.sql, addmrpti.sql reports
- Views starting with dba_advisor_* of all tasks
generated by ADDM (i.e. tasks with "ADDM" as the
"advisor_name" column in dba_advisor_tasks view)
Oracle advanced Security - Oracle advanced Security
provides sophisticated security control for confidential
and secure data systems.
Oracle Tuning Pack - Oracle provides a full-suite of
online tools for tuning the Oracle database. Integrated
with the Oracle Enterprise Manager, Oracle tuning pack
competes with many 3rd-party vendor tuning products.
Oracle Change Management Pack - The change
management pack provides complete version control and
database change auditing.
Auditing use of Oracle features
Oracle10g has auditing to tell if you have been
querying the Oracle10g Automated Session History views, an
extra-cost option according to sources at Oracle. The
DBA_HIGH_WATER_MARK_STATISTICS views tell if you have been
using specific Oracle features.
It is imperative that the Oracle professional
understand the features and options within the bewildering
array of Oracle software offerings. By choosing the
correct options, Oracle pros can save their company
thousands of dollars and ensure that they have the right
software for their application.
BEWARE: Just because a features works, that does not
necessarily mean that you are licensed to use the feature!
Some Oracle features are allowed without explicitly
purchasing any extra-cost options.
querying any AWR tables is allowed in EE but it
triggers an internal Oracle system audit that may require
you to purchase the extra-cost performance and diagnostic packs.
For more details on the features of Oracle standard edition
vs. enterprise Edition (EE) see these MOSC notes:
- Oracle 10g Standard vs. Enterprise Features: MOSC Note
271886.1: Differences Between Different Editions of Oracle
- Oracle 10g r2 SE vs. EE Features: MOSC Note 465465.1:
Differences Between Enterprise, Standard and Personal Editions on
- Oracle 11g release 1 .1 SE vs. EE Features: MOSC Note
465460.1 Differences Between Enterprise, Standard and Personal
Editions on Oracle 11.1