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September 2011

Oracle Virtualbox 4.1

Let’s be honest, Virtualbox is really thriving under current Oracle management and becoming a real cool (if not already – i think so…) product. I am using it for test or training purposes, creating importable appliances and a lots of other purposes, on my iMac, Windows or other desktop environments. Having a look at the new 4.1 enhancements, I am really looking forward towards Oracle Open World in a few weeks time to get some additional info via presentations and / or hands-on labs. Okay, there is still stiff on my wish list, so Wim C. if your reading in… ;-)

Big Tables, Sorts and Indexes Quiz (Candidate)

Following on from the previous quiz on Descending indexes. Simple scenario. You have a huge table, 10 Million plus rows. You have an index on a column with a NOT NULL constraint but there are various other columns in the table not included in the index. You want to select all columns and all rows [...]

Oracle OpenWorld 2011 On Your Mind? Want Information About Modern Infrastructure For Oracle E-Business Suite Deployments? I Recommend…Dog-Food!

Last month I posted an article entitled Exadata: It’s The World’s Fastest Database Machine And The Best For Oracle Database – Part I. Do As I Say, Not As I Do which brought a surprising reaction from readers in both email and the comment thread of the article. It seems readers, and fellow members of the OakTable Network alike, thought I was being petty for pointing out the do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do state of affairs in Oracle IT where critical (ERP) systems and Exadata adoption are concerned. The simple fact of the matter is that the term eating your own dog food is one that I take seriously. Well, Oracle IT does eat dog food, as it were, but there are cans of dog food that look like M9000 (SPARC) and other cans that look like Exadata. But what does this have to do with Oracle OpenWorld 2011?

EMC Enjoys Eating Their Own Dog Food

Before EMC World 2011 (May 2011) I posted content about EMC IT migrating their huge Oracle E-Business Suite in first-class, right-tasty dog food eating style. The session was about EMC’s successful migration of their corporate Oracle E-Business Suite deployment to a 21st-century IT infrastructure rife with virtualization in the right places, done right. EMC’s Oracle E-Business Suite deployment is one of the largest in the world and is quite complex as it uses some 70 modules. But what does that have to do with Oracle OpenWorld 2011?

Interesting Oracle OpenWorld 2011 Session

I’d like to draw your attention to the following Oracle OpenWorld 2011 session. This session covers the Oracle E-Business Suite migration I’m referring to above.

Session ID 33660: “Migrating Oracle to the Cloud: 10x More Performance and $7M saved on x86/Linux”— Tuesday October 4 at 3:30 p.m.


Many IT organizations today are evaluating modernizing their aging hardware infrastructure to take advantage of enhancements in server processing power and cost-effective open source solutions. This session will review how EMC Global IT migrated an 8TB Oracle E-Business Suite production database to an open x86 server architectures and Linux. Attendees will understand the business and technical challenges faced during this project, detailed migration procedures, and review of resulting benefits including 10x improved OLTP response times, 20x faster batch reporting and $5M saved in 1 year. Best practices for planning and executing a migration will be discussed as well as lessons learned to optimize Oracle application performance at scale.

Filed under: E-Biz, oracle, Oracle OpenWorld 2011

11gR2 RAC on Windows 2008 using VirtualBox…

As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve kinda ignored the fact that any operating system other than Linux (specifically Oracle Linux) exists. It’s quite easy to do when you are working with Oracle products and you get to choose your own environment. :)

As a vague nod to the fact that Windows does actually exist, I’ve finally got round to updating my Windows virtual RAC article.

