OTN Nordic Tour 2013 – Stockholm

I didn’t sleep too well the night before the Stockholm event, so I woke up feeling extremely groggy. I think it was just the combination of excitement and adrenalin you get before starting a tour. I met Lonneke and Sten for breakfast, then headed on to the conference venue.

I watched Lonneke presenting on SOA for the first two sessions of the day. This is completely not my area of expertise, but I learnt a lot in these sessions. I now understand a lot of the buzzwords and a lot of the common pitfalls for the first time ever. I’ll never be a SOA guy, but it’s nice to know a little more, so that I can understand when people are leading me astray. You don’t have to know how to swim to recognise when someone is drowning. 🙂

After those two sessions, I presented three sessions in a row, including my first ever WebLogic presentation. Eeeccckkk! I made it very clear I was not an expert! The approach was, this is what I wished I had known in my first hour of learning WebLogic! I think it went well. I got some helpful feedback from Lonneke, which I’ve added to the presentation.

After my last presentation we went straight from the conference to the airport. There was a problem with the boarding scanners, so we had to be processed manually, which meant we were about an hour late in departing. That meant we were too late to have dinner with the Danish OUG folks, which was a pity. So it was straight from the airport to bed.

Thanks very much to everyone that came to my presentations in Sweden, to ORCAN for inviting me and to OTN and the Oracle ACE Program for letting me take part in the event. 🙂

Cheers

Tim…

OTN Nordic Tour 2013

I got up this morning in plenty of time to get to the airport to fly to Sweden to begin the OTN Nordic Tour 2013 tomorrow. I then proceeded to wait and wait and wait for the taxi. Eventually it did arrive, but now the rush hour traffic had started to build up, so time was ticking by and we were standing still for a very long time. I tweeted that I would probably miss my flight and I really believed I would.

After a considerable amount of time, with me trying to ignore the nervous glances of my driver, the traffic opened up, I got to the airport and check-in was empty, as was security. I got through in time to grab a drink on the way to boarding. Phew…

After all that excitement, the flights were pretty uneventful. I wasted most of the two 1 hour flights playing Plants vs Zombies or reading my Kindle. I spent most of the 2 hour layover at Copenhagen airport juggling my carry-on luggage. I think this is the first time I’ve just used carry-on and I find it pretty hard going wrestling two bags and coat. Far easy to just check everything but the laptop in…

I spent some time in the hotel bar with Sten Vesterli chatting about life, the universe and ADF 12c. 🙂 Don’t tell him, but I spent some of the time enviously admiring his goatee beard. If only my face would go through puberty so I could grow one like that. 🙁

It’s bed time now. Tomorrow I’ve got to check out of the hotel, do 3 talks at the Swedish Oracle User Group (ORCAN), then shoot off to Denmark… 🙂

Cheers

Tim…

Captain Support and the Windows 8.1 Upgrades

Being the adventurous type of guy he is, Captain Support decided to launch into Windows 8.1 upgrades on his Mom’s and sister-in-law’s laptops. They were identical machines, both running Windows 8 and configured the same. One was local and the other connected to over LogMeIn…

The first thing he noticed about the upgrade is the size of it, approximately 3G. The download and initial install can be done while you’re still using the machine, then comes the inevitable reboot where the real work is done…

The second standout point was the update forced him to him to switch from a local user to a Microsoft Live login. Both Captain Support’s Mom and sister-in-law both use Hotmail/Outlook.com, so this did not present an immediate issue, but it was annoying. Perhaps there is a way to avoid this, but it was not immediately appareent to Captain Support… You can still create local users after the update of course…

The third annoyance was that of the two machines, one upgraded fine and kept all it’s customizations. The other upgraded OK, but seemed to lose some of it’s customizations, including Classic Shell. He was not sure if this related to the LogMeIn access or not. Fortunately, there was not much repair needed.

