Hans Forbrich

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Some random thoughts about Oracle and Linux. Mainly collections and pointers to useful resources.

Full disclosure: As of July 2015, I work for Oracle as a curriculum developer.

The views expressed on this blog are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Oracle

Updated: 48 min 46 sec ago

Lost SYSMAN password OEM CC 12gR5

Thu, 2015-11-19 10:42
I run my own licensed Oracle products in-house.  Since it is a very simple environment, largely used to learn how things run and verify what I see at customer sites, it is not very active at all.  But it is important enough to me to keep it maintained.

After a bit of a hiatus in looking at the OEM, which is at 12cR5 patched, I went back and noted that I was using the wrong password.  No problem, I thought: since OMS uses VPD and database security, just change the password in the database.

While I'm there, might as well change the SYSMAN password as well, since I have a policy of rotated passwords.

A few things to highlight (as a reminder for next time):

  • Use the right emctl.  There is an emctl for the OMS, the AGENT and the REPO DB.  In this case, I've installed the OMS under middleware, therefore  
    • /u01/app/oracle/middleware/oms/bin/emctl
  • Check the repository and the listener
  • Start the OMS.  
    • If the message is "Failed to connect to repository database. OMS will be automatically restarted once it identifies that database and listener are up." there are a few possibilities:
      • database is down
      • listener is down
    • If the message is "Connection to the repository failed. Verify that the repository connection information provided is correct." check whether 
      • SYSMAN password is changed or 
      • SYSMAN is locked out
  • To change the sysman password:
    • In database 
      • sqlplus / as sysdba
      • alter user SYSMAN identified by new_pwd account unlock;
    • In oms
      • ./emctl stop oms
      • ./emctl config oms -change_repos_pwd -use_sys_pwd -sys_pwd sys_pwd -new_pwd new_pwd
      • ./emctl stop oms 
      • ./emctl start oms
And test it out using the browser ...
Categories: DBA Blogs

OTN Latin America Tour, 2014

Fri, 2014-07-11 18:12
The dates, and the speakers, for the Latin America Tour have been anounnced.


Categories: DBA Blogs

New OTN Tour

Mon, 2014-05-19 12:51
For those of you who watch the OTN Tours, here is a list of the big ones this year

Feb 2014 - OTN Yathra by AIOUG (India) ... http://otnyathra.com/
May 2014 - OTN MENA by ARAB OUG ... http://www.otnmenatour.org/
August 2014 - OTN LAD North
August 2014 - OTN LAD South
November 2014 - OTN APAC

I was part of OTN Yathra (fantastic time again, thanks Murali), and have my name in the hat for LAD and APAC.  Unfortunately MENA conflicts with other scheduled events.
Categories: DBA Blogs

Open World 2013 - Wednesday: Focus on a bunch of things

Thu, 2013-09-26 19:10
Even though I spent my prime time with RAC Attack, I ended up involved in a variety of discussions.


I am still amazed at how people and companies increase the cost of Oracle to themselves. 

One discussion was with a one-man company, and how Oracle Enterprise Edition is so expensive. This former employee, now entrepreneur, was still under the impression that Personal Edition has no capabilities.  A quick glance in the licensing document would have told him that the $400 + 22% annual fee would have served his purposes, since Personal Edition is for developers and includes all features of the Enterprise Edition (except RAC) at no extra charge.

Another discussion effectively was an acknowledgement that companies do not bother to understand and use the features they have bought - resource management, scheduler, email, etc.  Instead they buy additional product from other companies, attempt to shoehorn all these things together, incur additional license costs both from Oracle (because they now have additional s/w using up cores, therefore they need additional cores of DB license) and the added product they buy, as well as the cost of integrating it. 

And they wonder why Oracle seems expensive.


We had a wonderful discussion with the IOUG Spatial and Graph SIG executive and a number of SIG members.

I'd love feedback one idea: is to create a MAP Attack - a hands-on workshop similar to RAC Attack, with extremely fine-grained detail on installing and loading database and spatial, through installing and configuring Map Viewer and Map Editor, that we could play back at conferences.


As usual, we had a lot of people interested in RAC Attack.  And as usual, the attendees found that the difficulty is in getting the networking and shared storage right.  The bulk of the problems arose from network mis-configuration.


