Oracle 19c Released : How does that make you feel?

Back in 2017 I wrote a post about the move to the yearly release cycle for Oracle software. It’s over 18 months since that post and we’ve had 18c and now 19c released (on LiveSQL), so I thought I would reflect on some of the pros and cons I mentioned in that original post. If you want to know what I originally said about these points, go back to the original post.

Pros

  • Quicker release of features : It’s becoming clear to me that some of the 18c features were actually 12cR2 features that didn’t make it into the documentation, even though they were present in the product. I’m not sure if these were present in the initial release of 12.2.0.1, or got introduced in the proactive bundle patches later. I have no problem with this, but it feels like the documentation is not keeping up with the new features added in the release updates. Where 18c is concerned we’ve had 18.1, 18.2, 18.3, 18.4 and now 18.5, but I don’t see a change in the documentation. Now a drop of the documentation once a year that includes the latest changes is better than the once every 4 years, but it still feels odd that we’re getting new functionality added, but no way to see that except for scouring MOS notes. I wonder if this situation will continue in 19c release.
  • Predictable release cycles : Yes. Nice.
  • Stability : This was originally one of my cons, but I’m going to move it to the pros section. I was worried the quicker release cycle might lead to a lack of stability, rather than the improved stability. I don’t know how other people feel, but 12.2 and 18c have been pretty good for me. I try and apply the proactive bundle patches (BP), now Release Updates (RUs), so I’m going all-in and things have been good. We are a “middle of the bell curve” company, so I probably won’t experience some of the edge cases you might, but that’s what I feel about it. I hope 19c continues this trend, as I see it.

Cons

  • Upgrade/Patch burnout : I’m currently upgrading some databases to 18c, but part of me is thinking, “What’s the point?” Let’s say the on-prem 19c drops in April, and we will wait for the first RU after that which might be July. I’m potentially only 6 months from having a viable 19c upgrade path, which is after all the Long Term Support (LTS) release. Should I bother with 18c now? I can understand if some people say no. I’m still going to move forward, as this solves some other issues for me, including the conversion to Multitenant of some 11.2 instances, which will make future upgrades easier. Having said that, mentally it is a downer and I can feel an element of this burnout I predicted.
  • Product Support/Certification : Yep. As predicted, many companies don’t seem to recognise that 18c even exists, let alone support their products on it. If I were charitable I would say they are waiting for 19c as it’s a LTS release, but in reality they are still struggling to check that 12.2 PDBs work for their products. I hope vendors get their act together to provide support for these new versions more quickly. That includes Oracle too.

Unsure

  • Learning : This still concerns me. I got access to 18c straight away on Oracle Cloud and LiveSQL, so really I’ve had nearly a year of 18c. For those people that first experienced it after the on-prem release, they’ve had about 6 months experience and the 19c hype train has started. Now it will still be a year from one on-prem release to the next, but it just kind-of feels like it’s only a 6 month release, if you know what I mean. I’m currently still writing about 18c features, but part of me is thinking, “What’s the point?” My mind is looking forward to 19c. As we move forward I realise each release will be smaller, so working through the new features will not be so heavy, but I’m still worried people (and I really mean me) will disconnect.
  • Certification : I just checked today and they are still pushing the 12cR2 certification. Now this is still relevant, as 18c and 19c are effectively 12.2.0.2 and 12.2.0.3 respectively, but it just sounds bad. Hey, 19c has just been released and I’m working for the 12cR2 certification? I get the distinct feeling certification is dead to me now. Let’s see what Oracle Education do with this. Maybe I’ll change my mind.

Of course, it’s still early days so we will see how the cookie crumbles over the coming releases. I suspect I may be forced to cherry-pick a little.

Cheers

Tim…

PS. A Twitter comment from Frits Hoogland made me feel I should add something. If you are happy with what you have and don’t feel the need to upgrade often, that’s cool. Constantly chasing an upgrade can be problematic because of the instabilities it can cause. The new release cycle is allegedly meant to reduce that by drip-feeding change in smaller, manageable chunks…

Although a DBA may like some of the new features, they affect comparatively few people in the company. I feel development new features are a bigger draw for getting people to buy into the upgrade cycle. Just this week a project started on an existing 11.2 instance, but involved a bunch of JSON functionality, so it was moved across to an 18c instance. The developers only know this functionality is in 12.2 and 18c because I’ve actively promoted it. If I had not done this, they would have stuck with 11.2 and wasted a bunch of time manually coding stuff.

