Oracle Database 12c continued improvements on an already great product!
Updated December 15, 2016

Oracle Database 12c continued improvements on an already great product!

Anonymous | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 9 out of 10
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Overall Satisfaction with Oracle Database 12c

Oracle 12c is the underlying database platform that we use to run our educational institution ERP style software. In other words, standard business modules such as Human Resources, Finance and Payroll, as well as education specific modules like Student, Financial Aid etc. In addition, we use many third party "bolt-on" applications that tie into our ERP software, and almost all of them run in our Oracle 12c databases.
  • Oracle has gotten better with streamlining installation. Oracle Database 12c is much easier to install and configure than previous releases of Oracle software.
  • Oracle Database 12c is a robust platform for mission critical applications. We use the RAC (Real Application Clusters) edition of Oracle Database 12c. This allows us to spread workload across multiple servers and provides fault tolerance. If one node goes down, all systems remain operational.
  • Oracle Database 12c includes RMan backup. This has been improved so that it is easy to backup the database without down time and to recover should any failures occur.
  • Oracle Database 12c is able to handle large quantities of data with extremely good performance. My organization happens to be the largest user of the ERP software that we run, and it is able to handle tables with millions of rows.
  • One of the hardest things about dealing with Oracle Database 12c is the optimizer. They have made many improvements to it, but in 12c they came out with some initialization parameters that were not well documented. Some of these were set to default when we upgraded to the 12c release. Initially this made some software modules perform slower than they had before. It took us quite a bit of work to learn how to set everything so that we had better performance than we had in Oracle Database 11. We had to open several support calls with Oracle to get performance issues resolved. This could be improved if they added more documentation in this area.
  • Another issue in dealing with Oracle database 12c is cost. Educational institutions have more limited budgets and each additional licensed option costs additional money. Names of some options are changed and it is hard to determine what you need and how to purchase options in the most cost effective manner.
  • Oracle has a large international support network when companies have problems with their software. There are vast amounts of online resources in their knowledge base. However, it is often difficult to sort through the irrelevant articles or unanswered questions. It would be nice if they made it easier to find information limited to the version you are on, or only show questions that have been answered.
  • Oracle Database 12c allows us to have a smaller IT department than many other organizations. There are tools associated with it such as Oracle Enterprise Manager that allow us to automate administrative tasks and alert us when there are problems which frees us up to do other more important tasks.
  • It has also allowed us to continue having good throughput of transactions. When registration opens for each new term, our systems are slammed with students logging on. In the past students would have to wait in line to get registered, sometimes waiting for hours. Improved performance with better releases of Oracle Database as well as streamlined hardware have eliminated this.
  • Oracle works with all of its customers, especially educational institutions to work out pricing so that you can get what you really need. Even though they are pricey, if you are willing to meet with them, they will work with you to help you determine which options are most suited to meeting your business goals. They aren't just trying to sell software at all costs.
I personally have also supported both Microsoft SQL Server and PostgresSQL.

We have used Microsoft SQL Server for some smaller projects where the vendor only supports that environment. But whenever there is a choice, we use Oracle Database 12c. Students access our systems at all hours of the day and night. Therefore we must be operational 24x7. Oracle's RAC evironment is a true cluster system. Microsoft SQL Server clustering does not allow the same fault tolerance, always up environment that we need.

PostgreSQL is freeware. Because of that we do not feel like it is appropriate for large mission critical applications. There is no vendor to call for direct support, although some companies do sell support services. Patches, such as security fixes are not released on a regular basis.
Oracle Database 12c is good for medium and large size companies, due to its ability to handle large amounts of data and transactions. It does cost more, however. It is good for companies of any size that need 24 hour mission critical uptime for their software applications. Smaller companies just starting out might be better off picking one of the many low-cost cloud based options to start with. Many of them make moving to Oracle easy when the time comes.

Using Oracle Database 12c

Since Oracle Database 12c is the platform that our educational institution runs on, almost all of our Administrative, Faculty and Staff uses it. We have tens of thousands of students taking classes at any one time. Besides the students, we have users in departments such as Human Resources, Payroll, Finance, Financial Aid, Registration, Alumni, the Bursars office and many others.
4 - We have a Database Architect, two senior Oracle DBAs and one Database Administrator. We all have at least 7 years of experience supporting Oracle. Our most senior resources have more than 20 years of experience going back to Oracle Database 7. We have to be very detailed-oriented and very familiar with the Linux operating system. We have to be able to write scripts and PL/SQL.
  • Registration is a critical process for a college. This is our benchmark use case for performance.
  • Processing of financial aid is highly regulated by the federal government. The ability to get updates on a timely basis as the laws change is critical. In addition the federal government can impose penalties on an institution if financial aid processing is not handled timely.
  • Processing of payroll is another critical area. We have all different types of employees so this is another area that is always highly tested.
  • We make use of add-on Oracle Database 12c products such as Oracle GoldenGate to mine data from our in-house database and turn it into a data warehouse. We are able to use this data to predict student success and have early intervention programs that reach out to at risk students.
  • We have many different little applications that are housed in smaller departments. We are considering pulling all of that data into our data warehouse for more integrated reporting.
There is a lot of sunk cost in a product like Oracle 12c. It is doing a great job, it would not provide us much benefit to switch to another product even if it did the same thing due to the work involved in making such a switch. It would not be cost effective.