By Franck Pachot

It’s official, Larry Ellison made the announcement at first keynote and the database product team at oracle has released the version and the documentation publicly. Oracle Database Exadata Express Cloud Service is the ‘Cloud First’ environment for 12.2


Documentation is there: Cloud > Platform > Data Management > Exadata Express
The 12.2 new features available in that ‘Cloud First’ are documented here

Cloud First

We knew it, 12.2 comes ‘Cloud First’ which means that you cannot download it but you can use it on a Cloud Service. This is in my opinion a very good idea. We will not upgrade all our databases to 12.2 so it’s beter to test it and cloud services are good for that.
However the way it is released is quite limited:

  • There is no free trial. You have to pay for the minimum service to test it (175$/month)
  • Features are very limited because the service is a PDB, not a full database


This Oracle Database Exadata Express Cloud Service is a fully managed service, wich means that you are not the database administrator. Oracle manages the system, creates and administrate the database. You are a user.
Actually, when you create a service, a Pluggable Database is provisioned for you and you access only this PDB. It addition to that, for security reason, all features that may interact with the other PDBs or the system, are locked down. For example, you cannot use Data Pump because it writes files on the server. All limitations are documented here.
If you wonder how those limitations are implemented, it’s a new 12.2 multitenant feature called lockdown profiles, and resource manager that can isolate PDB memory. I presented that yesterday at Oracle Open World and there is more information about it in new book to come.


Features are limited but you have most of options available: In-Memory, Data Mining, Advanced Compression and Hybrid Columnar Compression, Data Redaction, etc. And it’s an Exadata behind so you have SmartScan.

You can think of it as the ‘Schema as a Service’, but with a PDB instead of a schema.

You access to it only through SQL*Net (encrypted) and can move data to and from using SQLDeveloper.


When you see ‘Exadata’, ‘In-Memory’, and all those options, you probably think about a service for very big database and high CPU resources. But it is not. This service is for evaluation of the 12.2, testing, developement, training on very small databases (few hundred of GB). And only one OCPU (which is an intel core with two threads). It’s hard to imagine more than one user on this. Maximum memory being 5GB it’s also hard to imagine In-Memory here.

So the goal is clearly to test feature, not to run workloads. You can go live with it only if your production is not critical at all (database is backed up daily).


The ‘Express’ part is the simplicity. Prices are easy to calculate:

  • 175$/month for 20GB of storage and one OCPU. This is ‘X20’ service.
  • Next level is the ‘X50’ service at 750$/month, so x2.5 times the storage for x4.2 the price. Still one OCPU.
  • Highest level is ‘X50IM’ at 950$/month, which is the same but with larger memory.


It is a non-metered service: whether you use it or not you pay per month. But don’t think you can do whatever you want within that month as the transfer of data is limited. You can transfer the volume of the database only a few times per month.

So what?

The utilization is simple: you don’t need a DBA. This is the main point: automation and fast provisioning.
Developers will love that. Giving them full options is a good marketing idea. Once the application is designed to use In-Memory, Compression, etc. theses options will be required for production as well.

Today, developers need more agility and are often slowed down by the operations. And that’s a major reason why they go to other products that they can install and use themselves easily: Postgres, Cassandra, MongoDB, etc. Oracle Database is to fat for that: look at the time you need to create a database, catalog, catproc, etc. A first answer was the Oracle XE edition which is easy to install anywhere. Now with this Express Cloud Service Oracle gives to possibility to provision a small database in minutes which requires no further administration.
Actually, this is the whole idea behind the multitenant architecture: consolidate all those system objects created by catalog/catprocg into a common location (CDB$ROOT) and have light PDBs with only user data.

Final remark. Currently 12.2 is available on on that service but there are no doubts that a full 12.2 will come within the next months.