Again we had a number of discussions on "X as a Service".  I think it is very important that DBAs start to embrace that - OracleVM, Cloud Control and DB Templates are in their future.

DBAs may still be able to push back for a while, but I am increasingly seeing CIOs and CTOs be convinced of the cost savings.  And if DBAs are not familiar with the technologies, they are being pushed aside and viewed as roadblocks to progress.  This can be a scary position to be in.  Learn the Cloud Control ...


One of the best courses I've taught in a while is the Oracle Virtualization (OracleVM for x86) course.  Well worth the time.
Categories: DBA Blogs

Open World 2013 - Tuesday: Focus on RAC Attack

Wed, 2013-09-25 11:14
The big discussions from Oracle was around "Internet of Things".  This is the future where your fridge tells you that the butter has curdled and you need to order more Arugula.  Or your car is speeding.  Or your portable electric generator has kicked in.  Or your credit card has been used.  Or ...

In other words, the "Internet of Things" is all about capturing real time data, in a standardized form, from nearly every device out there.

The potential impact on data volumes and security are ... well ... big.

There are millions of users on the internet, and there are potentially dozens and hundreds of security access points per user.

BUT, there are potentially thousands or even millions of devices *for each user*, acting as sensors and sending data back for information, action and analysis.  And these also need an identity and related security.

Who said DBA role is dead?  If you didn't understand performance before, you will need to now.


On my side, it was day 1 of RAC Attack.  In case you do not know about RAC Attack, it is a hands-on workshop to help interested people to build a complete RAC on a laptop as a learning environment. The details of what we build are at http://racattack.org/12c and that includes each and every small detail to implement your own.

This is in addition to, not instead of, the various Build-your-own-RAC articles at OTN and the various blogs.  The difference is that we provide hands-on assistance to interested individuals. 

This year it is the OTN Lounge and being run by a number of  OTN members, including 3 Oracle ACEs and 5 Oracle ACE Directors (including 'yours truly').

Thanks to
- Oracle Technology Network for making their space available for this
- Dell Corp for providing a server
- Exit Certified for providing several laptops as loaners
- this crop of RAC Attack volunteers
- Jeremy Schneider, Dan Norris and Parto Jalili for kicking it off several years ago and keeping it alive

Look for RAC Attack at any Oracle conference or user group meeting near you.  Feel free to contact me, or OTN, or any RAC Attacker if you want a session at your location.

More information is at http://racattack.org

Categories: DBA Blogs

Open World 2013 - Monday: Focus on Spatial

Wed, 2013-09-25 10:54
Oracle's Theme of the Day is: there be a lot of data out there.  Larry's keynote yesterday was about the hardware and hardware-consuming products that support chewing through huge amounts of data - from the Sparc M6 through the In-Memory Database.   Monday was about big data, scalable solutions with a lot of emphasis on crunching and analytics.

My Theme of the Day is Oracle Spatial and Graph.  Many of you know that Spatial is one of my major interests.

For me, the exciting new information is two-fold:

Nearly all of SDO_GEOMETRY-related functionality (except for LRS) previously available in 11gR2 and below is added to the free Locator stack.  The full description for Locator 12c is in the documentation at http://docs.oracle.com/cd/E16655_01/appdev.121/e17896/sdo_locator.htm#i632018

Related to that is that the existing functionality has been supplemented with a complete rewrite, from ground up, of nearly everything in SDO_GEOMETRY with a focus on performance.  Discussed benchmarks indicate performance improvements can range from 5x to 100x in all areas from indexing through analysis using any of the rewritten functions. 

A number of these performance improvements are available simply by upgrading.

However, some of these performance improvements are available only in Enterprise Edition, with the Spatial Option, by setting the 'Go Fast' parameter to 'True'

as described at http://docs.oracle.com/cd/E16655_01/appdev.121/e17896/sdo_intro.htm#sthref136
It definitely is time for me to get back to Spatial, and get more involved in the IOUG Spatial SIG.

Categories: DBA Blogs

Open World 2013 - Sunday: Focus on Virtualization

Mon, 2013-09-23 16:02
I've decided to attend Open World on a thematic basis, and today's theme is Virtualization.  Therefore I'm attending the IOUG Virtualization / Cloud SIG sessions.

