Video : LAG and LEAD : Problem Solving using Analytic Functions

Today’s video gives a quick demo of the LAG and LEAD analytic functions.

There is more information about these and other analytic functions in the following articles.

The star of today’s video is Gwen (Chen) Shapira of Kafka fame!

Cheers

Tim…

Enterprise Manager Cloud Control 13.3 Vagrant Build

A little short of a year ago I knocked up a Vagrant build to prepare an environment for practising Cloud Control 13.3 installations and upgrades. This just automated the creation of the environment and installation of the database, ready for me to start playing around with the Cloud Control bit. At the time I released these articles.

I didn’t mention anything about the Vagrant build as it didn’t do much more than build the database, so it didn’t seem worth mentioning. It was just a convenience for me.

More recently someone pointed it out on Twitter and I made a note to myself to “finish it off” and make it do a full silent build, then kind-of forgot again.

A few days ago I had a self-induced problem with our Cloud Control server, and I realised I didn’t have the best plan of action for a complete rebuild scenario. I had backups, so I didn’t need to do a rebuild, but that doesn’t stop me wanting to be able to do it, so I did the following things…

I scripted a silent build of the work environment we use. I put together a general article to show how to do a silent build of a simple installation too. If you’re interested you can see it here.

I wrote some EMCLI scripts to do most of the tasks I needed for a complete rebuild. We already use EMCLI for some of the stuff, like jobs, but I filled in the gaps where I had been a bit lazy. Those are all checked into a company Git repo, and they are quite specific to what we need, but there are some basic EMCLI examples available here, if you are interested in getting into EMCLI.

Finally, I made my Vagrant build a fully automated Cloud Control 13.3 build on Oracle database 18c. According to the certification matrix, Oracle 19c is not yet certified for the repository database (but someone on Oracle-L said this certification is imminent). If you are interested in playing around with Vagrant, you can find it here. I’ve managed to get away with 6G of memory, but that makes it chronically slow. The more memory you can throw at it the better. πŸ™‚

I didn’t really expect to be revisiting this stuff a year down the line, but it was born out of necessity, or at least necessity for my peace of mind. πŸ™‚

Cheers

Tim…

Video : Ranking using RANK, DENSE_RANK and ROW_NUMBER : Problem Solving using Analytic Functions

Today’s video is a run through ranking data using the RANK, DENSE_RANK and ROW_NUMBER analytic functions.

There is more information about these and other analytic functions in the following articles.

The star of today’s video is Chris Saxon, who is one of the folks keeping the masses up to speed at AskTom.

Cheers

Tim…

Technology : You have to keep working just to stand still!

This is a topic of conversation that has come up a lot recently, both at work and whilst updating the computers for family members, so I thought I would write something down.

I don’t think people realise how much work it takes to stand still in the technology world.

When we think about the pieces that make up your typical on-prem web application running on virtual machines, what does standing still mean? To me it means the following.

  • Database : A regular patching cycle for the database and the operating system it sits on. Also, upgrades/rebuilds as required.
  • Application Server : See database.
  • Web Layer : See database.
  • Load Balancer : Regular patching of the appliance, and replacements/upgrades as required.

Now multiply all that up for all the projects you are working on. That represents a substantial amount of work, whether you call is Business As Usual (BAU) or Internal Projects. What’s worse, there is no “visible benefit” from this work. Most users won’t have a clue it is happening, as they won’t get a new screen or a new widget to play with. It’s pretty much invisible, but it has to happen, just to remain static.

At this point I can hear people saying, “But standing still is literally doing nothing, so what are you talking about?” Well, if today I have a fully patched system using supported versions of all software, to stand still I have to remain on a fully patched system using supported versions of all software. If that means upgrades or rebuilds of kit, so be it.

Remember, if I do nothing at all, I’m no longer standing still, I’m moving backwards!

