Category Archives: Administration

Hey JAVA-developer, why don’t you love your database


Why this post?

Partly, this blogpost is a result of a promise to Lukas Eder. Basically my vision adheres quite nicely to the “Thick Database” driven by Bryn Llewellyn and Toon Koppelaars who, understandibly, drive this from an Oracle perspective.
It –more than of course- also nicely fits EnterpriseDB or even vanilla PostgreSQL database landscapes.

There is apparently still so much confusion in the world on the how, why and what of good application development and architecture that I decided to chip in my bit. I think I have a bit of an idea on how this aught to work and I also think it is not a half bad idea, plus a couple of people whom I highly regard, seem to agree with it. So here goes…

Traditionally

Traditionally there is no big love between application developers and their persistence-store. I don’t really know why because I never found the opportunity to do a real inquiry, but I think I have a reasonable understanding.

Basically there is constantly the enormous pressure of delivering new features and functionality. So much even that the basic development work, the more “boring” and “time consuming” things -why pay now, if you can also pay later- get postponed. Things like peer-reviews, (integration) testing, technical design… Basically, more people means more features.
If even these things get too little attention, why would something like an overpriced library-box get more attention? Not to mention these DBA’s you need to pass to even get close(r) to this library-box…

Here are my four reasons why I think
it should deserve a chance!

1. Easier

Plain and simple. It is easier. If you take a structured query language like PL/(pg)SQL, it is basically easy. Founded on the programming language ADA, it is easy to understand and one can quite easily build a number of routines, procedures, packages, functions to let the database chop and glue data and just deliver the results for your application to consume.
It saves you the time of having to (re)write some of this more complex stuff in your application or perhaps even over a several applications.

2. Quicker

As said under the first point: build once, use many times. By creating mechanisms in the database, you get the opportunity to think about the separating data manipulation mechanisms from data representation mechanisms and where you want to put which specific function. Of course, this decision process takes a little extra time in the beginning, but will repay many times over as your projects grows and gains meaningful complexity (is there something like “meaningful complexity”, well, yes…).

Quicker also is in operational response times. Querying a stored procedure will bring agility to your application in a sense that this stored procedure will be much quicker in getting you the answer than if you do this in a distributed (middle-ware) environment. These stored procedures can be accessed through REST-endpoints, giving flexibility and the possibile desired disconnect between the database and the application layer.

3. Cheaper

Powerful, because you are and you remain close to the data. No data transportation overhead, no latency. These kinds of slimming down, mean less requirements to infrastructure and distributed capacities (either hardware or (virtual) “cloud infrastructure”. This slimming down frees up budget which can then be spend on the more meaningful bits and pieces of your application.

4. More consistent

Finally, I think this approach brings more consistency. As you do things near the data it lives on, near the processing power you depend on, you also get single access paths to specific bits of your data, to specific constructs that drive the value of the application you are building. Through this, it does not matter from where you call this service, REST-endpoint, stored procedure, or whatever you call it, you always get the same answer, driving a consistent decision process based on that application.

And if ever something changes, there is also just one place for you to ensure these new requirements are added. Voila, consistency throughout your application landscape, as all that depends on this data-set gets this uniquely updated information.

The magic of working together

There is a lot of misunderstanding between DBA’s and Developers. I have been in both roles at some point and I have seen this happen first hand. One of the things, though, in that force field, I have learned, is the power, the joy and, through this, the magic of working together.
In the end, we all have the same goal, which is furthering our business by being the best at what we do. This means, for a developer, meeting feature request, short development cycles, quick delivery and as much as possible, get it right in one go. For a DBA this means making sure the database stays consistent, performant and available. And, in extension of that, for operations it means that the final product must be easily and quickly deployable to enter into an uneventful and dependable life-cycle.

Bringing together these seemingly conflicting disciplines is fun! By investing a little time in exploring the other disciplines, you will find common drivers, in a sense that everyone want the same thing. By getting over nearly religious initial differences, you will find magic in the combination. You will reach your goals earlier with the bonus that your co-workers will also reach their goals earlier and have a better end result than you dreamt possible.

