HP-UX and Oracle 11g : Don’t let the door hit you on ass on the way out…

We had a pretty momentous occasion recently. We finally got rid of the last of our HP-UX servers, and with it the last of our Oracle 11g databases and Oracle Forms apps.

We use VMware virtual machines running Oracle Linux for nearly all our databases. We pushed really hard over the last couple of years to get everything migrated to 19c. Despite this, there were two projects that were left behind on HP-UX and Oracle 11g. They were effectively dead projects, from the time before we moved to Oracle Cloud Apps, about 5 years ago. We couldn’t get rid of them because people wanted to look at the historical data, but there was very little appetite to do anything with them…

Finally, over the last year we’ve had an archive project running, which involved moving the databases on to Oracle Linux and upgrading to 19c. That bit was easy. The other bit of the project involved building two new APEX apps to replace a 3rd party application and an old Oracle Forms 11g app. Those went live a few months ago, but there was still a lot of reluctance to actually decommission the old systems.

Recently we finally got the approval to turn off the old systems, and decommission the old HP-UX kit. When the change went through the Change Advisory Board (CAB) it was such a relief…

The kit is now decommissioned, and I’ve just been clearing the agents out of Cloud Control, so it’s finally over. No more HP-UX. No more Oracle 11g. No more Oracle Forms…

Now all we have to do is replace a whole load of Oracle Linux 7 servers, and get ready to upgrade to the next long term release of the database… 🙂



Being a Beginner Again (OBIEE, ODI, OBIA)

Things have been a little quiet on the blog front recently, because work has been crazy. I keep being asked to do stuff I’ve never done before and it makes life really hard.

I hate being crap at stuff, and I don’t like to do things at work that I’ve not already done at home, so when something new is thrown at me it I put a lot of pressure on myself to get up to speed as quickly as possible.

I wrote a few weeks ago about doing some OBIEE 12c and ODI 12c installations, which was a way of giving me a little understanding about these products. I spent last weekend doing the 11g equivalents of those articles. Currently Oracle Cloud Apps are only certified with the 11g stack, so it’s into the time machine to do old crap*, which I find hard to get excited about. Having done all that I felt a little better prepared, but was still kind-of nervous. My inferiority complex always has me thinking, perhaps this will be the thing that breaks me!

This last week we spent three days with a consultant doing OBIEE, ODI and OBIA 11g installations. I did everything, with him guiding the process and one of my colleagues observing and correcting my typos. 🙂 I wrote down all the instructions, did screen shots of everything and captured all response files where they were available. Yesterday I spent the day going through the notes trying to make the process silent quiet. We are going to do about 4 of these environments, so scripting is really important, but I’m not going to waste my life trying to make it completely silent. There are some config stages that are going to be super fiddly to script, so we’ve decided to go for a halfway approach to the build process, with a combination of scripts and manual actions.

The OBIEE and ODI 11g stuff I did at home is already on the website, but I won’t be adding any of the extra stuff I did this week because:

  • I did it on company time, not on my own time.
  • Although the basic installs are easy and obvious, some of the “threading together” is a little funky and it would have taken a lot longer than 3 days if we hadn’t had the consultant on site. I’m not going to publish what is effectively his company’s documentation and pass it off as my own.
  • I think for most people this will be seen as rather old stuff.

At some point we will have to move the whole environment to the 12c Fusion Middleware stack. At that point I may well do it all myself at home, write it up and put it on the website. If we have to rely on external consultancy and company time for that again, same rules will apply.

I’m glad I did all the prep work during the weeks leading up to this, as it made the whole process a lot easier. It was good to focus on the bits that were awkward, rather than having to waste time discussing basics.

Overall, I was happy with the process. It didn’t break me! 🙂

I’ll be away in Bulgaria next week, back for a week to do more BI stuff at work, then off to the Netherlands for a few days. After that, normal service should resume… 🙂



* I’m referring to the fact it is the 11g version, rather than the 12c version. I’m not saying it is crap because it is OBIEE+ODI+OBIA, rather than some “cool” stuff. 🙂

Data Guard Broker : 11g and 12c

vault-154023_640I’ve been using standby databases, on and off, since Oracle 8i. I first wrote about Data Guard for Oracle 9i. I’ve had an article on 11gR2 Data Guard for ages, but up until recently I’ve always used the manual setup.

We’ve got a project coming up that *may* use Data Guard and *may* be installed by a 3rd party, so I figured I better get up to speed with the Data Guard Broker, in case they go that route. It’s been on my list of things to look at since 10g, but I’ve never got round to it until now. 🙂

At this point, I still don’t know if the project will use 11g or 12c, so I had a play with both, which resulted in a couple of overview articles.

From the overview perspective, the usage is pretty much the same. I really only did the 11g one in case that’s the route this project goes. I didn’t bother putting the 11g one on the front page of the website, because I consider it a “backfill” article. 🙂

After having a play with the broker, I actually quite like it. It definitely feels like a simpler and neater solution than doing all the configuration manually.

Remember, this Data Guard stuff is for EE installations. If you use SE, you might want to take a look at Dbvisit, who have a product that allows you to manage standby databases for Oracle SE.



PS. I’m not sponsored by Dbvisit and I have no business links with them. I just think they are a great bunch of people and I like what they do.

