Oracle has long been the largest RDBMS vendor and is now a global provider of enterprise cloud computing, offering software as a service, platform as a service, infrastructure as a service and data as a service capabilities. The company employs more than 138,000 people worldwide. With over 430,000 customers and deployments, Oracle offers a comprehensive stack of cloud applications, platform services and engineered systems.
Over time, a strong data management offering for data and analytics has developed. For a long time the focus was on the Oracle database (including the Oracle Data Warehouse Builder). With these tools working together, DWH systems could be implemented on a database originally developed for OLTP workloads. The relational database has been developed significantly since version 11 to support analytical workloads while valuable functions and in-memory options have been added. The current version (19c at the time of writing) supports JSON, machine learning and more. Oracle Database is widely used today, and as a data warehouse system too. Version 19c runs in the cloud or on-premises and forms the basis of the Oracle Autonomous Data Warehouse.
In the area of data and analytics, the Oracle portfolio includes data integration and data quality solutions, solutions for master data management, industry solutions, IoT solutions and more. For data storage, Oracle offers not only the Oracle database but also systems optimized for analysis. For on-premises installations, Oracle Exadata and the Oracle Big Data Appliance offer powerful massively parallel query engines, which are delivered pre-configured with the appropriate hardware. These technologies are also available in the cloud. Here, Oracle pushes the Autonomous Data Warehouse, a cloud database service, which can serve different workloads for BI and analytics or transactional workloads. In addition, NoSQL database services are available for the implementation of special applications.
The Oracle database itself is a massively parallel database, which can be distinguished from other databases primarily through its shared disk architecture. In addition to storage on disk, in-memory is also available and storage organization forms optimized for analytics are supported for different data formats. The database has matured over the years and so there are numerous configuration options for data management, which allow granular settings. One example is the data protection functions, which permit data anonymization down to field level. In response to the hype around digitalization and the rise of analytics, the Oracle database has been upgraded to support “big data workloads”. This refers primarily to the storage and query of polystructured data.
Overall, the wide range of Oracle databases with overlapping functionality is confusing. However, there is clearly a growing emphasis on the cloud, where most of Oracle’s investment and innovation is happening. The Oracle database offers a solid platform and Oracle should certainly be considered by companies with extensive analytical requirements.
User & Use Cases
The “Tasks in use” chart reveals some anomalies for a database technology. 73 percent of respondents use the database for data integration. This is an amazingly high percentage, but it is understandable because data is integrated in a data warehouse for querying. SQL resources from the database portfolio can be used for this purpose. However, the use of database SQL tools for data integration is limited and time-consuming compared to data integration tools such as Oracle Data Integrator. The same reasoning can be applied to data warehouse automation (60 percent), data preparation (53 percent) and data stewardship/data quality management (40 percent). It seems that users are tinkering with solutions themselves using the resources available to them. One thing is certain: the Oracle database has no dedicated functions for data warehouse automation or data preparation. However, it does have other appropriate tools and functions in its portfolio.
The widespread use of Oracle databases in companies is conspicuously high, with a median of 500 users and a mean of 2,840. One explanation for this high level of use is the typical size of an Oracle customer. 73 percent of our sample came from large companies with over 2500 employees, while not a single response was received from a company with less than 100 employees. At first glance, the average number of technical users seems surprisingly high with a median of 15 and a mean of 96. However, the size of the application landscapes is unclear. If the Oracle database is predominantly used in large companies, a high number of applications – including BI or data warehouse systems – must be anticipated. This requires a broad deployment of technical users to further develop the BI landscape.
Number of users using Oracle Database
Number of technical users using Oracle Database
Company size (number of employees)
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