True JAVA-Champion

Coming from another world, I do not know the requirements for becoming a JAVA-Champion. I imagine it to be not too much different from other recognition programs out there… But…
If you create more features and functions and you are able to run your application with greater concurrency on (way) less platform-power. Thus increasing the RIO on your application, this makes you a true Champion of JAVA and your business!! If you are able to combine this with some magic in your cooperation’s…
Believe me, it is more fun in the end too!


Containerization, do we need container-carriers?

In maritime logistics containers and container carriers are not really new.

Sitting in the plane, the following thoughts occurred to me…

In fact, containers in IT are a concept which is 1-on-1 derived from these physical containers.
We have seen and read many good and informative blog-posts and presentations about this. Obviously there is a lot of confusion about this as well. In my opinion you should be careful to mix and match too intensively. I think containerization and micro services, for instance have a lot less in common that some would lead you to believe.
This though is not what I wanted to discuss.

I would want to argue that one can containerize a stack too deep (or too high, depending on your viewpoint).

A container, typically, is an isolatable element which can be stacked upon another isolatable element. For instance, a Webserver is stacked upon an instance of bash, stacked upon it’s dependencies, creating an container stack which is capable of serving http-requests at port 80 of the up-address inherited from the IP-stack underneath the bash-instance.

Well, logical. Repeatable, but in a sense also complex, complexity by the sheer number of layers that compromise the stack.

Wouldn’t it be an idea to extend this train of thought and also introduce container carriers?

Just like in the analogy with container carriers in maritime logistics, these would be larger founding blocks on which various containers can be stacked.

  1. How would this differ from a setup with a regular VM? You would still have the lightweight, easily transportable qualities of containers.
  2. How would this differ from just stacking containers to create this? It would enable further development of seamless integration of the founding layers of what this container carrier is made up of, improving stability and specialization.

It eliminates the feeling of wheel-reinvention that for me, somehow still remains lingering around software containers. With the ever growing adoption of container technology, as the foundation for cloud-infrastructure, it can for a quick cost-saver.

My thought-train put to paper. Hope it helps someone, somewhere, somewhat…

#Oracle cutting in inspiration and new business?

Over the many years Oracle has been leading the database world, I guess they are now taking something of a wrong turn.
Let me briefly fill you in on my thoughts.

Basically I see two “minor” shifts that are significantly indicative of this:

  1. Oracle Standard Edition 2
  2. Oracle ACE Program

Okay, so you might think I am crazy, but let me try to explain.

Oracle Standard Edition 2

Sometime last year, the long expected, anticipated…, dreaded perhaps even, change to the Oracle database licensing strategy was there.

Oracle Standard Edition (SE) and Oracle Standard Edition One (SE1) licenses were addressed.
There was A LOT of debate on this, I mean, A LOT. Discussions which ran all the way back to HQ, and were driven by passionate people inside and outside of Oracle, inside and outside of the Oracle community… To no avail.

It had been very clear for quite a long time that the SE / SE1 strategy was nothing short of unsustainable inside the Oracle licensing realm. Even though, Oracle SE and SE1 enabled many projects and customers to adopt the phenomenal Oracle technology for their projects. It has some limitations, but with smart thinking and smart planning, a lot of projects could be run with Oracle SE(1). “I am such a good DBA, I can even do it with Oracle Standard Edition!”
Alas, we now have Oracle Standard Edition 2 (SE2) with a new and upgraded price of US 17k (!!) making this solution rather out of the question for many of the projects meant in the above. Please note that SE1 already was a significant investment for some of the projects I have learned to know over the years in regions as the Baltics and Africa.
Yes, of course, I know you can do all of this “In the cloud”. But with the limitation that there are hardly any CSPs (Cloud Service Providers 😉 that enable you to make use of the “cheaper” Oracle license. If you want to leverage your local cloud vendor (mind my word-choice here) it’s BYOL (Bring Your Own License) and, voila, you’re done in for anyway.

