database options

Before we dive into features and functions of database as a service, we need to look at the options that you have with the Oracle Database. We have discussed the differences between Standard Edition and Enterprise Edition but we really have not talked about the database options. When we select a database in the Oracle Cloud we are given the choice of Enterprise Edition, High Performance Edition, and Extreme Performance Edition. Today we are going to dive into the different Editions and talk about the options that you get with each option. It is important to note that all of the options are extra cost options that are licensed on a per processor or per user basis. If you go with Amazon RDS, EC2, or Azure Compute you need to purchase these options to match your processor deployment.

One of the standard slides that I use to explain the differences in the editions is shown below.

The options are cumulative when you look at them. The Enterprise Edition, for example, comes with Transparent Data Encryption (TDE). TDE is also included in the High Performance and Extreme Performance Editions. We are going to pull the pricing for all of these options from the Technology Price List. Below is a list of the options.

  • Enterprise Edition
    • Transparent Data Encryption
  • High Performance Edition
    • Diagnostics
    • Tuning
    • Partitioning
    • Advanced Compression
    • Advanced Security
    • Data Guard
    • Label Security
    • Multitenant
    • Audit Vault
    • Database Vault
    • Real Application Testing
    • OLAP
    • Spatial and Graphics
  • Extreme Performance Edition
    • Active Data Guard
    • In Memory
    • Real Application Clusters (RAC)
    • RAC One

Transparent Data Encryption

TDE is a subset of the Advanced Security option. TDE stops would-be attackers from bypassing the database and reading sensitive information from storage by enforcing data-at-rest encryption in the database layer. Data is stored in the table extents encrypted and read into the database encrypted. The Oracle Wallet is needed to read the data back and perform operations on the data. Advanced Security and Security Inside Out are blogs to dive deeper into TDE features, functions, and tutorials. There is also a Community Security Discussion Forum. The Advanced Security option is priced at $300 per named user or $15,000 per processor. If we assume a four year amortization the cost of this option is $587.50 per month per processor. The database license is $1,860 per month per processor. This says that a dual core system on Amazon EC2, RDS, or Azure Compute running the Oracle database will cost you the cost of the server plus $2,448 per month. If we go with a t2.large on Amazon EC2 (2 vCPUs and 8 GB of RAM) and 128 GB of disk our charge is $128 per month. If we bump this up to an r3.large (2 vCPU, 15 GB of RAM) the price goes up to $173 per month. The cost will be $2,620 per month which compares to Enterprise Edition at $3,000 per month per processor for PaaS/DBaaS. We could also run this in Oracle IaaS Compute at $150 per month (2 vCPUs, 30 GB of RAM) to compare apples to apples. It is strongly recommended that any data that you put in the cloud be encrypted. Security is good in the cloud but encryption of data in storage is much better. When you replicate data or backup data it is copied in the format that it is stored in. If your data is clear text, your backups could be clear text thus exposing you to potential loss of data. Encrypting the data at rest is storage is a baseline for running database in the cloud.


Diagnostics is a subset of the Database Management Packs that allows you to look into the database and figure out things like lock contention, what is holding up a wait queue, and what resources are being consumed by processes inside the database. Historic views into the automated workload repository (AWR) reports are available with this option. You can get spot options but not historical views and comparative analytics on AWR information. Some of the tools are free like compression advisor and partitioning advisor while others are part of the diagnostics pack. Diagnostics are licensed at $150 per named user or $7,500 per processor. This correlates to $294 per processor per month. Unfortunately, you can’t purchase Enterprise Edition DBaaS and add this but need to go with IaaS Compute and add this to the bring your own database license. The only way to get this feature is to go with the High Performance Edition. The binary that is installed on the cloud service specifically labels the database as Enterprise Edition, High Performance Edition, or Extreme Performance Edition. All of the features listed from here and below are prohibited from running on the Enterprise Edition when provisioned into the Oracle DBaaS. If you just want Diagnostics Pack on Enterprise Edition it does not make economic sense to purchase High Performance Edition at $4,000 per month per processor when you can do this on IaaS at $2,914 (the $2,620 from above plus $294).


Tuning is also a subset of the Database Management Packs that allows you to look into sql queries, table layouts, and overall performance issues. Options like the SQL Tuning Advisor and Automatic SQL Tuning are part of this option. Tuning pack is $100 per named user or $5,000 per processor. This comes in at $196 per processor per month if purchased separately. A Tuning Whitepaper details some of the features and functions of the tuning pack if you want to learn more.


