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Oracle Base Database Service FAQ

General

What is Oracle Base Database Service?

Oracle Base Database Service (formerly known as Oracle Database Cloud Service) consists of Enterprise Database Service and Standard Database Service running on virtual machine (VM) database systems. It enables you to easily and cost effectively build, scale, and secure Oracle Enterprise Edition and Standard Edition databases in Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI). You create databases on virtual machines with a choice of compute shapes and block volume storage capacity. The service provides built-in automation for common database lifecycle management tasks, such as updating, backup/recovery, and enabling Oracle Data Guard—all of which can be performed using the OCI console or REST APIs.

How can I create my first database?

Once you've created an OCI account, you must first create a virtual cloud network (VCN) prior to creating your first database. A VCN is a virtual, private network that you set up in Oracle data centers. It closely resembles a traditional network, with firewall rules and specific types of communication gateways that you can choose to use. From there, you can create an Oracle database in a database system using the console, REST APIs, CLI and SDKs.

How do I pay for the resources I consume?

The service supports Oracle's Universal Credit Model (UCM) with 'license included' and 'bring your own license' (BYOL) pricing. Pricing is flexible, with pay-as-you-go (PAYG) and Oracle Annual Universal Credit options available. Pricing depends on the selected database edition, database shape, number of OCPUs, and storage capacity you choose. Refer to pricing for virtual machines section for more details. Existing metered/non-metered tenancies will be billed under their existing plan until converted to a Universal Credit Model tenancy.

Refer to the Oracle Universal Credit pricing FAQ for more information.

Which Oracle Database software versions are supported?

Currently, Oracle Database versions 12.1.0.2, 12.2.0.1, 19c, and 21c are supported.

Which Oracle Database software editions are supported?

The following Oracle Database license-included software editions are supported and optimized for the cloud.

  • Standard Edition
  • Enterprise Edition
  • Enterprise Edition High Performance
  • Enterprise Edition Extreme Performance

You can also bring your own license (BYOL).

What database options are available with the different software editions of Oracle Database?

All editions include Oracle Database Transparent Data Encryption, Machine Learning, and Spatial and Graph.

  • Standard Edition includes Oracle Database Standard Edition.
  • Enterprise Edition includes Oracle Database Enterprise Edition, Data Masking and Subsetting Pack, Diagnostics and Tuning Packs, and Real Application Testing.
  • Enterprise Edition High Performance extends Enterprise Edition with the following options: Multitenant, Partitioning, Advanced Compression, Advanced Security, Label Security, Database Vault, OLAP, Database Lifecycle Management Pack and Cloud Management Pack for Oracle Database.
  • Enterprise Edition Extreme Performance extends High Performance with the following options: In-Memory Database, Active Data Guard, Real Application Clusters.

What is a database system?

A database system is a virtual machine that has Oracle Database software deployed and configured with a user-specified number of cores, software edition, and database version.

Where can I find the technical documentation for creating and using database systems?

The technical documentation for database systems is part of the OCI documentation.

What VM shapes are available when launching a database system?

Database systems are available with AMD Standard E4 Flex or Intel Standard 2 shapes. For the latest details on available shapes, refer to About virtual machine database systems in the documentation.

What storage options are available when launching a database system?

VM database systems are available with either higher performance or balanced performance block volume storage. Higher performance storage is available with AMD Standard E4 Flex shapes and provides higher IOPS and throughput. Balanced performance storage is available with all shapes and provides a good balance of performance and cost.

How do I select the correct shape for my database?

Performance, storage capacity, cost, among other criteria, will drive your shape selection.

What are the recommended best practices for monitoring databases and database systems?

Oracle provides customers with a choice of cloud and on-premises manageability and monitoring options. These include Oracle Enterprise Manager and Oracle Cloud Infrastructure Database Management.

Can I receive notifications about events impacting my database systems?

Yes. Events impacting database systems are available through the events service. Refer to the documentation for a list of event types for database systems.

Is Oracle Real Application Clusters (RAC) supported?

Yes. Two-node Oracle RAC on virtual machines within a virtual cloud network is available. Oracle RAC on virtual machines is configurable by setting the "total number of nodes" as 2 when selecting the options for provisioning a database system.

Is Oracle RAC supported on virtual machine database systems beyond two nodes?

No. Oracle RAC databases are supported with Enterprise Edition Extreme Performance on virtual machine database systems, but are limited to a two-node Oracle RAC configuration.

Does the two-node Oracle RAC shape span across availability domains?