Hence, the first significant “shift” in Oracle’s span of attention for new business, creativity and growth…

Oracle ACE Program

More recently there was also a change in the Oracle ACE Program. Which has also led to much debate. But… that bit of the change I am not referring too, I am referring to the bit that does not affect me directly…

Oracle has a small number of very highly appreciated and “industry leading” community advocates called “Oracle ACE Directors”. These people not only have a deep knowledge of everything that is happening in this corner “of the industry”, but are also very passionate about sharing this knowledge. Sharing with Oracle Users, sharing with stakeholders within the Oracle organization, basically, with everyone with a hunger for knowledge around the technology.

For this, these Directors had a few privileges. When the invested their time and their energy in traveling this globe to share, Oracle would support them in some of their travel expenses. This always had the air of “wow, they are paid”. Believe me, it was bare minimal support, just a flying ticket and a hotel-bed to a previously approved conference, when they actually were accepted to do a talk. Nothing shiny, nothing business-classy…

Until now. With the changes to the system, also these modest privileges for the Directors have seized to be.

There was my second significant “shift” in Oracle’s span of attention for new business, creativity and growth…

It has me worried… I should not worry, as it does not affect my day-to-day business… yet.

Albeit we have this cool tech, with PL/SQL, with APEX, with all the features, options and what not, to create solutions that could really better the word (I also firmly believe this).

Oracle is just closing this door, and my toes were still in the doorway, so that hurts.

This was my rant, hope it helps.

tnsnames.ora, keeping your connections under control

There are a lot of ancient things that prove to be still valuable today.
Recently I came across something, which I thought I could or should share here.
Your tnsnames.ora file, centrally managed in a distributed environment.

This solution applies whether you are working with the Oracle Instant Client or with the full blown setup of the client software.

Imagine you have an environment with a reasonably big bunch of PC’s. Wether you are running Linux or Windows, or if you are running some Terminal Server Forrest, where deploying, packaging and launching applications cost an arm and a leg. To keep consistency across the environment, shortcuts are not an option.
I have seen the most exotic solutions, distributing a tnsnames.ora file. Pushing versions of tnsnames.ora out to workstations, have login-procedures check and copy files… Basically every trick in the book will, at one time, get you in the situation where you have a client, connecting to a database, containing something other than the end user expects… With the appropriate consequences…
It is my firm believe that the best way still is not to distribute the file.

The coolest thing (therefore) would be to have something (obviously extremely simple), containing all your database connection aliases.
Of course you can than add each and any every facility to maintain and update this file. Be it version control or automatic deployment. Basically this one copy of your file is the source of all truth, which of course adds some importance to the file itself.

(Re)introducing the tnsnames-parameter ifile=

With this parameter you can define an instance or form of tnsnames.ora file, and store it anywhere you can reach from the endpoint, where your Oracle client is installed.

the most simple version of using ifile = here would be:
ifile = <mount_point>/path/central-file.ora

you can multiplex your tnsnames.ora:
ifile = <mount_point_1>/path/central1.oraifile = <mount_point_2>/path/central2.ora

You can nest tnsnames.ora as needed:
ifile = <mount_point>/path/general-file.ora
In general-file.ora:
ifile = <group-specific_mount_point>/path/specific.ora

These options give you a very good set of opportunities to organize your redirection-setup the way you need it.
To me, having this centralized tnsnames-setup, brings advantages in connection troubleshooting as there are no occurances of file-discrepancies.
ifile = works and you get connected… or it doesn’t, no chance of missing that last update.

Hope this helps…

SYSAUX LOB segment for auditing bug not released in Standard Edition

Last week we were struck by an issue, which turned out to be a bite from a bug!
SYSAUX table-space had quickly filled up to the “my data-file is full”-limit, which in the end was fixed by adding a data-file.

Strange thing though, that for a very small footprint database, we now have a very big SYSAUX table-space.

