This document lists the major new features identified by Oracle and is not a comprehensive list of all the 12c new features; e.g. rman VPD for the catalog is not listed here.

Advanced Index Compression

(Database Administrator’s Guide).

Advanced Index Compression improves the compression ratios significantly while still providing efficient access to the index.


(Database SQL Language Reference).

Processing of large volumes of data is significantly faster

Attribute Clustering

(Database Data Warehousing Guide).

Attribute clustering is a table-level directive that clusters data in close physical proximity based on the content of certain columns. This directive applies to any kind of direct path operation, such as a bulk insert or a move operation.
Storing data that logically belongs together in close physical proximity can greatly reduce the amount of data to be processed and can lead to better compression ratios.

Automatic Big Table Caching

(Database VLDB and Partitioning Guide).

In previous releases, in-memory parallel query did not work well when multiple scans contended for cache memory. This feature implements a new cache called big table cache for table scan workload.

Multitenant Container databases – FDA Support for

(Database Development Guide).

Flashback Data Archive (FDA) is supported for multitenant container databases (CDBs) in this release.

Plugable Database – CONTAINERS Clause

(Database Administrator’s Guide).

The CONTAINERS clause is a new way of looking at multitenant container databases (CDBs). With this clause, data can be aggregated from a single identical table or view across many pluggable databases (PDBs) from the root container. The CONTAINERS clause accepts a table or view name as an input parameter that is expected to exist in all PDBs in that container. Data from a single PDB or a set of PDBs can be included with the use of CON_ID in the WHERE clause. For example:
SELECT ename FROM CONTAINERS(scott.emp) WHERE CON_ID IN (45, 49);

Plugable Database – File Placement in OMF

(Database Administrator’s Guide)

The new parameter, CREATE_FILE_DEST, allows administrators to set a default location for Oracle Managed Files (OMF) data files in the pluggable database (PDB). When not set, the PDB inherits the value from the root container.
If a file system directory is specified as the default location, then the directory must already exist; Oracle does not create it. The directory must have appropriate permissions that allow Oracle to create files in it. Oracle generates unique names for the files. A file created in this manner is an Oracle-managed file.
The CREATE_FILE_DEST parameter allows administrators to structure the PDB files independently of the multitenant container database (CDB) file destination. This feature helps administrators to plug or to unplug databases from one container to another in a shared storage environment.

Plugable Database – Logging Clause

(Database Administrator’s Guide).

The PDB LOGGING or NOLOGGING clause can be specified in a CREATE or ALTER PLUGGABLE DATABASE statement to set or modify the logging attribute of the pluggable database (PDB). This attribute is used to establish the logging attribute of tablespaces created within the PDB if the LOGGING clause was not specified in the CREATE TABLESPACE statement.
If a PDB LOGGING clause is not specified in the CREATE PLUGGABLE DATABASE statement, the logging attribute of the PDB defaults to LOGGING.
This new clause improves the manageability of PDBs in a multitenant container database (CDB).

Plugable Database – Metadata Clone

(Database Administrator’s Guide).

An administrator can now create a clone of a pluggable database only with the data model definition. The dictionary data in the source is copied as is but all user-created table and index data from the source is discarded.
This feature enhances cloning functionality and facilitates rapid provisioning of development environments.

Plugable Database – Remote Clone

(Database Administrator’s Guide).

The new release of Oracle Multitenant fully supports remote full and snapshot clones over a database link. A non-multitenant container database (CDB) can be adopted as a pluggable database (PDB) simply by cloning it over a database link. Remote snapshot cloning is also supported across two CDBs sharing the same storage.
This feature further improves rapid provisioning of pluggable databases. Administrators can spend less time on provisioning and focus more on other innovative operations.

Plugable Database – Snapshot Cloning Additional Platform Support

(Database Administrator’s Guide).

With the initialization parameter CLONEDB set to true, snapshot clones of a pluggable database are supported on any local, Network File Storage (NFS) or clustered file systems with Oracle Direct NFS (dNFS) enabled. The source of the clone must remain read-only while the target needs to be on a file system that supports sparseness.
Snapshot cloning support is now extended to other third party vendor systems.
This feature eases the requirement of specific file systems for snapshot clones of pluggable databases. With file system agnostic snapshot clones, pluggable databases can be provisioned even faster than before.

