Environmental and Hardware Features
With Oracle 9i comes the ability to run on many different hardware platforms, and of course the ability to run on many different vendors' operating systems. Oracle 9i is a very diverse product, leveraging the best from each vendor's implementation.
Multiple Instances of Oracle 9i
Unlike SQL Server, Oracle has always supported the ability to create multiple instances, which can be managed separately (startup, shutdown, and so on). Oracle 9i is no exception, with more granularity to manage the instance and the objects contained within. Options configured within one instance of Oracle don't necessarily affect all instances on the server, ensuring that a test or development area can be kept separate from production with a low risk of affecting users.
Editions of Oracle 9i
Oracle 9i comes in a number of editions, allowing companies to choose those options that are relevant to their needs:
Oracle 9i Enterprise Edition. This is the all singing, all dancing version of Oracle 9i. You name it, this edition does it. It comes with a full set of management tools, and offers the highest levels of security, availability, and scalability. If your organization demands high availability, this edition is for you. With Enterprise Edition you can implement real application clustering (at an additional cost), Data guard, and a number of other key Oracle data protection features. This edition also allows for additional management packs to be purchased and added to your installation.
Oracle 9i Standard Edition. This cut-down version of Enterprise Edition provides most organizations with the protection, performance, and development capabilities they would expect from Oracle 9i. With restrictions on licensing, (a maximum of four CPUs), small to medium organizations are the target of this edition. A full set of management and development tools are provided to ensure the database can be deployed effectively. If you have high availability and security requirements, however, Enterprise Edition should be your focus, as functionality within these areas for this edition is limited.
Oracle 9i Personal Edition. This edition of Oracle 9i is designed for the desktop and allows developers to build applications locally before migrating to a full-blown installation of Oracle. Custom-written applications can take advantage of Personal Edition by allowing disconnected users (mobile users) to work remotely, synchronizing changes back to the main site when the mobile user comes back online. Most of the management tools are included, allowing users of this edition to experience the tools that they would have available in either the Standard or Enterprise edition.
Oracle 9i Lite Edition. This edition is designed for the desktop and mobile user. With the ability to install on a number of differing mobile platformsMicrosoft Windows (including CE), Palm OS, EPOCit offers a simple and easy way of allowing mobile users to capture data and work autonomously without the requirement of being connected to a production network.
For more information about the different editions of Oracle 9i and what's supported, refer to Oracle's online documentation.
Extended Hardware Support
Oracle 9i Enterprise Edition is a highly complex RDBMS and as such incorporates a number of features that on low-specification hardware would be seen to perform poorly. To alleviate this, and give you the most bang for your buck, Oracle allows Enterprise Edition to be installed on a server that has multiple CPUs (Standard Edition only allows four CPUs) for additional processing and computation power. Enterprise Edition supports a large number of CPUs (maximum is generally set by the operating system and hardware) and a very large amount of memory. Most of the TPC-C benchmarks for Oracle 9i have been measured on servers with 32 CPUs (around 1.4 GHz per processor) and 256GB of RAMalthough some measurements have been run on servers with 64 processors.
With this sort of pure grunt under the hood, it's little wonder that Oracle is dominating the non-clustered results on the TPC-C web site.