Some investigation brought me to the Unified Auditing being standard active in database 12c (you can read up on that background with my friend Ann Sjökvist here).
We are faced though with a different (and possibly a little more obscure) Bug 20077418 – RECLAIMING THE SECUREFILE LOB SEGEMENT IN 12.1 Standard Edition.
What this bug boils down to is the following:
There is a lot of audit data recorded by default, the ORA_SECURECONFIG profile is running out of the box. I haven’t taken the time to figure exactly out what is written, where and how, but I know it involves a LOB segment (SYS_LOB0000091833C00014$ by SYSAUD) which is, in our case in comparison to the total database size, HUGHE!! The management of this audit data, usually driven by DBMS_AUDIT_MGMT, has absolutely no effect on this segment (at least not on shrinking it).

Searching for the mentioned bug you just find to EE bugs (18109788 & 22272580) but they at least they give _some_ clues… The actual bug is undisclosed and in status 11 (being worked on).
In the end it means that auditing is fine, even in SE, but, for the moment, restrain yourself… The data you gather cannot be managed (yet). And for the rest:

If
select policy_name
from audit_unified_enabled_policies
;

yields any results, consider switching this auditing off (eg.SQL> noaudit policy ORA_SECURECONFIG;)

Hope this helps…

Username & password required at Weblogic domain startup

When installing a new WebLogic Domain for any a-specific Oracle (Fusion) Middleware application or any other implementation requiring a WebLogic domain like ORDS for instance, a new ‘home’ is created under [MW-home]/user_domains/. [MW-Home] translates, for instance, to /u01/oracle/product/Middleware.

ordsTo start your brand-new domain, or perhaps and rather, to automate the startup of your domain, you would use the supplied [MW-home]/user_domains/[DomainName]/startWebLogic.sh command-file.
This file will start the Weblogic domain (the Admin Server) and the deployed components. After this start, you will be able to follow through with the administration over the web-console. Typically its URL is: http://[ServerName]:[PortNumber]/console.

One nasty thing you can run into, is that starting the server can require you to enter username and password during the run of [MW-home]/user_domains/[DomainName]/startWebLogic.sh. Of course this is rather annoying because it requires interaction which is not good for auto-start. Regular input-tooling you can wrap around this command-file, for example with input redirection, would require you to save your username / password combination in plain text. That is certainly never a good idea!!

Luckily there is a trick to enable your WebLogic domain to start without this interaction. And it also makes sure that username & password are not stored in plain text. Actually it is quite easy to get this facility in place.

This is how:

Go to [MW-home]/user_domains/[DomainName]/Servers/AdminServer/security and create a plain text file called boot.properties.

This file gets two lines:
username: Your WebLogic Username
password: Your WebLogic Password

Basically, this is now a plain-text recording of the username and password on the server, which seems quite scary.

Good thing though, is that when you have successfully run [MW-home]/user_domains/[DomainName]/startWebLogic.sh command file, which will now continuously run through, username and password will be encrypted:

#Thu Mar 10 14:11:38 UTC 2016
password={AES}JoMm+ymJUvbcQld84ofjSR5KhwFVP7mCgTpYBtTS7TA\=
username={AES}vY8NlWXCh156j/uAIpyFY4MVxPt8cdAbUpaTku+sJsU\=

You will now be able to call [MW-home]/user_domains/[DomainName]/startWebLogic.sh from your startup-script without having to worry about the need to interactively entering username / password or have to worry about plain text storage of these to artifacts.

Hope this helps!

Why GUI sucks…

Of course we all know GUI stands for Graphical User Interface, just as CLI stands for Command Line Interface, right!
Or, rather, a GUI is this nice, flashy screen where you can easily roam with your mouse, comparable to a multiple choice quiz, where the right answer is there for the picking.
A CLI on the other hand is this dark, mysterious blinking cursor… Nothing happens unless you know more or less what you are doing. Comparable to an open questions quiz.

Sparked by a recent Twitter discussion, I decided I should probably write the umpth blog post about this to make my contribution to this lasting dispute.

