Oracle can be installed on Windows, UNIX, IBM, Solaris, SGI, and many other platforms. It can also be installed on parallel servers.
The Oracle object-relational database server handles all your data, security, and file management processes.
Each Oracle database is called a database instance.
Relational tables are stored in the database, including their structure, data, relationships to other tables, and privileges granted to users for viewing and modifying the table. Tables are grouped into sets called schemas.
The underlying file structure is defined by the Database Administrator (DBA). In general, a table is mapped to a logical tablespace, which is in turn mapped to one or more physical files.
Object tables are stored the same way as relational tables.
Oracle Network Services (formerly Net8) is the communication conduit between the database server and Oracle tools on both the server and the client side.
SQL*Plus is the programming environment where you can create and execute SQL code.
Use EXP (a command line call) to export database information into a compressed and portable file. Use IMP to read the compressed file and import the information into another Oracle database instance.
Use Loader to read files in a variety of formats (such as the typical comma-delimited file) and load the information into Oracle tables.
Oracle provides pre-compilers for various languages, such as COBOL and FORTRAN. These simplify programming by allowing you to embed SQL code directly into your application code.
The Server Manager (svrmgr) program is a command line environment for use by the DBA to start and stop the database and to run SQL commands.
Oracle supports client software on many platforms, including Windows OS, Linux, UNIX and Solaris.
SQL*Plus appears on both the client and server side. On the client side, SQL*Plus has a Windows-like look and feel.
Several database assistants are packaged with the client software, including one for creating Web-based reports and one for converting Microsoft Access tables into Oracle tables.
Enterprise Manager is a complete set of Java-based tools for managing your Oracle database, from creating users and tables to signaling you by email when your database runs out of space.
Oracle Network Services appears on the client side as a communication link between the client and the server. Transactions are translated to standard network protocols (such as TCP/IP).