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Natalka Roshak's blog

Securing Your Database: A simple Brute Force Blocker

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If you've had to change a Unix password, you know that most systems won't let you use just anything as a password - your password must be a minimum length, and must not be too easy to guess or brute-force. Oracle doesn't come with this capability installed out of the box, but Oracle 8 and above let DBAs define a custom function to complexity-check user passwords. Oracle provides a default password verification function to do some basic checking, although DBAs need to know about it and install it manually.

10gR2 new feature: Case Insensitive Sorts & Compares

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One handy new feature of 10gR2 is its vastly expanded ability to do case-insensitive sorts and compares (a subset of its expanded ability with other special sorts and compares, such as special linguistic sorts).

Using Oracle's recycle bin

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One of the many new features that Oracle 10g introduced is the recyclebin. When enabled, this feature works a little bit like the familiar Windows recycle bin or Mac Trash. Dropped tables go "into" the recyclebin, and can be restored from the recyclebin. OraFAQ has already published an article covering the basics; in this article, I'll cover some of the more subtle aspects of the recyclebin.

LEARNING TO LOVE LOBS

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LOBs, or Large OBjects, are Oracle's preferred way of handling and storing non-character data, such as mp3s, videos, pictures, etc., and long character data. Binary large objects, or BLOBs, and character large objects, or CLOBs, can store up to terabytes of data - much more than the paltry 4000 bytes permitted in a varchar2 column. LOBs and CLOBs offer DBAs and developers great flexibility and storage space; the tradeoff is that they're a bit clunkier to handle.

The first thing to know about LOBs is that there are two basic types: external LOBs, which are stored outside the database, and internal LOBs, which are stored in the database. External LOBs are of the BFILE datatype; essentially, the database stores a pointer to the LOB's location in the file system. As such, they can't participate in transactions, and access is read-only. This article will deal with internal LOBs.

Using the power of DBMS_JOB.SUBMIT

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Some DBAs complain that Oracle's pre-10g job queue interface is lacking. Unlike cron or Windows Scheduler, pre-10g Oracle doesn't provide a mechanism to schedule jobs to run twice a week, on the first of the month, etc.

Moving to the Scheduler - Part 1

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In 10gR1, Oracle introduced the Scheduler, a new way to schedule jobs to run from within Oracle. The old DBMS_JOB mechanism is still there, but the Scheduler has several advantages over its predecessor. This article will take a quick look at those advantages and discuss transitioning from DBMS_JOB/ DBA_JOBS to the Scheduler. My next article will take a more in-depth look at some of the Scheduler's features.

What's blocking my lock?

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If you've ever gotten a phone call from an annoyed user whose transaction just won't go through, or from a developer who can't understand why her application sessions are blocking each other, you know how useful it can be to identify not just whose lock is doing the blocking, but what object is locked. Even better, you can identify the exact row that a session is waiting to lock.

External Tables

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External Tables let you query data in a flat file as though the file were an Oracle table. In 9i, only read operations were permitted; in 10g, you can also write out data to an external table, although you can't write to an existing table.

It's time to harden and patch

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There have been two high-profile Oracle security flaws in the last few months. The first, which everyone reading this article has probably heard of, is the Voyager worm. The second, which is slightly less well-known, is a very severe security hole that lets anyone with a valid logon to an Oracle database -- including an unprivileged account with nothing but CONNECT privs -- execute arbitrary code as SYS. In this article, I'll look at the two security flaws and outline the steps you need to take to protect your databases from them.

10gR2 New Features: RAC Enhancements

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10gR1 revamped Oracle clustered database management and features. 10gR2 builds on this success with a long list of improvements and enhancements. Oracle has streamlined the installation process and provided more filesystem options, made some performance and monitoring improvements, and improved manageability with a half-dozen administration enhancements. This article will take a look at the major changes.