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Tim Hall

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Oracle related rants (and lots of off-topic stuff)...
Updated: 3 hours 34 min ago

Enterprise Manager Cloud Control 13c Upgrade

Thu, 2016-01-07 12:31

em-12cA couple of weeks ago I posted about doing a fresh installation of Enterprise Manager Cloud Control 13c (article, blog post). I’ve finally got around to doing an upgrade test from EM CC 12cR5 to 13cR1. You can see the result of that here.

upgrade-meme

Gokhan Atil did a post about this upgrade pretty much as soon as it was released, so I’m a little late to the party compared to him. :)

As you’ll see from the article, the upgrade process was similar to the patches that came before it. There are of course some extra prerequisites which you can read about in either my post, Gokhan’s or the docs…

Even though the upgrade tests were fine, after discussion with our system administrators, we are probably going to go for a clean installation and migrate the monitored hosts one at a time.

Why the slash and burn approach? I’ve made some mistakes with our installations in the past and they persist with every subsequent upgrade. It would be nice to take a step back and fix stuff. We are doing a similar thing with our WebLogic installations. I was learning new stuff all the time while I was installing our WebLogic 11g infrastructure. Rather than upgrading to WebLogic 12cR2, we are going to build a new infrastructure, migrate to it and throw the old one away.

This is relatively easy for us for a few reasons.

  1. We use virtualization for everything. We will provision the new VMs, set everything up. Start migrating stuff. When the migration is complete we will throw away the old VMs. No major hardware overhead.
  2. We are a pretty small operation. If we had a massive amount of infrastructure, a slash and burn approach would be very time consuming and as such, very costly.
  3. I am really anal about some things and I am willing to go the extra mile to get things right. I did the best I could at the time, but I’m happy to admit I made mistakes and I want to sort them out. This is not because I’m a company boy. It’s because those mistakes eat away at me and I want them eradicated so they will only haunt me in my memories, not in my day to day life.

If we had been going for the upgrade approach, I probably would have done it in the next couple of weeks. With clean slate approach, we’ll probably take a few more weeks to get ready for it. No point rushing in and making more mistakes. I would rather let the idea brew for a while before we start. :)

Cheers

Tim…

Enterprise Manager Cloud Control 13c Upgrade was first posted on January 7, 2016 at 7:31 pm.
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Oracle XE 12c?

Thu, 2016-01-07 03:30

There was a post on Oracle-L asking about Oracle Express Edition (XE) 12c. I started to write a reply, but thought a blog post may be more appropriate.

Oracle XE 12c doesn’t exist yet, but people at OpenWorld 2015 confirmed they “plan” to have one. As always, no promises. So when will it arrive? Typically the XE version is put together based on the the first major patchset of release 2 of a version. So the kind of thing you might expect is,

  • 12.2.0.1 : Released mid 2016 maybe.
  • 12.2.0.2 : Released mid 2017 maybe.
  • XE team brought together: Some time after 12.2.0.2 release.
  • XE Released: When it is built and stable.

Things to consider, based on stuff I’ve heard over the last few years.

  • There is no XE team. People are taken from their normal jobs to put this together and test it. There is no revenue generation directly associated with this product, so it’s not at the top of the priority list.
  • There are no patches for XE, so they wait until they have a stable release they can rely on for the 3-6 years before the next release 2 DB version.
  • Previous versions of XE have had bits of functionality missing/disabled, so it’s not just rolling out SE with some restrictions.
  • Other products in the Oracle stack are moving to more regular release cycles (3 months to cloud, with a yearly on-premise release). Comments from the database team suggest this is not the case for the database. As it gets more complicated, the testing takes longer, so the release cycles are getting longer. They originally said they wanted an 18 month release cycle for the database. 12cR1 took about 3 years to arrive. It looks like 12cR2 will arrive about 3 years after 12cR1. If that cycle continues, it would mean about a 6 year wait between XE releases, unless they change tack.

Of course, this is all just me thinking out loud. No facts have been presented here! :)

I think Oracle XE is a really important product for Oracle, even though it doesn’t directly make them money. Think of it as a gateway drug. XE makes it easy and cheap for people to try stuff with Oracle. If those projects grow, that could be additional licensing of SE2, EE or cloud subscriptions in the future. Without it, people will look elsewhere for their cheap starting point and may never make a move to Oracle later!

