Archive for the ‘Cloud’ Category

Twelve new features for Cyber Security DBAs

In Cloud, Data, DBA, Security and auditing on June 2, 2017 at 08:32

In the early years of Oracle, Larry Ellison was asked if clients ever ask for their money back. “Nobody’s asked for their money back yet – he replied – a few have asked for their data back though!

A relatively new Wells Fargo Insurance Cyber Security study shows that companies are more concerned with private data loss than with hackers:

Thus, one of the main roles of the cyber security DBA is to protect and secure the data.

Here is what the latest Oracle release 12cR2 is offering us:

1. A Fully Encrypted Database

To encrypt an entire database, you must encrypt all the tablespaces within this database, including the Oracle-supplied SYSTEM, SYSAUX, UNDO, and TEMP tablespaces (which is now possible in 12.2). For a temporary tablespace, drop it and then recreate it as encrypted – do not specify an algorithm. Oracle recommends that you encrypt the Oracle-supplied tablespaces by using the default tablespace encryption algorithm, AES128. Here is how you do it:


2. TDE Tablespace Live Conversion

You can now encrypt, decrypt, and rekey existing tablespaces with Transparent Data Encryption (TDE) tablespace live conversion. The feature performs initial cryptographic migration for TDE tablespace encryption on the tablespace data in the background so that the tablespace can continue servicing SQL and DML statements like insert, delete, select, merge, and so on. Ensure that you have enough auxiliary space to complete the encryption and run (for example):

FILE_NAME_CONVERT = ('users.dbf', 'users_enc.dbf'); 

3. Support for ARIA, SEED, and GOST algorithms

By default, Transparent Data Encryption (TDE) Column encryption uses the Advanced Encryption Standard with a 192-bit length cipher key (AES192), and tablespace and database encryption use the 128–bit length cipher key (AES128). 12.2 provides advanced security Transparent Data Encryption (TDE) support for these encryption algorithms:

– SEED (Korea Information Security Agency (KISA) for South Korea
– ARIA (Academia, Research Institute, and Agency) for South Korea
– GOST (GOsudarstvennyy STandart) for Russia


4. TDE Tablespace Offline Conversion

12.2 introduces new SQL commands to encrypt tablespace files in place with no storage overhead. You can do this on multiple instances across multiple cores. Using this feature requires downtime, because you must take the tablespace temporarily offline. With Data Guard configurations, you can either encrypt the physical standby first and switchover, or encrypt the primary database, one tablespace at a time. This feature provides fast offline conversion of existing clear data to TDE encrypted tablespaces. Use the following syntax:


5. Setting Future Tablespaces to be Encrypted


CLOUD_ONLY transparently encrypts the tablespace in the Cloud using the AES128 algorithm if you do not specify the ENCRYPTION clause of the CREATE TABLESPACE SQL statement: it applies only to an Oracle Cloud environment. ALWAYS automatically encrypts the tablespace using the AES128 algorithm if you omit the ENCRYPTION clause of CREATE TABLESPACE, for both the Cloud and premises scenarios.

6. Role-Based Conditional Auditing

Role-based conditional auditing provides the ability to define unified audit policies that conditionally audit users based on a role in addition to the current capability to audit by users. This feature enables more powerful policy-based conditional auditing by using database roles as the condition for auditing. For example, auditing for new users with the DBA role would begin automatically when they are granted the role:

AUDIT POLICY role_dba_audit_pol;

7. Strong Password Verifiers by Default and Minimum Authentication Protocols

The newer verifiers use salted hashes, modern SHA-1 and SHA-2 hashing algorithms, and mixed-case passwords.

The allowed_logon_version_server in the sqlnet.ora file is used to specify the minimum authentication protocol allowed when connecting to Oracle Database instances. 
Oracle notes that the term “version” in the allowed_logon_version_server parameter name refers to the version of the authentication protocol.  It does NOT refer to the Oracle release version.

– SQLNET.ALLOWED_LOGON_VERSION_SERVER=8 generates all three password versions 10g, 11g, and 12c
– SQLNET.ALLOWED_LOGON_VERSION_SERVER=12 generates both 11g and 12c password versions, and removes the 10g password version
– SQLNET.ALLOWED_LOGON_VERSION_SERVER=12a generates only the 12c password version

8. New init.ora parametercalled OUTBOUND_DBLINK_PROTOCOLS

Due to direct SQL*Net Access Over Oracle Cloud, existing applications can now use Oracle Cloud without any code changes. We can easily control the outbound database link options:

– OUTBOUND_DBLINK_PROTOCOLS specifies the allowed network protocols for outbound database link connections: this can be used to restrict database links to use secure protocols
– ALL_GLOBAL_DBLINKS allows or disallow global database links, which look up LDAP by default

9. SYSRAC – Separation of Duty in a RAC

SYSRAC is a new role for Oracle Real Application Clusters (Oracle RAC) management. This administrative privilege is the default mode for connecting to the database by the clusterware agent on behalf of the Oracle RAC utilities such as srvctl. For example, we can now create a named administrative account and grant only the administrative privileges needed such as SYSRAC and SYSDG to manage both Oracle RAC and Oracle Data Guard configurations.

