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Tim Hall

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Oracle related rants (and lots of off-topic stuff)...
Updated: 8 weeks 6 days ago

Site Maintenance Complete!

Sat, 2014-07-19 04:40

It looks like the site maintenance is complete and from my perspective the DNS changes have gone through.

If you go to the homepage and see a message called “Site Maintenance” in the “Site News” section, it means you are being directed to the new server. If you don’t see that it means you are still being directed to the old server and you won’t be able to read this. :)

I guess it will take a few hours for the DNS changes to propagate. Last time I moved the site it took a couple of days to complete for everyone.

Cheers

Tim…

Site Maintenance Complete! was first posted on July 19, 2014 at 11:40 am.
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Planned Maintenance This Weekend!

Fri, 2014-07-18 02:14

Just a quick heads-up to you folks…

On Saturday I’ll be transferring my website and blog to a new server. It’s with the same hosting company, so hopefully the DNS changes will not be too drastic.

The site is already in place on the new box and it seems to be working fine, so on Saturday morning I will do a backup of the MySQL databases and transfer them to the new machine, then initiate the DNS change.

The last time I did this, which was between different hosting companies, there were some issues in some geographical regions for a couple of days, but most people were seeing the site as normal within about an hour.

Note. If you happen to post on the forum or comment on a blog post during Saturday, it might be lost depending on the timing. Also, my email address my go wonky for a little while…

Fingers crossed… :)

Cheers

Tim…

 

Planned Maintenance This Weekend! was first posted on July 18, 2014 at 9:14 am.
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VirtualBox 4.3.14

Wed, 2014-07-16 07:23

Oracle have given birth to VirtualBox 4.3.14. Mother and baby are doing well, with the downloads and changelog in the usual places.

Happy upgrading…

Cheers

Tim…

PS. Looks like the baby might be still-born. Fails pretty badly on Windows 7 at the moment…

PPS. Seems to work fine on Mac and Linux (Fedora 20)…

VirtualBox 4.3.14 was first posted on July 16, 2014 at 2:23 pm.
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Oracle Midlands : Event #4 – Summary

Tue, 2014-07-15 03:51

What a cracking Oracle Midlands event!

The evening started with a session on “Designing Efficient SQL” by Jonathan Lewis. The first few slides prompted this tweet.

jl

When someone asks me a question about SQL tuning my heart sinks. It’s part of my job and I can do it, but I find it really hard to communicate what I’m doing. Jonathan’s explanation during this session was probably the best one I’ve ever heard. Rather than trying to explain a million and one optimizer features, it’s very much focussed on a “What are you actually trying to achieve?” approach. It should be mandatory viewing for all Oracle folks.

After the break, where I stuffed myself with samosas, it was on to the lightning talks (10 mins each).

  • Breaking Exadata - Jonathan Lewis, JL Computer Consultancy : This focused on a couple of situations where the horsepower of Exadata doesn’t come to the rescue, like large hash joins that flood to disk and decompressions in the storage cells being abandoned and the compressed blocks being sent back to the compute nodes to be decompressed. If I ever get to use an Exadata…
  • How to rename a 500gb schema in 10 minutes - Richard Harrison, EON : Why can’t we have a rename user/schema command? Richard showed a quick way to use transportable tablespaces to rename a schema. Neat!
  • Oracle Big Data Appliance – What’s in the box? - Salih Oztop, Business AnalytiX : The title says it all really. I thought it was a really good introduction to the BDA. I’ve been to 1 hour talks on this subject that didn’t convey as much information as he managed to fit into 10 minutes. Also, a hint at a cool new feature about to be announced…
  • Installing RAC: Things to sort out with your systems and network admins - Patrick Hurley, Scale Abilities : Patrick is a cool guy and he upped his cool rating further by brandishing a light sabre as a pointer during his talk! His session was a list of gotchas he’s encountered while installing RAC. Some of them I’ve encountered myself. Some not. Good stuff.
  • Is the optimiser too smart now? - Martin Widlake, ORA600 : I could hear a voice, but I couldn’t see anyone over the podium. :) The question was, has it got to a point where it is too complicated for normal folks and beginners to stand a chance at understanding it, or should we now be treating it like a black box? My own feeling is that 12c might be the turning point where I really have to say I don’t understand it any more. It feels a bit sad, but maybe it is inevitable…