Cheers

Tim…

Oracle XE 12c? was first posted on January 7, 2016 at 10:30 am.
©2012 "The ORACLE-BASE Blog". Use of this feed is for personal non-commercial use only. If you are not reading this article in your feed reader, then the site is guilty of copyright infringement.

WordPress 4.4.1

Wed, 2016-01-06 15:41

WordPress 4.4.1 has been released.

You can see the list of fixes here. Your site will probably auto-update soon if you can’t be bothered to give it a nudge before.

There is also an update to the Twenty Sixteen theme, which you will have to trigger manually, if you are using it of course. :)

Happy blogging.

Cheers

Tim…

WordPress 4.4.1 was first posted on January 6, 2016 at 10:41 pm.
©2012 "The ORACLE-BASE Blog". Use of this feed is for personal non-commercial use only. If you are not reading this article in your feed reader, then the site is guilty of copyright infringement.

Happy New Year 2016!

Fri, 2016-01-01 06:31

New-Year-Eve-2016Happy New Year to everyone! Yes, even you!

I’m not big on new years resolutions, since I always end up breaking them on the first visit to the 24 hour Tesco store down the street! So in a similar vein to a post I wrote in 2012, here is my mission statement for the year!

Content

  • Keep doing the website and the blog. Hopefully this should be one I actually achieve. :)
  • Try to keep making videos for my YouTube channel. I enjoy doing the videos, but they take so long to produce it’s really not a good use of my time. It would be easier if I quit everything else and just focused on it, but that wouldn’t really make sense, but then again…
  • Diversify. I’m not talking about a full on change of direction, but I shouldn’t be scared to try different things out. If they work, great. If they fail, move on. Sounds so simple, but does always feel that way.

Fitness

  • I’m starting 2016 the heaviest I’ve been in a long time, over 250 pounds or over 115 Kg for you metric types. At my age and with my medical history, it’s really not a great place to be. You gotta eat less if you wanna see 2017 man!
  • Keep going to the gym. I love going to the gym and I like chucking round loads of weight. I’ve probably got to hold back a bit more for the sake of my wrists, elbows and shoulders.
  • Keep stretching, but pay some more attention to back flexibility and general posture. There’s no point having great posture for a few minutes of yoga, then slouching for the rest of the day.
  • More cardio! Swimming is the only cardio I enjoy, but to put it mildly, I dislike other swimmers. I should start walking more.

So really, this year has to be a year of moderation in everything to do with fitness. Especially where food is concerned.

Work

This is weird one for me, because basically I just shouldn’t work. I’m good at the technical side of IT, but I am terrible at the politics and bullshit. What would make me happy is to quit my job and go back to the life I had for the 4 years before I started working at this place. Just sitting at home, playing with tech and writing about it, with the odd conference thrown in for good measure.

The problem is, writing about technical stuff when you are not using it daily in your job is bullshit. You end up in this little bubble of idealism and totally lose touch with the day-to-day grind that most developers and DBAs have to deal with.

I need to work so that I stay connected with reality, which has a beneficial effect on my content.

Personal

Just “do me” and forget about the haters. The more popular you get, the more haters you acquire. The internet is a toxic place and you’ve just got to try and ignore them.

I think that will do for now! :)

Have a good year everyone, and I hope you achieve at least a few of your goals for the year!

Cheers

Tim…

Happy New Year 2016! was first posted on January 1, 2016 at 1:31 pm.
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Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Tue, 2015-12-29 12:02

I just got back from watching Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

I won’t give any spoilers, so don’t worry if you’ve not seen it yet!

Overall I thought it was a really good film. I went to see it with some friends and their kids, so ages in our group ranged from 6 to 60+. Everyone came out saying it was good, and the kids wanted all the toys and were arguing over which one of the characters they would be… So they pretty much nailed it as far as setting up this trilogy! :)

A move back to physical sets was really welcome. Everything felt so much more real in this film compared to Episodes 1-3, which felt like 100% green screen.

I watched the film in 3D IMAX. There was once seen where a space ship was totally sticking out at me and it took all my will power not to reach out and try and touch it! It was pretty amazing. I still don’t like 3D, but this was a pretty good experience.

Having said all that, this was basically a remake of Episode 4. There is pretty much a 1:1 mapping between most of the characters in this film and those of Episode 4. I don’t think that is a bad thing and it probably needed to happen so that all generations could come away happy. I just hope the next films take a different route. It would be very easy to recycle the past again and they would be enjoyable, but I think it’s important the next two films have their own identity and secure the legacy.