10. Automatic Locking of Inactive User Accounts


Within a user profile, the INACTIVE_ACCOUNT_TIME parameter controls the maximum time that an account can remain unused. The account is automatically locked if a log in does not occur in the specified number of days. Locking inactive user accounts prevents attackers from using them to gain access to the database. The minimum setting is 15 and the maximum is 24855. The default for INACTIVE_ACCOUNT_TIME is UNLIMITED.

11. Kerberos-Based Authentication for Direct NFS

Oracle Database now supports Kerberos implementation with Direct NFS communication. This feature solves the problem of authentication, message integrity, and optional encryption over unsecured networks for data exchange between Oracle Database and NFS servers using Direct NFS protocols.

12. Lockdown Profiles

Lockdown profile is a mechanism used to restrict operations that can be performed by connections to a given PDB for both cloud and non-cloud.

There are three functionalities that you can disable:

Feature: it lets us enable or disable database features for say junior DBAs (or cowboy DBAs)
Option: for now, the two options we can enable/disable are “DATABASE QUEUING” and “PARTITIONING”
Statement: we can either enable or disable the statements “ALTER DATABASE”, “ALTER PLUGGABLE DATABASE”, “ALTER SESSION”, and “ALTER SYSTEM”. In addition, we can specify granular options along with these statements. Example:


But .. the most secure database is the database with no users connected to it.

Cloud Nine

In Cloud, DBA, IaaS, Oracle database on May 3, 2017 at 16:58

“Get happiness out of your work or you may never know what happiness is.” — Elbert Hubbard

According to Amazon and quoted by Fortune Magazine in a recent article entitled “Amazon Data Center Chief schools Oracle CEO on Cloud claims“, AWS executive Andy Jassy said (at AWS Re:Invent two years ago) that every database customer he talks to is unhappy with their vendor: “I haven’t met a database customer that is not looking to flee their vendor.”

Another interesting article by James Hamilton entitled “How many Data Centers needed world-wide” discusses more or less the same topic. Reading the comments after it is worthwhile. Also consider reading these extensive performance results about Cloud performance and TCO of the Oracle database.

A young and extremely smart analyst from my company asked me last week: “Why is the Oracle database better than MySQL or MongoDB?”. Tough question, right? You may ask the same about DB2 or SQL Server. All databases have their pros and cons. And we as people have our preferences, based on experience, knowledge and prejudices.

If you try to find out the explanation of the quote statement on top, you might very like end up with this one: “You have to spend most of your life working, so if you’re unhappy at your work you’re likely to always be unhappy”.

So, I have been happy (if that is the right word) working with the Oracle database. Unlike DB2, you have all the tools, options and automation to tune it. With about couple of hundred MySQL databases at Nokia, we spent more time (thank you Google!) investigating issues than with more than one thousand Oracle databases. SQL Server: if you prefer using the mouse instead of the keyboard, then this is the right database for you! Teradata compared to Exadata: let me not start…

As Forrester say, In-Memory Databases are driving next-generation workloads and use cases. Check out this recent comparison of all vendors.

But back to Cloud. Have a look at what speed and what features Oracle is embedding into its Cloud. By far the best Cloud for Oracle workloads! All these are new additions to the Oracle IaaS:

What’s New for Oracle Compute Cloud Service (IaaS)

– Compute Service: 8 and 16 OCPU Virtual Machines

CentOS, Ubuntu OS Images

RHEL via BYOI OS Image

Multipart Upload: Multipart upload enables uploading an object in parts, enhancing speed of upload and accommodating larger objects

Audit Service: This new service automatically records calls to all supported BMCS public API endpoints as log events

Search Domain DHCP

Terraform Provider: The BMCS Terraform provider is now available. Terraform is an open source infrastructure automation and management software tool

Developer Tools Enhancements: New versions of BMCS developer tools are now available, including Ruby, Python, and Java SDKs, HDFS Connector, and CLI

New Instance Shapes

– Windows BYOL: It is now possible to Bring Your Own License (BYOL) for Windows Server

– NVMe Storage: You can now use NVMe SSD disks as ephemeral data disks attached to your instances

– SSD Block Storage: These high-performance volumes can be used for persistent block storage or for bootable volumes

New Web UI: This new interface can be used to perform basic operations against Storage Cloud resources

HSM Cloud Service Integration

Oracle Exadata Cloud Machine Q&A

In Cloud, Database options, DBA, Exadata, IaaS, Oracle database, Oracle Engineered Systems on March 28, 2017 at 07:25

“The computer industry is the only industry that is more fashion-driven than women’s fashion.” Larry Ellison

Amazon have no on-premise presence, it is cloud only. Microsoft have the Azure Stack but the Azure Stack Technical Preview 3 is being made available as a Proof of Concept (POC) and must not be used as a production environment and should only be used for testing, evaluation, and demonstration.

Oracle Database Exadata Public Cloud Machine, or Exadata Cloud Machine, or ExaCM in short, is a cloud-based Oracle database subscription service available on Oracle Exadata, and deployed in the customer or partner data center behind their firewall. This allows customers to subscribe to fully functional Oracle databases on Exadata, on an OPEX driven consumption model, using agile cloud-based provisioning, while the associated Exadata infrastructure is maintained by Oracle.