I’m a fan of keeping up with the latest versions, both personally and in the companies I work. In my experience avoiding upgrades and patches tends to cause more problems than keeping relatively up to date. Just my opinion though…

VirtualBox 6.0.2

VirtualBox 6.0.2 has been released.

The downloads and changelog are in the usual places.

Iโ€™ve installed it on my Windows 10 laptop at work, which I use with Vagrant for testing of Oracle, WebLogic, Tomcat server builds, as well as Docker builds. Iโ€™ll do my personal Windows 10 laptop, old MBP and OL7 server when I get home.

Update: I’ve done an install on my Windows 10 laptop, MackBook Pro running macOS Mojave and a server running Oracle Linux 7. The installations of VirtualBox 6.0.2 on all hosts worked fine. I rebuilt a bunch of VMs using Vagrant 2.2.3 and everything looks good.

Cheers

Timโ€ฆ

My GitHub, Vagrant and Docker Updates

I thought I would post an update about some of the things I’ve been doing that don’t necessarily fall exactly in line with my normal website content. All of it can be found on my GitHub.

Vagrant

Once the ‘bento/fedora-29’ box was released I created a Oracle 18c on Fedora 29 build. If you are interested in that sort of thing you can find it here.

A few of the other Vagrant builds have been updated to use the ‘bento/oracle-7.6’ box. I’ve run through them all and they seem to be fine.

As part of a recent question, I ran my RAC builds on Windows 10, Oracle Linux 7.6 and macOS Majave hosts. They all worked fine, with no drama. I also tried them with less memory than before, as my MBP only has 16G of memory. It worked fine. I updated some of the “README.md” files to reflect these tests, and the option to use less memory.

I’ll be doing some stuff with Data Guard soon, so I will probably update those builds to use the latest ‘bento/oracle-7.6’ box and maybe neaten up anything that annoys me along the way. ๐Ÿ™‚

All the Vagrant-related stuff can be found in this GitHub repository.

I’ve always assumed Vagrant was so simple it didn’t really require much in the way of explanation, but I was discussing it with someone from work, and figured it was worth a short post to explain a few things, just to save me having to repeat myself, so here it is.

Docker

I’ve done a few random things on Docker recently. Nothing particularly earth-shattering, but maybe worth a mention.

At UKOUG last year (a month ago ๐Ÿ™‚ ) I was speaking to Roel Hartman about some stuff he mentioned in his Docker session. As a result of that I had a play with Portainer and Docker Swarm. I know Kubernetes has won the container orchestration war, but Swarm is so simple and does most of what I need.

I also needed to make some changes to my DB and ORDS Docker images to make using host directories as persistent volumes a little easier. I wrote these up as some short posts.

All the Docker-related stuff can be found in this GitHub repository.

As always, I feel the need to mention I’m not an expert in this stuff, and I don’t consider any of is “production ready”. It’s just stuff I’m playing with to learn the tech. If you find it useful, great. If not, that’s OK too. ๐Ÿ™‚

Cheers

Tim…

UKOUG Tech18 : Day 3

The first session of the day for me was Alex Nuijten with “and from the chaos comes the perfect APEX application”. This session was focused on the organisation and structure of APEX applications. You could describe it as #SmartDB or #HardShell I guess. The emphasis was on a functional API layer, with APEX used as a skin over that API layer. I share this opinion, but Alex takes it further than me, and in a more structured manner. He was having some problems with the screen blinking, but he’s a pro and took it in his stride. ๐Ÿ™‚

Next up was Amy Simpson-Grange with “Robotic Process Automation”. This was Amy’s first technical presentation, but you would never know it. There were some problems with the screen at the start of the session, and I’m sure she was freaking out inside, but she shrugged it off and did a great job switching between laptops. I’ve not really been involved in this type of automation before, so it was a learning experience for me, with a few light-bulb moments along the way. The content was great and the delivery was so relaxed and natural. I really hope she keeps on doing tech conferences in future!