Cheers

Tim…

Star Wars: The Force Awakens was first posted on December 29, 2015 at 7:02 pm.
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Enterprise Manager Cloud Control 13c : First Steps

Tue, 2015-12-22 06:18

o-enterprisemgr-13c-clr-2769481Oracle Enterprise Manager Cloud Control 13c Release 1 (13.1.0.0.0) was released a few days ago. Does that have the acronym “oemcc13cr1”? :)

As usual, my first steps are to do some basic installations. The approach is pretty similar to the 12c installations, but it’s a little greedier now. :)

My first attempt was a bit of a disaster. I was trying to install it on a VM with 8G of memory, about all I can spare on my work PC) and it was running like a dog. It got nearly to the end of the configuration section and I ran out of disk space on the physical host. That would have been OK if the installer were running on the VM itself, as the VM would have paused and resumed once I had cleared some space. Unfortunately, I was doing from an X session, which got killed and took my installer with it. :( Rather than trying to continue on my piece of shit work PC, I waited until I got home to do it on my server.

Once home, I kicked off two installation simultaneously. One on OL6 and one on OL7. Each VM had 10G of memory and their virtual disks were on different spindles to the OS disk. As a result, they ran through at a reasonable pace. Not mega fast, but OK.

Over the Christmas break I’ll have a go at some upgrades, then decide if we should be doing this in production at work. If you’ve followed the discussion on Twitter, you’ll know some of the basic requirements.

  • Oracle 12c (12.1.0.2) Enterprise Edition for the repository database. Patched to latest security patch.
  • You can use a Non-CDB or a PDB for the management repository. The template database is still non-CDB.
  • OPTIMIZER_ADAPTIVE_FEATURES=FALSE

That means we will need an upgrade of our repository database from 11.2.0.4 to 12.1.0.2. That’s no big drama, but another thing to do. :)

Cheers

Tim…

Update: Thanks to Seth Miller for pointing out my mistake about the PDB support for the OMR.

Enterprise Manager Cloud Control 13c : First Steps was first posted on December 22, 2015 at 1:18 pm.
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VirtualBox 5.0.12

Sat, 2015-12-19 05:55

I was just going to update one of my seldom used servers to VirtualBox to 5.0.10, when I noticed Santa brought 5.0.12 as an early Christmas present yesterday! :)

VirtualBox 5.0.12 is a maintenance release with a bunch of fixes and additions. The downloads and changelog are in the usual places!

So far I’ve installed it on Windows 7 (work PC), OS X : El C[r]apitan (Laptop) and Oracle Linux 6 (a home server) and all the guest additions I’ve updated so far as happy. :)

Cheers

Tim…

 

VirtualBox 5.0.12 was first posted on December 19, 2015 at 12:55 pm.
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Birmingham City University (BCU) Talk #4

Wed, 2015-12-16 05:15

bcuOn Thursday last week, the day after UKOUG Tech15, I did my 4th talk at Birmingham City University (BCU).

In my previous visit I did a talk about community and employability to the staff. This time I did a quicker version of the same talk, but to the students. I’ll be going back a few times this year to do technical sessions.

I’ve mentioned before, this type of non-technical presentation is really useful in developing yourself as a presenter. It’s easy to hide behind the technical content. Non-technical presentations have to be more conversational and have more “personality”, for want of a better word. I think that feeds back into your general presentation style.

After the session I always have a chat with Stuart about how it went and what comes next. I get the feeling he’s sometimes worried I’m not getting enough out of it, but that’s far from the truth. I think these kind of sessions are helping me far more than I thought they would.

If you are thinking about getting into the presenting game, I’ve written some public speaking tips. As well as all that, consider throwing in a variety of types of session. If you have any local universities or colleges, get in contact and see if they need some guest speakers.

Cheers

Tim…

Birmingham City University (BCU) Talk #4 was first posted on December 16, 2015 at 12:15 pm.
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UKOUG Tech15 : Wednesday

Wed, 2015-12-09 14:29

ukoug-tech15-speakerToday was a full day at UKOUG Tech15. Yay!

Zahid Anwar rescued my laptop charger, and left it at the Version 1 stand for me to pick up. Thanks guys!