This blog post contains the top 10 (5 commercial and 5 technical) facts about the Exadata Cloud Machine:

1. On-premise licenses cannot be transferred to ExaCM.

2. The minimum commitment to both the ExaCM and OCM is 4 years and the minimum configuration is Eighth Rack.

3. The subscription price for Oracle Database Exadata Cloud Machine X6 Eighth Rack is $40,000 per month (= $2,500 X 16) and that includes all DB options/features, Exadata Software and OEM DB Packs.

4. Standalone products such as Oracle Secure Backup and Oracle GoldenGate are not included in the ExaCM subscription. Only the database options (such as RAC, In-Memory, Partitioning, Active Data Guard, etc.), the database OEM packs and the Exadata storage server software are included.

5. ExaCM requires Oracle Cloud Machine to deploy Exadata Cloud Control Plane (separate subscription). OCM subscription requires similar minimum term commitment as ExaCM. If a customer already has an OCM, that can be leveraged to deploy Exadata Control Plane at no extra cost. One OCM Model 288 can manage 6 ExaCM Full Racks (i.e. 24 ExaCM Quarter Racks or 12 ExaCM Half Racks). Theoretically one OCM can support a much larger number of ExaCM full racks: about 50.

6. The 1/8th rack SKU is very similar to the on-premises 1/8th rack – i.e. minimum configuration of 16 OCPUs (cores), 240 GB RAM per database server, 144 TB raw storage (42 TB usable), 19.2TB of Flash. Compared to the Quarter Rack, it ships with less RAM, disk storage and flash. Those will be field installed if the customer chooses to go for the 1/8th to Quarter Rack upgrade. Note that this 1/8th rack enables customers to have an entry level configuration that is similar to what exists in Exadata Cloud Service.

7. Hourly Online Compute Bursting is supported with ExaCM. The commercial terms are the same as in Exadata Cloud Service – i.e. 25% premium over the Metered rate, calculated on an hourly basis. Customers can scale up or down, dynamically. Bursting does not kick in automatically based on load. Bursting of OCPUs needs to be configured by customers as needed. Once customer initiates bursting, the OCPU update is done dynamically without downtime. Customers will be billed later on the hours of bursting usage. Price: $8.401 per OCPU per hour.

8. If Cloud Control Plane is down, it doesn’t affect the availability of steady state runtime operations. However, cloud-based management (e.g. selfservice UI and REST API access) will be impacted.

9. Access: the Exadata Cloud Machine compute nodes are each configured with a Virtual Machine (VM). You have root privilege for the Exadata compute node VMs, so you can load and run additional software on the Exadata compute nodes. However, you do not have administrative access to the Exadata infrastructure components, including the physical compute node hardware, network switches, power distribution units (PDUs), integrated lights-out management (ILOM) interfaces, or the Exadata Storage Servers, which are all administered by Oracle.

10. Patching and backups: you can produce a list of available patches using the exadbcpatchmulti command as follows

# /var/opt/oracle/exapatch/exadbcpatchmulti -list_patches 

When you create a database deployment on Exadata Cloud Machine, you must choose from the following automatic backup configuration options:

– Remote Storage Only: uses remote NFS storage to store periodic full (RMAN level 0) backups and daily incremental backups, with a seven day cycle between full backups and an overall retention period of thirty days.
– None: no automatic backups are configured. Automatic backups cannot be configured later if you select the None option when you create a database deployment.

Useful links:

Oracle Exadata Cloud Machine Documentation
Oracle Database Exadata Cloud Machine Data Sheet
Features and Benefits of Oracle ExaCM
Oracle Database Exadata Cloud Machine Pricing
Creating an Exadata Cloud Machine Instance
Known Issues for Oracle Exadata Cloud Machine
Oracle SVP, Juan Loaiza, describes Oracle Database Exadata Cloud Machine

DBA Productivity and Oracle Database 12.2

In Cloud, DBA, Oracle database on February 9, 2017 at 15:15

“Technology can be our best friend, and technology can also be the biggest party pooper of our lives. It interrupts our own story, interrupts our ability to have a thought or a daydream, to imagine something wonderful, because we’re too busy bridging the walk from the cafeteria back to the office on the cell phone.” Steven Spielberg


The DBA profession was recently rated as #6 among the Best Technology Jobs. Good for all of us who are in this line of business. But notice the stress level: Above Average!

DBAs are often busy people. Is that good or bad? Is “busy the new stupid”?

Automation is not a luxury for the DBAs but it is a way in which DBAs execute their job. Of course, there is one thing that cannot be automated and that is quality but the best DBAs automate almost everything.

Automating the database is a Win-Win for DBAs and DevOps. The mindset of the Enterprise DBA should be focused on harnessing the power of automation.

The following data shows what tasks are mostly and least automated:


Look at the last row above. I still wonder why Automatic SQL Tuning is so underestimated. It was so powerfully helping the DBA team of Nokia…

Oracle Database 12cR2 is out. And 12.2 comes with yet another new set of database automation related features:

– Oracle Data Guard now supports multiple failover targets in a fast-start failover configuration. Previous functionality allowed for only a single fast-start failover target. Multiple failover targets increase high availability by making an automatic failover more likely to occur if there is a primary outage.