Windows 2008 is an unusual operating system in some respects. The RAC installation is pretty simple really, but finding some of the config dialogs is a complete nightmare. Chains of menus, dialogs, buttons and hyperlinks to get you to the dialog you need. What’s worse, some of the menus are hidden unless you remember to “Alt” or “Alt+N”. Crazy! If I was using Windows on a regular basis I think I would just memorize all the dialog program names and start them directly from the Run menu. It’s got to be easier than traversing that nightmare. I remember when Windows was considered the easy option. It doesn’t feel like the case anymore. :)

In related news, yesterday I got an invite from Jeremy Schneider to help out at RAC Attack at OOW 2011. That should be fun. See you there! :)



Infrastructure and Management SIG – new date

I ought to just mention that the UKOUG Management and Infrastructure SIG has moved from Tuesday September 20th to Tuesday September 27th (so two weeks from today). It had to be moved as we had a bit of a problem with the room booking. It will be in the usual venue of the Oracle City Office in London and is, of course, free to members of the UK Oracle User Group. {If you are not a member, you can come along for a fee – but if you are interested in coming along to see what a UKOUG Special Interest Group meeting is all about, send me a mail}.

So, if you fancy some free information about:

  • Getting the best out of your intel hardware (and BIOS in general) {Steve Shaw from Intel}
  • The latest on Oracle GRID and OEM {both presentations by customers not Oracle, one by Niall Litchfield and one by ‘Morrisons’,though Oracle supported us very well by finding one of the customers!)}
  • A presentation and discussion on Outsourcing by Piet de Visser 
  •  A consideration of how deep into the technology real-world DBAs need to go to solve issues (Neil Chandler and myself)
  • An Oracle support update

Well, register for the event and I’ll see you in two weeks!

Funny Developer Tricks – Decode

I ran into a really ugly SQL statement last week. It was the most expensive statement running on the system for the last several weeks. On top of the fact that the statement ran for hours, it also had a number of “issues”. The statement had the following characteristics:

System Stats

A quick collation – and warning – for 11.2

Bottom line – be careful about what you do with system stats on 11.2

Footnote: the MOS link is a search string  producing a list of references. I set it up like that because one of the articles referencing the bug is called “Things to consider before upgrade to″ and it’s worth reading.

Addendum: one of the people on the two-day course I’ve just run in Berlin sent me a link for a quick note on how to set your own values for the system stats if you hit this bug. It’s actually quite a reasonable thing to do whether or not you hit the bug given the way that gathering the stats can produce unsuitable figures anyway:  setting system stats. (I’ve also added their company blog to the links on the right, they have a number interesting items and post fairly regularly.)

Captain Support and the Laptop of Doom…

Friends of Captain Support’s nephews were having a problem with their laptop. They were unable to use a browser to access the internet. This was a job for Captain Support…

A quick twiddle on the machine revealed that FireFox just had proxy settings messed up, but IE was totally screwed. Captain Support suspected someone had tried and failed to install IE8 and the failure had left it in a dodgy state. After much messing around Captain Support came to the conclusion that they should either forget about IE, or reinstall the whole thing. They chose the reinstall option…

All went well until the last few Windows updates were being loaded. Captain Support shouted to number 1 nephew, “Is something burning in the Kitchen?” Whilst waiting for the reply he leaned forward and sniffed the laptop, which was giving off a heavy scent of “dusty Scalextric“. Next the screen started to go black from the bottom-right corner and the smell became stronger. With a slight air of panic, the laptop was switched off very quickly. Captain Support suggested the laptop should either be sent to the manufacture for repair, or binned…

Thus ends the tale of Captain Support and the Laptop of Doom…


Captain Support…

optimizer_secure_view_merging and VPD

At page 189 of TOP I wrote the following piece of text:

In summary, with the initialization parameter optimizer_secure_view_merging set to TRUE, the query optimizer checks whether view merging could lead to security issues. If this is the case, no view merging will be performed, and performance could be suboptimal as a result. For this reason, if you are not using views for security purposes, it is better to set this initialization parameter to FALSE.

What I didn’t consider when I wrote it, it is the implication of predicate move-around related to Virtual Private Database (VPD). In fact, as described in the documentation, that parameter controls view merging as well as predicate move-around.

Book Review: Oracle Database 11g Performance Tuning Recipes

September 10, 2011 Hammering a Square Peg into a Round Hole: Fine Edges are Lost, Gaps in Detail  (Forward to the Next Post in the Series) (Update September 14, 2011:  It is a bit unfair to this book that my review only covered the first six chapters and portions of chapter 7 – roughly the first [...]