My first session was at 10:00, which was called Pluggable Databases: What They Will Break & Why You Should Use Them Anyway! I like giving this presentation and the crowd seemed to respond really well to it. Maybe I’ve converted a few people? Quote of the day must go to Jonathan Lewis who said,

“I enjoyed your presentation, but I don’t know why.”

I am being very selective with that quote, because it made me laugh. :) Actually, Jonathan was very complementary, as were a number of the other speakers that were present. I know it’s not about trying to impress other speakers, but it is really nice when you get a good response from them as well as the audience. :) The questions ran into the break, including three questions that I didn’t know the answer to. They are on my list of things to find out.

From there I just bounced around catching up with friends, both old and new, answering questions, speaking to people in the exhibition hall and filming a couple of segments for OTN.

At about 15:00 I got a major energy slump and was considering going home, but Noel Portugal persuaded me to go to his session on Internet of Things (IoT). As I was walking to it I bumped into Lars Ulveseth who made a comment about the weather, which confused me a little. When I quizzed him, he explained it was a reference to my session called It’s raining data! Oracle databases in the cloud, which he was just heading to. I told him I wasn’t presenting that, so he pointed me to the agenda and sure enough, I was down to present it at 15:30. Talk about shocked and surprised! After changing my underwear, it was off to do my last presentation of UKOUG Tech15! :)

Even though I got to the session on time and did the talk, I am still incredibly freaked out by it all. I keep thinking, what if I had gone home? What if I had not bumped into Lars? What if it had been earlier in the day and I had missed it? I am still mortified now thinking how easily I could have missed it. :( On reflection, I remember being accepted for 3 sessions, but in my head they were all database sessions. When I looked through the database track, only two were present, so I though the other one must have got pulled. It turns out this session was marked as virtualization, not database, so I never saw it on the grid. If you look on my UKOUG Tech15 : See you there! post from the other day, you’ll notice I didn’t mention it. :( Anyway, all’s well that ends well!

Thanks to the hardcore crowd that sat through the last session of the day, when the rest of the people had gone home or headed off to the German market to do Christmas shopping! :) I got some questions during and after the session, and the people I spoke to afterwards seemed pleased with what I presented. It’s really a collection of my observations while trying out AWS, Azure and Oracle Cloud.

One of the guys in the crowd was also working at a UK University in a similar role to me, using a bunch of similar tech and higher education (HE) software, so we spent about an hour chatting once the session was over, then walked to the station together. It was a really nice example of the networking that is possible at these events. Hopefully we will be able to help each other out in future!

So that’s my last conference for the year, and apart from me being a dumb-ass and nearly missing a session, it was a really great day. Thanks to UKOUG for giving me the opportunity to speak three times this year. :) Thanks to everyone that came to my sessions, asked me questions, and tolerated me talking the hind legs off a donkey! :) Thanks also to the Oracle ACE Program for allow me to keep flying the flag, even in my home town. :)

Tomorrow morning I’m doing a talk to the students at Birmingham City University, then it’s back to my job and normal life for the rest of the year. :)

Cheers

Tim…

UKOUG Tech15 : Wednesday was first posted on December 9, 2015 at 9:29 pm.
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WordPress 4.4

Wed, 2015-12-09 01:48

WordPress 4.4 has landed. As usual, early on you will need to manually initiate the auto-update. I’m guessing in a day or so it will just happen by itself.

I did the update on 5 installations and all went through with no dramas. There will no doubt be a slew of updates over the next few days, which is pretty common after a big release. The auto-update feature means you can take the lazy approach and just let it do its thing. :)

Cheers

Tim…

 

WordPress 4.4 was first posted on December 9, 2015 at 8:48 am.
©2012 "The ORACLE-BASE Blog". Use of this feed is for personal non-commercial use only. If you are not reading this article in your feed reader, then the site is guilty of copyright infringement.

The Cloud : They took our jobs!

Tue, 2015-12-08 09:54

The title is of course inspired by “They took our jobs!” from South Park.

I’ve been doing some cloud-related talks recently and a pretty regular question is, “How is this going to affect my job as a [DBA | Sysadmin]?”

My answers usually include some of the following points.

