Category Archives: Development

#Oracle cutting in inspiration and new business?


Over the many years Oracle has been leading the database world, I guess they are now taking something of a wrong turn.
Let me briefly fill you in on my thoughts.

Basically I see two “minor” shifts that are significantly indicative of this:

  1. Oracle Standard Edition 2
  2. Oracle ACE Program

Okay, so you might think I am crazy, but let me try to explain.

Oracle Standard Edition 2

Sometime last year, the long expected, anticipated…, dreaded perhaps even, change to the Oracle database licensing strategy was there.

Oracle Standard Edition (SE) and Oracle Standard Edition One (SE1) licenses were addressed.
There was A LOT of debate on this, I mean, A LOT. Discussions which ran all the way back to HQ, and were driven by passionate people inside and outside of Oracle, inside and outside of the Oracle community… To no avail.

It had been very clear for quite a long time that the SE / SE1 strategy was nothing short of unsustainable inside the Oracle licensing realm. Even though, Oracle SE and SE1 enabled many projects and customers to adopt the phenomenal Oracle technology for their projects. It has some limitations, but with smart thinking and smart planning, a lot of projects could be run with Oracle SE(1). “I am such a good DBA, I can even do it with Oracle Standard Edition!”
Alas, we now have Oracle Standard Edition 2 (SE2) with a new and upgraded price of US 17k (!!) making this solution rather out of the question for many of the projects meant in the above. Please note that SE1 already was a significant investment for some of the projects I have learned to know over the years in regions as the Baltics and Africa.
Yes, of course, I know you can do all of this “In the cloud”. But with the limitation that there are hardly any CSPs (Cloud Service Providers 😉 that enable you to make use of the “cheaper” Oracle license. If you want to leverage your local cloud vendor (mind my word-choice here) it’s BYOL (Bring Your Own License) and, voila, you’re done in for anyway.

Hence, the first significant “shift” in Oracle’s span of attention for new business, creativity and growth…

Oracle ACE Program

More recently there was also a change in the Oracle ACE Program. Which has also led to much debate. But… that bit of the change I am not referring too, I am referring to the bit that does not affect me directly…

Oracle has a small number of very highly appreciated and “industry leading” community advocates called “Oracle ACE Directors”. These people not only have a deep knowledge of everything that is happening in this corner “of the industry”, but are also very passionate about sharing this knowledge. Sharing with Oracle Users, sharing with stakeholders within the Oracle organization, basically, with everyone with a hunger for knowledge around the technology.

For this, these Directors had a few privileges. When the invested their time and their energy in traveling this globe to share, Oracle would support them in some of their travel expenses. This always had the air of “wow, they are paid”. Believe me, it was bare minimal support, just a flying ticket and a hotel-bed to a previously approved conference, when they actually were accepted to do a talk. Nothing shiny, nothing business-classy…

Until now. With the changes to the system, also these modest privileges for the Directors have seized to be.

There was my second significant “shift” in Oracle’s span of attention for new business, creativity and growth…

It has me worried… I should not worry, as it does not affect my day-to-day business… yet.

Albeit we have this cool tech, with PL/SQL, with APEX, with all the features, options and what not, to create solutions that could really better the word (I also firmly believe this).

Oracle is just closing this door, and my toes were still in the doorway, so that hurts.

This was my rant, hope it helps.


#DOAG2016, definitely a crazy week.

#DOAG2016, the largest Oracle Community gathering in Europe. Taking place in Nuremberg, at the Nuremberg Convention Center NCC, one of the more impressive places to hold such a conference, towering 4 stories high, with a big central atrium!!
It is a huge effort to get all of this together!

In this blog-post I want to highlight some of the crazy things I experienced this week… And… I did try to follow my own schedule, but I wasn’t overly successful.

Young talent

One of the things that was somehow quite clear this week, is that we have a lot of young talent out there, eager to learn and share experiences. It is not just the #NextGen “movement” of DOAG, of which Carolin Hagemann made me aware, but just young people on the conference itself.

Discussing “Young PL/SQL” at the unconference session made us all aware that our part of the IT trade is no very sexy and popular with the youngsters. This all despite what was mentioned above. In universities we train SQL, but we don’t train to create real-life business applications, leveraging the power of the one language that keeps SQL close to the data it feasts on, PL/SQL. But, more on that below (Thick Database Paradigm).
To promote PL/SQL, basically two ground requirements were defined:

  1. Create a free ‘PDB as a Service’ for schools;
  2. Inspire teachers to talk about data centric computing

By finding somebody to be regionally or globally owner of this quest, it should be possible to get young professionals as familiar using PL/SQL for creating performant and business-ready applications as they were familiar using Microsoft Excel to do their accounting “back in the days”

ACE program

“There is a disturbance in the force!”