I though the lightning talks worked really well. It felt like a whole conference packed into one hour. :)

The event was free, thanks to the sponsorship by those kind people at Red Gate. The Oracle Press teddy bears made another appearance, but I didn’t win one. :(

Big thanks to Mike for organising it and to all the speakers for doing a great job. The next event will be up on the website soon. Please show your support! These things live or die based on your participation…

Cheers

Tim…

Oracle Midlands : Event #4 – Summary was first posted on July 15, 2014 at 10:51 am.
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Swimming Progress

Sat, 2014-07-12 02:59

While I was at BGOUG I went for swim each morning before the conference. That got me to thinking, perhaps I should start swimming again…

It’s been 4 weeks since I got back from the conference and I’ve been swimming very morning. It was a bit of a struggle at first. I think it took me 2-3 days to work up to a mile (1600M – about 9M short of a real mile). Since then I’ve been doing a mile each day and it’s going pretty well.

I’m pretty much an upper body swimmer it the moment. I kick my legs just enough to keep them from sinking, but don’t really generate any forward thrust with them. At this point I’m concentrating on my upper body form. When I think about it, my form is pretty good. When I get distracted, like when I am having to pass people, it breaks down a little. I guess you could say I am in state of “concious competence“. Over the next few weeks this should set in a bit and I can start working on some other stuff. It’s pointless to care too  much about speed at this point because if my form breaks down I end up having a faster arm turnover, but use more effort and actually swim slower. The mantra is form, form, form!

Breathing is surprisingly good. I spent years as a left side breather (every 4th stroke). During my last bout of swimming (2003-2008) I forced myself to switch to bilateral breathing, but still felt the left side was more natural. Having had a 6 year break, I’ve come back and both sides feel about the same. If anything, I would say my right side technique is slightly better than my left. Occasionally I will throw in a length of left-only or right-only (every 4th stroke) breathing for the hell of it, but at the moment every 3rd stroke is about the best option for me. As I get fitter I will start playing with things like every 5th stroke and lengths of no breathing just to add a bit of variety.

Turns are generally going pretty well. Most of the time I’m fine. About 1 in 20 I judge the distance wrong and end up having a really flimsy push off. I’m sure my judgement will improve over time.

At this point I’m taking about 33 minutes to complete a mile. The world record for 1500M short course (25M pool) is 14:10. My first goal is to get my 1600M time down to double the 1500M world record. Taking 5 minutes off my time seems like quite a big challenge, but I’m sure as I bring my legs into play and my technique improves my speed will increase significantly.

As I get more into the swing of things I will probably incorporate a bit of interval training, like a sprint length, followed by 2-3 at a more sedate pace. That should improve my fitness quite a lot and hopefully improve my speed.

For a bit of fun I’ve added a couple of lengths of butterfly after I finish my main swim. I used to be quite good at butterfly, but at the moment I’m guessing the life guards think I’m having a fit. It would be nice to be able to bang out a few lengths of that and not feel like I was dying. :)

I don’t do breaststroke any more, as it’s not good for my hips. Doing backstroke in a pool with other people in the lane sucks, so I can’t be bothered with that. Maybe on days when the pool is quieter I will work on it a bit, but for now the main focus is crawl.

Cheers

Tim…

PS. I reserve the right to get bored, give up and eat cake instead at any time… :)

Swimming Progress was first posted on July 12, 2014 at 9:59 am.
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Invoker Rights in Oracle Database 12c : Some more articles

Wed, 2014-07-09 05:03

I wrote about the Code Based Access Control (CBAC) stuff in Oracle Database 12c a while back.

I’ve recently “completed the set” by looking at the INHERIT PRIVILEGES and BEQUEATH CURRENT_USER stuff for PL/SQL code and views respectively.

