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Looking for a Light-Weight Oracle Database System

Posted on 2014-01-24
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Last Modified: 2014-01-29
I am currently running against Oracle 11g databases, and since I do a lot of application testing, including testing production deployments of staging data.  

I have done a little research on Oracle Lite, Berkeley DB, Oracle XE, but without the experience it is difficult for me to pick a direction.  I don't have the experience in this area of Oracle, and I would like opinions on the better direction to take.  The choice that I need to make would need to work as seamlessly as possible in a .NET/C# web environment.

I would love to hear some anecdotal advice from anyone that has useful experience in this area.

TIA,
Bob
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Question by:Bob Learned
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31 Comments
 
LVL 77

Expert Comment

by:slightwv (䄆 Netminder)
ID: 39807334
Oracle XE should work for most of what you are likely to encounter.

There are just a few hard-core things that it won't do.
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Author Comment

by:Bob Learned
ID: 39807348
Thanks for responding Steve.  I am looking for something that would closely resemble Oracle, but be easy for a non-DBA to manage.  I see where Oracle Lite is dead, and you are pointed to Berkeley DB, but that it is not a relational database system, but a key-value pair system.

My head is thinking the XE would be a good choice, but I am not sure if I need a separate ADO.NET provider from the Oracle.DataAccess.dll.

System Properties Comparison Berkeley DB vs. Redis vs. SQLite
http://db-engines.com/en/system/Berkeley+DB%3BRedis%3BSQLite
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Expert Comment

by:slightwv (䄆 Netminder)
ID: 39807364
I don't believe XE comes with the ODAC (Where ODP.Net now resides).

If you are testing code that will eventually run against Oracle, test with Oracle.
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LVL 74

Expert Comment

by:sdstuber
ID: 39807385
I set my wife's office up with XE and it's been running flawlessly for years.  The only down time was when I upgraded her from 10g to 11g.   Also nice - it has a free (as in beer) license, including for production use.
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LVL 96

Author Comment

by:Bob Learned
ID: 39807425
I found this reference that suggests that I am going to have problems with XE and Windows 2008 R2 Server VM and 64-bit:

Tutorial #2: Installing Oracle XE 11G for Windows 7 64 bits.
http://www.hanmiaojuan.com/2013/03/install-oracle-xe-11g-for-windows7-64bits.html
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LVL 96

Author Comment

by:Bob Learned
ID: 39807428
Also, testing with Oracle requires DBA approval, and that requires I give up my first-born male child (which I don't have).
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LVL 77

Expert Comment

by:slightwv (䄆 Netminder)
ID: 39807436
>>testing with Oracle requires DBA approval

Ya lost me?  Do you mean on your 'official' test servers?

Thought getting around that is what you are after with Oracle XE?

It's not light-weight but I wanted to throw it out there:
Oracle has a pretty liberal Education and Development license.  As long as the testing you are doing is opened up to the World on a test server you might be able to use a full-blown install of whatever the DBA has.
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LVL 74

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by:sdstuber
ID: 39807439
I can't help with the child-sacrifice; but for the install itself,  on Win7, you can simply ignore the missing file error.  I have XE running on just about every windows machine in my house (whether my family members like it or not.)  And 64bit hasn't been a problem yet.

 I've never tried on Win2008 though, so good luck there.
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Expert Comment

by:slightwv (䄆 Netminder)
ID: 39807441
>> that suggests that I am going to have problems with XE and Windows 2008 R2

Maybe.  I'll let Sean post to that one.  [edit: caught typing]

I'm running Full Enterprise Edition.  Only had XE back on my Windows XP box.
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LVL 74

Expert Comment

by:sdstuber
ID: 39807448
If you can't get an install in windows,  could you create a linux vm and install XE there?

You'll be getting less "light-weight" by adding the extra layers but it should run
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LVL 96

Author Comment

by:Bob Learned
ID: 39807455
I have test servers, but they are very tightly controlled, and QA team doesn't like us developers messin' in their pool (if you understand what I mean).  I would like something that I could be lord and master over.  That would alleviate a lot of my testing stress.  

Setting up a new database environment without a good reason is frowned upon here, so the DBA's usually say NO!! so vehemently that I quit asking.  Since this type of request is so outside of their comfort zones, I am pretty sure what the answer is going to be without asking.  I asked them about Oracle XE, and I haven't heard anything negative yet, so I don't think they care if I come up with something myself.  This comes down to the stress of being an Oracle DBA in a high-profile marketing company that depends so much on their DBA's.
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LVL 74

Expert Comment

by:sdstuber
ID: 39807473
well, do you really need to be "lord and master"  or even need a completely new database?

If you were given a schema (or set of schemas) of your own in an existing, not production, database, would that be sufficient?
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Accepted Solution

by:
slightwv (䄆 Netminder) earned 250 total points
ID: 39807478
XE is the simplest form of an Oracle Database.  The installer also installs the database.