Partitioning is a way of improving performance of your database and backup by splitting how data is stored and read.
Partitioning is powerful functionality that allows tables, indexes, and index-organized tables to be subdivided into smaller pieces, enabling these database objects to be managed and accessed at a finer level of granularity. Oracle provides a comprehensive range of partitioning schemes to address every business requirement. The key improvement is to reduce the amount of data that you are reading into memory on a query. For example, if you are looking for financial summary data for the last quarter, issuing a query into eight years of financial data should not need to read in 32 quarters of data but only data from the last quarter. If we partition the data on a monthly basis we only read in three partitions rather than all 32. Partitioning also allows us to compress older data to consume less storage while at rest. When we backup the database we don’t need to copy the older partitions that don’t change, only backup the partitions that have updated since our last backup. Partitioning is licensed at $230 per named user or $11,500 per processor. This comes in at $450 per processor per month. The three most purchased database options are diagnostics, tuning, and partitioning. The combined cost of these three options is $940 per processor per month. When we compare the $4,000 per processor per month of DBaaS to IaaS with these three options we are at parity.

Advanced Compression

Advanced Compression is a feature that allows you to compress data at rest (and in memory) so that it consumes less resources. Oracle Advanced Compression provides a comprehensive set of compression capabilities to help improve performance and reduce storage costs. It allows organizations to reduce their overall database storage footprint by enabling compression for all types of data: relational (table), unstructured (file), network, Data Guard Redo and backup data. Cost comparisons for this feature are directly comparable to storage costs. Advanced compression is licensed at $230 per named user or $11,500 per processor. This comes in at $450 per processor per month. Typical compression ratios are 3x to 10x compressions. This means that 1 TB of data will take up 600 GB or 100 GB at these compression ratios. Lower compression rates are recommended for data that lightly changes and high compression for data that will not change. The penalty for compression comes in when you update data that is compressed. The data must be uncompressed, the new data inserted, and recompressed.

Advanced Security

Advanced Security allows you to secure and encrypt data in the database. Advanced Security provides two important preventive controls to protect sensitive data at the source including transparent database encryption and on-the-fly redaction of display data. TDE stops would-be attackers from bypassing the database and reading sensitive information directly from storage by enforcing data-at-rest encryption in the database layer. Data Redaction complements TDE by reducing the risk of unauthorized data exposure in applications, redacting sensitive data before it leaves the database. Advanced Security is priced at $300 per named user and $15,000 per processor. The monthly cost will be $587.50 per month per processor for this option. Data redaction is typically required for replicating production data to development and test. If you have credit card, social security numbers, home addresses, or drivers license information in your database, redaction is important to have to remain Sarbanes Oxly and PCI compliant.

Data Guard

Data Guard is a key foundation piece of Maximum Availability Architecture and does not cost any additional money. You get data replication between two databases at no additional cost and data can be replicated as physical or logical replication between the database instances. This feature ensures high availability, data protection, and disaster recovery for enterprise data. Data Guard provides a comprehensive set of services that create, maintain, manage, and monitor one or more standby databases to enable production Oracle databases to survive disasters and data corruptions. Data Guard maintains these standby databases as transactionally consistent copies of the production database. Then, if the production database becomes unavailable because of a planned or an unplanned outage, Data Guard can switch any standby database to the production role, minimizing the downtime associated with the outage. Data Guard can be used with traditional backup, restoration, and cluster techniques to provide a high level of data protection and data availability. It is important to note that Data Guard is not allowed in Amazon RDS and you must use EC2 or another cloud service to use this feature.

Label Security

Label Security has the ability to control access based on data classification and to enforce traditional multi-level security (MLS) policies for government and defense applications. Oracle Label Security
benefits commercial organizations attempting to address numerous access control
challenges including those associated with database and application consolidation,
privacy laws and regulatory compliance requirements. When a user requests data, the database looks at the user credentials and roles that they have access to and filters the results that the user sees from a query. Label Security is licensed at $230 per named user or $11,500 per processor. This comes in at $450 per processor per month. Note that this is different than data redaction. With redaction, data is scrambled when data is copied. With Label Security, the data is not returned if the user does not have rights to read the data. An error is not returned from a query but a null value is returned if the user does not have rights to read a column. The biggest benefit to this option it does not require program changes to restrict access to data and present results to users. If, for example, we are going to show sales in a customer relationship program, we don’t need to change the code based on the user being a sales rep or sales manager. The sales manager can see all of the sales rep information to track how their team is performing. Each sales rep can see their data but not the other sales rep data. It is important to note that Label Security is not allowed in Amazon RDS and you must use EC2 or another cloud service to use this feature.