Plugable Database – STANDBYS Clause

(Database Administrator’s Guide).

The STANDBYS clause allows a user to specify whether a pluggable database (PDB) needs to be a part of the existing standby databases. The STANDBYS clause takes two values: ALL and NONE. While ALL is the default value, when a PDB is created with STANDBYS=NONE, the PDB’s data files are offlined and marked as UNNAMED on all of the standby databases. Any of the new standby databases instantiated after the PDB has been created needs to explicitly disable the PDB for recovery to exclude it from the standby database. However, if a PDB needs to be enabled on a standby database after it was excluded on that standby database, PDB data files need to be copied to the standby database from the primary database and the control file needs to be updated to reflect their paths after which a user needs to connect to the PDB on that standby database and issue ALTER PLUGGABLE DATABASE ENABLE RECOVERY which automatically onlines all of the data files belonging to the PDB.
This feature increases consolidation density by supporting different service-level agreements (SLAs) in the same multitenant container database (CDB).

Plugable Database – State Management Across CDB Restart

(Database Administrator’s Guide).

The SAVE STATE clause and DISCARD STATE clause are now available with the ALTER PLUGGABLE DATABASE SQL statement to preserve the open mode of a pluggable database (PDB) across multitenant container database (CDB) restarts.
If SAVE STATE is specified, open mode of specified PDB is preserved across CDB restart on instances specified in the INSTANCES clause. Similarly, with the DISCARD STATE clause, the open mode of specified PDB is no longer preserved.
These new SQL clauses provide the flexibility to choose the automatic startup of application PDBs when a CDB undergoes a restart. This feature enhances granular control and effectively reduces downtime of an application in planned or unplanned outages.

Plugable Database – Subset Cloning

(Database Administrator’s Guide).

The USER_TABLESPACES clause allows a user to specify which tablespaces need to be available in the new pluggable database (PDB). An example of the application of this clause is a case where a customer is migrating from a non-multitenant container database (CDB) where schema-based consolidation was used to separate data belonging to multiple tenants to a CDB where data belonging to each tenant is kept in a separate PDB. The USER_TABLESPACES clause helps to create one PDB for each schema in the non-CDB.
This powerful clause helps convert cumbersome schema-based consolidations to more agile and efficient pluggable databases.

Full Database Caching

(Database Performance Tuning Guide).

Full database caching can be used to cache the entire database in memory.

In-Memory Aggregation

(Database SQL Tuning Guide).

In-Memory Aggregation optimizes queries that join dimension tables to fact tables and aggregate data (for example, star queries) using CPU and memory efficient KEY VECTOR and VECTOR GROUP BY aggregation operations. These operations may be automatically chosen by the SQL optimizer based on cost estimates.

In-Memory Column Store

(Database Administrator’s Guide).

In-Memory Column Store enables objects (tables or partitions) to be stored in memory in a columnar format. The columnar format enables scans, joins and aggregates to perform much faster than the traditional on-disk formats for analytical style queries.

JSON Support

(XML DB Developer’s Guide).

This feature adds support for storing, querying and indexing JavaScript Object Notation (JSON) data to Oracle Database and allows the database to enforce that JSON stored in the Oracle Database conforms to the JSON rules. This feature also allows JSON data to be queried using a PATH based notation and adds new operators that allow JSON PATH based queries to be integrated into SQL operations.

New FIPS 140 Parameter for Encryption

(Database Security Guide).

The new database parameter, DBFIPS_140, provides the ability to turn on and off the Federal Information Processing Standards (FIPS) 140 cryptographic processing mode inside the Oracle database.

Rapid Home Provisioning

(Clusterware Administration and Deployment Guide).

Rapid Home Provisioning allows deploying of Oracle homes based on gold images stored in a catalog of pre-created homes.

Zone Maps

(Data Warehousing Guide).

For full table access, zone maps allow I/O pruning of data based on the physical location of the data on disk, acting like an anti-index.