Think about that for a second. To stand still I’ve got to learn all the new stuff so I can upgrade to 19c and get long term support for my databases, even if I didn’t want to. Same goes for other products. Even if I use none of the new features. There is a big investment needed by a company, and for you personally, just to stand still. Now breaking new ground, well that’s a whole different ball game… πŸ™‚

So what are the solutions:

  • It helps if you recognise the problem in the first place. Far too many people think doing nothing is standing still, when it’s not.
  • Automation will help you stay on top of things. Reliable and repeatable processes make keeping things up to date a lot simpler. Automated testing is the icing on the cake here.
  • Cloud? Platform as a Service (PaaS), when it is done right, can help you keep on top of things. Having a service where you don’t have to worry about OS, DB and app server patches, because it’s all handled by the platform is a big bonus.

Cheers

Tim…

Some related posts:

Dbvisit Standby 9 Installation on Linux (and Vagrant)

The folks at Dbvisit recently released version 9 of their Dbvisit standby product.

It’s been a while since I last played with the product, so I downloaded the free trial and gave it a whirl.

I have to admit I forgot just how easy it is to work with. It feels pretty much like “unzip and go”. The result of my playtime was this article.

I also knocked up a Vagrant build, so I can easily recreate it. You can find that here.

I stuck to a basic configuration of a single instance primary (node1) and standby (node2), with the console on a separate VM (console). If you want to try something more exotic, or you are using Windows, you can get more information from the Installing Dbvisit Standby documentation.

Cheers

Tim…

PS. This isn’t a sponsored post. I’ve known the folks at Dbvisit for years so I keep an eye on what they are doing.

Video : Multitenant : PDB Snapshot Carousel in Oracle Database 18c Onward

In today’s video we take a look at the PDB Snapshot Carousel feature, introduced in Oracle 18c.

I also have a Multitenant YouTube playlist.

There’s a lot more information about this feature and other multitenant functionality in these articles.

The star of today’s video is Nassyam Basha. πŸ™‚

Cheers

Tim…

Video : Multitenant : Proxy PDB in Oracle Database 12.2 Onward

In today’s video we demonstrate the Proxy PDB feature, introduced in Oracle database 12.2.

I also have a Multitenant YouTube playlist.

There’s a lot more information about this feature and other multitenant functionality in these articles.

The star of this video is Anton Els of Dbvisit fame. I recorded this video last week and picked Anton for the “.com”, then they go and release Dbvisit Standby 9. Coincidence or conspiracy? πŸ™‚

Cheers

Tim…

PS. Mike, I’ve downloaded version 9 and I’m going to give it a run through… πŸ™‚

Email Problems : A Quick Update…

I just wanted to write a quick post about an email problem I’ve discovered recently.

My website runs on AWS, but emails to my normal email address get directed by DNS to a mailbox hosted by another company. I use Gmail as my mail client, so it picks up the posts from that mailbox. Emails that are sent directly work fine, but I recently noticed those sent from my web server were failing. There are several parts of the site that send emails so I know what is going on and can respond. None of those have been working for some time. That issue is now fixed.

Some of the things that generate these emails (like comments) get picked up in my daily/weekly workflow, so I didn’t really notice a dramatic change, but some only get to me via these emails from the site, so they were hidden in the mail queue of doom.

By the time I had discovered the problem I had several thousand emails sitting in the queue. I started to work through them, but realised it was too big a job. I picked a random sample of mails and could see there were a mixture of topics including questions, messages of support and offers I simply could not refuse. πŸ™‚ I decided the only way to move forward was to delete the lot. It would have taken me weeks to get through the backlog.

So in this post I would just like to say a few things.

  • To those people that wrote to send their support for what I do on the site, thank you very much, and I’m sorry I’ve not been able to respond personally. I normally reply to these messages with a quick thank you, so I hope you don’t think I’m an arrogant prick and just ignoring you.
  • To the people who sent questions, I’m sorry your question was never answered. Please remember, I have a full time job and I do this for fun in my spare time. There is one of me, and literally thousands of you. I closed my forum because the workload was too big to cope with. If I have to choose between spending time producing new content, or answering your questions, I’m going to pick producing new content. Sorry. πŸ™‚
  • To those people offering me business opportunities. No.
  • To those people offering me various services of a questionable nature. No.