It’s pretty cool, but I’m not sure how much of it I will see in the wild as it will require developers to do a bit more thinking, rather than doing what they’ve always done… :)

Cheers

Tim…

Invoker Rights in Oracle Database 12c : Some more articles was first posted on July 9, 2014 at 12:03 pm.
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Oracle Linux and MySQL : Progress

Tue, 2014-07-08 11:26

A few months ago I wrote about some MySQL on Oracle Linux migrations we were working through. It’s been a long time coming, but last weekend was the go-live for this batch of migrations. So far so good! :)

Most of the elapsed time since my last post on this subject has been spent with the developers and users testing the migrations.

The process has taken a bit longer than some people would have liked. Rather than doing a quick and dirty upgrade, I’ve been pushing to get things done properly. Since I was the person who set up the infrastructure, I’ve been extremely anal about levels of privilege I’m granting. This has caused some minor rewrites of applications, which were essentially relying on admin privileges to perform some actions. Not any more! :)

I’m no MySQL guru, but I think what we have now is pretty darn decent, especially compared to where we started. I guess time will tell how bold a statement that is. :)

Onwards and upwards…

Cheers

Tim…

Oracle Linux and MySQL : Progress was first posted on July 8, 2014 at 6:26 pm.
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KeePass 2.27 Released

Mon, 2014-07-07 13:41

I just noticed that KeePass 2.27 has been released.

I was introduced to KeePass at my current job and now I use it for everything at home too. You can read how I use KeePass here.

Happy upgrading…

Cheers

Tim…

KeePass 2.27 Released was first posted on July 7, 2014 at 8:41 pm.
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Enterprise Manager Cloud Control 12cR4 Production Upgrade

Tue, 2014-07-01 04:12

I’ve already written about the 12cR3 to 12cR4 upgrade here. I did a few run through’s at home to practice it and it all seemed good.

Setting The Scene

Just to set the scene, for our production environment we run Cloud Control in a VMware virtual machine, using Oracle Linux 6.5 as the quest OS. With that setup, we can use a simple installation (DB and OMS on the same VM) and use VMware to provide our failover, rather than having to worry about multiple OMS installations and any DB failover technology etc. If there’s one thing I’ve learned about Cloud Control, it’s Keep It Simple Stupid (KISS)! As far as our managed servers go, most of our databases and all our middle tier stuff runs on VMware and Oracle Linux too. We have a handful of things still hanging around on HP-UX and Solaris, which will hopefully be migrated soon…

Upgrade Attempt 1 : Non-Starter

Yesterday I started the upgrade of our production system. Pretty much straight out of the blocks I hit a road block. It didn’t like the agents running on our HP-UX servers. The upgrades of the HP-UX agents are so painful. Every time so far I’ve had to reinstall them. As a result, I didn’t bother to upgrade them last time and kept running with the previous version of the agents. The upgrade wouldn’t have anything to do with that, so I forgot about the Cloud Control upgrade and I spent yesterday attempting to upgrade the HP-UX agents to 12cR3, before I could attempt the 12cR4 Cloud Control upgrade.

As usual, the upgrade of the agents on HP-UX involved me uninstalling, removing all the targets, installing, discovering all the targets and setting up the backups etc. Not all of it is scripted yet, so it is an annoying and painful process. I’m not sure if other HP-UX users suffer this, but it seems pretty consistently bad for us. The sooner we get rid of these straggling HP-UX servers the better!

So this wasn’t so much a failure of the upgrade. It was really down to me being lazy and not bothering to upgrade some agents.

Fast forward to this morning and I was actually ready to start the upgrade. :)

Upgrade Attempt 2 : Success

With the 12cR3 agents in place on HP-UX, the upgrade ran past that step with no problems and on to the main body of the installation. The install and upgrade were textbook.

I’ve upgraded the agent on the cloud control server, but I’m not going to upgrade any of the other agents until I know things are working fine.

Happy days!

Cheers

Tim…

Enterprise Manager Cloud Control 12cR4 Production Upgrade was first posted on July 1, 2014 at 11:12 am.
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WebLogic 12cR3 articles

Mon, 2014-06-30 04:11

WebLogic 12cR3 was released towards the end of last week, so this weekend I had an install-fest.

I also did some minor amendments to some existing articles.

