Java and Tomcat Updates : Vagrant and Docker

Yesterday was another update frenzy.

I already mentioned the update to VirtualBox 6.0.6 in yesterday’s post.

At the same time we got the quarterly updates to Java and I noticed a new version of Tomcat, so I downloaded OpenJDK 12.0.1 and Tomcat 9.0.19 and added them to my Vagrant and Docker builds.

If you are interested in this stuff, you can check it out here.

Remember, this is just my playground stuff. If you find it useful, that’s great. If not, there are plenty of other people messing about with this stuff. ๐Ÿ™‚

Cheers

Tim…

ORDS, SQLcl and SQL Developer 19.1 Released, and some Vagrant and Docker Stuff

Yesterday Kris Rice put out some tweets to say ORDS, SQLcl and SQL Developer version 19.1 had been released.

As usual I downloaded SQL Developer and put it on my desktop, and I started the process of updating my Vagrant and Docker builds. If you are interested in that stuff, you can find those updates here.

You won’t be surprised that these updates are pretty simple. Just replacing the environment variables with the new version numbers. Such are the joys of automation. ๐Ÿ™‚

Happy upgrading!

Cheers

Tim…

APEX 19.1, Vagrant and Docker

Last night Joel Kallman announced the release of APEX 19.1.

It wasn’t exactly a surprise as the APEX 19.1 Early Adopter site was shutdown and there was a maintenance window on apex.oracle.com, which is running APEX 19.1.

I downloaded the 19.1 software and plugged though my Vagrant and Docker stuff bringing it up to date. If you are into that stuff you can find it on my GitHub.

I guess this means I can start the process of upgrading everything at work on Monday. ๐Ÿ™‚

Cheers

Tim…

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…

ORDS, SQLcl and SQL Developer 18.3 Updates (VirtualBox, Vagrant, Docker)

A few days ago we got version 18.3 of a bunch of Oracle tools.

Over the weekend I updated some of my VirtualBox andย Vagrant builds to include these versions. If you want to play around with them you can see them on GitHub here.

I also updated my ORDS Docker container build, which uses both ORDS and SQLcl. You can find this on GitHub here.

I use this container for live demos of ORDS, as well as a demo for my “DBA Does Docker” talk, which I am doing at Oracle OpenWorld this year.

I put the latest versions of SQL Developer and SQLcl on my laptop. I’m doing an analytic functions talk at Oracle Code One this year. The demos use SQLcl on my laptop connecting to Autonomous Transaction Proccessing (ATP) on Oracle Cloud. I had a little bit of drama with SQLcl on Saturday, which turned out to be PEBCAK. I thought “SET ECHO ON” wasn’t working, but it turned out I had a “login.sql” file in the path that contained “SET TERMOUT OFF”. Once I removed that setting the demos ran fine. ๐Ÿ™‚

I’m going to put a freeze on changing my stuff until after OpenWorld and Code One. Honest. ๐Ÿ™‚

Cheers

Tim…

Oracle Database 18.3.0 and Docker

Just a quick heads-up to let you know I’ve updated my Docker builds to use the new 18c on-prem software.

If you like to play around with Docker, here is some stuff you might want to check out. Remember, I’m not saying this is production ready. It’s just stuff I use for learning and demos…

  • My Docker GitHub Repo here.
  • The new 18c container build here.
  • The new Docker compose file here to fire up an 18c DB container and a Tomcat 9 + ORDS 18.2 container to front APEX 18.1, and allow you to play with ORDS.

Remember, if Docker is not your thing, you can always my Vagrant build here to fire up the same thing, but in a single VirtualBox VM.

Cheers

Tim…

APEX 18.1 Docker Builds Updated

You’ve probably seen that APEX 18.1 was released recently. This is just a quick note to say I’ve updated my Docker builds to include the latest versions of all the software including APEX. You can find the builds here.

https://github.com/oraclebase/dockerfiles

I always install APEX into every database, so the database builds include APEX and the ORDS build includes the APEX images.

Remember, I’m not saying you should use these, but if you like to play around with Docker you might find them useful, along with my Docker articles here.