I hope there was nothing super important. Once again, sorry!

Cheers

Tim…

PS. Before you ask, I am going to check my mail queue from time to time in future, just in case something like this happens again… πŸ™‚

Cloud : Who are the gatekeepers now?

There’s something you might consider sinister lurking in the cloud, and it might cause a big disruption in who are considered the gatekeepers of your company’s services. I’ve mentioned governance in passing before, but maybe it’s time for me to do some thinking out loud to get this straight in my own head.

In the on-prem world the IT departments tend to be the gatekeepers, because they are responsible for provisioning, developing and maintaining the systems. If you want some new infrastructure or a new application, you have to go and ask IT, so it’s pretty easy for them to keep a handle on what is going on and stay in control.

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)

The initial move to the cloud didn’t really change this. Most people who proudly proclaimed they had moved to the cloud were using Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), and were really just using the cloud provider as a basic hosting company. I’ve never really considered this cloud. Yes, you get some flexibility in resource allocation, but it’s pretty much what we’ve always done with hosting companies. It’s just “other people’s servers”. As far as IaaS goes, the gatekeepers are still the same, because you need all/most of the same skills to plan, setup and maintain such systems.

Platform as a Service (PaaS)

When we start talking about Platform as a Service (PaaS), things start to get a little bit trickier. The early days of PaaS weren’t a great deal different to IaaS, as some of the PaaS services weren’t what I would call platforms. They were glorified IaaS, with pre-installed software you had to manage yourself. With the emergence of proper platforms, which automate much of the day-to-day drudgery, things started to shift. A developer could request a database without having to speak to the DBAs, sysadmins, virtualisation and network folks. You can of course question the logic of that, but it’s an option and there is the beginning of a power shift.

When we start talking about IoT and Serverless platforms things change big-time. The chances are the gatekeeper will be the budget holder, since you will be charged on a per request basis, and probably have to set a maximum spend per unit time to keep things under control. Depending on how your company manages departmental budgets, the gatekeeper could be whoever has some spare cash this quarter…

Software as a Service (SaaS)

Software as a Service (SaaS) possibly presents the biggest challenge for traditional on-prem IT departments, as the business can literally go out and pick the product they want, without so much of a thought for what IT think about it. Once they’ve spent the money, they will probably come to IT and expect them to magic up all the data integrations to make things work as expected. Also, once that money has been spent, good luck trying to persuade people they backed the wrong horse. SaaS puts the business users directly in the driving seat.

Conclusion

It would be naive to think any movement to the cloud (IaaS, PaaS or SaaS) could be done independently of an existing IT department, but the tide is turning.

The IT world has changed. The traditional power bases are eroding, and you’ve got to adapt to survive. Every time you say “No”, without offering an alternative solution, you’re helping to make yourself redundant. Every time you say, “We will need to investigate it”, as a delaying tactic, you’re helping to make yourself redundant. Every time you ignore new development and delivery pipelines and platforms, you are sending yourself to an early retirement. I’m not saying jump on every bandwagon, but you need to be aware of them, and why they may or may not be useful to you and your company.

Recently I heard someone utter the phrase, “you’re not the only hotel in town”. I love that, and it should be a wake-up call for any traditional IT departments and clouds deniers.

It’s natural selection baby! Adapt or die!

Cheers

Tim…

Video : Multitenant : Refreshable PDB Switchover in Oracle Database 18c Onward

Today’s video is a run through the Refreshable PDB Switchover feature introduced in Oracle 18c.

I also have a Multitenant YouTube playlist.

If you prefer reading over watching a video, you can find all the information and more here.

The star of today’s video is Kamran Agayev A. When he’s not working with Oracle technology and helping people to pass their OCM exam, he’s choking people out at Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. πŸ™‚

Cheers

Tim…