Oracle Database Management Strategic Directions

1. Best Practices for managing Oracle database servers.
2. Oracle Fusion Middleware products like J2EE, ADF, XML, BPEL, SOA, Web Services, Discoverer...).
3. Oracle Application Servers and Apache.

 
 
Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Evaluation of Enterprise Linux: George Trujillo



I have installed Enterprise Linux in two environments: On a standalone intel platform and also on a Apple MacBook Pro running Parallels. You can also install it with VMWare on Windows as well. Vmware and Parallels are excellent for running virtual machines with Oracle software. They provide a lot of flexibility when working with test environments.
  • The install of the Enterprise Linux was a very simple install, especially on the Apple MacBook running Parallels. For the Virtual Machine with Parallels, I'd make sure and install with at least 18GB of disk. You don't need quite this much but I wanted a little bit of flexibility. Within this 18GB of storage, I created:
    • /opt - 5GB for Oracle and other software (mainly for DB and App Server)
    • /u01 - 5GB for Oracle database and application server files.
    • / - 3.3GB used for OS, used 1GB for swap, leaves some room for flexibility.
  • The Enterprise Linux operating system takes up at least 3.3GB if it is installed with the Server option and most of the Server packages are selected. Then you'll need the space for the Oracle database server and other software as well. If installing the Oracle 10g database or application server, you want to make sure you have at least 1GB of memory reserved for Oracle.
Enterprise Linux will be tested running the Oracle Database Server, Oracle Application Server, JDeveloper and SQL Developer. I'd love to test it running RAC but I will have to see how time allows it in the next few weeks. Time permitting I will put JBoss and MySQL on it as well.

There are not a lot of installation instructions, because Enterprise Linux installed easiliy on a standalone platform and in Parallels on Apple 10.4. If you are new to installing Oracle on Linux, go to otn.oracle.com and under Documentation go to Installing Oracle on Red Hat. Follow the step by step instructions and OTN will keep you on the yellow brick road. Make sure and set any kernel recommendations by Oracle.

With Parallels on Apple, just make sure to increase the default memory and disk storage. If using ISO files. make sure and set the default CD device to the ISO first file. When promped in Parallels for the next set of files, go to the Menu area and under Devices select Connect to the next ISO file. That way Parallels will find the next ISO file in the sequence.

I will follow with how the testing goes.

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Profile of a Database Infrastructure Administrator


An audio presentation of this can be found at the GeorgeTrujilloBlog.

The Database Infrastructure Administrator (DIA) is going to be in higher demand than a Database Administrator in the near future for complex Oracle environments. Administration and management of Enterprise Infrastructures across multiple tiers is going to be an important skill set in large complex environments.

For the context of defining the following Database Administration (DBA) skills the definitions below will be used:
  • Fundamental DBA Skills - Core DBA skills including backup/recovery, performance tuning, database security and basic administration knowledge.
  • Intermediate DBA Skills - Fundamental DBA skills as well knowledge in a at least one advanced area of Oracle (Streams, RAC, Data Guard, Encryption, Data Guard, DW, BI, Data Vault, etc.).
  • Advanced DBA Skills - Intermediate DBA skills as well as knowledge in a number of advanced areas of Oracle including knowledge of enterprise management with software such as Grid Control, Quest or CA database management software. Ability to work in a very complex database environment.
Skills with applications, DB2, SQL Server or other databases is a plus in any of the areas.

Database Infrastructure Administrator: Basic Skills
  • Fundamental DBA skills
  • Core Application Server Administration knowledge
Note: Skills are defined as basic if in one of the areas there are only fundamental skills.

Database Infrastructure Administrator: Intermediate Skills
  • Intermediate DBA knowledge
  • Intermediate Application Server Administration knowledge
  • Ability to deploy web applications and communicate on topics with developers such as J2EE, Web Services, SOA, BPEL, XML, SSO, identity management, etc.
Note: Skills are defined as intermediate if in one of the areas there are only intermediate skills.

Database Infrastructure Administrator: Advanced Skills
  • Intermediate to Advanced DBA knowledge
  • Intermediate to Advanced Application Server Administration knowledge
  • Ability to deploy web applications and communicate on topics such as J2EE, Web Services, SOA, BPEL, BPEL, XML, SSO, identity management, etc.
  • Ability to manage the entire n-tiered technology stack using Grid Control or other 3rd party management solutions. Can manage at least one of the following areas across the entire enterprise infrastucture: Security, Backup/Recovery, Performance, Diagnostics.
  • Some knowledge of a set of applications (PeopleSoft, Siebel, JD Edwards, Oracle EBusiness Suite or Oracle Fusion).
Note: Skills are defined as advanced when there are very strong skills across the entire technology stack and there is broad knowledge as well.