From a newbie administrator perspective, like me, there is very little difference between WebLogic 12cR2 and 12cR3, so most of the time it is business as usual.

To coincide with this new release, Packt are doing a $10 promotion for WebLogic eBooks (WebLogic Partner Community EMEA).

Cheers

Tim…

WebLogic 12cR3 articles was first posted on June 30, 2014 at 11:11 am.
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Automatic Diagnostics Repository (ADR) in Oracle Database 12c

Wed, 2014-06-25 08:08

There’s a neat little change to the Automatic Diagnostics Repository (ADR) in Oracle 12c. You can now track DDL operations and some of the messages that would have formerly gone to the alert log and trace files are now written to the debug log. This should thin out some of the crap from the alert log hopefully. Not surprisingly, ADRCI has had a minor tweak so you can report this stuff.

You can see what I wrote about it here:

Of course, the day-to-day usage remains the same, as discussed here:

Cheers

Tim…

Automatic Diagnostics Repository (ADR) in Oracle Database 12c was first posted on June 25, 2014 at 3:08 pm.
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BGOUG Spring 2014 : Summary

Mon, 2014-06-16 11:30

I know I keep calling it the “spring” conference, but in my mind the two BGOUG conferences are always spring and autumn. This year the “spring” conference was a little late, hence my apparently strange blog titles. :)

I was initially planning to get a taxi from Sandanski to Sofia airport. Fortunately Sve and Mimi were driving back at the same time, so I got a lift with them, which was much better company.

The flight from Sofia to Munich went as planned. After a 110 minute layover in Munich, it was time for the last leg of the journey to Birmingham. Once again, so drama there.

So now I’m home and my 5th BGOUG conference is over. Once again, Melina and the BGOUG team did a great job. No offence to any other user group, but BGOUG is still my favourite conference of the year!

Thanks to everyone at BGOUG for making this run so smoothly. Thanks to the Oracle ACE Program for letting me “fly the flag” for the program. Your support is much appreciated! Thanks to all the other speakers. Your advice and support is always welcome. Of course, thanks to all the attendees who came to my sessions and made me feel so welcome. I look forward to seeing you all again next year.

I’ve shared a few photos on Google+.

Cheers

Tim…

 

 

BGOUG Spring 2014 : Summary was first posted on June 16, 2014 at 6:30 pm.
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BGOUG Spring 2014 – Day 2

Sat, 2014-06-14 22:06

The Day 1 evening festivities consisted of lots of food, followed by a group doing a display of traditional dances. Once they had finished it was up to me to teach the Bulgarians how their local dances should really be done. Needless to say I smashed it! :)

Day 2 started with a swim and breakfast. When I say swim, I really mean gentle floating, wishing I was still in bed.

The first session I went to was Joel Goodman‘s session on “RAC Global Resource Management”. Lot’s of good stuff! Joel is like a walking Oracle encyclopedia.

Next up was “Oracle 12c Automatic Data Optimization” by Joel Goodman. Nice feature. Once again, another thing added to my to-do list. I think the developers have done a really bad job of naming the views and some of the procedures for this feature. I would have abbreviated words and added underscores to stay under the object name size limit. The naming feels like “Peter and Jayne do programming”. Ugly, ugly, ugly! In terms of the feature itself, the main issue here is ILM doesn’t work with the multitenant option. I’m sure this will be fixed in future, but for now it is a big flaw. Even so, lots of potential here.

After lunch it was “Utilizing new CBO features after upgrade to 12c – Practical example” by Joze Senegacnik. I have to admit, I turned up late for this one. Very sorry mate! The part of this session I saw focussed on a specific customer upgrade from 11g to 12c.

I ducked out of the last session on the day and headed back to my room. During the day I had been asked a few questions I did not know the answer to, but I know other people who probably do, so I pinged out a few emails.

In the evening we took a quick sightseeing trip to Melnik. We had a walk through the town and did a quick tour of a famous winery.

From there is was back to the hotel to get some food, then bed.

I’ve got an early start this morning to begin my trip home. I’ll write a summary post when I get back.

