Oracle is a company. Oracle is also a database server, which manages data in a very structured way. It allows users to store and retrieve related data in a multiuser environment so that many users can concurrently access the same data. All this is accomplished while delivering high performance. A database server also prevents unauthorized access and provides efficient solutions for failure recovery.
An Oracle database is a collection of data treated as a big unit in the database server.
Every running Oracle database is associated with an Oracle instance. When a database is started on a database server (regardless of the type of computer), Oracle allocates a memory area called the System Global Area (SGA) and starts one or more Oracle processes. This combination of the SGA and the Oracle processes is called an Oracle instance. The memory and processes of an instance manage the associated database's data efficiently and serve the one or multiple users of the database.
A parameter file is a file that contains a list of initialization parameters and a value for each parameter. You specify initialization parameters in a parameter file that reflect your particular installation. Oracle supports the following two types of parameter files:
* Server Parameter Files - Binary version. Persistent.
* Initialization Parameter Files - Text version. Not persistent.
A server parameter file is a binary file that acts as a repository for initialization parameters. The server parameter file can reside on the machine where the Oracle database server executes. Initialization parameters stored in a server parameter file are persistent, in that any changes made to the parameters while an instance is running can persist across instance shutdown and startup.