  • Back in the old days, we used to spend hours obsessing about redo and rollback/undo and sizing of the individual parts that make up the SGA and PGA. Keeping on top of some of this stuff was a full time job, even for a small number of databases. Over time Oracle have added loads of automated features that mean we don’t have to worry about this stuff for “most” of our databases. So that means less DBAs right? Not really. We are just expected to cope with a lot more stuff now. Rather than looking after 3 databases, we look after hundreds or thousands.
  • For Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), the cloud is just a basic hosting company. You are still responsible for all system administration and database administration. A move to IaaS doesn’t affect jobs at all. If anything, it probably adds to the demand.
  • For Platform as a Service (PaaS) offerings, like Database as a Service (DBaaS), things may be different. Your level of interaction with the OS and database varies depending on the vendor, but in some cases, you will have zero access to the OS, so there is no system administration, and the level of control over the database is limited. Surely that affects jobs? Well, once again, this has just made life easier, so your company can do more stuff and you will probably be expected to do more.
  • As far as Software as a Service (SaaS) is concerned, as a customer there is no access to the infrastructure, so there is no DBA or sysadmin work. If you want to look after the guts of Fusion Apps what’s wrong with you get a job with Oracle. :)
  • The cloud means I no longer have to install operating systems and databases! Well, sometimes I really enjoy doing donkey work, but if you’ve not automated most of this stuff, you are really living in the dark ages. If you have automated it already, then the cloud isn’t really any different to what you are doing now.
  • What the cloud will not do is understand your custom applications and provide the skills needed to diagnose problems and advise on solutions. All the interactions with your developers and support folks will still be necessary. I can’t see a cloud service helping with this sort of stuff ever. The role of a development DBA and the crossover between functional and technical knowledge is actually far more valuable than being able to install a bit of software.

There is no doubt the cloud will affect what we as DBAs and system administrators do, but our jobs have been constantly evolving over the last couple of decades I’ve been involved in IT. As Francisco said recently, “These days, DBA stands for Database Architect”, which I think is kind-of true. A decade ago I just did Oracle databases. Now I do Oracle, SQL Server and MySQL databases. I look after WebLogic, Tomcat, IIS and Apache App/Web servers. I’m helping to set up load balancers. I get involved in infrastructure projects for applications and middleware. It’s not that I’m awesome at any of this stuff, but as a DBA and/or system administrator you get exposed to so much, which makes you an ideal resource to help with this architectural stuff.

If you think a DBA just installs Oracle, creates databases and checks backups, your job will be gone soon. If you are a system administrator that just installs operating systems and does patches, your job will be gone soon. These are trivial tasks that anyone can learn in a few weeks, so you should hardly be surprised they can be automated out of existence. If instead you concentrate on the skills where you add true value to your company, you will be in demand for a long time!

I know it’s a bit of a random post, but I hope you can see where I’m coming from! :)

Cheers

Tim…

The Cloud : They took our jobs! was first posted on December 8, 2015 at 4:54 pm.
©2012 "The ORACLE-BASE Blog". Use of this feed is for personal non-commercial use only. If you are not reading this article in your feed reader, then the site is guilty of copyright infringement.

UKOUG Tech15 : Monday

Tue, 2015-12-08 01:37

ukoug-tech15-speakerAs mentioned the other day, my first day at UKOUG Tech15 was a rather brief affair. I just popped in during an extended lunch break to present, then it was straight back to work.

I met a couple of people (Sve and Debra) on the way in, but pretty much had to go straight to my session. There were a few people (Connor, Niall, Martin, BrendanNeil, Iain and Dave) lurking around who I tried to persuade, with varying degrees of success, not to stay. :)

The session was called Oracle Database Consolidation: It’s Not All About Oracle Database 12c! and was born out of my frustration about the one-size-fits-all attitude some people have about consolidation. Depending on who you speak to, consolidation is only about [Virtualization | Containers| Exadata | PDBs] (pick one), when in fact you always end up using a combination of approaches, including some old, tried and tested, methods. It was an overview session, which always makes me nervous for a couple of reasons. First, I find overview sessions really scary to present because you can’t hide behind geek talk. Second, I’m always worried people will come along expecting something more technical, even though you’ve said it is an overview session. I started off the session by reminding people it was an overview session and made it clear I would not be offended if they wanted to leave. :)

A couple of nights ago I had a dream Connor was in the front row and I totally blanked at the start of the session. That didn’t quite come to pass. Connor was about 3 rows back and although I was a little shaky at the start, I didn’t blank completely. :)

I think the session went OK. I did what I said I would do. I just hope the audience got what they expected…