– Oracle automatically synchronizes password files in Data Guard configurations: when the passwords of SYS, SYSDG, and so on, are changed, the password file at the primary database is updated and then the changes are propagated to all standby databases in the configuration.

– Online table move: nonpartitioned tables can be moved as an online operation without blocking any concurrent DML operations. A table move operation now also supports automatic index maintenance as part of the move.

– Automatic deployment of Oracle Data Guard: deployment is automatic for Oracle Data Guard physical replication between shards with Oracle Data Guard fast-start failover (automatic database failover): automatic database failover provides high availability for server, database, network, and site outages.

– Automatically set user tablespaces to read-only during upgrade: the new -T option for the parallel upgrade utility ( can be used to automatically set user tablespaces to read-only during an upgrade, and then back to read/write after the upgrade.

– The Oracle Trace File Analyzer (TFA) collector provides the option to automatically collect diagnostic information when TFA detects an incident.

– Oracle Data Guard support for Oracle Diagnostics Pack: this enables you to capture the performance data to the Automatic Workload Repository (AWR) for an Active Data Guard standby database and to run Automatic Database Diagnostic Monitor (ADDM) analysis on the AWR data.

– Automatic Workload Repository (AWR) support for pluggable databases: the AWR can be used in a PDB. This enables the capture and storage of performance data in the SYSAUX tablespace of the PDB.

– The new ENABLE_AUTOMATIC_MAINTENANCE_PDB initialization parameter can be used to enable or disable the running of automated maintenance tasks for all the pluggable databases (PDBs) in a multitenant container database (CDB) or for individual PDBs in a CDB.

– Automatic Data Optimization Support for In-Memory Column Store: Automatic Data Optimization (ADO) enables the automation of Information Lifecycle Management (ILM) tasks. The automated capability of ADO depends on the Heat Map feature that tracks access at the row level (aggregated to block-level statistics) and at the segment level.

– Automatic Provisioning of Kerberos Keytab for Oracle Databases: the new okcreate utility automates the registering of an Oracle database as a Kerberos service principal, creating a keytab for it, and securely copying the keytab to the database for use in Kerberos authentication.

– Role-Based Conditional Auditing: auditing for new users with the DBA role would begin automatically when they are granted the role.

– Automatic Locking of Inactive User Accounts: within a user profile, the new INACTIVE_ACCOUNT_TIME parameter controls the maximum time that an account can remain unused. The account is automatically locked if a log in does not occur in the specified number of days.


Oracle Bare Metal Cloud in Action

In Cloud, DBA, IaaS on October 15, 2016 at 08:56

Bare Metal Cloud means non-virtualized physical compute servers, i.e., no hypervisor running to create virtual machines!


The aim of this blog post is to show you how simple it is to provision the Oracle BMC. But first here are few links on the subject that you may find useful:

What’s Inside Oracle’s AWS-Killing Bare Metal Cloud by Craig Matsumoto
Oracle’s infrastructure business focuses on bare metal to go after AWS by Blair Hanley Frank
Does Oracle have a shot in the public cloud vs. Amazon and Microsoft? by Brandon Butler
Virtual or Bare Metal Dedicated Cloud: Which Option is Right for You? by Ashar Baig
Oracle IaaS Generation 2 by Marcel van den Berg
– Documentation: Oracle Bare Metal Cloud Services
– The Bare Metal Cloud Service on

This is how you create a Bare Metal Cloud machine in the Oracle Infrastructure Cloud (took me less than 15 minutes to connect as root from scratch):

1. First page:


2. Create the VCN (Virtual Cloud Network):


3. Launch the instance:


4. In progress (provisioning):


5. Created (36 CPUs):


6. Details:


7. Install MongoDB:


The Oracle Bare Metal Cloud is based on totally new architectural concepts, modern hardware, it is easy to provision and use and most importantly reliable and secure. In addition, Oracle BMC is supposed to be 11 times faster and 20 percent cheaper than the fastest solution offered by the competition.

13th Oracle Open World in San Francisco

In Cloud, Consolidation, DBA, OOW, Oracle Engineered Systems on August 20, 2016 at 19:57

“Why are our days numbered and not, say, lettered?” Woody Allen

Early tall-building designers, fearing a fire on the 13th floor, or fearing tenants’ superstitions about the rumor, decided to omit having a 13th floor listed on their elevator numbering. This practice became common, and eventually found its way into American mainstream culture and building design. If hotel floors are lettered, would you mind staying at floor M?

Next month, thousands of Oracle professionals will come to San Francisco where Oracle organize for the 13th time in a row, Oracle OpenWorld.

Having 13 presentation in honor of this jubilee is technically impossible but here are 3 ones that I will deliver next month in San Francisco:


1. My 13 DBA Mistakes in 13 Years [UGF1127]
Julian Dontcheff, Global Database Lead, Accenture
Sunday, Sep 18, 3:30 p.m. – 4:15 p.m. | Moscone South—102

Abstract: In this session learn about the biggest 13 mistakes in my DBA career. Lessons learned. Be careful when you press enter. Don’t do like I do, people will make fun of you.. It is sad and funny.

