I recently stumbled across this german article about Flashback Data Archives alias Total Recall. In between setup instructions the text says that Total Recall is no longer a seperate EE Option since June 2012. I spent some time looking for information on this and was able to find this in the 11.2 Oracle License Information and the product page. A brief look at the Oracle Store and a call to our VAD confirmed that the option is no longer on the pricelist and that it is now part of the Advanced Compression Option. This sounds like a bummer since the Advanced Compression Option is about twice as expensive as the old Total Recall Option.
Fortunately there is a silver lining to this: The german article also indicates that beginning with the 220.127.116.11 patchset it will be possible to create flashback archives without compression (on by default with the current implementation) and such non-compressed flashback archives will be just another free (!) feature of the EE database.
This leaves me with some mixed feelings. I am excited to see the feature being free with EE and I sure hope that more ISVs will take advantage of this unique feature. But we will have to check how uncompressed archives compare to compressed ones in terms of performance and storage requirements. I am getting quite excited about the 18.104.22.168 patchset now and want to give it a try as soon as I can. I am also quite curious if there will be a way to convert existing archives to uncompressed ones to test changes in performance and disk utilization.
Update: Martin Berger reminded me that 22.214.171.124 won’t be out until early 2013, not Oracle FY13Q1 like I thought (which would be about right now)
Update 2: The source page was changed and does not mention the “free” feature anymore, just the advanced compression option. So either this was just a dream or they decided to not disclose information until 126.96.36.199 is actually released.
Update 3 (2013-06-27): Oracle 12c does indeed offer to create flashback archives without compression and those basic FBAs are included with all editions (even SE and SE One).
Update 4 (2013-08-27): The 188.8.131.52 patchset is just out and indeed offers a parameter to switch FBA data optimization (compression) with the default being off. With optimization off, flashback archives are included in all editions, even standard edition. The 11.2 license document states:
Beginning with Oracle Database 11g Release 2 (184.108.40.206): You must license the Oracle Advanced Compression option to use Optimization for Flashback Data Archive history tables. Basic Flashback Data Archive—without history table optimization—is available in all editions.