First:  what is 'Cloud'?

There are a lot of definitions out there, none of why I really like.  Part of the problem is that they try to give one consistent definition from all points of view.  However, I believe tjhere must be TWO independent definitions - one from the 'user' perspective and one from the 'operations' perspective. 

User perspective:

A compute cloud provides the right service (CPU, memory, storage, database, application) at the right time (day, night, month-end, year-end) to the user (person, department, system), without the user needing to be aware of the location of that service.

Operations perspective:

A compute cloud includes the infrastructure and metrics to permit appropriate, best-practices, architecture to permit support and configuration of the hardware and software needed by the user.

This is basically the same distinction as the electrical grid: users simply want electricity to be available when they plug-in and flip the switch; operators need to provide a very complicated, metered, and interoperable infrastructure to make the delivery nearly invisible and ubiquitous.

Basically, the future directions are "XaaS" when X is any of "hardware, platform, network, software, database, application [mail, website, WLS deployment platform, sales force, financials, database, etc.]" and 'aaS' is "as a Service". 

And Oracle is playing there - with OracleVM, Oracle Linux, Oracle Enterprise Manager, Oracle WebLogic Service VM templates, Oracle Database VM templates, Oracle Database PDBs, Oracle APEX, Oracle ADF deployment, and so on.

The core infrastructure is growing up.   See Kai's blog kyuoracleblog.wordpress.com and Wim's blog at https://blogs.oracle.com/virtualization/

Also watch for DB as a Service ... buy DB instance, database, schema and/or table on demand.

This an much much more is discussed in teh IOUG Cloud SIG


Separate note - a big shout-out to my dear friend Todd Trichler.  Todd used to be the face of Oracle Linux and OracleVM to the user community.
Categories: DBA Blogs

ACE Director Briefing - Friday afternoon

Fri, 2013-09-20 18:44
David Peake discussed Apex and highlighted a few things:

  1. First place to look at Performance issues: check your SQL
  2. Since Apex (by default) is in the 12c seed and the root containers, plugging in a new container can be a challenge
  3. Self-service http://apex.oracle.com/vote to help prioritize new features
  4. Apex Listener does support multiple PDBs with configuration
Look at the Apex OTN site for information.

By the way - http://apex.oracle.com (which now runs on an ExaData X2-2) gives out Apex Workspaces on demand.  Great way to get access to a SQL environment to study for Oracle certification.


The next session was all about Oracle's Cloud initiatives.  You are aware that Oracle is 'in the cloud', right?  Well, they are, and it ain't just Cirrus.


Now, an ExaLogic session ... "a network optimized system for the mid tier"for speed daemons. Economics shine because you generally can *significantly* reduce the number of server cores to accomplish the same work load.  It can run vanilla Linux or Solaris applications, as well as Exalogics-aware [WebLogic Server] applications.

Keywords to look up, during and after Open World:  Nimbula; Open Stack;


and ...


Time to head to the Hilton!  Bring me a beer!!!
Categories: DBA Blogs

ACE Director's Briefing - Friday morning

Fri, 2013-09-20 14:46
Started out with the Database discussion, and got a heads up to listen to Larry's keynote on Sunday for some very interesting announcements for [near] future directions and reviews of accomplishments. 

Jeremy Ashley and his team showed some very interesting changes to the ADF visual toolbox and the directions for Fusion Applications UI management. 

Wim talked about upcoming UEK changes, pending upgrades of OVM for x86 and some enhancements coming for OVM for Sparc. 

Reminder - Oracle VM for x86 download from eDelivery is 3.2.3,  However, you can get OVM 3.2.4 from Support (patch ID 16410428, note 1565283.1) and today they released 3.2.6 (patch ID 16815542) which updates to a more recent XEN release.

Oracle Virtual Compute Appliance, recently announced, looks quite interesting with it's plug-n-play configuration, completely pre-cabled (with a rack-to-rack cable to extend to 2 more racks), including Infiniband based Oracle Virtual Network, and 'one hour power to VM' configuration - need to look at this.  Basically we are looking at an OVM Manager with a pre-built server pool.  Plug-n-play!  I see a major play possible in Canada.