Disclaimer:
This post discusses GUI in relation to system administration, not necessarily in relation to data-entry or data manipulation applications that are used in front offices all over the world. I guess CLI has no place in a world like that…

bad gui

Why GUI sucks?
I have done my fair share of installing, scripting, ad-hoc fiddling, testing and trying. And, I have found myself in the situation where I worked with younger computer geeks or even in situations where nobody had the time to figure anything out – stuff just had to be made to work.

Probably in the few lines above, we could already have the basics for this discussion!

But, why then does GUI suck?

GIU’s suck because they are limiting, labor (or rather RSI) intense and require you, the operator, to be there, physically clicking away on your computer.

Limiting
They are limiting, or at least most of the time they are, because it is often quite hard to get a visual representation of each and every function of a device / program / system etc. If you consider, for instance, a networking device and then try to imagine having to create a GUI that lets the operator configure and define each and every parameter of a specific VLAN or VPN. And then also bear in mind that the GUI has to stay crisp, clean and intuitive.
For this reason, I have seen many vendors who have created a GUI for basic setup only, relying on the professionals to find their way in the CLI. They GUI can then stay intuitive enough to at least get the basics done.

GUI’s that aim not to be limiting, of which there also are a few out there too, need to sacrifice a lot of the things that a good GUI should stand for:

  • Short click paths (3 clicks from anywhere to get where you want to be)
  • Intuitive (don’t have to guess or read a manual to use a GUI)

So, what you end up with, then, is a maze of riddles, where you can easily spend a good day setting up some new functionality. Somehow I believe this is not what the designers had set out for nor is it a valid solution for most tasks at hand.

Labor intense
I personally find GUI’s often, quite labor intense. Not just for the absence of the ability to automate tasks, though. Especially if there is a lot of specific configuration that needs to be done, you often end up left and right clicking until your hands start hurting.
And, in the end, you always end up with the eerie feeling that you missed out on that one specific setting that would really put the icing on your configuration.

Operator presence
Last, but not least… For a GUI to work, you need to be at your workstation. Period.
Anybody who has ever worked on automated testing of applications that rely on a GUI, knows about the hideous crime of having to script test-cases, either working with hidden button-labels, screen coordinates, etc. Where these scripts fail every other day because a developer moved a window to a better spot or used a new button-label. You end up coding your application just to make it testable.
No, GUI requires operator presence, making it useless for automation or scaling.

good_cliThe bliss of CLI
Okay, middle Ages… or Stone Age…
Nothing really fancy, just a black (or, if you are feeling frivoled, you may choose some nice color) square on your screen with a blinking underscore – most often. And then you say; GUI sucks?

One of the challenges in this hyper fast moving world full of smart phones, tablet PC’s and what have you, loaded with intuitive and fast apps, is to realize that actually “hard core IT” is hard core.
You need to learn your stuff first, know what you do and know about the consequences of choices you make. You will have to learn to be able to walk the walk and to talk the talk. Once you have mastered that, this blinking underscore is no longer a roadblock but a invitation! Just like after mastering a foreign language, you will know what to say and do to open up the potential at your fingertips.

And now, reality
Of course, the above is ranting is just one side of the story.
It is even just one side of the story in hard core IT!

As already stated above, sometimes there is no time to really dive into stuff and get to know the tools you need to get to work for you. I am pretty sure we all have been in a place where we needed to get a project done or some functionality realized, where we just did not have the right devices.

What are your options at such a moment?
Get a hardcore IT specialist who does “talk the talk”?
Probably it will not be cheap and probably it will be a very thorough configuration, but just not exactly as you need it to be… Though still a valid option, even in a number of cases it’s a no-go.
This… is where a good GUI comes in handy.
It will allow you, yourself, to organize that which needs organizing in an orderly fashion. Okay, the GUI will have to be accurate and well thought through, but I that goes for all interfacing, that is also true for the CLI.

Seeing this story unfold… I guess I still think GUI sucks. (sorry!)
But GUI has a place, a very well earned place in a super-fast and highly demanding world. Still I am convinced that if you are working in a highly professional environment, having to do intricate stuff on ever live environments, I would say a good script for a CLI is the only way you can create some assurance that whatever change you need to execute will actually have a predictable result.