So after a bit of messing about, Captain Support had two Windows 8.1 laptops, that looked and felt just like Windows 8.0. 🙂

Whilst using the beta version of Windows 8.1, Captain Support noticed that his Citrix login for work was broken. Once the laptop upgrades were complete Captain Support noticed a problem at work and tried out the Citrix client on the production version of Windows 8.1 and it worked fine, so he was able to log in and save the day, or at least the backups of a dev system…

In the airport today I noticed that IE 11 on Windows 8.1 is reported to break some websites, including a number of Google services. Good job nobody uses IE these days. When I get a chance to contact Captain Support I will tell him what I read, in case the has to fly in and rescue his Mom and sister-in-law…

If any drama ensues I’m sure Captain Support will tell me about it, so I can pass it on…

Cheers

Captain Support (reported by Tim…)

PS. I wish I could fly like Captain Support. Aeroplane travel sucks…

Oracle VirtualBox 4.3 Released

Oracle VirtualBox 4.3 has been released. The downloads and changelog are in the usual places.

There is a nice write-up about the new features here.

So do I upgrade just before the Nordic Tour, or be boring and play safe until after I get back? 🙂

Cheers

Tim…

PS. I decided to play it safe. I’ve updated by PC at work and at home, but I’m not going to upgrade my laptop until after I get back from the tour. 🙂

PPS. On Fedora you have to “rpm -e” the old version before installing the new one. It’s wouldn’t upgrade because of conflicts.

WebLogic 11g, Forms, ADF, Oracle Linux and VMware

Following on from my recent batch of “what I’m doing at the moment” style posts, I just thought I would mention some of the infrastructure I’ve been installing and configuring recently…

We are still part way through a migration from Oracle Application Server to WebLogic 11g. There are many applications to migrate and test, fortunately not by me, but they fit into two main categories.

Some of our high profile applications of each type are already running in production on WebLogic and the general feedback has been very positive. I guess most of this comes down to the hardware refresh. 🙂

There are still a few more apps to migrate, but everything is pretty close to the end of testing now, so hopefully it won’t be long before we can say a not-so-fond farewell to Oracle Application Server!

All of these WebLogic installations are running on top of Oracle Linux 6 inside VMware virtual machines. So far we’ve seen nothing untoward about this setup and I would have no reservations about recommending this approach to others.

If you have any questions/concerns about Oracle Linux, you might want to read my Oracle Linux : Frequently Asked Questions article. If you have any concerns about Oracle’s stance as far as VMware support goes, you might want to read this.

Cheers

Tim…

OTN Nordic Tour 2013

I’ll be representing the Oracle ACE Program as part of the OTN Nordic Tour this year. I’ve just booked my flights, so in a little over a week I’ll be starting the three date tour.

  • Oct 22nd : Stockholm, Sweden (ORCAN) – 3 Presentations
  • Oct 23rd : Copenhagen, Denmark (DOUG) – 2 Presentations
  • Oct 24th : Oslo, Norway (OUGN) – 2 Presentations

I put forward a few different papers each event picked different ones, so it looks like I could be presenting up to 6 distinct sessions over the tour. This next week is going to be very busy. I’ve got to put the finishing touches to one presentation, then rehearse all 6 a few times… 🙂

Cheers

Tim…

Online Move Datafile in Oracle 12c

The ability to move datafiles as an online operation is bloody awesome! It’s another one of those cool little things that you will wonder how you ever lived without. I can’t wait to move to 12c just for this feature. I could clean up so much crap so easily. Here’s a little write-up on it.

I’ve also amended this article to mention this new feature and link to the article.

Cheers

Tim…

Tomcat, Oracle Linux and VMware

Following from yesterday’s post about Cloud Control 12cR3, Oracle Linux and VMware, I thought I would just mention something I put live yesterday evening.

We have a 3rd party Java-based application that runs on Tomcat 7 and Java 7 that until recently was running on RHEL5 on physical hardware. It runs against an Oracle database, but that is not housed on this server. This application is not that big, but it is *very* high profile as it is what we use to process our REF submissions. If you know anything about higher education in the UK, you’ll know that REF is a very big deal, especially as we are within a couple of months of the next submission.