Multitenant or Pluggable Database allows you to consolidate instances onto one server and reduce your overall management cost. The many pluggable databases in a single multitenant container database share its memory and background processes. This enables consolidation of many more pluggable databases compared to the old architecture, offering similar benefits to schema-based consolidation but with none of the major application changes required by that approach. Backups are done at the parent layer. Users are provisioned at the pluggable layer. Features of the instance (RAC, DataGuard, etc) are inherent to the parent and adopted by the pluggable container. To take a test system from single instance to data guard replicated only requires unplugging the database from the single instance system and plugging it into a data guard system. The same is true for RAC and all other features. Multitenant is licensed at $350 per user or $17,500 per processor. This come in at $685 per processor per month. It is important to note that this option is not available on Amazon RDS. This option is specifically disabled and not allowed. You must run this on EC2 to use this functionality or on another cloud platform.

Audit Vault

Audit Vault and Database Firewall monitors Oracle and non-Oracle database traffic to detect and block threats, as well as improves compliance reporting by consolidating audit data from databases, operating systems, directories, and other sources. Audit vault is licensed at $6,000 per processor and is not available on a per user basis. This comes in at $235 per processor per month. This option typically requires a separate server for security reasons where logs and logging information is copied to prevent data to be manipulated on a single system and the auditing system.

Database Vault

Database Vault reduces the risk of insider and outsider threats and addresses common compliance requirements by preventing privileged users (DBA) from accessing sensitive application data,
preventing compromised privileged users accounts from being used to steal sensitive data or make unauthorized changes to databases and applications,
providing strong controls inside the database over who can do what and controls over when and how applications, data and databases can be accessed,
providing privilege analysis for all users and applications inside the database to help achieve least privilege model and make the databases and applications more secure. Database Vault is licensed at $230 per named user or $11,500 per processor. This comes in at $450 per processor per month. It is important to note that this option is not available on Amazon RDS. This option is specifically disabled and not allowed. You must run this on EC2 to use this functionality or on another cloud platform.

Real Application Testing

Real Application Testing helps you fully assess the effect of such system changes on real-world applications in test environments before deploying the change in production. Oracle Real Application Testing consists of two features, Database Replay and SQL Performance Analyzer. Together they enable enterprises to rapidly adopt new technologies that add value to the business while minimizing risk. Traces can be recorded for reads and writes and replayed on a test system. This makes the replay option perfect for development and testing instances. The product is licensed at $230 per named user or $11,500 per processor. This comes in at $450 per processor per month. It is important to note that not having the sys level access might or might not break this feature in Amazon RDS based on what you are trying to replay.


Online Analytics Processing or OLAP is a multidimensional analytic engine embedded in Oracle Database 12c. Oracle OLAP cubes deliver sophisticated calculations using simple SQL queries – producing results with speed of thought response times. This outstanding query performance may be leveraged transparently when deploying OLAP cubes as materialized views – enhancing the performance of summary queries against detail relational tables. Because Oracle OLAP is embedded in Oracle Database 12c, it allows centralized management of data and business rules in a secure, scalable and enterprise-ready platform. OLAP is licensed at $460 per user or $23,000 per processor. This comes in at $901 per processor per month. This feature is good for BI Analytics packages and Data Warehouse systems.

Spatial and Graphics

Spatial and Graphics supports a full range of geospatial data and analytics for land management and GIS, mobile location services, sales territory management, transportation, LiDAR analysis and location-enabled Business Intelligence. The graph features include RDF graphs for applications ranging from semantic data integration to social network analysis to linked open data and network graphs used in transportation, utilities, energy and telcos and drive-time analysis for sales and marketing applications. This option is licensed at $350 per user or $17,500 per processor. This come in at $685 per processor per month. It is important to note that this option is not supported in Amazon RDS. You must select EC2 or another cloud service to get this option.