And putting in the effort of learning how to use any CLI? Well, I guess that’s why it is called “professional IT”.

DBA_FEATURE_USAGE_STATISTICS and SE2

This blog post is inspired on work I have been doing on Standard Edition databases and the returning confusion about what is and what is not part of Standard Edition.

DBA_FEATURE_USAGE_STATISTICS is a tool in determining license usage for the Oracle database. It is good to understand the implications of each entry, know what is happening in your database and thus be able to have a substantial conversation about the usage of your license, being SE, SEO, SE2 or EE!

This list is the full list of DBA_FEATURE_USAGE_STATISTICS and I have found no source where there is a mapping of these features to database editions. As it is a lot of tedious work I call upon the community to help complete the list and make it as accurate as can be. So, if you have news, improvements, other bits of information, please send it to me and I will make sure it gets added!

WARNING: Still… with all the work that goes into these answers, it is not the law, it is a very serious interpretation of facts which will pay a part in helping you make the right decision when it comes to database licensing.

Feature Standard Edition
Active Data Guard – Real-Time Query on Physical Standby NO !
ADDM NO !
Advanced Replication NO !
Application Express YES
ASO native encryption and checksumming NO – EE option !
Audit Options NO !
Automatic Maintenance – Optimizer Statistics Gathering YES
Automatic Maintenance – Space Advisor YES
Automatic Maintenance – SQL Tuning Advisor NO !
Automatic Memory Tuning
Automatic Segment Space Management (system) YES
Automatic Segment Space Management (user)
Automatic SGA Tuning YES
Automatic SQL Execution Memory YES
Automatic SQL Tuning Advisor NO !
Automatic Storage Management
Automatic Undo Management
Automatic Workload Repository
AWR Baseline NO !
AWR Baseline Template NO !
AWR Report NO !
Backup BASIC Compression
Backup BZIP2 Compression
Backup Encryption
Backup HIGH Compression
Backup LOW Compression
Backup MEDIUM Compression
Backup Rollforward
Backup ZLIB Compression
Baseline Adaptive Thresholds
Baseline Static Computations
Bigfile Tablespace
Block Media Recovery NO !
Change Data Capture NO !
Change-Aware Incremental Backup
Character Semantics
Character Set
Client Identifier
Clusterwide Global Transactions
Compression Advisor
Crossedition Triggers
CSSCAN
Data Guard NO !
Data Mining NO – EE option !
Data Recovery Advisor
Database Migration Assistant for Unicode
Database Replay: Workload Capture NO ! 1
Database Replay: Workload Replay NO ! 1
DBMS_STATS Incremental Maintenance
Deferred Open Read Only
Deferred Segment Creation NO !
Direct NFS
Dynamic SGA
Editioning Views
Editions
EM Database Control
EM Grid Control
EM Performance Page
Encrypted Tablespaces
Exadata
Extensibility
File Mapping
Flashback Data Archive NO ! 2
Flashback Database NO !
GoldenGate NO – EE option ! 3
HeapCompression
Hybrid Columnar Compression NO !
Instance Caging NO !
Internode Parallel Execution
Job Scheduler
Label Security NO – EE option !
LOB
Locally Managed Tablespaces (system) YES
Locally Managed Tablespaces (user)
Locator YES
Logfile Multiplexing
Long-term Archival Backup
Materialized Views (User) NO !
Messaging Gateway NO !
MTTR Advisor
Multi Section Backup
Multiple Block Sizes
Object
OLAP – Analytic Workspaces NO – EE option !
OLAP – Cubes NO – EE option !
Oracle Database Vault NO – EE option !
Oracle Java Virtual Machine (system) YES
Oracle Java Virtual Machine (user)
Oracle Managed Files
Oracle Multimedia
Oracle Multimedia DICOM
Oracle Secure Backup
Oracle Text
Oracle Utility Datapump (Export)
Oracle Utility Datapump (Import)
Oracle Utility External Table
Oracle Utility Metadata API
Oracle Utility SQL Loader (Direct Path Load)
Parallel SQL DDL Execution NO !
Parallel SQL DML Execution NO !
Parallel SQL Query Execution NO !
Partitioning (system) YES
Partitioning (user) NO – EE option !
PL/SQL Native Compilation
Quality of Service Management NO !
Read Only Tablespace
Real Application Clusters (RAC) YES 4
Real-Time SQL Monitoring
Recovery Area
Recovery Manager (RMAN) YES
Resource Manager NO !
Restore Point
Result Cache NO !
RMAN – Disk Backup
RMAN – Tape Backup
Rules Manager
SecureFile Compression (system) YES
SecureFile Compression (user)
SecureFile Deduplication (system) YES
SecureFile Deduplication (user)
SecureFile Encryption (system) YES
SecureFile Encryption (user)
SecureFiles (system) YES
SecureFiles (user)
Segment Advisor (user)
Segment Shrink
Semantics/RDF NO !
Server Flash Cache
Server Parameter File
Services
Shared Server
Spatial NO – EE option !
SQL Access Advisor
SQL Monitoring and Tuning pages NO – EE option !
SQL Performance Analyzer NO !
SQL Plan Management NO !
SQL Profile
SQL Repair Advisor
SQL Tuning Advisor
SQL Tuning Set (system) YES
SQL Tuning Set (user)
SQL Workload Manager
Streams (system) YES 5
Streams (user)
Transparent Data Encryption
Transparent Gateway YES – option
Transportable Tablespace NO ! 6
Tune MView
Undo Advisor
Very Large Memory
Virtual Private Database (VPD) NO !  7
Workspace Manager
  1. Unless used for upgrade to Enterprise Edition.
  2. Unless used without history table optimization.
  3. Goldengate can also be used with Standard Edition, it is a separate product.
  4. RAC on Enterprise Edition is an option.
  5. No capture from redo.
  6. Import transportable tablespaces in all editions.
  7. Policies on XDB$ACL$xd_sp in sys.v_$vpd_policy are internal ( “out of the box”) policies that are used by XDB to control the access to certain internal tables. All the logic is implemented in the xdb.DBMS_XDBZ package and there is no way one can control / influence the way this is working.