Regardless of how you like to use APEX, get on board with APEX 18.1… ๐Ÿ™‚

Cheers

Tim…

Docker and Oracle Databases : Finding the Sweet Spot

One of the questions I’m asked, and indeed have asked myself on numerous occasions, is how do databases fit into the Docker world? More specifically, how does the Oracle database fit into the Docker world?

There is some Boring Context at the end of the post. Happy for you to ignore it, but please read it before giving me aggro. ๐Ÿ™‚

I don’t feel the typical lifespan of a production Oracle database fits well into the Docker world. Lots of people, myself included, have been quick to show examples of Oracle databases running on Docker, because it’s really easy and it works, but the examples are all one-off builds. There is little in the way of realistic life-cycle discussed. Maybe I’ve missed the memo on that, or I’m following the wrong people. ๐Ÿ™‚

The issues with Oracle on Docker come about when you try to do things “the Docker way”, which works great for application servers and small footprint databases with a simpler approach to patches and upgrades, but not so well for Oracle databases. In my opinion Oracle database patches and upgrades are clumsy from a Docker perspective. I wrote about this here. I know at least one person I respect that disagrees with my opinion on this (you know who you are ๐Ÿ™‚ ). You can choose manual intervention in the upgrade process, but I feel like that is removing some of “the magic of Docker”. It’s well within Oracle’s capability to make database patching and upgrades more Docker-friendly, but time will tell if they think it is worth the effort.

From a monitoring and tuning perspective I’m not sure Docker really fits into what most Oracle DBAs are used to either. If Oracle start making DBA tools that are a bit more “Docker aware”, that could change of course. Once again, it depends on their priorities.

So what’s the sweet spot for Oracle databases on Docker? Well I think it’s great from a Dev, Test and QA perspective. I had a great example of this last night. I was doing some APEX patching (5.1.3 to 5.1.4) at work yesterday and hit a problem. I went home and tested the APEX upgrade (5.1.3 to 5.1.4) on four environments and they all worked.

  1. Oracle Databaseย  12.1.0.2 using multitentant architecture with APEX installed in a PDB.
  2. Oracle Databaseย  12.1.0.2 using non-CDB architecture.
  3. Oracle Databaseย  12.2.0.1 using multitentant architecture with APEX installed in a PDB.
  4. Oracle Databaseย  12.2.0.1 using non-CDB architecture.

I never use non-CDB architecture at home anymore, so I had to spend about 30 seconds altering two Dockerfiles for that, but the process of getting clean environments up and running was quick and simple. It was so quick in fact that when I finished I had time to update my database Dockerfiles to install APEX 5.1.4, and update my ORDS Dockerfile to use APEX 5.1.4 and Java 8u161. All built and tested.

I’ve been using virtualization for well over a decade and I have gold images, snapshots and build scripts coming out of my ears, but Docker is head and shoulders above everything else for pushing out these small short-lived clean environments.

A while back I watched an online presentation by Seth Miller about RAC on Docker. I guess some of you are thinking WTF at this point, which was pretty much how I felt before watching it. ๐Ÿ™‚ Watch the presentation and see why it makes sense for Veritas to invest effort in this from a Dev/Test perspective. They have a use case that fits.

The important thing is to focus on the use cases where it adds value, rather than the typical “Emperor’s New Clothes” approach assuming it’s all things to all people. Sounds obvious, but it is so often lost on the IT world. ๐Ÿ™‚

So in conclusion, I remain sceptical about me ever running an Oracle database on Docker for production, but I can see a bunch of situations where it is useful in the Dev, Test and QA space, where you need relatively small, clean, well-defined environments for short periods of time. That seems like the sweet spot to me at this point, but I reserve the right to change my mind over time. ๐Ÿ™‚

I’m really interested to know what you think, especially if you think I’ve missed the point. I am still a Docker newbie. Like I said earlier, read the Boring Context before jumping to conclusions though. ๐Ÿ™‚