After that I followed some of the analytic folks into a session by Abi Giles-Haigh called, “Open Source & Oracle Complementing not Competing”, which was focused on the AI, Machine Learning and Deep Learning space. I freely admit to being clueless about this area, and Brendan seemed surprised to see me there. ๐Ÿ™‚ I was kind-of expecting to be totally lost, but Abi did a good job of making it noob-friendly for me, as well as giving the pros something to bicker over. ๐Ÿ™‚

Continuing the theme of watching stuff I knew nothing about, I went to Lonneke Dikmans presenting an “Introduction to Blockchain for Developers”. Over the years I’ve gained my first insights into the worlds of SOA, microservices and then serverless from Lonneke, and here I am learning about blockchain at one of her sessions. I wonder what next year will bring. ๐Ÿ™‚

Next up in the same room was Roel Hartman with “Docker for Database Developers”. I’ve seen a number of Docker presentations for DBAs and developers, including my own, and they all bring something different to the table that make you think. I guess so much depends on your area of interest and the use cases you have in mind, as that will direct your attention. A hardcore DBA will see things differently to a developer, and a generalist like me will probably sit somewhere between the two. ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s good to see things from a few angles, as it gives you a more rounded perspective.

From there I tagged along with Dawn and met up with a few folks at a local hotel bar for a quick drink before heading off to get the train home.ย I got a table on the train, but disappointingly there was no wifi, so I had to write this blog post in a text editor, to post later. ๐Ÿ™‚

Me looking pretty in Machu Picchu, Peru, wearing a Chile hat. Photo taken by Debra Lilley a few minutes before I was hospitalised. ๐Ÿ™‚

So that’s the last conference of the year for me! Thanks to everyone at UKOUG for making the event happen and inviting me to speak. Thanks to the attendees and speakers who came along and made the event what it is. Thanks also to all last year’s attendees who filled in the speaker evaluations, that resulted in me getting the “Prettiest Speaker Ever” award this year! To this year’s attendees, please fill out the evaluations. It gives UKOUG feedback that helps with speaker selection in future, and it’s a nice pat on the back for the speakers if they get a prize. Finally, thanks to the Oracle ACE Program and the Oracle Groundbreaker Ambassadors for letting me continue to fly the flag.

Cheers

Tim…

PS. Previous posts in this series.

UKOUG Tech18 : Day 2

Day 2 started at 07:00. I hadn’t slept that great, so when the alarm went off I was thinking it would have been nice to stay in bed a little longer…

I got to the conference venue at about 08:00 and went straight to the “Women in IT – What has Changed?” session. Debra Lilley introduced the session and the speakers, then it was on to Daya Haines Haddockย and Amy Simpson-Grange telling their stories and speaking about their experiences and inspiration. Both were super-positive people and really inspirational. It was great to hear Amy is involved at the grass roots level at schools and colleges, spreading positive messages, letting people know they can be themselves and still succeed. The overriding message of the session was “Be brave. Be yourself. Take on challenges!” A good lesson for everyone.

I kind-of got lost for a while, chatting and catching up on the blog.

The next session I went to see was “Identifying Performance Problems in a Multitenant Environment” by Christian Antognini. It’s good to hear his thoughts on his approach and he pointed out a couple of things I had missed in the docs, so I’ve got them on my list to check out. ๐Ÿ™‚

Pretty soon it was time for my session called DBA Does Docker. It’s a real struggle to get this done in 45 minutes and I failed again. ๐Ÿ™‚ Nobody was following on from me, so I didn’t ruin the next speakers life. I hope people found it useful.

I spent some time chatting to Pete Finniganย about life, the universe and everything. That was followed by his session calledย “User Rights & Least Privilege”. I would like to say my systems don’t suffer from loads of the stuff he mentioned, but… It’s always good to go to Pete’s sessions and remind myself I need to try harder…

After that it was Jeff Smith with “Oracle SQL Developer – Everything you Need to know About Tuning”. Not surprisingly, this was a tour of the features available in SQL Developer that relate to performance tuning. There’s a lot in there these days! ๐Ÿ™‚

After Jeff’s session I bumped intoย Amy Simpson-Grangeย and had a total fanboy moment over her talk in the morning.

I went to my hotel to drop off my bag, then went back to the venue for the social event. Carbs! I chatted to a bunch of people, who kind-of provided counselling for me. Thanks folks! Then it was back to the hotel to crash.

Cheers

Tim…

UKOUG Tech18 : Day 1

Day 1 started at 05:00. Normally I start trips with a 30 minute taxi ride to the airport, leaving about 2.5 hours before the flight. Today I left the house 30 minutes before my train was due to depart. Not needing that 2 hour buffer makes a big difference.