Cheers

Tim…

BGOUG Spring 2014 – Day 2 was first posted on June 15, 2014 at 5:06 am.
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BGOUG Spring 2014 – Day 1

Fri, 2014-06-13 11:32

The morning started out with a family swim with the wife and daughter.

The first session I attended was “Auditing in Oracle Database” 12c by Maja Veselica. I haven’t spent any time looking at 12c auditing yet, so this was a great introduction. I think I’m going to need to spend some time on this stuff. It looks like there are quite a number of changes to auditing in Oracle 12c.

My first session came next. The room was quite full, which was nice. It’s good to see such a good turnout for PL/SQL. Together we are strong! :)

After lunch I went to watch “Understanding Oracle GoldenGate” by Svetoslav Gyurov. I’ve had GoldenGate on my to-do list since it was aquired by Oracle and I’ve still not got round to using it, so it was cool to see an introductory session on it. Sve can reach the top of the screen, even without a ladder. :)

Next up was “Do Oracle Cloud Applications stack up?” by the wife. You’ve gotta show some support or they just go on at you! This focussed on a customer story about how Fusion Apps on the Cloud was the correct choice. Many of the points raised were true of a variety of cloud solutions. Resistance is futile. We will all be water droplets in the cloud soon!

Next up was my introductory WebLogic session. I think it went down quite well. There were some nice messages/retweets on Twitter. :)

The final session of the day was “Real-World DataGuard” by Yavor Ivanov. The introduction part of the talk covered familiar ground for me, but as the session progressed there were a number of thing mentioned that were new for me. I’ve put another note in my to-do list to spend some more time of data guard, especially in 12c.

So I’m back in my room, writing up this blog post before the evening meal and dancing. I don’t have any presentations to give tomorrow, so I can relax and enjoy other people’s sessions.

As always, a great first day at the BGOUG conference!

Cheers

Tim…

BGOUG Spring 2014 – Day 1 was first posted on June 13, 2014 at 6:32 pm.
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BGOUG Spring 2014 – Day -1

Fri, 2014-06-13 11:23

The flight from Birmingham Airport to Frankfurt went to plan. The landing was quite possibly the smoothest one I had ever experienced. Very impressive. I got off the plane to find my connecting flight had been moved to another terminal. I was pretty worried by this as Frankfurt is a massive airport and I already had a short connection time. Luckily I made it. The flight to Sofia went without a hitch.

On arrival, I met up briefly with some of the other speakers before we were whisked away to Sandanski. It was a 3 hour drive, but I was chatting with the wife all the way, so it went quickly.

Once we got settled, we took a quick tour of the hotel spa. It was then I remembered I had no swimming gear. A quick shopping trip down the road and I had swimming shorts and some goggles. Then it was off to the pool, so I could float around and complain about the possibility of sunburn. :)

In the evening we met up with some of the other speakers and the BGOUG folks for dinner in a restaurant right next to the hotel. After that it was back to the room to get some much needed sleep. What with the 03:30 start, two flights, a 3 hour drive and a quick session in the pool I was completely knackered.

Cheers

Tim…

BGOUG Spring 2014 – Day -1 was first posted on June 13, 2014 at 6:23 pm.
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BGOUG Spring 2014 – The Journey Begins

Wed, 2014-06-11 22:39

I’m sitting at Birmingham airport, waiting to start my journey to Sandanski. I’ve got a flight to Frankfurt, a sprint to the flight for Sofia, then a 2-3 hour drive to Sandanski. It’s going to be a long day. :)

The airport is really busy. It seems lots of flights leave between 05:00-06:00 on a Thursday. One of the food places is playing plinky-plinky music and I’ve just had to listen to some racist a-holes spreading their uneducated garbage. Very annoying…

Can you tell I am tired and in a bad mood? :)

It’s going to be worth the hassle though. I’m going to be reunited with my wife and daughter. Unfortunately Dad can’t make it to this conference. We will all meet up at OOW this year, where I think we should recreate this family photo.

Cheers

Tim…

BGOUG Spring 2014 – The Journey Begins was first posted on June 12, 2014 at 5:39 am.
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Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 7 Released

Tue, 2014-06-10 15:03

It feels almost like heresy to discus something that isn’t Oracle-related on the day that Oracle announced the new In-Memory Database Option, but something else was also released today. Red Hat gave birth to Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 7.