Fedora 23 and Oracle 11gR2/12cR1

A few months ago I mentioned doing some Fedora 22 installations. At the time I did some pre-emptive installations on the Alpha release of Fedora 23 also.

Now the final release of Fedora 23 is out, I’ve run through the articles again to make sure things are all ship-shape.

It’s pretty much as it was before, with the nice bonus that the “MATE Desktop” package group has been fixed. Happy days! 🙂

As always, installations of Oracle server products on Fedora are not a great idea, as explained here.

If you do like playing with this stuff, knock yourself out… 🙂



Fedora 21 : Oracle 11g and 12c Installations

Fedora 21 has arrived and it’s now delivered in three focussed flavours (Workstation, Server and Cloud). This of course resulted in the usual articles from me.

As always, read the warnings before you start down this path.

From an Oracle installation perspective, it’s almost identical to Fedora 20. I chose to use the server flavour and install the “MATE Desktop” package group. I suspect others may prefer to start with the workstation release. Either way it should be fine.

As I suspected, switching my main desktop from Fedora to the MacBook means I care significantly less about this release than before, but I still have some upgrades I’ll need to plug through.



Oracle 11gR2 and 12cR1 on Oracle Linux 7 beta

I’ve been having a play with Oracle Linux 7 beta over the weekend. Not surprisingly my first thoughts were to install the Oracle database on it.

As expected, the installations were almost identical or Fedora 19.

I’ve put a warning on the front of the OL7 articles, but I’m sure it won’t stop some Muppets using it in production then trying to blame me. 🙂

I don’t know how long it will be until OL7 goes to production and I’m sure it will be a long time before anything is certified against it, but it’s always nice to see what’s coming… 🙂 I’ll update the articles when anything significant happens…



Upgrades to 11g are finally complete

Just a little slice of reality to cut through all the 12c stuff that is floating around at the moment. I’ve just moved the last of our databases to 11g. Yay! As well as upgrading, we’ve been culling or consolidating old and unused stuff, which has drastically reduced and simplified our Oracle database landscape.

We currently have four projects running databases on HP-UX on Itanium (spit), one project on Solaris and the rest on Oracle Linux under VMware. If I had my way we would kick out HP-UX and Solaris and do everything on Oracle Linux.

We’ve still got one project on 11gR1, but that is being held back intentionally because of some issues with the vendor of the application that runs against it. Hopefully that will soon be on 11gR2 also.

So about 7 years after the release of 11gR1 and 5 years after the release of 11gR2 we have finally managed to get there. Judging by the conversations I’ve had over the last year, I would say we are ahead of the curve. There are still plenty of people out there with old versions lurking around for a variety of reasons…

With this in mind, what do you think our timescales are for a move to 12c? 🙂 Like many people, I don’t think it will even be considered until 12cR2 is released and even then it won’t happen over night.

Even so, I still believe it is important that people get their heads around what 12c has to offer. Of all the releases in my time working with Oracle products, I think 12c is the one that is really going to mess with people’s heads. If people don’t spend a significant time getting to know this stuff they are going to make really bad decisions and totally stuff up their installations!



Oracle Database on Oracle Linux 6.1…

I mentioned the day before Open World I put a Virtual RAC on Oracle Linux 6.1 article live. Although the procedure was complete, some of the screen shots were from an old article as I didn’t have time to redo them before my flight. 🙂 I’ve just run through the procedure again and taken new screen shots. As a result, I’ve allowed the article to display on the front page of the website, which is why you will see it listed as a new article there.

This kinda rounds out the whole Oracle on 6.1 stuff as there has been a single instance installation guide out for ages and more recently the Cloud Control installation, which references it.

Remember, it’s still not certified yet, but it’s coming.



Update: It’s finally certified. See here.

Grid Control 11g Installation… Success…

Well a new day and a fresh pair of eyes and it all went well. I was out this afternoon so I started the final bit of the installation running and it had completed successfully when I got home. 🙂

I’m not totally sure what was causing the previous problems. I had been taking snapshots of my VM at regular intervals over the last couple of days and I guess something must have been dodgy because when I threw it all away and started again from scratch it worked fine. Here is the installation guide listing all the steps:

So does this success change my opinion of this release? Not at all. The installation is a mess and I think Oracle really do need to have a shrink-wrapped install, even if it is a 8G download. It would reduce the barrier to entry and I just think it feels a little poor that you have to manually install a bunch of patches before you can get the product working. Makes me wince a little.



Grid Control 11g Installation Failure…

I’ve spent the last couple of days failing to install OEM Grid Control 11g on OEL 5.5 x86-64 with a 11gR2 database for the repository. The installation process is horrid. You have to manually install and patch the database and middleware software before starting the GC installation. So you end up with a whopping 7.1G of software, not including patches and the OS.

The docs are not ideal. There is a lot of cross-referencing to bugs, patches and metalink notes, which means I’ve often had about 10 browser tabs open while performing the installation. I can only assume that somewhere in the mish-mash of the docs I’ve missed something out.

I feel really disappointed with the installation process for this release. In my opinion there should be a single installation that includes the middleware, database and all necessary patches. I like to think of GC as a shrink-wrapped product I can install separate to everything else and leave alone. Not any more…

I’m off to ODTUG this week, so I’m not sure I can be bothered to waste more time on this until I get back. Perhaps someone there will be able to explain to me what the hell is going on with it.