2. The Benefits and Simplicity of Oracle Cloud: Infrastructure as a Service [CON1126]
Julian Dontcheff, Global Database Lead, Accenture
Wednesday, Sep 21, 4:15 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. | Moscone South—309

Abstract: I will do a LIVE demo and try to create from scratch an Oracle compute instance in less than 13 minutes. Countdown stops after I am root in the virtual machine.

Infrastructure as a service (IaaS) is the fastest-growing area of public cloud computing. Oracle Cloud IaaS, with built-in security and high availability, offers elastic compute, networking, and storage to help any company quickly reach both value and productivity. This presentation covers the benefits of Oracle IaaS over other cloud providers, and shows how fast and easy it is to set up IaaS services in Oracle Cloud.

3. Lift and Shift onto Oracle Database Exadata Cloud Service Using Database Consolidation Advisor [CON1125]
Julian Dontcheff, Global Database Lead, Accenture
Thursday, Sep 22, 12:00 p.m. – 12:45 p.m. | Marriott Marquis—Salon 12

Abstract: Dedicated to OEM 13c newest feature: Database Consolidation Workbench. I will give 13 database consolidation strategy tips for DBAs.

Oracle Database Exadata Cloud Service provides service instances that contain a full Oracle Database hosted on Oracle Exadata inside Oracle Cloud. This presentation is about best practices on how to migrate and consolidate Oracle databases onto Oracle Database Exadata Cloud Service. It covers the three phases—planning, migration, and validation—of Oracle’s database consolidation workbench that helps in end-to-end consolidation of databases and enables consolidation of more databases on the same Oracle Exadata system, both on premises and in the public cloud.

If you are reading this post, I welcome you to join my talks at OpenWorld. Thank you in advance. Please join also other presentation from our team: The Accenture Enkitec Group. Here are the remaining talks:

Who Wins the Oracle Database in the Cloud Bake-Off? [CON5672]
Christopher Pasternak, Managing Director, Accenture
Robby Robertson, Sr. Manager, Accenture
Richard Miners, Senior Infrastructure Principal, Accenture
Tuesday, Sep 20, 12:15 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. | Moscone South—309

Maximizing Oracle Exadata Database Machine Reliability with Oracle EXAchk [CON1142]
Andy Colvin, Infrastructure Principal Director, Accenture
Thursday, Sep 22, 10:45 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. | Moscone South—302

Interfacing Raspberry Pi with Oracle Application Express [UGF5667]
Christoph Ruepprich, Programmer / Developer, Accenture Enkitec
Sunday, Sep 18, 2:15 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. | Moscone South—304

SQLd360: SQL Tuning Diagnostics Made Easy [UGF6168]
Mauro Pagano, Infrastructure Senior Principal, Accenture Enkitec Group
Sunday, Sep 18, 2:15 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. | Moscone South—302

Oracle GoldenGate and Baseball: Five Fundamentals Before Jumping to the Cloud [UGF5120]
Bobby Curtis, Infrastructure Principal, Accenture Enkitec Group
Sunday, Sep 18, 8:00 a.m. – 8:45 a.m. | Moscone West—3022

The Best Oracle Database 12c New Features for Developers and DBAs [UGF2028]
Alex Zaballa, Senior Oracle Database Administrator, Accenture Enkitec Group
Sunday, Sep 18, 8:00 a.m. – 8:45 a.m. | Moscone West—2010

Oracle Multitenant: Customer Panel [CON6563]
Randall Wilcox, Manager / Senior Manager, SAS Institute Inc.
Michael Sorrels, Sr. VP, Database Technologies, Regions Bank
Patrick Wheeler, Senior Director, Product Management, Oracle Database, Oracle
Andy Colvin, Infrastructure Principal Director, Accenture
Wednesday, Sep 21, 1:30 p.m. – 2:15 p.m. | Moscone South—301

Leveraging Oracle Database 12c Release 2 Multitenant Features [CON3075]
Kai Yu, Senior Principal Engineer, Oracle ACE Director, Dell, Inc.
Anuj Mohan, Technical Account Manager, Data Intensity
Andy Colvin, Infrastructure Principal Director, Accenture
James Czuprynski, Strategic Solutions Architect, OnX USA LLC
Deiby Gomez Gómez Robles, Oracle Database Consultant, Nuvola, S.A.
Thursday, Sep 22, 12:00 p.m. – 12:45 p.m. | Park Central—Concordia

And here is one where several AEG ACE Directors (including me) will present their point of views on new Oracle features one after each other in just few minutes:

EOUC Database ACES Share Their Favorite Database Things: Part I [UGF2630]
Debra Lilley, VP Certus Cloud Services, Certus Solutions Consulting Services Ltd
Ralf Koelling, Senior Consultant, CGI Deutschland Ltd. & Co. KG
David Kurtz, Consultant, Accenture Enkitec Group
Sunday, Sep 18, 1:00 p.m. – 1:45 p.m. | Moscone South—102

EOUC Database ACES Share Their Favorite Database Things: Part II [UGF2632]
Debra Lilley, VP Certus Cloud Services, Certus Solutions Consulting Services Ltd
Bjoern Rost, Principal Consultant, The Pythian Group Inc.
Carl Dudley, Database Administrator, Tradba
Sunday, Sep 18, 2:15 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. | Moscone South—102


P.S. I wonder how many sessions will be delivered altogether by the Enkitec group?

