Oracle 12c Database: What is Oracle 12c?

There has been a lot of buzz recently about Oracle 12c. Everyone in any way related to Oracle technologies, really want to know what Oracle 12c is and why it is important. Well, simply put it is the next generation naming convention for all Oracle products. Previously it was 11g. With 12c Oracle is moving from Grid Computing to Cloud Computing. All the major products from Oracle whether it is a database or it is a Fusion Middleware product like Weblogic, JDeveloper etc., will all have 12c as the ending version convention.

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But all this sudden hype of Oracle 12c is due to the public availability of the 12cR1 of database, weblogic, JDeveloper and ADF products. The database being the premier of all those releases.

What’s New?

Every time Oracle changes the letter in the naming conventions of its products, especially the database product, it means that there are some changes in fundamental architecture. Whether it is shift from “i” to “g” or from “g” to “c” as it happened recently. Larry Ellison has said this in last year’s open world that this is the biggest change that they have done in quite sometime.

There are two things completely new to the 12c database when compared to 11g.

Cloud Readiness

The letter “C” in the 12c stands for Cloud computing. Oracle 12c is the first version of database which is Cloud ready by default. The architecture of database allows you to deploy your database to Cloud. The new concept of pluggable databases allows you to plug in and unplug a database from one system to another with a few very simple commands provided that both of your servers are running 12c version of database software.

So you can plug a database from your local data center to a cloud infrastructure and vice versa via few simple SQL commands. Its really that simple. Previously it was not possible and you had to follow some backup recovery related technique using RMAN to move your database. This Cloud readiness is made possible by the new architecture which divides the whole system into a Container and Pluggable databases. For a detailed understanding of this new architecture take a look at Container and Plugable Databases Concepts.


The concept of Multitenancy originates from Real State business. You divide a house into multiple portions so that multiple families can stay as tenants. Thus you increase the overall usage of particular building. There are some things which are supposed to be shared by all the tenants while keeping in mind the privacy of other tenants.

This concept is not new to Software development or Server deployments either. The Virtualization technology allows more than one Virtual server on one physical server. In Software development this concept was implemented using different Schemas for different business groups or organizations. Using these two methods the results were achieved but both approaches were not adequate. Both approaches allowed us to save Capital Investment but both demanded an increase in the operational costs.  Also the agility of the entire infrastructure suffered as it is not very easy to move things around once this method is used.

Keeping this in mind, Oracle has come up with the first ever database which has Multitenancy built into it. Starting from 12c every installation of the database software allows you to create one Container database and many pluggable databases. Pluggable databases are attached to the Container database with 12cR1 supporting upto 250 pluggable databases. This means that you can host upto 250 different applications against one database installation and you don’t have to worry about how to separate data of one application from the other.