VirtualBox 5.0

virtualboxOracle VirtualBox 5.0 has been released. You can see the Oracle Virtualization Blog announcement here, which includes a link to the official announcement.

Downloads and changelog in the normal places.

I’m downloading… Now!

Cheers

Tim…

Update: Up and running on my Windows 7 PC at work. Will have to wait until tonight to do it on the Mac and Linux boxes at home… :)

Update 2: Running fine on Mac too. :)

Oracle Midlands : Event #10 Summary

oracle-midlands Last night was Oracle Midlands Event #10 with Jonathan Lewis.

The first session was on “Five Hints for Optimizing SQL”. The emphasis was very much on “shaping the query plan” to help the optimizer make the right decisions, not trying to determine every single join and access structure etc.

In the past I’ve seen Jonathan do sessions on hints, which made me realise how badly I was using them. As a result of that I found myself a little scared by them and gravitating to this “shaping” approach, but my version was not anywhere near as well thought out and reasoned as Jonathan’s approach. It’s kind-of nice to see I was on the right path, even if my approach was the mildly pathetic, infantile version of it. :)

red-stack-tech-swagThe break consisted of food, chatting and loads of prizes. It’s worth coming even if you don’t want to see the sessions, just to get a chance of winning some swag. :) Everyone also got to take home a Red Stack Tech mug, stress bulb and some sweets as well.

The second session was on “Creating Test Data to Model Production”. I sat there smugly thinking I knew what was coming, only to realise I had only considered a fraction of the issues. I think “eye opening” would be the phrase I would use for this one. Lots of lessons learned!

I must say, after nearly 20 years (19 years and 11 months) in the game, it’s rather disconcerting to feel like such a newbie. It seems to be happening quite a lot recently. :)

redstacktechSo that was another great event! Many thanks to Jonathan for taking the time to come and speak to us. Hopefully we’ll get another visit next year? Well done to Mike for keeping this train rolling. Wonderful job! Thanks to all the sponsors of the prize draw and of course, thanks to Red Stack Tech for their support, allowing the event to remain free! Big thanks to all the members of the Oracle Midlands family that came out to support the event. Without your asses on seats it wouldn’t happen!

The next event will be on the 1st September with Christian Antognini, so put it in your diary!

Cheers

Tim…

Upgrade Cloud Control 12cR4 to 12cR5

em-12cA couple of weeks ago I wrote a post about doing a Cloud Control 12cR5 installation and said I would be testing the upgrade from 12cR4. I’ve now done that.

The upgrade documentation is quite extensive and the prerequisites are going to be different depending on the database and cloud control versions you are starting with, so this is no way a “recommended” way to do the upgrade. Each one will need to be approached on a case-by-case basis. It’s just meant to give a flavour of what you have to do.

Suffice to say, it worked fine for me. :)

Cheers

Tim…

LATERAL Inline Views, CROSS APPLY and OUTER APPLY Joins in 12c

love-sqlI was looking for something in the New Features Manual and I had a total WTF moment when I saw this stuff.

If you look at the final section of the article, you can see in some cases these just get transformed to regular joins and outer joins, but there is certainly something else under the hood, as shown by the pipelined table function example.

I think it’s going to take me a long time before I think of using these in my regular SQL…

Cheers

Tim…

Update: The optimizer has used LATERAL inline views during some query transformations for some time, but they were not documented and therefore not supported for us to use directly until now. Thanks to Dominic Brooks and Sayan Malakshinov for the clarification.

Auditing Enhancements (Audit Policies and Unified Audit Trail) in Oracle Database 12c

security_image1_smallA little over a year ago I was at the BGOUG Spring Conference and I watched a session by Maja Veselica about auditing in Oracle Database 12c. At the time I noted that I really needed to take a look at this new functionality, as is was quite different to what had come before. Fast forward a year and I’ve finally got around to doing just that. :)

I’ve tried to keep the article quite light and fluffy. The Oracle documentation on this subject is really pretty good, so you should definitely invest some time reading it, but if you need a quick overview to get you started, my article might help. :)

My 12c learning experience continues…

Cheers

Tim…

Native Network Encryption and SSL/TLS are not part of the Advanced Security Option

security_image1_smallI had a little surprise the other day. I was asked to set up a SSL/TLS connection to a database and I refused, saying it would break our license agreement as we don’t have the Advanced Security Option. I opened the 11gR2 licensing manual to include a link in my email response and found this.

“Network encryption (native network encryption and SSL/TLS) and strong authentication services (Kerberos, PKI, and RADIUS) are no longer part of Oracle Advanced Security and are available in all licensed editions of all supported releases of the Oracle database.”

I checked the 11gR1, and 10gR2 docs also. Sure enough, it was removed from the Advanced Security Option from 10gR2 onward (check out update below). Check out the 10g licensing doc here, specifically the last paragraph in that linked section.