No. The virtual machines for two-node Oracle RAC are deployed on separate servers and racks within the same availability domain. Storage is shared across both database instances. This setup protects against server failures and rack power failures. For higher availability, it is recommended that you enable Oracle Data Guard with a standby two-node Oracle RAC virtual machine database system in a separate availability domain.

Can I create multiple databases within a virtual machine database system?

Virtual machine database systems only contain one container database (CDB). However, the container database can have multiple pluggable databases (PDBs). A single CDB with a single PDB is created by default when the virtual machine database system is created. The service offers integrated PDB lifecycle management.

Can I change the number of OCPUs in a virtual machine shape after initial creation?

Yes, you can scale the number of OCPUs up and down as required. However, scaling the OCPUs will require changing the virtual machine shape and will result in a database outage. For 2-node RAC virtual machine database systems, the shape is changed one virtual machine at a time in a rolling manner.

Can I scale the storage for a virtual machine database system?

Yes. A virtual machine database system uses block volume storage, so you can configure available storage anywhere from 256 GB to 80 TB. You can scale up the storage capacity without downtime. Scaling the storage down requires migrating to a new virtual machine database system.

Can I clone a virtual machine database system?

Yes, you can clone a virtual machine database system that uses either Logical Volume Manager (LVM) or Grid Infrastructure/ASM for storage management software. Cloning a virtual machine database system creates a copy of the source database at the time of the cloning operation, including software and database volumes.

How do I migrate my data from my on-premises Oracle Database?

Oracle offers a wide range of Oracle Database Cloud Migration solutions.

Billing

How do I pay for usage?

Oracle’s universal credit purchase model offers simple and flexible pricing models. Pay-as-you-go (PAYG) pricing lets you quickly provision services with no upfront commitment, no minimum service period, and pay only for what you use, which will be billed monthly in arrears. Annual Universal Credits enable you to use any eligible OCI and platform services at any time, in any region. Annual universal credits are billed in advance and offer significant savings across cloud services, combining cost reduction and a predictable monthly spend with a ramp-up period as you onboard your workloads.

Refer to the Oracle universal credit pricing FAQ for more information.

How will I be metered for usage?

For virtual machine database systems, there are three metering components: OCPU usage and Block Volume storage usage are required. Object storage usage is optional.

Both license-included and bring your own license (BYOL) licensing models are charged based on OCPU usage. OCPU usage per hour is billed based on virtual machine database system shape. Each partial OCPU hour consumed is billed as partial hour with a one-minute minimum.

Virtual machine database systems use remote block volume storage. You can attach up to 100 TB total storage which consists of up to 80 TB for data storage and up to 20 TB for recovery storage. You pay for the total storage. You can choose block storage volumes with either higher performance or balanced performance. Block storage volumes with higher performance is defined as 1 unit of block volume storage with 20 units of block volume performance per gigabyte per month. Block storage volumes with balanced performance is defined as 1 unit of block volume storage with 10 units of block volume performance per gigabyte per month.

You can use the backup/restore feature or use RMAN to configure backups for your databases in Oracle Cloud Infrastructure Object Storage. The billing for the backups is based on the total amount of object storage in use.

Refer to the Cloud Price List for more details.

Can I change the licensing model after provisioning a database system?

Yes, you change the licensing model from license included to BYOL and vice versa.

Is stop billing supported?

Yes. Stop billing is supported on virtual machine database systems. To take advantage of this capability, go to the virtual machine database system and select the desired node to stop. The database remains intact while the node is stopped. You are not billed for hours the node is not running.

Security

What is an Oracle virtual cloud network (VCN), and why are database systems deployed into a VCN by default?

A VCN is a customizable private network in OCI. Just like a traditional data center network, a VCN provides you with complete control over your network environment. This includes assigning your own private IP address space, creating subnets, creating routing tables and configuring stateful firewalls. A single tenant can have multiple VCNs, which will provide grouping and isolation of related resources.

Deploying into a VCN by default also provides security and flexibility by:

  • Protecting your databases from the internet
  • Configuring security lists (inbound/outbound) to keep malicious users from accessing the database system

In which subnets, do I place the database system during deployment?

We highly recommend that you create separate subnets in each availability domain and place your database systems in those subnets. This allows you to precisely define inbound/outbound security lists for the subnet and control network access.

How do I set up TDE for my databases?

Database systems are configured with TDE by default during provisioning. Refer to the TDE FAQ for more details regarding TDE. You also have the flexibility to log in and control other security policies on the database system.

Can I use the OCI Vault service to manage database encryption keys?

You can use OCI Vault service with customer-managed encryption keys. Oracle-managed encryption keys are also available. Refer to the documentation for Database Encryption Keys.