What’s New for Oracle Compute Cloud Service (IaaS)

In Cloud, Consolidation, DBA, IaaS on May 1, 2016 at 11:15

Behind every cloud is another cloud.” – Judy Garland

Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.” – Mark Twain

Oracle Cloud Infrastructure allows large businesses and corporations to run their workloads, replicate their networks, and back up their data and databases in the cloud. And I would say in a much easy and efficient way than any other provider!

Oracle provides a free software appliance for accessing cloud storage on-premise. The Oracle Storage Cloud Software Appliance is offered free of charge. You do not get this from Amazon. And from Azure, you do not get as much memory on a VM for a core as you get from Oracle. In addition to the hourly metered service, Oracle also provides a non-metered compute capacity with a monthly subscription so that you can provision resources up to twice the subscribed capacity. This is a way to control the budget through a predictable monthly fee rather than the less controllable pure pay-as-you-go model.

Sing_In2 provided recently an excellent overview of the Oracle Cloud Infrastructure.

Pat Shuff’s Blog describes in detail the steps for creating an Oracle Linux service on the Oracle Compute Cloud. Glynn Foster’s Blog shows how to create an Oracle Solaris VMs in the Oracle Cloud Compute Service.

Creating an Oracle Compute Service took me (the first time) less than 10 minutes. Accessing it was an immediate process. This is simple, fast, easy and most of all I had no issues whatsoever. OK, I did not find lshw but I installed it in a minute:

yum -y install lshw*
Dependency Updated:
  dbus-libs.x86_64 1:1.2.24-8.0.1.el6_6


VPN for Engineered Systems: if you need a VPN between Oracle and your own infrastructure, then go to the My Oracle Support Note 2056914.1 and follow its instructions.


Creating an Oracle Storage Volume takes about one minute! Even less, if you have done it few times.


[opc@f24074 ~]$ df -h
Filesystem      Size  Used Avail Use% Mounted on
/dev/xvda2      9.4G  1.9G  7.0G  22% /
tmpfs           7.4G     0  7.4G   0% /dev/shm
/dev/xvda1      479M   81M  369M  18% /boot

Note: before connecting to the Oracle VM from any client, remember to add the IP address(es) to the Security IP list and then update the security rules (add a new one).

Few useful links:

Oracle Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) Training Content
Using Oracle Compute Cloud Service (IaaS)
Accessing an Oracle Linux Instance Using SSH
Frequently Asked Questions for Oracle Compute Cloud Service
Troubleshooting Oracle Compute Cloud Service
Best Practices for Using Oracle Compute Cloud Service
Siebel CRM in Oracle Public Cloud IAAS
Compute Cloud Pricing / Storage Cloud Pricing / Network Cloud Service Pricing
Oracle Cloud Services Delivered in Your Data Center / Cloud Machine Documentation

Oracle Cloud Machine Operations: Roles and Responsibilities:


What’s New for Oracle Compute Cloud Service (IaaS):

– Both metered and non-metered options of Oracle Compute Cloud Service are now generally available.
– You can no longer subscribe for 50 or 100 OCPU configurations. Instead, you can specify the required number of 1 OCPU subscriptions.
– If you have a non-metered subscription, you can now provision resources up to twice the subscribed capacity. The additional usage will be charged per hour and billed monthly.
– Oracle provides images for Microsoft Windows Server 2012 R2 Standard Edition.
– Oracle provides images for Oracle Solaris 11.3.
– You can clone storage volumes by taking a snapshot of a storage volume and using it to create new storage volumes.
– You can clone an instance by taking a snapshot and using the resulting image to launch new instances.
– You can increase the size of a storage volume, even when it’s attached to an instance.
– You can now find the public and private IP addresses of each instance on the Instances page. Earlier, this information was displayed only on the instance details page of each instance.
– The CLI tool for uploading custom images to Oracle Storage Cloud Service has been updated to support various operating systems. The tool has also been renamed to uploadcli. Earlier it was called upload-img.

For more details, check What’s New for Oracle Compute Cloud Service (IaaS).


And finally, do you wonder what is the underlying hardware?

[root@f24074 ~]# lshw -short
H/W path    Device  Class      Description
                    system     HVM domU
/0                  bus        Motherboard
/0/0                memory     96KiB BIOS
/0/1                processor  Intel(R) Xeon(R) CPU E5-2690 v2 @ 3.00GHz
/0/2                processor  CPU
/0/3                processor  CPU
/0/4                processor  CPU
/0/5                memory     System Memory
/0/5/0              memory     15GiB DIMM RAM
/0/5/1              memory     15GiB DIMM RAM
/0/6                memory     96KiB BIOS
/0/7                processor  CPU
/0/8                processor  CPU
/0/9                processor  CPU
/0/a                processor  CPU
/0/b                memory     System Memory
/0/c                memory
/0/d                memory
/0/100              bridge     440FX - 82441FX PMC [Natoma]
/0/100/1            bridge     82371SB PIIX3 ISA [Natoma/Triton II]
/0/100/1.1          storage    82371SB PIIX3 IDE [Natoma/Triton II]
/0/100/1.3          bridge     82371AB/EB/MB PIIX4 ACPI
/0/100/2            display    GD 5446
/0/100/3            generic    Xen Platform Device
/1          eth0    network    Ethernet interface

Oracle Database Cloud Service vs Amazon Relational Database Service

In Cloud, Consolidation, DBA, Oracle database on February 28, 2016 at 15:00

How to compare Oracle’s Database Public Cloud with Amazon’s Relational Database Service (RDS) for enterprise usage? Let us have a look.