It really only saves you one extra step over a more full version(Running the database configuration assistant and selecting some options).
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LVL 96

Author Comment

by:Bob Learned
ID: 39807481
"If you were given a schema (or set of schemas) of your own in an existing, not production, database, would that be sufficient?"
That type of request, while it sounds simple, takes a lot of justification to get passed through, and I don't have the time or desire to jump through those hoops, so I am thinking that if it is easy to install something light-weight, then yes I do NEED to be lord and master.
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Expert Comment

by:sdstuber
ID: 39807490
In that case, give XE a try.  Either it'll work on 2008 or it won't.  If it does - go hog wild.
If it doesn't then, no worse off than you are now.

Sorry about your environment.  We have some dev systems that are for nothing more than POC type activity.  Users, data  and code regularly loaded and blown away.  The database's sole purpose in life is to be a home for temporary testing.  If somebody did something bad - on purpose or accidental.  The whole thing would simply be dropped and recreated.  No loss.
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LVL 96

Author Comment

by:Bob Learned
ID: 39807496
I was intrigued by an in-memory database system, like Redis, or SQLite, but I have zero experience with those systems.  I am thinking that it would take a lot of learning to "shim" in something like that into my automated test systems.
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Expert Comment

by:slightwv (䄆 Netminder)
ID: 39807501
>>I was intrigued by an in-memory database system

FYI:
Oracle bought Times-Ten a while back.  Not sure how much like a normal Oracle database is but...
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LVL 74

Expert Comment

by:sdstuber
ID: 39807508
TimesTen is getting more tightly integrated with the main Oracle db and inheriting features; but I'd go with XE.  It's very simple to install and maintain; plus, it's a standard RDBMS so it should behave like you want it to with respect to your applications.

Last time I had to mess with TimesTen, it was significantly different enough to be not very useable for most of our purposes.
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LVL 96

Author Comment

by:Bob Learned
ID: 39807509
Thanks Steve, since I am in "research mode" right now, I am open to any ideas, and I hadn't heard about Times-Ten, so it is another avenue to investigate.

Oracle TimesTen In-Memory Database
http://www.oracle.com/technetwork/database/database-technologies/timesten/overview/index.html
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Expert Comment

by:slightwv (䄆 Netminder)
ID: 39807515
I'm with Sean:  Go with XE (Or full blown Oracle).

It will be a much safer bet your code with work when it hits a real Oracle DB as the back end.
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LVL 96

Author Comment

by:Bob Learned
ID: 39807517
Since I have Virtual Box installed, I found this VM from Oracle for Times-Ten:

Oracle TimesTen VM (for Oracle VM VirtualBox)
http://www.oracle.com/technetwork/database/database-technologies/timesten/downloads/index.html
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LVL 96

Author Comment

by:Bob Learned
ID: 39807523
Also, as a developer, I was trying to find that elusive dream system that wouldn't require me to become a DBA in order to get something up and running.
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LVL 74

Assisted Solution

by:sdstuber
sdstuber earned 250 total points
ID: 39807527
If you've got VirtualBox installed already,  I'd go with the one of the Oracle Enterprise Edition vms

http://www.oracle.com/technetwork/database/enterprise-edition/databaseappdev-vm-161299.html


If has TimesTen in it too, so if you want to play with it as well, you can
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LVL 77

Expert Comment

by:slightwv (䄆 Netminder)
ID: 39807528
>>Oracle TimesTen VM (for Oracle VM VirtualBox)

I see that and raise you (They have several):
http://www.oracle.com/technetwork/community/developer-vm/index.html?ssSourceSiteId=ocomhu

>>that wouldn't require me to become a DBA in order to get something up and running.

XE is probably it.
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LVL 74

Expert Comment

by:sdstuber
ID: 39807532
>>> wouldn't require me to become a DBA

ok, now I retract the TimesTen and Oracle Enterprise Edition stuff.

We're back to plain old XE.

Again though, if you have virtual box, install a Linux vm and XE there.  
You'll be Lord and master of everything then, not just the db.
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LVL 74

Expert Comment

by:sdstuber
ID: 39807533
It's been a while since CORE, but you can see slightwv and I are still pretty much in synch
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LVL 96

Assisted Solution

by:Bob Learned
Bob Learned earned 0 total points
ID: 39807567
I remember Steve very well from the CORE!!

I am downloading the .ova file now, and I found instructions for importing OVA files into Virtual Box.

How to Import/Export OVA Files in VirtualBox
http://www.maketecheasier.com/import-export-ova-files-in-virtualbox/
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LVL 77

Expert Comment

by:slightwv (䄆 Netminder)
ID: 39807571
Sorry Bob but I removed my name and location from your post...

Granted it can be derived from my screen name but I still don't like it out there like that.
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LVL 96

Author Comment

by:Bob Learned
ID: 39807590
Understood...just playing it a little too fast and loose, my friend!!
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LVL 77

Expert Comment

by:slightwv (䄆 Netminder)
ID: 39807596
lol... no problems!
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Author Closing Comment

by:Bob Learned
ID: 39817296
Thank you very much--Steve and Sean--that was definitely food for thought.
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