After the session, I got to speak briefly to Zahid Anwar, and said a quick hello to Frits and Oyvind on the way out, but it was pretty much a dash out and back to work. So much so that I left my Apple laptop charger in Hall 5 after my session. If anyone found it, please let me know. :)

So that was my first brief visit to UKOUG Tech15. I’m not in on Tuesday as a bunch of other people from work are going, so I’m left behind to hold the fort. I will be in all day Wednesday (I hope), so I look forward to catching up with people properly. If you see me walking round the conference and you have a question or just want to say hello, don’t be shy. I love talking about Oracle stuff and I would rather spend the time talking with you than sitting in someone else’s session, that I’ve probably seen 6 times already this year. :)

Cheers

Tim…

UKOUG Tech15 : Monday was first posted on December 8, 2015 at 8:37 am.
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UKOUG Tech15 : See you there.

Sun, 2015-12-06 08:11

ukoug-tech15-speakerUKOUG Tech15 Super Sunday is underway. The Sunday event always coincides with my nephew’s Birthday celebration, so I never get to attend. You’ve got to get your priorities straight. :)

This year I’ll be presenting two sessions:

  • Monday 12:20 – 13:10 : Oracle Database Consolidation: It’s Not All About Oracle Database 12c! This is an overview session, suitable for beginners and management types.
  • Wednesday 10:00 – 10:50 : Pluggable Databases: What They Will Break & Why You Should Use Them Anyway! For all those folks thinking about moving to 12c soon, this might help you decide which way to go. :) Monday is a fleeting visit for me. I’ll be doing my session, then I’ve got to go straight back to work. I’m not in on Tuesday, but I should be in all day Wednesday, I hope.

Having a conference in your home town sounds like a good thing, but I find it harder to deal with. When you are away from home it is easy to throw yourself into conference mode and turn off real life. When you live close to the conference, you have to switch in and out of conference mode constantly. Normal life is a distraction from the conference experience. :)

Cheers

Tim…

UKOUG Tech15 : See you there. was first posted on December 6, 2015 at 3:11 pm.
©2012 "The ORACLE-BASE Blog". Use of this feed is for personal non-commercial use only. If you are not reading this article in your feed reader, then the site is guilty of copyright infringement.

Don’t forget the COPY command in SQL*Plus (and SQLcl)

Tue, 2015-12-01 02:40

One of the developers asked me to copy a small table from Live to Dev. In situations like this, my first thought is to use the SQL*Plus COPY command. By the way, this command is also available in SQLcl.

It’s super-easy and has been around forever. Provided you can live with the data type restrictions, it’s a lot less hassle than expdp/impdp, even with the NETWORK_LINK option.

As always, it’s in the documentation, but the SQL*Plus help text tells you how to use it, so you don’t even have to RTFM is you don’t want to. :)

SQL> help copy

COPY
----

Copies data from a query to a table in the same or another
database. COPY supports CHAR, DATE, LONG, NUMBER and VARCHAR2.

COPY {FROM database | TO database | FROM database TO database}
{APPEND|CREATE|INSERT|REPLACE} destination_table
[(column, column, column, ...)] USING query

where database has the following syntax:
username[/password]@connect_identifier
SQL>

What I ended up doing was something like this.

conn scott@dev
copy from scott@live create scott.emp_20151201 using select * from scott.emp;

Because it’s been around for so long, you rarely see people talk about it, which made me wonder how many newer folks may not have noticed it, hence this blog post. :)

Cheers

Tim…

Don’t forget the COPY command in SQL*Plus (and SQLcl) was first posted on December 1, 2015 at 9:40 am.
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PL/SQL Formatting : More pearls of wisdom from Bryn

Wed, 2015-11-25 14:57

glasses-272399_1280-smallAnother topic of conversation that came out of Bryn‘s session at Oracle Midlands related to PL/SQL code formatting. I’m not sure I agree 100% with his opinion, but it’s certainly making me think about my current stance.

When I said I was going to blog about a couple of the points he raised, Bryn emailed me some stuff, which I’m going to use here. So this is Bryn’s content, with some of my opinions thrown in. I will no doubt get told off for not doing the subject justice, like I did with the last post. :)

Bryn: Look at page 1 (below). This makes PL/SQL look so old-fashioned. I’m sure that this is part of what makes it unappealing to the modern youth. How easy do you find it to read its real meaning?