Enterprise Infrastructure Management and the Database Infrastructure Administrator


Enterprise Infrastructure Management (EIM) or the management of all the technology stacks across the database and middle tiers is now the challenge facing organizations. If Internet users are now accessing the database through middle tier applications, then anything that impacts the middle tier now impacts data availability.

If something goes wrong or performance is slow where does someone go to find the problem. Organizations that need to manage multiple databases, running in an n-tiered environment now need the ability to manage the entire infrastructure through all tiers. There has always been a separation of duties between databases, operating systems, networks and the middle tier. However during trouble shooting someone needs to understand where to go look in the entire infrastructure. This person needs the skills of a Database Infrastructure Administrator (DIA). The database infrastructure administrator is someone that can trouble shoot the database and the application server environment. Since J2EE applications are deployed in the middle tier, this DIA needs to at least be knowledgeable with the database and middle tier environments.

DIAs are going to be in extremely high demand in the next few years. It is this type of person who is going to be able to maintain high availability environments. This person is going to need to understand complex database environments as well as understand the middle tier. DIAs that understand applications such as PeopleSoft, JDEdwards, Sieble, EBusiness Suite, BI and Oracle Fusion applications are going to be in especially high demand.

The environments are becoming too complex for individuals to write scripts to manage and monitor databases, operating systems, application servers and applications. Software is quickly becoming the solution for efficient organizations.

Database management software from companies like Oracle, Quest and CA are being used to manage multi-database environments. Oracle's Enterprise Manager Grid Control is a software tool for managing the entire Enterprise Infrastructure. It is this Enterprise Infrastructure Management that is going to be a key for managing Oracle 10g and 11g environments. Grid Control also supports the management of the middle tier running the Oracle Application Server. Grid Control supports plugins for SQL Server, DB2, WebSphere and WebLogic but it is the Oracle database and application server environment where Grid Control excels.

Lets look at the Enterprise Infrastructure from three perspectives:
Traditional Oracle Perspective:
  • Oracle Database Servers (Streams, Data Guard, RAC, RMAN, ...)
  • Oracle Application Servers (application tier, web tier and respository)
  • Applications
New Oracle Database and Fusion Middle Ware Perspective:
  • Database High Availability Environment (RAC, Data Guard, Streams, ...)
  • Oracle Fusion Middle ware (application server, web tier and repository)
  • (Oracle Fusion applications)
Heterogeneous Perspective:
  • Database Tier (Oracle, DB2, SQL Server, ...)
  • Middle Tier (Oracle Application Server, WebLogic, WebSphere, JBoss, Apache, ...)
  • Applications (Oracle Fusion, EBusiness Suite, JD Edwards, Siebel, PeopleSoft,...)
The first two perspectives above can use Grid Control as a strong enterprise management solution. For the heterogeneous perspective, companies like Oracle, CA, Quest, etc are going to compete for the hetergeneous enterprise management. There is another option but we need a few products to go GA before we can discuss them.

Oracle Grid Control is going to play a strong role in the enterprise management of Oracle database and Oracle Fusion middle ware environments. The following components are now going to need to be managed across the entire enterprise infrastructure:
  • Security (Data Vault, Audit Vault, Identity Management)
  • Backup and Recovery
  • Performance
To stay on the leading edge of technology if you are currently a DBA or Application Server Administrator is to become a DIA.


Monday, January 29, 2007

Tools for Enterprise Database Management III

During this evaluation we are hearing over and over again from our customers their struggles with the following issues:
  • Should we run Oracle Grid Control that gives us a management interface that leverages management of advanced Oracle features such as RAC, Streams, Data Guard, Scheduler, etc. Grid Control does a great job of managing the advanced features of Oracle, yet the Oracle plug-ins for DB2 and SQL Server are not as advanced as other 3rd party tools.
  • Using 3rd party tools to manage heterogeneous environments that do a better job of managing a heterogenous environment, but are lacking in the advanced features of Oracle that Grid Control does a much better job of.
  • What do I do with my current investment of database management software and how do I integrate this software into my future database management plans.