The internal IT team discussed the Oracle Global IT infrastructure, and their 'Single Global E-Business' database on a 4-node RAC cluster.  Significant savings that work into the business case justification.

And ... WebCenter Portal, WebCenter Content and WebCenter Sites are heavily updated, especially to understand and interact with [NDA].  Some interesting use cases that will be discussed, especially in advanced integrated search.  There are some very interesting UI and tooling changes.  People who are into WebCenter need to check the Demo Grounds during Open World.

Categories: DBA Blogs

Multi-tenant Database notes

Fri, 2013-09-20 11:52
We are in the ACE Director briefing on Friday morning with Penny Avril and people from her team.  Good to see her again!

There are some VERY interesting things coming up - look for the announcements in Larry's keynote on Sunday, and various presentations throughout the week.


We did discuss the Multi-tenant database.  One thing was clarified about the licensing, and this is actually written in the Licensing document at http://www.oracle.com/pls/db121/homepage

As of 12cR1, you have 3 modes to install the database:

- Pre-12c mode - 1 (or more) instance for one database;
- Single tenant - available for SE1, SE, EE and PE at no additional charge*
- Multi-tenant - available as an extra-cost option for EE only

* First entry in the table at http://docs.oracle.com/cd/E16655_01/license.121/e17614/editions.htm states:

"Extra cost option for up to 252 pluggable databases. The multitenant architecture with one pluggable database (single tenant) is available in all editions."

While somewhat ambiguous, we did get confirmation that "available in all editions" means no additional fee for 1 tenant.  

(As always - final word is only from Oracle ... "I read it on the internet" is never a good legal defense.)


Update:  APEX is installed by default into the Seed PDB, and the Root PDB.  That can be changed - it can be removed from the Seed, and it can be removed from the Root.  This gives several potential configurations.

(Note to self: check on the impact of removing, specifically re: EM Express.)

If installing a PDB, especially importing from an 11gR2, there could be a challenge. 
Categories: DBA Blogs

ACE Director Briefing - Thursday Morning

Thu, 2013-09-19 15:06
ACE Director Briefings have started.

Pretty good attendance - about 75-80 of us from around the world.   Great time renewing old acquaintances and friendships, and meeting new ACE Directors.

We've had a very interesting morning of briefings.  Today is the day for Fusion Middleware and Cloud discussions.  So far we've heard about

- WebLogic Server, Coherence
- BI and EPM
- SOA suite, BPEL, Service Bus, and integration
- ... As A Service

There will be a lot of interesting announcements at Open World this year, but so far they've reminded us that we are under NDA for the details.

During the BI session, I was reminded that the new BI Suite Sample for is available in VM form at http://www.oracle.com/technetwork/middleware/bi-foundation/obiee-samples-167534.html
Categories: DBA Blogs

Oracle Open World - the final stretch

Thu, 2013-09-19 09:20
This is the 'week before' Oracle Open World.  The final stretch on the way to announcements, social and business networking, too much activity, sore feet ...

I arrived on Sunday to deliver the Oracle University "Oracle VM Administration: Oracle VM Server for x86" (2nd Ed) course, based on OracleVM 3.2.  I have to say this is one of the best tech courses in the Oracle course catalog - rates right up there with the "Oracle 11g: RAC and Grid Infrastructure Administration Accelerated".  Interestingly, two attendees were from Sweden - this gave them a chance to arrive early and adjust to the time zone.

In my spare time, I got 3 machines ready to loan out during RAC Attack at Open World.  Check out http://www.racattack.org

Arrived at Sofitel yesterday (Wednesday) in the early evening.  Already met up with a number of ACE Directors - Edward Roske, Cary Milsap, Mark Rittmann, Alex Gorbachev, Marcus Eisling, Arup Nanda, and many more ... Tanel Poder is in the booth next to me having breakfast.

In 10 minutes, I'm off to the ACE Director's briefing.  More as time goes on.
Categories: DBA Blogs

RAC Attack at Oracle Open World

Sun, 2013-09-15 20:53
This year, one of my main Open World activities will be to participate as a RAC Attack Ninja.