I had upgraded to first class, a whopping ยฃ10 extra, to get a set with a table and wifi. The wifi was a little slow and it restricted a whole bunch of sites, but I was still able to do some stuff. I got an Uber from the station to the venue. The driver was playing The Prodigy and Nirvana. Awesome.

On exiting the taxi I tweaked my back. I tried to put my coat into my case and noticed it was locked, and I couldn’t remember the combination. What a surprise. I’m at a conference and things are going wrong… ๐Ÿ™‚

The first session of the day for me was “Using Vagrant to Build, Test & Debug Ansible Scripts Easily” byย Martin Bach. Followers of the blog know I’m a meddler with Vagrant and I’m an Ansible wannabe.ย  Martin was extolling the virtues of reliable and repeatable builds, which I’m all for. ๐Ÿ™‚

Next up was the keynote, which started with Martin Widlake doing the introduction to the event, and announcing the speaker awards based on last years evaluations.

Big shout out to all the winners in all the categories.

This year I picked up my third UKOUG speaker award, which means you are given the “Lifetime Achievement Award” and you are not included in “the race” in future years. I join an illustrious list of people who’ve been told to “get out and don’t come back!” ๐Ÿ™‚

Later on I had to pick up my award and get a photo opportunity. Thanks to everyone who filled in the speaker evaluations last year. It always surprises me when this type of thing happens, especially when I think how far I’ve come over the last 10 years of presenting. I still consider myself a “nervous speaker” and I watch other people present and think I’ve still got a lot to learn about presenting.

Next up was theย “Exadata – Roundtable Discussion with Development” hosted byย Gurmeet Goindi. I don’t work on Exadata, but I like to keep my ear to the ground, and get invited to a meetup later of course. ๐Ÿ™‚

After that I got lost in a whole bunch of conversations with a variety of people. I could lose a day doing this.

The next session I went to was “How Autonomous is the Oracle Autonomous Data Warehouse?” byย Christian Antogniniย and Dani Schnider. I have to admit I was a little distracted during this talk because I was logged into work looking at some stuff. I spoke to Christian later to fill in the gaps a little.

From there I went to a panel session about the ACE program. Unfortunately it had been put in the wrong track, in a room the other side of the building, and up against a load of really good speakers who were going to soak up the audience (Maria). The audience was compact and bijou. ๐Ÿ™‚

From there I went back to the hotel to drop off my stuff, then it was off for a brief visit to the Exadata meetup, followed by the ACE dinner.

Looking back it was a really random day, but I got to speak to a lot of people, which is the best thing about conferences for me. ๐Ÿ™‚

Cheers

Tim…

UKOUG Tech18 : See you there!

Next week is UKOUG Tech 18. It’s going to be an unusual event for me for a couple of reasons.

First up, I’m going to be in Liverpool from Mon-Wed. I can’t go on Sunday as it’s nephew #1’s birthday, but this is the first time I will be at the event for this long. Depending on who else from the company goes, I might have to work (from the hotel) on one of the days, but…

Next, it’s a pretty quiet conference for me, as I only submitted one presentation, but I’ve just been invited to a panel, so I can pretend I’ve got two sessions. ๐Ÿ™‚

Title : Understanding the ACE Program & itโ€™s Value
Time & Placeย : Room 20-21, Monday 3rd December 5:10 PM – 5:55 PM
Abstract :
Have you ever wondered what the ACE Program is about? What does it mean to those who are part of it and what is it’s value to Oracle? Have you wondered about being part of it? Come along to this session and we will answer your questions.

Title : DBA Does Docker
Time & Placeย : Database 2 – 1C, Tuesday 4th December 2:25 PM – 3:10 PM
Abstract : here

This will be my last event for the year, so I’m hoping it goes OK. ๐Ÿ™‚

Cheers

Tim…

Bulgarian Oracle User Group (BGOUG) 2018 : The Journey Home

It was a 03:00 start, which is never a good thing. I got down to reception to meet my fellow travellers and we started on our trip to the airport. As we walked out of the hotel we were greeted by a lite scattering of snow. It was clearly visible on some of the mountains the day before, but it was quite a surprise to see it here, especially as I left my balcony door open for the whole of my stay…

The drive to the airport was quick, as there was very little traffic. The baggage drop and check-in queue for Lufthansa was pretty large, but fortunately I had checked in online and I was hang-luggage only, so I walked straight to, and through, security. That left me with over an hour before the flight.