The rising of the Standard Edition (#orclse2)

It was the second half of 2011 when the broader introduction of Standard Edition database security tooling was introduced in The Benelux. Dbvisit Standby was the tool and protecting data in Standard Edition databases was the deal.

I remember the first meetings vividly! The Standard Edition database? Many people had not heard of this edition or, more frighteningly, the ones that knew about it, ignored it. Standard Edition was not something to be taken seriously, let alone used to run your production system on.
Still this time marked the start of the silent (r)evolution and the rising of the Standard Edition.

Since those days many things have changed.
With the continued attention and drive for promoting Oracle Standard Edition (SE) database, the visibility of this edition has flourished.
Obviously the economic hardship of the last years have encouraged companies to review their IT budgets. The investment friendly character of SE have helped its growth, especially in such times.
During the second half of 2013 the first broader initiatives around SE started to become visible. One of the highlights of the SE uprise was the world premiere of the Standard Edition Round Table during Harmony 2014 in Helsinki Finland organized by Ann Sjökvist, Philippe Fierens and myself, the same people that lead the Standard Edition community today.

With the increased attention, worries also came. The Standard Edition and Standard Edition One editions had no cap on the number of cores per processor. This means that modern servers, running SE, equipped with huge amounts of processor cores, bring tremendous processing power at extremely low cost.
Signs of change became visible with the postponed release of Oracle database patch release 12.1.0.2.0 for SE.se2And now, in 2015, Standard Edition is a tool to distinguish yourself with. Many IT consultancy firms advertise their SE-expertise and have increased visibility in this respect. Many new initiatives have been fired up to help give Standard Edition the punch it needs for the even more serious jobs. News on Standard Edition is spread by a range of blog posts (like this one) as a result and UKOUG_Tech15 is even hosting a Standard Edition track! We have come a long way!!