RAC Attack is a program initiated by Jeremy Schneider, Dan Norris and Parto Jalili at the IOUG Collaborate 2008 conference as a result of a classroom full of unattended PCs (long story, great ending)

Quoting from the RAC Attack web site at http://racattack.org :

"RAC Attack is a free curriculum and platform for hands-on learning labs related to Oracle RAC (cluster database). We believe that the best way to learn about RAC is with a lot of hands-on experience."

This year the RAC Attack team - we call ourselves RAC Attack Ninjas - will be hosting a campground in the OTN Lounge on Tuesday and Wednesday from 10-2.

People who have their own laptop can download the Oracle VirtualBox (http://virtualbox.org), Oracle Linux (https://edelivery.oracle.com/linux) and Oracle Database 12c for Linux (http://download.oracle.com) and we will help them install Oracle Database 12c and a 2-node RAC cluster.

This year, Exit Certified (Oracle University partner who provides a lot of RAC training) and DELL (Oracle partner who sells a lot of hardware used with RAC) have sponsored some equipment for people who want to attend, but don't want to use their own laptops.

If you are interested in learning more about RAC, maybe installing it on your laptop, then come along to the RAC Attack sessions during OOW. Get more details from the Facebook page for each of the two days.
There is also a Google+ page.

If you are coming to install RAC, you might want to read through this.

Categories: DBA Blogs

Countdown to Oracle Open World

Sun, 2013-09-15 20:38
Oracle Open World - the annual festival during which Oracle employees, pundits, reporters, supporters, and customers try to overwhelm San Francisco with bodies, information, and just general fun - is about to begin. 

My itinerary, generally speaking (as I usually allow a lot of flexibility):

1) I'm already in San Francisco - teaching the Oracle University course on OracleVM until Wednesday. 

On Wednesday evening, I'll be heading to the Sofitel where many of the ACE Directors meet up before the ACED Briefing.

That's when we get to see Vikki and Lillian, the wonderful ladies who herd the cats known as Oracle ACEs. 

2) ACE Director Briefing, Thursday and Friday

In the years since I was fortunate enough to be selected a ACE Director, I have tried to attend all the ACE Director Briefings - presentations by Oracle management and product management to let us know (under NDA) what is coming up.  Of course, with the NDA, we are not allowed to talk about anything until Larry spills the beans, but at least we will have had a chance to mull things over before the beans do get spilled. 

Since Tim Hall can not be at the briefing this year, a number of us ACEDs will be blogging extra, trying to keep him up to date without violating the NDA. 

3) RAC Attack pre-meeting on Sunday, and possibly another on Saturday.

4) Kickoff on Sunday

Things officially start on Sunday with the various user group and specialty sessions, which inevitablyt have a great amount of info, followed by The Kickoff.  If things hold true to previous years, Larry will throw the gauntlet and give us a glimpse of what new announcements will be made and why we should listen.

5) ACE Dinner on Sunday

One of the ACE highlights at OOW it the ACE Dinner on Sunday evening.  I enjoy catching up with my fellow ACEs from around the world, and meeting the new faces who joined the ranks.

6) Monday-Thursday is going to be filled to the brim with all sorts of activities, traveling to and fro, and blogging about it.

7) RAC Attack

I'll be at RAC Attack both Tuesday and Wednesday.  Facebook pages at

8) Enterprise Manager CAB on Friday

I've been very fortunate to be selected as a Customer Advisory Board attendee for the Oracle Enterprise Manager Cloud Control.  This is an opportunity to provide feedback to the inner circle of the product team, as well as to learn about future directions of products.

Most products, and even major features, have CABs.  I encourage all customers to consider getting involved.

Categories: DBA Blogs

Oracle Open World - coming up

Wed, 2013-09-04 14:39
Just in case you didn't know ;-)

Oracle Open World, and Oracle Java One are just around the corner.  For more information, look at http://www.oracle.com/index.html

I'll be available at the RAC Attack on both Tuesday and Wednesday.  Come on over, with your own laptop (or use one of ours) and install a complete, operational, RAC sandbox.  http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/RAC_Attack_-_Oracle_Cluster_Database_at_Home
Categories: DBA Blogs

Personal Edition for Linux - 11gR2 and 12c

Tue, 2013-08-06 12:13
See MOS Note "How to Install Oracle Database Personal Edition on Linux?" (Doc ID 1574396.1)
Thank you Oracle.
Categories: DBA Blogs

Oracle Database 12c - notes 1

Sat, 2013-07-06 21:02
I now have a functional Oracle Database 12c Lab environment which consists of a bunch of x86_64 computers networked together.  (And some that are still pending, for the RAC exercise.)