How can I control management access and secure the database system?

With Oracle Identity and Access Management (IAM), you can configure your cloud environment to support your security and compliance requirements. From a database perspective, you configure IAM policies that allow you to restrict access to database systems only to a select set of users (DBAs). Please refer to the documentation on how to use Oracle IAM.

Can I audit the operations that are performed on the database system?

Yes. With full root access to the database system you can configure auditing for all operations on the database system. The service provides robust audit support in all editions of the database. Audit records include information about the operation that was audited, the user performing the operation, and the date and time of the operation. Audit records can be stored in the database audit trail or in files on the operating system. Standard auditing includes operations on privileges, schemas, objects, and statements. In addition, you can use OCI Audit to audit all the API management calls that were made on your tenancy.

Can I use Oracle Database security options?

Yes. All Oracle Database security options are supported.

What is Oracle Data Safe and is it supported?

Oracle Data Safe is a cloud native service that provides security features such as assessments, auditing, and data masking, and is free to use with database systems.

Updating

What is the updating feature for database systems?

The updating feature simplifies the steps required to update your database systems and databases. You can use the OCI console and APIs to view applicable updates for your database system or database and submit an updating request. The service will then run the end-to-end updating steps while displaying the status. You can view all updates that have been applied, and if required, rollback or reapply an update. In addition, you can use Oracle Identity and Access Management (IAM) controls to manage access to updating features.

What are the networking requirements to enable the updating feature?

Your database system’s cloud network (VCN) must be able to access updates stored in OCI Object Storage. You can do this by configuring a service gateway, which enables cloud resources without public IP addresses to privately access Oracle services such as Oracle Object Storage.

What kind of updates can I apply using the updating feature?

Service-specific updates for database systems and databases can be applied. Database systems have only the latest update available. Databases have both the latest update as well as older database updates available. You can find the list of currently available database system and database updates in Update a database system.

How can I apply interim updates or quarterly bundle updates that are not yet supported?

Use custom database software images to apply interim updates or one-offs. We recommend that you do not apply on-premises quarterly bundle updates using the OPatch utility. These updates may not work without applying additional cloud specific updates. Instead, you should apply cloud-customized quarterly updates that are available through the Oracle Cloud Infrastructure console and REST APIs.

Can I use a custom database software image to update databases?

Yes. Custom database software images can be used.

Will there be any downtime while an update is being applied?

Yes. There will be downtime for 1-node virtual machine database systems. 2-node RAC virtual machine database system updating is rolling, 1-node at a time. You can also configure Oracle Data Guard to minimize downtime. Follow the Maximum Availability Architecture (MAA) best practices.

What happens if I use the updating feature and updating fails?

Your database system or database home will be in the ”Available” state if the update fails. The update history can indicate the reason the operation failed. To debug the root cause of failure, you can access detailed updating-related logs by accessing your host. If the log information is not helpful in debugging the issue, you can file a request with Oracle Support to help determine the root cause.

How can I learn about the updates that were installed on my database system or database home using the updating feature?

You can view the update history for your database system and database that were applied using OCI console and REST APIs.

Do I need to follow a updating order for database system and database updates?

Yes, your database system should be on the same or higher version than your database. To avoid version conflicts, you should apply database system updates first, followed by database updates. If you do not follow this order, you will get an error message while applying the update.

Are there any differences between the Oracle Database bundle updates available for on-premises versus the updates available for the service?

Yes. Oracle Database bundle updates and database system database updates are different. Database system database updates are a superset containing Oracle Database bundle updates and OCI updates, along with other updates.

Can I update Grid Infrastructure using the updating feature?

Yes, database system updates include Grid Infrastructure updates and are available for database systems using Grid Infrastructure/ASM storage management. Database system updates don’t include OS updates.

Can I patch my operating system (OS) using the patching feature?

OS updates are currently not supported through the OCI console or APIs using the patching feature. You must access the host directly to manually update the OS through the command line. Refer to the documentation for virtual machine database system OS updates.

Are updates cumulative?

Yes. Database updates are cumulative. New updates contain updates from previous database system or database updates of the same version.

Backup and recovery

What is the backup and restore feature for database systems?

The database backup and restore feature enables you to use the OCI console and REST APIs to create and manage backups of your databases. You can also restore your existing database from a backup or create a new database from a backup.

What are the benefits of using the backup and restore feature versus managing backups manually with RMAN?