Me: With a few minor formatting changes, this is pretty much what I do. :) As a result, it looks really normal to me and I like it, but if I try to put myself into the head-space of a young person, it does look overly formal, and as Bryn said in his talk, we are essentially shouting all the keywords and using naming conventions that detract from the true meaning we are trying to convey. I don’t like to admit it to myself, but I kind-of see his point. It does look a little Pipe and Slippers.

Bryn: Now look at Page 4 (below). Identifiers are like proper nouns in English prose. They’re capitalized to let them stand out. The capitals in Object_ID (or DBMS_Output) are an aid to pronunciation.

04-bryn-modern

Me: This is a slightly unfair comparison, since there is no syntax highlighting, which is on by default in all PL/SQL IDEs, but it does look less “old”. I understand Bryn’s point about the capitals potentially aiding pronunciation, but if I’m going to stop “shouting” the keywords, I actually prefer the look of it all in lower case myself. :) I agree that identifiers still need “_” between words. Although camelCase is used by many languages, it doesn’t work so well in Oracle. It looks fine in your scripts, but when you are looking at dictionary views, much of the information is presented in uppercase, so “uniquenessContraintMissing” becomes “UNIQUENESSCONSTRAINTMISSING”, which sucks. The prefix/suffix used on identifiers can be confusing, especially since an alternative was mentioned in the previous post.

Bryn: As promised, here’s my-marked up copy of the Gettysburg Address. It’s considered to be an exemplar of English prose, so having it mangled into an incomprehensible mess by the robotic application of “code formatting best practice” makes my point very vividly. … Feel free to use it. But do make sure that you credit the author, President Abraham Lincoln, and me for having had the idea to use it to make fun of the anally retentive code formatters who jointly conspire to make PL/SQL look so dated.

02-bryn-prose1

03-bryn-prose2

Me: Yeah. Point made! :)

I’ve tried to alter my code formatting in the past, which invariably meant I had to go back and reformat it a couple of days later when I couldn’t stand knowing it wasn’t “how I usually do things”. :) Having said that, if you read the last blog post, you would see I tried to stop shouting. :) It’s not what Bryn likes, but I think it’s a step in the right direction… Maybe…

Am I going to redo all my articles, blog posts and videos? No. Am I going to try and change? At the moment I’m thinking yes, but I reserve the right to do a u-turn at any point.

Don’t forget to check out these whitepapers from Bryn.

Cheers

Tim…

PL/SQL Formatting : More pearls of wisdom from Bryn was first posted on November 25, 2015 at 9:57 pm.
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Oracle Midlands : Event #12 – Summary

Tue, 2015-11-24 17:53

Tonight was Oracle Midlands Event #12 with Bryn Llewellyn  and Neil Chandler.

Bryn very kindly stepped in for Tom Freyer who unfortunately couldn’t make it. Bryn’s presentation was called Why use PL/SQL?, which was based on his whitepaper of the same name. I’ve written about a number of the topics he raised, including a piece on My Utopian Development Environment, but his talk and his whitepaper put forward a much more consistent and compelling argument. Definitely worth checking out if you are a PL/SQL expert or newbie!

Along the way, he used a little piece of syntax I have never noticed before, which has been available for the whole 20+ years I’ve been using PL/SQL. I’ll write about that in a post tomorrow if I get chance.

By the way, Bryn loves being called Brian, and he loves it when you say S.Q.L. and PL/S.Q.L. rather than Sequel and PL/Sequel. :)

redstacktechNext up was Neil with a session called “Why has my plan changed?”. I’ve written about many of the issues discussed in this session, but Neil crystallised a whole array of points really well, and used live demos which I always like to see. Regardless of how well you think you know the subject, I would be surprised if you don’t walk away with a few new things, which you can later pretend you always knew. :)

Both guys will be presenting these sessions at UKOUG Tech15 if you want to catch up with them!

Thanks to the guys for coming to speak to us. Thanks to Bryn’s mom, for living in the UK, giving him an excuse to come to UKOUG Tech15 early and therefore be available to step in at short notice. Thanks as always to Red Stack Tech for sponsoring the event, allowing it to remain free, and to Mike for organising it!

Cheers

Tim…

Oracle Midlands : Event #12 – Summary was first posted on November 25, 2015 at 12:53 am.
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MobaXterm 8.4

Tue, 2015-11-24 10:04

While I was in India, a MobaXterm 8.4 was released.