  1x AMD-based homegrown computer running OpenFiler 2.99 as iSCSI server

Monitoring and Support (licenses includes with Database):
  1x Oracle Linux 5u6 for OEM 12c Cloud Control
   - DB 11gR2
   - OEM
   - Cloud Control agent pushed to all machines BEFORE any additional s/w set up

  1x Oracle Linux 5u8 for Oracle Internet Directory
  - DB 11gR2,
  - RCU
  - WebLogic Server 10.3.6
  - Oracle Identity Management Suite selected for OID
  - all targets displaying on Cloud Control

Test Machine 1
  - Oracle Linux 5u8, 48GB RAM
  - Standalone Grid installed for ASM
  - ASM
  - 1x DB EE Container using ASM with 1 Pluggable DB 
  - 1x DB EE Container using File System with 1 Pluggable DB
  - all targets displaying on Cloud Control

Test Machine 2
  - Oracle Linux 5u8, 4GB RAM
  - 1x DB EE Container using File System with 1 Pluggable DB
  - all targets displaying on Cloud Control and EM Express

Test Machine 3
  - Oracle Linux 6u3, 4GB RAM
  - 1x DB SE Container using File System with 1 Pluggable DB
  - 1x DB EE non-Container using File System
  - all targets displaying on Cloud Control and EM Express

(Still to come:
   Test machine 4 will host GSM.
   Test machines 5-7 will have OVM and RAC 12c.


     84 Targets in OEM Cloud Control, all showing Green!

Initial Notes: 
  1. I needed to upgrade to OEM 12c Cloud Control as did not have the plugins to monitor Database 12c (production release). 
  2. Standard Edition supports 1 (one) pluggable database, if you chose the container architecture.
  3. Selecting both Cloud Control AND EM-Express during DBCA screws up EM-Express
    1. You need to install using EM-Express ONLY and discover manually with CC later.
  4. Separation of duty configuration works - almost correctly.

Categories: DBA Blogs

OpenFiler - lost iSCSI disks after reboot. How To Restore

Sat, 2013-07-06 20:40
I've been using OpenFiler 2.99 as a NAS and iSCSI server for some tests.  

A few days ago I had a power outage and that caused me some problems, so I got another UPS and added the OpenFiler system to the UPS.  Unfortunately, even though  I cleanly shut the filer down, it still caused the same problems as before.

This blog is more of a record for me, when I need to redo this exercise.  

  OpenFiler 2.99  x86_64 NAS Appliance
    - obtained from http://openfiler.com/community/download
    - built on a home-brew system with 1 500GB base drive &  4x1.5TB Seagate SATA drives

  After reboot, iSCSI disks were not presented.

Detailed symptoms & steps, as root:

1)  The 4 SATA drives were visible, and the partitions were listed in /dev
      (/dev/sdb1 -> /dev/sde1).  However, pvdisplay could not see the partitions.

     ran fdisk for all disks and rewrote the partition table, and reran pvdisplay

 # fdisk /dev/sdb
 Command (m for help):  w
 # pvdisplay

2) The Logical volumes were there but 'Status not available'

  ran the vgchange command.

# vgchange -a y
# lvdisplay

3) The iSCSI partitions still not being presented, apparently because the LUNs were stuck.

Command Line, as root
  went to /opt/openfiler/iscsi/targets
  made a backup of iscsi_settings.xml
  removed all the
OpenFiler admin web site (https://myhost:446/)
  Services > Services Section : Manage Services > iSCSI Target ... stopped and started
  Volumes > Volumes Section : iSCSI Targets > LUN Mapping ... remapped all LUNs

After remapping, all were visible again.

