Back to Basics:The Oracle Editions

Sometimes understanding the Oracle Database Editions is a little confuse, and on my opinion know all the options available in the market is something very important and fundamental for any DBA. The main idea of this post is to help you to understand a little bit more about all available options in the Oracle market, learn some key differences and functionalities of each Edition.

Understanding the Different Editions

All the time I receive questions regarding Oracle Database Editions like:

  • What’s the difference between Standard Edition and Enterprise Edition?  
  • How complicate is to upgrade a Standard Edition Database to Enterprise Edition and vice versa?   
  • Can you explain me the most important Options and Packages available with Oracle?  
  • Is Oracle Express Edition really free? What are the limitations and what it can do?

So many people don’t understand the diversity of Editions available with Oracle Databases, most of the time everyone associate it with the Enterprise Edition only, saying “Oracle is so expensive! Let’s look to other brands due that we can’t afford it!”, That’s a huge mistake, if you want the best available in the market you need to pay for it, but you need to understand all the options available for you by Oracle Corporation before take a precipitate and wrong decision, you always can find an edition that is affordable for your budget, and I can guarantee that you will not find the same performance and functionality at any other product in the market.

This is like buy a car, you can always dream to have a top brand vehicle, but you don’t need to buy the most expensive model if you only need a compact one, it will be more affordable and you know that you can trust in the quality of the product. The same happens with Oracle Databases. Oracle have available several editions of their Database product, all are the same product (internal code) but depending of the edition it can have some limitations or additional options to improve the performance, security, availability, and management of your 11g Database.

Oracle Database 11g is available in a choice of editions tailored to meet your business, personal, or IT needs, and also offers several extra options to enhance your Database capabilities depending of your applications requirements. Oracle have basically 5 different editions available for you, all are build using the same reliable database engine architecture and are compatible with each other, making this way an upgrade to be a very easy task to the DBA and this will also help to make your database grow at the same speed of your business.
The Editions available are: Express Edition, Personal Edition, Standard One Edition, Standard Edition and Enterprise Edition, now let’s take a quick look on each one:

  • Oracle Express Edition (XE): This edition is an entry-level, small-footprint database based at the Oracle 10g release 2 Enterprise code that is free to develop, deploy, and distribute; due to it, this is an excellent option for developers, students, and very small organizations trying to initiate their journey in the Oracle world. Oracle XE is very easy to download and very simple to administrate, it can be installed on any host machine size, with any number of CPU’s and memory available, but it will have several limitations like: will storage only 4GB of data, will use up to 1GB of memory, and will use only 1 CPU in the host machine. Currently this edition is not supported by My Oracle Support (old Metalink), this means no patches available and support, but you can always refer to the OTN forums to ask your peers for any kind of help relate to this edition.
  • Oracle Personal edition (PE): This edition supports single-user development and deployment environments that require full compatibility with Oracle Database Standard Edition One, Oracle Database Standard Edition, and Oracle Database Enterprise Edition. Oracle PE includes all of the components, options and functionalities that are included with Enterprise Edition with the exception of the Oracle Real Application Clusters (RAC) option. The negative side of this edition is that this is only available for Windows environments (Windows 2000, Windows NT, Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows Server 2003/32-bit and 64-bit versions), and the Management Packs are not included.
  • Oracle Standard Edition One (SEO): Delivers an unprecedented ease to use, power, price/performance for workgroups, department-level, and Web applications. This edition is highly recommended to be used from single-server environments for small business to any highly distributed branch environments. Oracle Database SEO includes all the facilities necessary to build any business-critical applications.
  • Oracle Standard Edition (SE): Offers a low cost alternative for small/medium business or departmental applications that want to have the power of Oracle, this Edition has all the benefits of Oracle SEO plus support for larger machines and clustering of services with Real Application Clusters (Free in this Edition); RAC was not included in previous Standard Edition releases prior to Oracle Database version 10g.
  • Oracle Enterprise Edition (EE): It’s the top of the Oracle Editions line, provides the best in performance, availability, scalability, and security required for mission-critical applications such as high-volume online transaction processing (OLTP) applications, query-intensive data warehouses, and demanding Internet applications. Oracle Database EE contains all of the components of Oracle Database, and can be further enhanced with the purchase of several available options and packs.

Now let’s take a closer look to all availabilities and restrictions of each Oracle Edition:

Limitations/ Availability

Express Edition Personal Edition Standard Edition One Standard Edition Enterprise Edition
Number of CPU/Sockets 1 CPU No Limit 2 Sockets 4 Sockets No Limit
RAM 1GB OS Maximum OS Maximum OS Maximum OS Maximum
Max. Number of Users No Limit 1 No Limit No Limit No Limit
Databases per Host 1 No Limit No Limit No Limit No Limit
Minimum User License Requirements Not Apply Not Apply 5 Named Users Plus 5 Named Users Plus 25 Named Users Plus per CPU
Database Size 4GB No Limit No Limit No Limit No Limit
Windows Available Available Available Available Available
Linux Available No Available Available Available Available
Unix No Available No Available Available Available Available
64-Bit No Available Available Available Available Available

Now you have a clear idea of all available Editions of Oracle in the market, in the next post I’ll go thru the most important options and packs available to enhance your database to achieve all your personal or company goals.


Francisco Munoz Alvarez

5 Replies to “Back to Basics:The Oracle Editions”

  1. For the “Minimum User License Requirements” those refer to users connected to Oracle (schemas if they have objects)? A application connected to Oracle using connection pool is counted in this requirement?


  2. Hi Marco,

    That refers to the minimun number of User licenses for that Edition,and yes, this refers to all users connected to the db (with objects or not), and include any connection pool too. You can see some very clear details to make you understand it easily here:


    Francisco Munoz Alvarez

  3. Olá Francisco,

    Muito bom post!!! Todos tem dúvidas sobre as versões de Oracle.

    Fiquei muito feliz pela mensagem de boas vindas deixada no meu blog!!! Com certeza iremos trabalhar juntos para o crescimento da comunidade Oracle da América Latina. Se possível, entre em contato:, eu gostaria de te fazer algumas perguntas sobre o CLOUG.


    Rodrigo Mufalani

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