The documentation on this configuration is split among a number of manuals, most of which still say it is part of the Advanced Security Option. That made me a little nervous, so I raised an SR with Oracle to confirm the licensing situation and file bug reports against the docs to correct the inconsistency. Their response was it is definitely free and the docs are being amended to bring them in line with the licensing manual. Happy days! :)

Lessons learned here are:

  • Skim through the licensing manual for every new release to see what bits are now free.
  • Don’t trust the technical docs for licensing information. Always cross check with the licensing manual and assume that’s got the correct information. If in doubt, raise an SR to check.

As far as the configuration is concerned, I had never written about this functionality before, so I thought I should do backfill articles on it.

The documentation for TCP/IP with SSL/TCP is rather convoluted, so you could be forgiven for thinking it was rocket science. Actually, it’s pretty simple to set up. It was only after I finished doing it I found a reference to the following MOS note.

It would have saved me a lot of bloody time if the documentation included this. I would never have bothered to write the article in the first place!

cloudFor a lot of people, encrypting database connections is probably not that big a deal. If your databases and application servers are sitting behind a firewall in a “safe” part of your network, then why bother?

If there are direct database connections crossing network zones, that’s a different matter! Did anyone mention “cloud”? If you need to connect to your cloud databases from application servers or client tool sitting on-premise, I guess encrypted database connections are pretty high up your list of requirements, or at least they should be. Good job it is free now. :)

It seems I’m not the only person behind the times on this licensing change. The Amazon AWS RDS for Oracle documentation has made the same mistake. I’ve written to them to ask them to correct this page also. :)

Cheers

Tim…

Update: Simon, Jacco, Franck and Patrick all pointed out this licensing change was due to this security exploit. It was made public during 11.2, but the license change was made retrospectively back to 10.2. I don’t feel so bad about it now. :)

Update2: I’ve added a link to the Native Network Encryption stuff, based on the comment by Markus.

Oracle Enterprise Manager Cloud Control 12c Release 5 (12.1.0.5) : My first two installations

em-12cI’ve done a couple of play installations of EM12c 12.1.0.5, just to get a feel for it. You can see the result of that here.

From an installation perspective, everything was pretty similar to the previous releases. I tried the installation on both OL5 and OL6, in both cases using 12c as the database repository. No dramas there.

A couple of things of note.

  1. The 12c repository template database is a Non-CDB architecture.
  2. The Weblogic installation uses Java6.

Interesting…

The next step is to try some upgrades from EM 12.1.0.4 (on DB 11.2.0.4) to EM 12.1.0.5, which is what I’ll need for my upgrades at work. The testing is quite time consuming and boring, but it’s got to be done before I can unleash this on the company. :)

Cheers

Tim…

PS. Remember to download from edelivery.oracle.com (in a couple of days) for your production installations. Apparently there is a difference to the license agreement.

Feedback from the Oracle documentation team

feedbackI got some feedback from the Oracle documentation team, based on my recent post.

GUIDs

One of the concerns I raised was about how the GUIDs would be used in different releases of the documentation. Although I don’t like the look of the GUIDs, I can understand why they might be more convenient that trying to think of a neat, descriptive, human readable slug. My concern was the GUID might be unique for every incarnation of the same page. That is, a new GUID for the same page for each patchset, DB version and/or minor text correction. That would make it really hard to flick between versions, as you couldn’t predict what the page was called in each variant.

It seems my worries were unfounded. The intention is the GUID of a specific page will stay the same, regardless of patchset, DB version or document correction. That’s great news!

Broken Links

The team are trying to put some stuff in place to correct the broken links. I think I might know who is developing this solution. :)

The quick fix will be to direct previously broken links to the table of contents page of the appropriate manual. Later, they will attempt to provide topic-to-topic links. No promises here, but it sounds promising.

Conclusion

I’m going to continue to fix the broken links on my site as I want to maintain the direct topic links in the short term, but this sounds like really good news going forward.

It also sounds like the documentation team are feeling our pain and putting stuff in place to prevent this happening in future, which is fantastic news! :)

Note to self: It’s much better to engage with the right people and discuss the issue, rather than just bitch about stuff.

Cheers

Tim…

Oracle Enterprise Manager Cloud Control 12c Release 5 (12.1.0.5) – Just Born

em-12cOracle Enterprise Manager Cloud Control 12c Release 5 (12.1.0.5) was announced a few days ago. I woke up today and checked the interwebs and it’s actually available for download.

I must admit I’m a little nervous about the upgrade. I had a few bad times with upgrades in the early days of Grid Control and Cloud Control and that has left me with a little bit of voodoo lurking in the back of my mind. The last couple of upgrades have been really easy, so I’m sure it will be fine, but that voodoo…

I’ll download it now and do a clean install. Then do a couple of practice upgrades. If all that goes well, I’ll schedule a date to sacrifice a chicken, raise a zombie from the dead to do my bidding, then do the real upgrade.

Cheers

Tim…

Update. Looking at the certification matrix, the repository is now certified on 12.1.0.2, as well as 11.2.0.4 and 11.2.0.3.

Update 2. Pete mentioned in the comments that 12.1.0.2 has been certified for the Cloud Control repository since march, with some restrictions. So it’s not new to this release. See the comments for details.

Update 3. Remember to download from edelivery.oracle.com (in a couple of days) for your production installations. Apparently there is a difference to the license agreement.