As I mentioned in February, like many of our systems, the resource utilization on the physical hardware was not optimal. We had this single Java app running on a server with 64G RAM and 12 cores, when it was probably using at most 6G and 2 cores. What’s more, there were two physical servers of this specification to provide manual failover, as the vendor does not support any form of clustering for automated failover.

What I did late yesterday was move this across to a VMware virtual machine running Oracle Linux 6. The benefits of this being:

  • We can allocate just the resources we need. The existing physical boxes will be plugged into the VMware cluster and their resources used for something more useful than sitting around doing nothing.
  • We can now use VMware’s HA functionality to provide automatic failover, giving us enough high availability for our needs.
  • Using Oracle Linux gives us a variety of support options, starting from $0 upward.

IMHO this is another classic no-brainer as far as choosing a virtualized environment over physical and gets me one step closer to my vision for our systems… 🙂

If you are considering moving stuff to VMware and/or Oracle Linux, you might like to read these posts.

Cheers

Tim..

 

Cloud Control 12cR3, Oracle Linux and VMware

I mentioned some time ago that I was pushing my current company to move much of their gear on to VMware, mostly because of poor resource utilization on many of the servers. That process is still under way.

One thing I wanted to mention specifically was our use of Cloud Control 12cR3. Up until recently, we were using physical kit for this. We had an 11.2 database on HP-UX, With HA provided by HP Service Guard. We had two management servers on physical kit running RHEL5 pointing at this Service Guard package to give us some resiliency in of the OMS. It worked, but it was over complicated and I was never really happy with it for a number of reasons:

  • HP-UX for the databases : I know some of you guys love it, but I don’t.
  • Two management servers : Seems like a waste of kit to me. We either have them on their own boxes and waste lots of resources, or have multiple installations on those boxes, which adds to complexity and management of the kit.
  • RHEL : Why pay for RHEL when we can use Oracle Linux and decide for ourselves if we want to pay for the extra features support gives us, or just use it for free?

So what are we running now? We have one VMware VM, running Oracle Linux 6. That has both the Oracle 11.2 database for the repository and the Cloud Control 12cR3 OMS running on it. We use VMware functionality for the HA of this system.

Why do I like this situation?

  • Cloud Control is a complicated beast and I am a big fan of KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid). Having everything on a single VM is about as simple as it gets.
  • If I am using Cloud Control in this way I pay nothing for the database repository. As soon as you start thinking about RAC or Data Guard to protect your repository you have to pay for Enterprise Edition licenses.
  • Using VMware HA functionality gives us good enough HA for our purposes. We can failover or live migrate between hosts in the data centre, or between data centres.
  • We can clone the whole installation in a few minutes and use that as a base for upgrades. If something goes wrong, we just flip back.

While I was at Oracle OpenWorld I discussed this a number of times and it seems it is a very common approach.

Another thing that came out of those discussions is many people still misunderstand what Oracle Linux is and the support status of Oracle Linux, and more specifically UEK, on VMware. Suffice to say, it’s all supported, as discussed in my Oracle Linux : Frequently Asked Questions article.

If you are struggling to decide how best to run Cloud Control in your organization, I would recommend using a virtual environment (Oracle VM or VMware) and run it on Oracle Linux 6.

Cheers

Tim…

Performance Reports in SQL Developer 4 EA2

SQL Developer 4 EA2 includes a performance node in the DBA tree.

sqldev-performance

 

You can use this to view ADDM, AWR and ASH reports directly from SQL Developer. I know I can get these from Cloud Control, but previously I tended to pull these out from the command line on the server. This is a much better approach IMHO.

I found out about this stuff at OOW2013, whilst talking to Jeff Smith and Barry McGillin in the demo grounds. I tweeted some pictures at the time, but figured it was worth a post for those that don’t do Twitter. 🙂

Cheers

Tim…

PS. Yes, it is only going to be of use to people connecting to Enterprise Edition databases with the Diagnostics & Tuning Pack.