Categories: DBA Blogs

Oracle Database 12c is 'out' - some pleasant surprises

Tue, 2013-06-25 21:18
Without fanfare, other than a "didyaknow" on Oracle-L, Oracle 12c for Linux and Solaris became available on Oracle's edelivery site.

Some time later, the docs showed up at http://www.oracle.com/pls/db121/homepage and via http://docs.oracle.com (but not yet on tahiti.oracle.com) and on OTN's http://download.oracle.com

My FIRST look at the documentation these days is at the Licensing guide.  For me, that's even more important than the New Features, the Concepts (especially the What's New chapter) and the Administrator's Guide.


Personal Edition For Linux!!!  It's here!


THANK YOU ORACLE.   And, since I was able to peek at the product early, that is the first of MANY thanks.


Update:  One of the Oracle-L people pointed out that the Personal Edition for Linux has been available for 11.2 as well.  They snuck that in - but I am still very thankful.

Personal Edition is for developers who need ALL the features and options (except RAC and OEM packs), as well as support, at a very low price.  The limitation - it's a One Named User Only license.
Categories: DBA Blogs

Musings on Standby Database

Wed, 2013-06-12 13:02
It seem that every few months, there is a renewed discussion about whether you need to license your standby database, whether standby is Data Guard, whether Data Guard can be used in Oracle Data Server Standard Edition, whether we have to pay if we just apply redo at night, and similar.

Here is my response to that question:


Standby is standby.  It is a technique to support disaster recovery.  And it is still called Standby Database, not Data Guard, even now.

For a long time, in order to automate disaster recovery technique people have written scripts.  For Oracle Database Server, Laurence To and the Oracle SPG group assembled a number of the scripts back with Oracle7 and Oracle8 and released then as a feature of the Enterprise Edition called Data Guard that initially only consisted of the 'best practices' scripts.  The core feature was, and still is, available at no additional cost.

Data Guard has since progressed significantly and become more of a set of executables, rather than scripts.  But the primary purpose still is to automate the steps of syncronizing the standby and automating the switchover/failover.

Standby is standby.  With Oracle Database Server, it consists of two databases: the first or primary actively handling transactions and query requests; the 'standby' being available to take over the load if the primary fails.

Over the years, we in the industry have refined the term to distinguish between Cold and Hot standby, the difference being in how much effort is involved, and how quickly the standby environment is available for use.

A Cold Standby environment may have the software installed, but the environment does not use any CPU cycles to keeping the data in sync.  In general, that will require some sort of restore from backups.  Since the Cold Standby does not use CPU cycles, Oracle has not traditionally charged for it.

A Hot Standby environment keeps the data in sync fairly closely to the primary.  The more similar the standby environment needs to be to the primary at the data and configuration level, the more it will cost to do that, and the more complicated the sync method needs to be.  The Hot Standby does use CPU cycles, and therefore must be licensed the same way as the primary unless you have an exception within YOUR Oracle license contract.

Oracle database server - whether Express Edition, Standard Edition or Enterprise Edition - has the ability to perform crash and media recovery from intact redo log files.  Oracle's hot standby capability is simply continuous media recovery.  However that requires the redo information from the primary to be sent to the standby, when it is available and it requires the standby to apply the redo once it has arrived.

The Enterprise Edition feature called Data Guard is simply a 'guardian application' that detects when the redo information is available, extracts it, transmits it, and controls the application at the standby system(s).  What it does can also be done manually, or through your own scripts.  Indeed, in Standard Edition, DbVisit (http://www.dbvisit.com) has created their own commercially available executable that does the same thing and more.

Data Guard has been enhanced to allow several 'levels' of similarity, from "minimum data loss" through "absolutely no loss permitted".  What used to be scripts is now compiled executables with many test points and with the ability to control the database server.

And the database kernel has been modified to allow the standby server to be opened in read-only while applying the redo information which may happen under the control of the Data Guard application.  This is called Active Data Guard, and it DOES require additional licenses.

Also check out the Software Investment Guide at http://www.oracle.com/us/corporate/pricing/index.html

And remember: the final authority is Oracle, not me.  "I read it on the Internet" is a shoddy defense in a contract dispute and will likely NOT be accepted by the Judge in a Court of Law.
Categories: DBA Blogs