Overall we are trying to address the right decison for customers trying to maximize the management of a heterogeous environment, the multi-tiered architectures and the applications.

After a lot of evaluation we have narrowed the scope to the following solutions:

  • Oracle Grid Control with Plug Ins for SQL Server and DB2
  • Quest
  • CA UniCenter Database Management
  • (small company solution)


We are evaluating a new solution that can give the benefits of what each company does best but it is going to require more testing and the beta software releasing for GA.

Don't Just Attend a Conference - Participate!

If you are an IT professional, one of the best things you can do for your career is to get involved in a business or technical users group. Some of the benefits of joining a users group includes:
  • Networking and meeting peers and establishing new friendships.
  • Improving your technical and business skills.
  • Learning how the market you work in is changing.
  • Meeting new people and building mutually beneficial business relationships.
  • Having recognized experts share their knowledge.
  • Access to additional sources of information.
  • Sharing of ideas and exchanging of information.
  • Getting expert advice.
  • Improving your interpersonal and communication skills.
To get the most out of attending a conference:
  • Volunteer! This is the best way to meet new people and feel a part of the conference.
  • Join a Special Interest Group (SIG) and get involved in key technology areas.
  • Introduce yourself to key leaders of the Users Group and ask them to help you maximize your attending the conference.

Enjoying and staying a part of a users group is like going to high school. If you are a new student, the easiest way to meet people is to join the band, sports team or the debate team. A users group works the same way. A users group is always looking for new volunteers to bring new energy, ideas and enthusiasm to an organization. A users group cannot succeed without great volunteers. User groups are always looking for someone like yourself to get involved. If you attend a technical conference, find out how you can volunteer. It is one of the easiest ways to feel more a part of the organization and get to meet new people. I would also recommend seeking out leaders of the users group and ask them how you can get more involved. Some of the top people in users groups have said they never imagined themselves being a leader of the users group but someone encouraged them and the more they got involved the more they enjoyed it. The more effort you put into joining an organization the more you will get out of it.

The benefits of joining any organization is directly coorelated to how much you get involved. Individuals are often shy, nervous or do not feel comfortable networking at a group they are new to. Volunteering with different organizations is one of the easiest ways to meet new people and feel a part of an organization. Getting involved within a users group offers a lot of benefits.

The Dallas Oracle Users Group (www.doug.org) event November 30, 2007 in Dallas, TX that ran a successful Oracle Boot Camp covering advanced Oracle10g Features as well as topics for Oracle Application DBAs. I have found the Dallas Oracle Users Group to be an outstanding regional organization that does one of the best jobs of blending Oracle technology with the Oracle Applications and business side. The Rocky Mountain Oracle Users Group (www.rmoug.org) also has a great event with their training days. It is a great place to get some outstanding Oracle training. This event is scheduled for February 14 - 15, 2007 in Denver, CO. This is always a great conference. You will find some of the top leaders in the industry at this event. Hint, Colorado also has some great ski locations that are packed with snow this time of year. The event is scheduled in downtown Denver which has one of the best downtowns in the United States. I will also be attending the IOUG COLLABORATION Conference on April 15 - 19, 2007 in Las Vegas. I hope to see you there and hope you have fun and enjoy the conference. The following week Computer Associates is having CA World, April 22 -26, 2007 in Las Vegas. Make sure you take your golf clubs if you go to Las Vegas.

Remember, VOLUNTEER and make a difference to an organization you want to be a part of and reap the benefits of all the networking and fun you will have.

