What is Oracle?

OracleIn the technology industry, Oracle is one of the biggest names after Microsoft, Google and Apple, but you might not know what Oracle is if you don’t have experience with enterprise software. When most people talk about Oracle, they’re talking about the relational database that’s used in dynamic Web programming, but the company Oracle is the largest producer of software products after Microsoft.

Products Made by Oracle

In 2011, Oracle acquired Sun Microsystems, making it a producer of both software and hardware, according to Forbes. The $7.4-billion acquisition made Oracle the maintainer of the Java programming language and all the related enterprise software. It also made the company responsible for Sun’s RISC-, ARM- and x86-based devices that run embedded Java applications. The enterprise software made by Oracle includes the well-known, proprietary database system Oracle Database as well as Oracle Fusion, a middleware solution for businesses, and many business networking products, such as PeopleSoft and the Oracle E-Business Suite.

In addition to Oracle Database, the company also owns MySQL, the most popular open-source relational database in the world. Both MySQL and Oracle Database are relational databases, which store data in related sequences of rows and columns for structured access. Oracle also maintains the NoSQL database system, short for Not Only SQL, which simplifies queries in time-sensitive situations, allowing business analytics to be measured without slowing down the software. For example, NoSQL can be used in game design to return search query results without bogging down the game mechanics. These results tell developers how well the software performs and provide user data for fine-tuning the software.

What Oracle is Known For

Oracle and MySQL database management systems are used in most websites on the Internet. Oracle is the most popular proprietary database software, and MySQL is the most popular open-source alternative. There are differences in the way data is accessed from each database, but they’re both based on the Structured Query Language of the relational database model. In Web programming, a database table can store any data needed to populate Web pages with text, images or files. The data can be account details associated with different users, text posted to forum threads, social media updates, blog posts or any other type of dynamic content.

A typical Web application project creates separate tables for each type of data that the website will store. A complicated website can store hundreds of tables in one database file that grows as the website collects data from users logging in. Oracle Database is closed, proprietary software that requires a paid license to be used in enterprise applications. Most independent Web developers use the free, open-source alternative MySQL, although many websites also use PostgreSQL and SQLite. In general, however, these systems don’t offer the stability or feature sets needed for major enterprise development.

Oracle was founded in 1977 by Larry Ellison, Bob Miner and Ed Oates. Ellison was a former employee of Ampex, a firm that worked on technology projects for the CIA. In 2014, he was listed as the third richest man in America, with a fortune of more than $56 billion.

Related Resource: SQL Language

Enterprise software makes up a significant portion of the software on the market, and most of it is written in Java and uses Oracle Database. If you want to be a software engineer, it’s good to know what Oracle is and to get up to speed on enterprise development.