I’m a big fan of all things Linux. I’m typing this blog post on a Fedora 20 desktop at home. I’m a rabid fan of Oracle Linux for servers at home and at work. As a result, the birth of RHEL7 is a pretty big deal for me.

I’ve been playing with the Oracle Linux 7 betas for a while (OL7 Install, DB 11gR2 Install, DB 12c Install). I expect we will see the birth of Oracle Linux 7 pretty soon, which is where it gets really interesting for me.

I’m sure it’s going to take quite a long time for Oracle to start supporting their products on RHEL7/OL7, but this is the future, so you’ve for to get your skates on! :)

Cheers

Tim…

Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 7 Released was first posted on June 10, 2014 at 10:03 pm.
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Enterprise Manager Cloud Control 12c Release 4 (12cR4) Articles

Mon, 2014-06-09 01:26

I’ve started to play around with Enterprise Manager Cloud Control 12R4. The clean installations on Oracle Linux 5 and Oracle Linux 6 were really easy. You can see how I did them here.

I used 11.2.0.4 as the database repository. I’ll probably have a go with a 12c database in future, which is now supported, but my main focus this time was to check out something similar to what I have at work. Forgive my caution, but I’ll not be using 12c database for my EM repository for a while yet. Cloud Control is too important to risk…

I wasn’t going to bother with an upgrade article because  wrote a good blog post about the upgrade here. Whilst going through the upgrade, there were a few things I needed to make extra notes on, since I have an terrible memory, so it ended up as a separate article.

Ultimately, you are going to need to read the upgrade docs because there are lots of caveats to think about, depending on what options you use.

Previous upgrades at work were a pain, but we had a more complicated installation with multiple management servers and a separate database. More recently we switched to running a simple configuration (DB and OMS on the same server) on an Oracle Linux VM. That makes doing a trial run of the upgrade at home a more realistic test. Whether it’s an improved Cloud Control upgrade process or the fact this is a single machine setup, the upgrade was really easy. Now that I’ve practiced the upgrade at home, I’m feeling relatively confident doing the upgrade in production. I’ll probably leave it until I get back from Bulgaria (BGOUG). It’s not really fair to change everything and then leave the country… :)

Cheers

Tim…

Enterprise Manager Cloud Control 12c Release 4 (12cR4) Articles was first posted on June 9, 2014 at 8:26 am.
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What happens if you try it?

Fri, 2014-06-06 08:00

 

QuestionI get asked a lot of questions about Oracle! I find it amazing how often people will fire a question to a forum or social media and wait for response, rather than try the thing out for themselves. My response is often, “What happens if you try it?”. In some cases, their response to that is, “I don’t want to risk it on my production environment”.

It’s incredible how many people are running applications in production without development and test/UAT environments. Even 3rd party apps need a testing ground! Even if you don’t have a formal dev and test environment, the ease of creating a test environment on your PC using virtualization means there are very few grunt DBA tasks you can’t practice before you attempt them for real!

Thanks to the influence of people like Tom Kyte, I learnt early on that I need to test stuff for myself. If you want to progress in IT, you will do it a lot quicker by trying stuff out for yourself…

Cheers

Tim…

 

What happens if you try it? was first posted on June 6, 2014 at 3:00 pm.
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Fame at last!

Wed, 2014-06-04 14:22

Someone, who shall remain nameless (Eric Yen), just pointed me to this example of creating a credential in the 12c manual.

Looks kind-of familiar! :)

I mentioned in my 12c scheduler article that the DBMS_CREDENTIAL package is used in pretty much the same way as the old credential procedures in the DBMS_SCHEDULER package. So much so that someone has taken the example from my 11g article (here), replaced the package name and put it in the 12c documentation.

I think this is really funny. I hope they don’t “amend” it. :)

I’ve seen this happen in MOS notes a number of times, but I’ve never seen it in the manuals before. Fame at last!

Cheers

Tim…

 

 

Fame at last! was first posted on June 4, 2014 at 9:22 pm.
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