And finally, with the release of Oracle Standard Edition Two, on the first of September 2015, the future of Oracle Standard Edition has been secured. The release of version 12.1.0.2.0 marks a new era for this Smart Edition.
Standard Edition Two retains many of the important advantages of Standard Edition and Standard Edition One while capping the processor core factor at a very usable level.

Yes, Oracle Standard Edition is a solid product in the Oracle stack and is still capable to help Oracle offer the most complete software operations stack, especially due to the development and deployment capabilities of APEX.
An unbeatable, endlessly scalable and super affordable solution on the market today.
We have come a long way to witness the rising of the Standard Edition!

And what about the changes?

  • Oracle Database Standard Edition 2 (SE2) will replace SE and SE1 from version 12.1.0.2 onward;
  • SE2 will have a limitation of maximum 2 socket systems and a total of 16 CPU threads*;
    • SE2 has Resource Manager hard coded to use no more than 16 CPU threads, which helps protect against noncompliance.
  • SE One and SE will no longer be available to purchase from November 10th, 2015;
  • Oracle is offering license migration scenarios from SE One and SE to SE2;
    1. SE One users pay a 20% increase in support for the migration.
    2. SE customers face no other cost increases for license or support*.
  • * Named user (NUP) minimums for SE2 are now 10 per server;
  • There are no changes in the use of visualization solutions;
  • 12.1.0.1 SE and SE1 customers will have 6 months of patching support once SE2 12.1.0.2 is released with quarterly patches still being available in October of 2015 and January of 2016.

Hope this helps!

dbms_redefinition houskeeping

dbms_redefinition actually is a nifty, but powerful little toolkit that let’s you change table-definitions without actually locking the table in such a manner that it would prevent regular operations from being interrupted.

You can read loads about it in the Oracle documentation or in the wealthy library by Mr. Tim Hall.

housekeepingOne thing I noticed, and which I want to share here has lots to do with the house keeping that is automatically done by dbms_redefinition. Actually it talks about some of the bits it didn’t brush up after itself.

dbms_redefinition works using triggers and materialized views to help switch from your current active production table, via a so-called interim table, back to your shiny new, redefined production table. You can follow this beautifully by querying the dba_segments view along the way.
For this it obviously creates this materialized view and the other required components and it removes them after you finish your redefinition-trip. After all that is done, you can just remove your interim table and be done with it.

At least, that is what happened in most of the cases and is what you would expect!

Though, in some cases… it proved impossible to drop the interim table. To me this was somewhat scary… did the redefinition not finish, or did it not finish correctly?

What happened?

There was this table that I redefined. It had referential integrity constraints (aka. foreign key constraints) pointing towards it. Of course dbms_redefinition neatly created version of these to the interim table to be sure nothing went wrong.build-in-flight

When finishing redefinition (with dbms_redefinition.finish_redef_table) most of the interim bits and pieces are cleared away and you just have to drop your interim table manually (okay, we can discuss if this actually would / could / should be automated, but let’s leave that).

But… when you are then manually dropping this interim table (in a busy production system, I tend to want to be careful and just issue ‘drop table int_<tablename>‘. That does not work. dbms_redefinition “forgets” to remove these referential integrity constraints in the other tables (which are neatly names tmp$$_<constraintname>).
This than means either issue ‘drop table int_<tablename> cascade constraints‘, which is more then the basic ‘drop table‘ or find these constraints and remove them manually first:

select 'alter table '||owner||'.'||table_name||' drop constraint '||constraint_name||';'
from dba_constraints dc
where constraint_type='R'
and r_constraint_name in
(
select constraint_name
from all_constraints
where table_name = 'INT_<tablename>'
);
alter table <schema>.<foreign table> drop constraint TMP$$_<constraint name>;

I guess, personally, I would like dbms_redefinition to do this for me…

It’s smart enough! it created them!

Just a quick and additional note, setting ddl_lock_timeout to 30 or 60 for your session can actually help and prevent a lot of non-sense on a busy system.

Hope this helps someone sometime 😉