Oracle Corp. is making the next version of its flagship database management system available free to developers under a new program announced today.
Oracle Database 23c Free—Developer Release is available for download as a Docker container image, Oracle VirtualBox virtual machine, or Linux RPM installation file without requiring a user account or login. A Windows version is planned for the near future.
Bridging a gap
Relational duality “ends the relational versus document database debate to deliver the best of both worlds,” said Gerald Venzl, senior director of product management at Oracle. The capability allows developers to build applications using either relational or JSON constructs with access to both types of data stores. Data is held once but can be accessed, written and modified with either approach. Transactions are ACID-compliant and have concurrency controls, which eliminates tradeoffs in object-relational mappings and data consistency.
“We have delivered on our mission to make modern applications and analytics easy to develop and run for all use cases at any scale for quite a long time with the converged database approach,” Venzl said. “However, you still had to make a decision about whether to treat data as a document store or relational. If you decide it’s a document store, you can no longer query the relational database.”
A nod to developers
This isn’t the first time Oracle has given away its flagship software for free. It introduced the cloud-based Always Free Autonomous Database in 2019 and is now addressing what executives said is substantial demand for an on-premises version.
“We’ve also seen that developers like to develop on their laptops and check in code when they can,” Venzl said. “Even after 15 years of cloud, we still see that the top database technologies are on-premises.”
The release of the free developer edition is a nod to the “shift in power in IT over last 10 or 15 years from IT operations to developers,” je said. “Operations used to dictate technology choices to developers. Today, developers decide the technology stack based on time to market and competitive advantage.”
Venzl emphasized that Oracle is seeking to eliminate as many barriers to developer usage as possible. There’s no need for users to sign up for an account in order to download the software. The free version has storage, memory and processor constraints that limit it to small applications and doesn’t include Oracle support.
Expanded JSON support
Other features in the new edition include the ability for developers to ensure and validate JSON document structures via structured JSON Schemas. Developers can now build both transactional and analytical property graph applications with the Oracle database using the new SQL standard property graph queries. That enables graph analytics to be run on top of both relational and JSON data. Oracle has supported graph constructs for more than 20 years, Venzl said.
Applications that use the Apache Kafka distributed event streaming platform can now run against Oracle transactional event queues in Oracle with minimal code changes.
A new SQL domain construct can act as lightweight type modifiers that centrally document intended data usage, extending and improving upon SQL standard domains. Those are data types with optional constraints that are used to abstract common constraints on fields into a single location for simpler definition and maintenance. “This takes away needs for stored procedures and checks,” Venzl said. “The application knows what the data type is and can run checks on it.”
Database metadata can now be stored directly alongside the data with a new annotation mechanism inside the Oracle database. Developers can annotate common data model attributes for tables, columns, views, indexes and other attributes to improve consistency and accessibility.