Oracle’s Database has 4 editions: Personal Edition, Express Edition (XE): free of charge and used by very small businesses and students, Standard Edition (SE): light version of Enterprise Edition and purpose designed to lack most features needed for running production grade workloads and Enterprise Edition (EE): provides the performance, availability, scalability, and security required for mission-critical applications.

In the comparison in this post, we will evaluate Oracle and Amazon in relation to the Enterprise Edition of Oracle’s database.


Oracle Public Database Cloud consists of 4 DB Cloud offerings: DBaaS, Virtual Image, Schema Service and Exadata Service. Here are few characterizations:

– Oracle supports Exadata, RAC & all DB options
– Simple pricing structure with published costs representing actual costs (unlimited I/Os, etc.)
– Hourly, Monthly & Annual pricing options
– Lowest cloud storage pricing across all major IaaS vendors

Amazon RDS for Oracle Database supports two different licensing models – “License Included” and “Bring-Your-Own-License (BYOL)”. In the “License Included” service model, you do not need separately purchased Oracle licenses. Here are few characterizations:

Enterprise Edition supports only db.r3.large and larger instance classes, up to db.r3.8xlarge
– Need to choose between Single-AZ (= Availability Zone) Deployment and Multi-AZ Deployment
– For Multi-AZ Deployment, Amazon RDS will automatically provision and manage a “standby” replica in a different Availability Zone (prior to failover you cannot directly access the standby, and it cannot be used to serve read traffic)
– Only 2 instance types support 10 Gigabit network: db.m4.10xlarge and db.r3.8xlarge
– Amazon RDS for Oracle is an exciting option for small to medium-sized clients and includes Oracle Database Standard Edition in it’s pricing
– Several application with limited requirements might find Amazon RDS to be a suitable platform for hosting a database
– As the enterprise requirements and resulting degree of complexity of the database solution increase, RDS is gradually ruled out as an option

So, here is high level comparison:


– Oracle’s price includes the EE license with all options
– Amazon AWS is BYOL for EE
– Prices above are based on the EU (Frankfurt) region
– Amazon’s Oracle database hour prices vary from $0.290 to $4.555 for Single AZ Deplyoments and from $0.575 to $9.105 for Multi-AZ Deployments
– Oracle’s database hour prices vary from $0.672 to $8.569


Oracle Archive Storage Pricing
Amazon Glacier Storage Pricing
Amazon Database Pricing
Oracle Database Pricing
Amazon Options for Oracle Database Engine
Oracle on Amazon RDS Support & Limitations

So, Amazon RDS is not an option if you need any of the following: Real Application Clusters (RAC), Real Application Testing, Data Guard / Active Data Guard, Oracle Enterprise Manager Grid Control, Automated Storage Management, Database Vault, Streams, Java Support, Locator, Oracle Label Security, Spatial, Oracle XML DB Protocol Server or Network access utilities such as utl_http, utl_tcp, utl_smtp, and utl_mail.

Interesting articles related to this topic:

1. Burning question for Oracle: What’s your response to Amazon? by Barb Darrow
2. Shootout: Oracle DB Cloud vs. Amazon RDS by Jan Navratil
3. The Oracle Database Cloud Service vs Oracle on Amazon RDS by Ranko Mosic
4. A Most Simple Cloud: Is Amazon RDS for Oracle Right for you? by by Jeremiah Wilton
5. Oracle RAC and AWS: A Hybrid Cloud Solution by Lindsay Van Thoen
6. How Much Does It Cost to Run Relational Database (RDS) Options on AWS by Yoav Mor
7. Oracle vs. Amazon: The Cloud Wars by Chris Lawless

Reading Data in Oracle Database 12c

In Cloud, Consolidation, Database options, DBA, Security and auditing, SQL on December 1, 2014 at 18:02

1. For DBAs and Developers, the words READ and SELECT have been for years somehow synonyms. In 12c, is there now any difference?

2. Before pluggable databases, selecting data from the SALES table for instance meant selecting data from a table called SALES in a certain SCHEMA within the database. How about if a table called SALES belongs to several pluggable databases under the same schema name?

The aim of this blog post is to shed some light on these new concepts.


1. New READ privilege.

Until Oracle the SELECT object privilege allowed users to perform the following two operations in addition to just reading data from the SALES table:


These 2 commands enabled the users to lock the rows of the SALES table.

The READ object privilege does not provide these additional privileges. For better security, grant users the READ object privilege if you want to restrict them to performing queries only.

In addition to the READ object privilege, you can grant users the READ ANY TABLE privilege to enable them to query any table in the database.

