April 4, 2011

Some thoughts on Oracle Express Edition

I was asked by a press person about Oracle 11g Express Edition. So I might as well also share my thoughts here.

1.  Oracle 11g Express Edition is seriously crippled. E.g., it’s limited to 1 GB of RAM and 11 GB of data. However …

2.  … I recall when I excitedly uncovered the first 1 GB relational databases, the way I’ve uncovered petabyte-scale databases in recent years. It was less than 20 years ago. This illustrates that …

3. … the Oracle 11g Express Edition crippleware is better than what top relational database users had 20 years ago. That in turn suggests …

4.  … there are plenty of businesses small enough to use Oracle 11g Express Edition for real work today.

5.  Sensible reasons for having an Oracle Express Edition start with test, development, and evaluation. But there’s also market seeding — if somebody uses it for whatever reason, then either the person, the organization, or both could at some point go on to be a real Oracle customer.

By the way, allowable database size of 11 GB is up from 4 GB a few years ago. That’s like treading water. :)

Comments

6 Responses to “Some thoughts on Oracle Express Edition”

  1. David Aldridge on April 4th, 2011 12:26 pm

    There’s a complete comparison of editions here, albeit a little out of date (it still refers to a 4GB limit): http://www.oracle.com/us/products/database/product-editions-066501.html

    From the business intelligence perspective I think it fair to say that all editions short of Enterprise are crippled to one degree or another, and even with EE there are options that should be considered almost essential (partitioning, advanced compression, summary management). So in one way the situation is worse than you portray.

    However I think your fifth point does not really hold up because all editions are available for download free of charge for development, test and evaluation purposes, so if you were evaluating for BI work it would make sense to use EE under those terms. (IANAL, mind you).

    I do think you’re right on the mark with the seeding comment, and it’s also a great edition for educational purposes as the last hurdle a Java Person with an Inquiring Mind and a Willingness To Learn wants to face before trying a few queries is a full Oracle install. XE provides just the same locking and concurrency model as every other Oracle edition, which is something well worth learning.

  2. Curt Monash on April 4th, 2011 3:48 pm

    David,

    If you’re suggesting that Oracle Express Edition is better suited for transactional or general-purpose uses than BI, I’m not about to argue with you.

    Of course, even if one has 100,000 rows, there can often be a need to do real BI, and in such a case the product might actually suffice.

  3. Leon Katsnelson on April 4th, 2011 4:42 pm

    The only available Oracle Express version is 10g R2. I’ve blogged about it http://bit.ly/arAunM

    Oracle just made a beta of Oracle Express 11g available after neglecting to ship a single update for years leaving people with hundreds of known security vulnerabilities. There are lots of great free DBMS but Oracle Express is not one of them. Take a look at IBM DB2 Express-C. It has no limitations on the size of the database at all, runs on variety of operating systems and will use 2 processor cores and 2GB of memory. It is completely free for production use and even redistribution and upgrading to a more capable version is a simple license activation (no reinstall). This upgrade can be had for less than $2000/server/year or $6000/server for perpetual license. That is less than half price of comparable MySQL.

  4. Jeffrey Kemp on April 4th, 2011 7:20 pm

    I’ve been running a small website on XE 10g for years now, and haven’t had any problems with the 4GB / 1GB limits. It’s perfect for our needs, especially after upgrading to Apex 4.0.

    The new version, once it’s officially released, will certainly be a bonus though! However, I do lament the lack of flashback and result caching.

  5. Find Tech News » Oracle Releases Beta for Express Edition of 11g Database on April 4th, 2011 9:05 pm

    [...] database users had 20 years ago,” said analyst Curt Monash of Monash Research, in a blog post on Monday. “That in turn suggests there are plenty of businesses small enough to use Oracle [...]

  6. Curt Monash on April 4th, 2011 11:54 pm

    Leon,

    Sounds like IBM’s approach is closer to what I like to see companies do. But that’s for their sake more than the users’. I can’t come up with a rule about how good a free product has to be before you let users use it. I just think companies should be proud of everything they offer.

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