Cheers

Tim…

Boring Context: I feel I need to make a few points so people don’t pounce on me. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • I am talking about databases in the sense of the monolith running on Docker. The microservice approach where the data is self-contained as part of the microservice is different.
  • I’m not trying to make out every database engine has the set of same issues, although I suspect there will be some commonality when you start talking about long-term production usage.
  • There’s nothing wrong with using Docker like lightweight virtualization and doing manual installations, patches, upgrades and maintenance inside your container. It’s going to bloat the hell out of it, and it’s not how I want to use it, but you can choose to do that if you want. The Docker police will not arrest you. ๐Ÿ™‚
  • There’s nothing wrong with you going off piste with how you organise your builds and images. You can have separate Dockerfiles per database or use build arguments rather than first-run configuration based on environment variables. Once again, you are going to waste lots of storage and that’s not how I like to play the game, but that is your choice.
  • I know that Docker was developed with application delivery in mind and databases probably weren’t at the forefront of the developers minds when it started. I hope it stays that way!
  • Some of the same issues exist when dealing with complex web applications like OBIEE. Yes, you can install them on Docker for a demo, but does it really work for the normal lifespan of that product?
  • I realise well planned virtualization can have many of the benefits of Docker, but it feels a little heavier in comparison. Each to their own.
  • I realise there are products out there for data virtualization (like Delphix), that are capable of doing some cool things for Dev, Test and QA environments. If you are using something like that, that’s great for you. ๐Ÿ™‚
  • Docker is changing fast. My thoughts might be very different over time as Docker develops.
  • I realise there are a lot of “we just need to keep the lights on” databases that are small and don’t have extreme requirements. Maybe I’ll find Docker to be a good home for these. Maybe not.
  • I’m not a Docker hater. In fact I’m quite the opposite.

Oracle REST Data Services (ORDS) 17.4 Released

Over the weekend I saw Kris Rice tweet about the release of ORDS 17.4. This is the GA release of what was the 17.3 beta. Remember the version names are time-based now.

I’ve already written about the main new features of this release.

I’ve done some installations and upgrades and all was fine. My existing installation and upgrade docs work fine.

I’ve even updated my Docker image to include it. ๐Ÿ™‚

Cheers

Tim…

Docker : My First Steps

In a blog post after OpenWorld I mentioned I might not be writing so much for a while as something at work was taking a lot of my “home time”, which might result in some articles, but then again might not… Well, that something was Docker…

After spending a couple of years saying I was going to start looking at Docker, in June I wrote a couple of articles, put them on the website, but didn’t mention them to anyone.ย  I was finding it quite hard to focus on Docker because of all the fun I was having with ORDS. More recently it became apparent that we have a couple of use-cases for Docker at work, one of which involved ORDS, so it reignited my interest. There’s nothing like actually needing to use something to make you knuckle down and learn it… ๐Ÿ™‚

Having gone back to revisit Docker, I realised the two articles I wrote were terrible, which wasn’t surprising considering how little time I had spent using Docker at that point. The more I used Docker, the more I realised I had totally missed the point. I had come to it with too many preconceptions, mostly relating to virtualization, that were leading me astray. I reached out to a few people (Gerald Venzl, Bruno Borges & Avi Miller) for help and advice, which got me back on track…

I’ve been playing around with Docker a lot lately, which has resulted in a few articles, with some more on the way. I’m not trying to make out I’m “the Docker guy” now, because I’m clearly not. I’m not suggesting you use my Docker builds, because there are better ones around, like these. I’m just trying to learn this stuff and I do that by playing and writing. If other people find that useful and want to follow me on the journey, that’s great. If you prefer to go straight to the source (docs.docker.com) that’s probably a better idea. ๐Ÿ™‚

I do a lot of rewrites of articles on my website in general. This is especially true of these Docker articles, which seem to be in a permanent state of flux at the moment. Part of me wanted to wait until I was a little more confident about it all, because I didn’t want to make all my mistakes in public, then part of me thought, “sod it!”

If you want to see what I’ve been doing all the articles are on my website and the Dockerfiles on Github.

I’m having a lot of fun playing around with Docker. You could say, I’m having a “whale” of a time! (I’ll get my coat…)

Cheers

Tim…