All of the above options are bundled into the High Performance Edition. If we add up all of the options we get a total of

  • Transparent Data Encryption – $587.50 per month
  • Diagnostics – $294 per month
  • Tuning – $196 per month
  • Partitioning – $450 per month
  • Advanced Compression – $450 per month
  • Advanced Security – $587.50 per month
  • Data Guard – bundled
  • Label Security – $450 per month
  • Multitenant – $685 per month
  • Audit Vault – $235 per month
  • Database Vault – $450 per month
  • Real Application Testing – $450 per month
  • OLAP – $901 per month
  • Spatial and Graphics – $685 per month

This roughly bubbles up to $5,833.50 per processor per month for the High Performance options. Oracle bundles all of this for an additional $1000 per processor per month. The Extreme Performance Edition options include Active Data Guard, In Memory, and RAC.

Active Data Guard

Active Data Guard has the same features and functions as Data Guard but allows the target database to be open for read/write and updates happen bidirectionally. Active Data Guard is licensed at $230 per user or $11,500 per processor. This come in at $450 per processor per month.

In Memory

In Memory optimizes both analytics and mixed workload OLTP, delivering outstanding performance for transactions while simultaneously supporting real-time analytics, business intelligence, and reports. Most DBAs optimize performance by creating indexes to find data quicker. This works if you know the questions ahead of time. If you don’t know the question it is difficult to tune for everything. In Memory allows you to create a row based copy of the data as well as a column based copy of the data for quick column sorts and searches. In Memory is licensed at $460 per user or $23,000 per processor. This come in at $901 per month per processor. The key advantage of this option is that it prevents you from purchasing a second database to do analytics and reporting on the same box as your transactional system.

Real Application Clusters (RAC)

RAC is a cluster database with a shared cache architecture that overcomes the limitations of traditional shared-nothing and shared-disk approaches to provide highly scalable and available database solutions for all your business applications. Oracle RAC is a key component of Oracle’s private cloud architecture. Oracle RAC support is included in the Oracle Database Standard Edition for higher levels of system uptime and a critical part of the MAA strategy. RAC is licensed at $460 per user or $23,000 per processor. This come in at $901 per month per processor. It is important to note that RAC is not supported in Amazon or Azure. The system requires shared storage between compute instances that neither platforms provide. The only option for this configuration is Oracle DBaaS/PaaS.

The options for Extreme performance come in at $2,252 per processor per month but Oracle only charges an extra $1000 with Extreme Edition.

In Summary, there are a ton of options for the database. You need to figure out what options you need and if you need more than a couple it is economically beneficial to go with High Performance. If you need RAC, Active Data Guard, or In Memory you must purchase the Extreme Performance Edition. It is also important to note that not all features are supported in Amazon RDS and you must either go with Oracle Database as a Service or build a system using IaaS. RAC is the only exception where it is only available with Oracle DBaaS. We will go into a couple of these features in upcoming days to look at the value, how to use, and what is required to make the functionality work with other cloud providers.

Oracle Database 12c SQL by Jason Price

Given that we have a database in Amazon RDS and Oracle PaaS we can go through some books from Oracle Press and see if anything breaks running through a book. Let’s start with something simple, Oracle Database 12c SQL by Jason Price, published by Oracle Press. This is an introductory book that goes through the basic data types, sql commands, and an introduction of XML at the end of the book. The material should be relatively straightforward and not have any issues or problems executing the sample code. The sample code can be downloaded from Oracle Press Books by searching for the book title and downloading the Chapter 1 sample code. This will give us a way to load a table with data and execute code against the table. We will use SQL Developer to execute the code from d:\workshops\sql books\SQL and see what works and what does not work.

To get started, we need to use our Amazon RDS instance and SQL Developer that we installed yesterday. We connect with the user oracle to port 1521 after opening up the port to anyone. From this connection we can execute sql code in the main part of the SQL Developer window and load the sample code to execute. We can test the connection with the following command

select sysdate from dual;

we can follow along the book and create the user store, load the schema into the database, and look at the examples throughout the book.

Everything worked on Amazon RDS. We were able to create users, grant them audit functionality, execute XML code, and generally do everything listed in the book. The audit did not report back as expected but this could have been a user error. According to the Amazon RDS Documentation audting should work. We might not have had something set properly to report back the right information.

In summary, the Amazon RDS is a good platform to learn how to program 12c SQL and the various user level commands. If you go through a book like Oracle Database 12c SQL everything should work. This or the Oracle PaaS equivalent make an excellent sandbox that you can use for a day or two and turn off minimizing your cost of experimenting.