Downloads and changelog in the usual places.

This is a must for Windows users who use SSH and X Emulation!

Cheers

Tim…

MobaXterm 8.4 was first posted on November 24, 2015 at 5:04 pm.
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AIOUG Sangam15 : It’s a Wrap!

Tue, 2015-11-24 07:59

The whole Sangam15 experience is over for me now!

Here are the posts I put out during the trip.

I did my thank you messages in the Day 2 post, but once again I would like to say a big thank you to AIOUG for inviting me, to the Oracle ACE Program for getting me to the event and to all the attendees for making it a great event and for making my Facebook go nuts! :)

See you all soon!

Cheers

Tim…

AIOUG Sangam15 : It’s a Wrap! was first posted on November 24, 2015 at 2:59 pm.
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AIOUG Sangam15 : The Journey Home

Tue, 2015-11-24 07:40

The night before a morning flight is always a little tricky for me. I lie in bed thinking, “What if I oversleep?”, which winds me up and makes it really hard to relax and drop off. I dozed on and off, but eventually gave up, turned the TV on and watched some films for a few hours.

I grabbed a quick breakfast and got the taxi to the airport. The hotel staff advised leaving at 07:00 for a 10:15 flight. The traffic was very light and the queues for check-in and security very small, so I ended up sitting at the boarding gate two hours before the flight. Better to be early than late!

Hyderabad airport is very clean, modern and has some reclining seats so I was able to chill out for a while. :)

The flight from Hyderabad to Dubai took about 3.5 hours. It was relatively uneventful, but rather uncomfortable. I had an aisle seat, but the guy in the centre decided he wanted to sit with his elbows digging into my ribs and his leg pressed against mine. I wouldn’t mind so much if he was a big guy and couldn’t help it, but he was a skinny little thing, so taking all of his space and part of mine seemed unnecessary. :)

As soon as we landed in Dubai airport, I grabbed some food and headed off for the boarding gate. Very soon we were on the plane and heading to Birmingham. I enquired about an upgrade, but it was going to cost $2,500 USD, so that wasn’t going to happen. :)

I got to experience wifi on the plane for the first time. It’s been “available” on other flights, but I’ve never got it to work before. I got it working on the flight between Dubai and Birmingham. It was ultra-slow, but better than nothing and only $1. :) It made the 7 hour flight go a lot quicker.

I arrived back in Birmingham safe and sound. After a quick taxi ride home I put my washing on, scrubbed the smell of aeroplane off me and went to bed!

Cheers

Tim…

AIOUG Sangam15 : The Journey Home was first posted on November 24, 2015 at 2:40 pm.
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AIOUG Sangam15 : Day 2

Sun, 2015-11-22 09:19

My session on Day 2 started at 11:10, where I spoke about running Oracle Databases in the Cloud. This included a quick run through of the Oracle DBaaS offering and AWS RDS for Oracle amongst other things.

The session generated a lot of interest. In fact, I spent the next 5 hours answering questions and taking photos with people. It sounds kind-of crazy, but it was really good fun. As a result, I didn’t get to see any sessions, but as I said yesterday, I feel my purpose here is to connect with people and that is exactly what I did for 5 hours straight. Thanks to everyone that came to speak to me. You made me feel very special and I hope I was able to help you. It never ceases to amaze me what an impact one little website can have!

From there it was on to the closing talks. In addition to the normal closing speeches, there was a motivational talk by DR Rajdeep Manwani. I really enjoyed the talk and judging by the reaction of the crowd, so did everyone else. The talk used several anecdotes and his personal experiences to put across the message that your success or failure is your responsibility. You can blame others when things go wrong (external locus of control) or take personal responsibility (internal locus of control). Ultimately, successful people are those that take personal responsibility and do something about it, rather than blame the world for their failings. I wholeheartedly agree.

After that I spent some time saying my goodbyes, then it was off to get some food and then to bed, ready for my early start for the trip home.

I would like to say a big thank you to the AIOUG for inviting me and to all the AIOUG volunteers that made the event go so well. Thanks also to the Oracle ACE Program for getting me to the event. My special thanks go to all the attendees that made me feel really special for two days.

Tomorrow is the journey home. Fingers crossed for free upgrades to Emirates business class! :)

Cheers

Tim…

AIOUG Sangam15 : Day 2 was first posted on November 22, 2015 at 4:19 pm.
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