When a user who has been granted the READ object privilege wants to perform a query, the user still must use the SELECT statement. There is no accompanying READ SQL statement for the READ object privilege.

The GRANT ALL PRIVILEGES TO user SQL statement includes the READ ANY TABLE system privilege. The GRANT ALL PRIVILEGES ON object TO user statement includes the READ object privilege.

If you want the user only to be able to query tables, views, materialized views, or synonyms, then grant the READ object privilege. For example:



2. Querying a table owned by a common user across all PDBs.

Consider the following scenario:

– The container database has several pluggable databases, i.e., it has a separate PDB for each different office location of the company.
– Each PDB has a SALES table that tracks the sales of the office, i.e., the SALES table in each PDB contains different sales information.
– The root container also has an empty SALES table.
– The SALES table in each container is owned by the same common user.

To run a query that returns all of the sales across the company connect to each PDB as a common user, and create a view with the following statement:


The common user that owns the view must be the same common user that owns the sales table in the root. After you run this statement in each PDB, the common user has a view named sales in each PDB.

With the root as the current container and the common user as the current user, run the following query with the CONTAINERS clause to return all of the sales in the sales table in all PDBs:


You can also query the view in specific containers. For example, the following SQL statement queries the view in the containers with a CON_ID of 3 and 4:


3. Delegate.

Something else: staring, when granting a role to a user, you can specify the WITH DELEGATE OPTION clause. Then the grantee can do the following two things:

A) Grant the role to a program unit in the grantee’s schema
B) Revoke the role from a program unit in the grantee’s schema


All databases are equal, but some databases are more equal than others

In Cloud, Consolidation, DBA on December 28, 2013 at 12:45

Building database services based on Exadata, Oracle Enterprise Manager and Oracle Database 12c is a powerful combination, especially if implemented properly and by skillful DBAs.

A recent article of Forbes Magazine explains why Database as a Service (DBaaS) will be the Breakaway Technology of 2014. The 451 research report estimated that DBaaS providers generated revenue of $150 million in 2012, but that revenue will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 86% to reach $1.8 billion by 2016.

By paraphrasing “Animal Farm” author George Orwell, Oracle’s Alexander Wolfe stated that some DBaaS offerings provide a lot more services than others. I would like to clarify why this is indeed so true.


What is DBaaS?

Kellyn Pot’vin from Enkitec says that Database as a Service (DBaaS) is an architectural and operational approach enabling DBAs to deliver database functionality as a service to internal and/or external customers.

According to, Database-as-a-Service (DBaaS) is a service that is managed by a cloud operator (public or private) that supports applications, without the application team assuming responsibility for traditional database administration functions.

Technopedia says that Database-as-a-service (DbaaS) is a cloud computing service model that provides users with some form of access to a database without the need for setting up physical hardware, installing software or configuring for performance.

Kellyn’s definition is the way I understand it based on my experience at least. The other two definitions makes me feel like one can also define easily Compression-as-a-service or Temporary-tablespace-as-a-service.

Regardless of how the essence of DbaaS is set with words, it is all about simplifying, enhancing and automating database provisioning, monitoring, administration, security and operational efficiency. In short, centralizing and harmonizing the database administration.

Although I wrote above simplifying, still it means more like reducing the complexity and having a simplification plan than ending with an elementary and transparent database environment. Though I have seen that this is doable but mostly in power point presentations.

Now, the reference architecture of “Databases as a Service” can be found here. But most of the white papers and reference notes that one can find on the web are made for decision makers, not for implementers. The really though is that DbaaS is DBA driven. Regardless of how cunning plan on how to implement DbaaS a company has, it is still very much up to the ones who implement the service: their skills, practical knowledge and experience. So, here is the DBA cookbook.


A very experienced DBA team can offer a much more services than another. Highly experienced Database Architects can enable businesses to deploy new databases quickly, securely, and cheaply. What is part of the service varies and business is often not even aware of what to request.

The long list of what can be included in the service and how the implementation is handled is not part of this blog post but all database experts know that if implemented properly, DbaaS will lead to:

Harmonized environment:
– Less time needed for database management
– Easier monitoring
– Less unexpected problems
– Stronger security
Less cost:
– Less databases licenses
– Less storage needed
– Less memory and CPU needed
Better performance
– Standard parameterization and settings
– Regular common reorganization

So, why do some DBaaS offerings provide a lot more services than others? The Forbes article sums up the flexibility inherent in the DBaaS model by apply the “Burger King” analogy: DBaaS lets you have it your way. And it comes up with its pros and cons. In order to always have the upper hand, I always try to follow some simple principles:

– not more than 2 database version including the patchset levels
– databases should not run on more than 2 different operating systems
– at least 2 environments for every database: never end up with just productions
– standby database/replica/ADG for every mission critical database
– 2 OEM environments: either PROD and non-PROD or primary and secondary data center
– 2 DBAs to verify every important DB change
– at minimum 2 RMAN catalogs: one for PROD and one for non-PROD
– do not mix 2 databases based on different COTS software (like SAP and Siebel for example)

In a DbaaS, all databases are equal, however for business some databases are often more important than the others. DBAs are aware of this and they know how to handle this nontrivial complexity.