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RE: Oracle Names

From: John Kanagaraj <>
Date: Thu, 12 Jun 2003 12:37:37 -0700
Message-ID: <>


> 1. Are any of you using the Oracle Names?

Of course! Used Names in 7.3 (since '97 or so? Was buggy at that time, but the 8i Names is quite Ok). Used to manage about 4000 static desktops (7.3) and now have about 2000+ Laptops and 100-odd NT/UNIX servers being served off an 8i Names service.

> 2. Is it as easy to configure as Oracle makes it sound, or is
> it difficult?

The setup is quite easy, but make sure that you have a primary and secondary ONS servers. The notes on ML about ONAMES is sparse (to say the least), and not many people have set it up (that really surprises me). You _should_ use a Repository (a small DB schema) if you use a primary and secondary, although the notes imply that you don't need to. The 8i version allows you to load the repository via a TNSNAMES.ORA file (using LOAD_TNSNAMES) and generate a new TNSNAMES.ORA via DUMP_TNSNAMES - Cool! (I had to do this by hand for 7.3). Also make sure that you have standardized on the DEFAULT_DOMAIN - if you have multiple values for this across the organization, you may have some challenges... Oracle makes it sound difficult, as the doco tries to explain the details of root and sub-domains similar to an extrenal DNS. Just treat this as something within the organization, and it becomes failrly simple. If your users have had their own quirks in their local TNSNAMES.ORA (such as MYDB pointing to PROD and XYZ pointing to ABC), you will have problems. In other words, the difficult part is the *data* part, not the setup. We used SMS to get a cross-section of TNSNAMES.ORA files from laptops and used Perl (thanks Jared!) to massage them and consolidate the entries, and still missed a few.

> 3. Is Names reasonably robust? I can see this as yet another
> single point of failure.

It is as much a single point of failure as a central SAN (and I am not talking the [EMAIL PROTECTED] here :) or a Data centre.

You can have multiple ONS servers (not sure if you can go above four or five - I have two and it seems adequate) It is *very* crucial that you use DNS aliases to point to the primary and secondary, rather than the actual hostnames. This way, you can quickly setup another server and changes the aliases on the DNS servers if one of them goes down, or has an extended downtime. It is also very helpful for maintenance... As for reliability, our Primary Name server has been continually up since Nov 16 and has collected 664 CPU minutes, which works out to an average of about 4 CPU minutes per day, about the same as that of the DNS Daemon.

$ ps -ef | grep name
  oracle 4625 1 0 Nov 16 ? 664:28 /oracle/onames_home/bin/names names.ctlstart=yes

    root 4667 1 1 Apr 19 ? 121:51 /usr/local/sbin/named

At this time, the number of Name server 'Requests received' (and serviced) was 18,920,223.

The repository does NOT need to be highly available. The Names servers cache required information and will load off these if restarted during the repository outage. The secondaries can be setup to resync from Primary every 'x' minutes as well.

> 4. Oracle hinted that Oracle Names is going away in favor of
> LDAP. Is this
> imminent, or just a scare tactic? I had held off using Names
> because of
> this, but the company has made a commitment to MS Active
> Directory, which I
> gather from the list postings isn't very compatible with
> Oracle's LDAP.

I wouldn't worry about it - Names is available in 9i, and OiD is flaky from what I have heard so far.

In summary: GO for it!

John Kanagaraj
Oracle Applications DBA
DBSoft Inc
(W): 408-970-7002

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