The backup and restore feature enables the OCI console and Rest APIs to create and manage backups. When you use the console, you can create full backups or set up automatic incremental backups with a few clicks. Similarly, you can view your backups and restore your database using the last known good state, a point in time, or SCN (system change number). You can also create a new database from your backup in a new database system.

What is the retention period for automatic incremental backups setup using the backup and restore feature?

The retention period for automatic incremental backups is 7, 15, 30, 45, or 60 days. You select your desired retention period when the automatic backups are enabled. You cannot set your own retention period or frequency of automatic incremental backups.

What is the schedule for automatic incremental backups that you set up using the backup and restore feature?

When you enable automatic backups for a database, a first level 0 backup will be created. After the first backup, level 1 backups will run every day until the next weekend. Every weekend, a new level 0 backup will be created. Automatic backups enabled for the first time after November 20, 2018 on any database will run between 00:00 AM and 06:00 AM in the time zone of the database system's region. If you have enabled automatic backups on a database before this date, the backup window for the database will continue to be between 00:00 AM and 06:00 AM UTC.

Are the database backups encrypted?

Yes. All your backups are encrypted with the same master key used for TDE encryption.

What measures are taken to ensure that my backups are not lost?

Your backups are stored in OCI Object Storage. Object Storage was designed from the ground up to be highly durable. Data is stored redundantly across multiple storage servers and across multiple availability domains. Data integrity is actively monitored using checksums, and corrupt data is detected and auto-repaired. Any loss in data redundancy is automatically detected and self-healed, without any customer impact.

Under what circumstances can my backups fail while using the backup and restore feature?

If you are using the backup and restore feature, your backup operations can fail if the database or database system is not in an ”Available” state. Actions like updating, SSH key addition, and Data Guard operations can change the database system or database state. To avoid backup failure, ensure that these actions are not performed during the backup window. If an automatic incremental backup fails, the service retries the backup operation during the next day’s backup window. For a failed on-demand backup, you must manually retry the operation when both database system and database is available.

Are automatic incremental backups enabled by default?

No. Automatic incremental backups are not enabled by default. You can enable the option during database creation or at any time after the database is provisioned.

What happens to my backups after I terminate my database system?

Automatic backups are deleted when a database system is terminated. On-demand full backups remain in Oracle Object Storage as standalone backups when a database system is terminated. You can later restore standalone backups to a new database on a database system.

High Availability

How can I improve availability for my databases?

2-node RAC virtual machine database systems protect against downtime due to server or database instance failure. You can also launch database systems in different availability domains or Regions and configure Oracle Data Guard between them.

Review Data Guard for High Availability and Maximum Availability Architecture (MAA) best practices for more information about setting up a highly available configuration for Oracle databases.

Which database editions support the Data Guard feature?

All Enterprise database editions support Data Guard. Enterprise Extreme Performance edition supports Active Data Guard.

What are the benefits of setting up Data Guard vs. setting up Data Guard manually?

Enabling Oracle Data Guard is available through the OCI console and REST APIs. In a few clicks, you can enable Data Guard and perform switchover, failover, and reinstate actions. You can also set up granular access control for the feature using Oracle Identity and Access Management Service.

What protection modes and transport types are supported by the Data Guard feature?

Maximum Performance protection mode with ASYNC transport type and Maximum Availability with SYNC transport type are supported.

How can I remove the Data Guard associations using the Data Guard feature?

To remove the Data Guard association using the Data Guard feature, you must first delete the standby database. Once you delete the standby database, the Data Guard association will be removed automatically.

What version will the standby database be when created by the Data Guard feature?

The standby database is created with the same database version as that of the primary.

Can I configure Data Guard between my on-premises database and a database running on a database system in OCI?

Yes, you can configure Data Guard between an on-premises database and a database running on a database system in OCI. You can manually set up Data Guard between your on-premises database and a service database using DGMGRL. Learn more about DGMGRL.

How can I update databases in a primary and standby Data Guard set up?

You can update databases in primary and standby Data Guard setup. You should update the standby first, switch over to your standby, and then update your primary.

How can I back up databases in a Data Guard set up?

You can use the OCI Database backup and restore feature to back up and restore your primary databases. If you want to enable backup for a standby, you can do so by accessing your standby database host and using RMAN (Recovery Manager).

Can I use my standby database for read or write operations?

Yes. With Active Data Guard set up, you can use the standby databases for read only operations. Write operations are not enabled on a standby.

Can I setup Fast-Start Failover (FSFO) with the Data Guard feature?

No, you cannot setup FSFO with the Data Guard feature. However, it can be configured manually. You should deploy it in a virtual machine in a separate availability domain if possible.