Collaborate 2007 Las Vegas - A Can't Miss Conference

The upcoming COLLABORATE 07 - IOUG Forum, April 15-19, 2007 in Las Vegas, NV is going to be one of the best Oracle conferences in years. This is one conference I strongly recommend you attend. Reasons why you should attend:
  • The complexity of Oracle environments requires DBAs have more knowledge than ever. There are numerous presentations on Streams, Data Guard, RAC and other advanced configurations. Knowing performance tuning and backup/recovery is no longer enough to be a successful DBA.
  • Oracle Fusion is the future of Oracle applications. Yet Grid control, SOA, BPEL, XML, Web Services, ADF, etc. are all components new to most Oracle technologists. The Fusion presentations are a great opportunity to get boot strapped on Oracle Fusion.
  • There are numerous presentations on Oracle10g features, Oracle10g is the most significant release due to it having more features that should be used out of the box than any previous release.
  • A lot of Oracle11g is going to be launched at COLLAB, where 10g DBAs need to learn what is coming.
  • There are tons of fresh new material and topics at COLLAB. There are 40% new speakers and topics at the IOUG conference this year.
  • The ability to pay one conference fee and attend presentations from the IOUG, OAUG and Quest gives an attendee maximum exposure to Oracle technology, applications and environment.
  • The comprehensive exposure you receive at one of the IOUG conferences cannot be matched anywhere.
The paper submission deadline is past. Yet there are great opportunities to join a Special Interest Group (SIG) or volunteer. The IOUG is going to focusing on a lot of new areas in the Oracle technology space: Identity Management, Middle-Tier technology, the Oracle Fusion Technology Platform, Security, SOA, Governance and Compliance, etc.
Networking is also one of the key benefits of attending the IOUG conference.

I hope to see you there. :-)
Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Dealing with Oracle Mutating Table Trigger Error

Oracle developers can encounter the "Mutating Table" error when writing row level triggers. This error occurs when a row-level trigger on a table, references the same table it is modifying in the trigger code. Oracle tries to protect you from bad design. The table the trigger is tied to, is the mutating table.

ORA-04091: table is mutating, trigger/function

Developers from other databases may be a little surprised when they get this error. This occurs due to how Oracle deals with read consistency. Be aware that the mutating table error is trying to protect you. Be careful with any of these solutions that you are not creating data integrity issues with your solution.

Different ways of dealing with this include:
  1. Perform the solution using a PL/SQL table or a Global temporary table. A statement level trigger can then perform the modification. Statement level triggers due not have to deal with the mutating table error, only row level triggers. Tom Kyte has a good example of this.
  2. Autonomous transactions allow a row-level trigger to run a block of code that runs in its own transaction environment. Or to call a PL/SQL procedure that runs in a separate transaction environment that does not cause a mutating table trigger error. Make sure that you have not created any design issues with these solutions. Oracle is protecting you for a reason. The autonomous trigger or PL/SQL block does not understand that it is running as part of a row-level trigger because it has a completely separate transactional context. The autonomous PL/SQL is a good solution when you only need to read the mutating table. The following PL/SQL code is used to set up autonomous blocks of code.
PRAGMA AUTONOMOUS TRANSACTION

Go to the George Trujillo blog and click on Video podcasts for an example of using autonomous transactions.
Thursday, January 04, 2007

Tools for Enterprise Database Management II

I am continuing to spend time researching the different software solutions for database management. This is from the perspective of the new versions of software that will be released this year. Some of these products are in the Alpha and Beta stages and we are in Non-Disclosure until the products go GA. We would rather evaluate the new products coming out this year, versus comparing the old versions of the products.

A lot of our customers are tired of going into long time consuming evaluations of different management software. We hope to give them some insights that will give them a deeper perspective of the different options and let them know what other customers are doing and experiencing. Although we have a leadership role with different professional organizations and groups as well as with the vendor companies we want this to be a very independent perspective. Our ONLY goal is to give customers independent insight into the products and experiences from customers working with these products.

I am going to focus on a few areas:
  • Database Management (using Oracle and SQL Server).
  • The ease of setup and configuration for multiple databases.
  • The features that are used by administrators the most.
  • A survery from customers of the pros and cons of the different management software solutions.
  • Provide a Matrix of the different software solutions. The goal of this is to help anyone that is considering purchasing database management software or renewing licenses.
  • Discuss advantages/disadvantages of running 3rd party management solutions to manage a heterogeneous environment or use Oracle Grid Control with plug-ins to manage a heterogeneous environment.
  • Have administrators running the different software solutions give us their perspective of using the software solutions to manage their database environment. This will include insights and perspectives they have for anyone trying to decide on database management software form Oracle, Quest, CA, BMC and Embarcadero.
Its been very refreshing to work with the different software companies and the individuals helping us with this research. I wish everyone could see how these individuals from software companies are really dedicated and commited to their craft. You've all been fantastic to work with and I personally appreciate your dedication to helping all customers make the right software decisions.

If this research is well received, we are then going to take a second look at these tools and look and see what are good software solutions for managing an entire database infrastructure that includes the middle tier and applications.
 
 

George Trujillo
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