The flight from Sofia to Frankfurt was pretty easy. I had an empty seat next to me, so I got the laptop out and started to write two presentations I’ve got to give at work.

I was expecting the layover in Frankfurt to be about 70 minutes, but it turned out is was nearly 5 hours, because I didn’t read the itinerary properly, so I logged into work and cleared down all the crap that collected during the two days I was away.

The flight from Frankfurt to Birmingham was about and hour and went pretty smoothly. Once again I had an empty seat next to me, so happy days!

Getting through security was pretty quick, then I was in the bounciest taxi ride ever to get home, and that is was my last international conference of the year complete.

As followers of the blog will know, this year has been problematic for me from a conference perspective. It’s especially disappointing when my travelling curse hits my favourite conference of the year.

Thanks to everyone from BGOUG for letting me come for the 8th time. Thanks to the people who came to my sessions. The turnout was great, and it certainly lifted my spirits! Sorry I wasn’t able to get more involved on the first day, but at least everything went well on the second day. See you again soon!

Cheers

Tim…

PS. Here are the other posts from this trip.

 

Bulgarian Oracle User Group (BGOUG) 2018 : Day 2

I woke up feeling a little dodgy, but much better than the day before. I even got down to breakfast.

The first session of the day for me was “Oracle Database infrastructure as code with Ansible” by Ilmar Kerm. I’m pretty early on in my Ansible journey, so it’s good to see what other people are doing with it.ย I had a long conversation with Ilmar after the session, and was joined by Oren Nakdimon, which meant we missed the next block of talks.

Next up I went to see “So, my query plan says ‘Table Access Full’ – what happens next?” by Roger Macnicol. There was some stuff I knew, some stuff I’d written about and forgotten, and some stuff I will pretend I always knew, even though secretly I didn’t. ๐Ÿ™‚

After lunch I went to see “Upgrade to Oracle Database 18c: Live and Uncensored!” byย  Roy Swonger. In addition to speaking about the options to upgrade to 18c, he also covered some 19c stuff, and did a live demo of upgrading from 11.2 to 18.3. Funnily enough, this is exactly what I’ll be doing on Monday for one of my systems. ๐Ÿ™‚ย I spent the whole of the next block speaking to Roy about a bunch of different things, including upgrades of course. ๐Ÿ™‚

From there I went to see “Oracle Exadata – Laying the foundation for Autonomous Database” by Gurmeet Goindi, which was a run through of Exadata and In-Memory features, amongst other things, and how they have been used as a platform for the autonomous database cloud service to be built on.

From there it was on to a panel session where we were discussing our opinions on Autonomous Systems. I think this was a funny session, and I feel like I was doing a sales pitch for autonomous databases at some point. ๐Ÿ™‚ I think the word autonomous is a big sticking point in the heads of some of the audience. I don’t really care what it is called. I care more about what it can do.

From there we went to get some food, but I has to duck out quite early because tomorrow is a 03:00 start again for me. Fingers crossed.

Thanks for all the folks at BGOUG for inviting me again. This was my 8th visit to the conference. I wish I hadn’t been unwell at the start, but it was good that I managed to get involved today!

See you all again soon!

Cheers

Tim…

Bulgarian Oracle User Group (BGOUG) 2018 : Day 1

I got out of bed at about 11:00 feeling dreadful. Just before 12:00 I headed down to do my first talk at 12:30. The projector really didn’t like my laptop, so I had to present from Krasimir Kovachki‘s laptop, which meant no live demos. The presentation loses a lot without the demos, but I think it went OK considering.

I took some paracetamol, then grabbed some food and went outside to eat it in the cool air. Pretty much as soon as I moved inside I felt hot and bad again. I went to my room, puked and then it was time for my second presentation.

The second session was all demos, so I was rather worried about the projector situation. It was in a different room and luckily the projector played ball, so I was able to do the session I was expecting to do. I think the combination of adrenalin and paracetamol worked quite well, as apart from feeling a little giddy, I was OK.

Pretty soon after my second session ended, the adrenalin subsided and I felt terrible again, so I went back to my room.

The evening after the first day of the conference is the appreciation event. There’s usually good food, drinks, entertainment and an opportunity for me to join in with some Bulgarian dancing. I didn’t make it out of my room. ๐Ÿ™

Sorry for being so rubbish! Fingers crossed I will feel better for day 2 and actually be able to get involved in the conference properly.

Cheers

Tim…