For everybody not acquainted with the Oracle ACE Program by the Oracle Technology Network… You should be!! Please read up, as it is an incredible cool initiative.

The disturbance, you ask?
Well, to retain your “status”, Oracle expects you to do “stuff” and this “stuff” is then evaluated on a yearly basis. Basically the initiative, the disturbance, is to get some transparency in “the stuff”. And, as always, everybody wants change, but few actually are good at “change”. There are rimples and things that change, but in the end; everything will be fine, unless, obviously, when it will not be fine.

Talks

I was honored to (co)host to talks at #DOAG2016:

Bad Boys of Replication – Changing everything…
With Oracle ACED and good friend Björn Rost, about an intense migration project we did some time ago. We were even offered to host our talk in Tokio, the biggest hall at DOAG!

Saving lives at sea at an industrial scale using Oracle Cloud Technology
An insightful (at least I like to think so) talk with my colleague Oliver Limberg. The talk is about the rapid development of a global portal for the maritime logistics branch.

I had a blast, and I hope you did too!

Community spirit

Oracle User Group conferences are about sharing and are about fun. Mr. Martin Widlake wrote a good post about that.

Apart from all the “more formal” things that happened, there were quite a few extracurricular activities, mostly involving an Irish Pub or a restaurant.

This all may sound quite funny and exciting, and, yes, it is alto talk with your co-workers: “Oh, hey, you are going to have fun and party all week!” Of course it is not a drag and a bore, but it has very profound function!
Whenever you run into trouble, these are the exact same people that are not only able, but probably also inclined to help you out, as you would help them out, as friends do among each other. In the end, they, you, your boss and your clients benefit. This is not to be underestimated too much.

The extra, special bit, that DOAG offers are the so called “unconference sessions”.
Not scheduled, no slides, nothing official, just getting together and discussing subjects of interest. Our “Young PL/SQL” was one of these “unconference session”, which turned out to be a great (and valuable) success!

Meeting people

Just to name a few, heroes of long and of yet to come for #DOAG2016:

Dietmar Neugebauer
Frank Dernoncourt
Joel Kallman
Johannes Ahrends
Kamil Stawiarski
Laurent Leturgez
Maja Veselica
Marcel Hofstetter
Piet de Visser
Sabine Heimsath
Stefan Kinnen
Stew Ashton
Uwe Hesse
Zoran Pavlovic
And alle the ones I forget to mention here!!

Thick Database Paradigm

Noting new in IT…

Well, no.

The Thick Database Paradigm (opposed to the “No PL/SQL Paradigm”) is nothing new. We have actually all been doing this since the eighties. Program your business rules, your constraints, everything that makes sure that your data is all that you want it to be, close to that data.
There are so many reasons that speak in favor of this approach that it is nearly overwhelming and deserves at least a book in itself. But, let me make a small attempt to highlighting a few here:

  • spare yourself network bandwidth, by not sending data all over your network to be processed
  • safeguard your data inside the (Oracle) database, so it can be protected by all that has been invented to do so
  • Transact data where it lives and combine and aggregate it there, you will be amazed by the efficiency
  • Remind yourself why you used to think “business logic in middle teer” was a good idea

If you leave possibile religious believes aside, there is no other conclusion possible then that the reinvention of “Thick Database” is the (re)discovery of 2016, right from the time when IT still made sense.

Yes, there are cases where an “Enterprise Service Bus” makes sense, but, as with every technology withing IT, it has a very specific area where it actually adds value or even makes sense. At best, a lot less than all the places where it is used currently!
Not to get carried away in this joyful blog-post, I will leave this topic at this.

The end

I hope to see you at the next Oracle User Group conference, somewhere… Please watch for the asterisk at his page for the conferences that I will attend.

#DBADev (Ops), who knows what is going on…

I have been considering writing this article for quite some time now.
APEX Connect 2016 in Germany’s capital Berlin and the DOAG Database days have finally persuaded me to talk more about #DBADev, let me explain why…

Whenever in the stone age…

During my career as DBA, I was always working closely together with Oracle Forms & Reports developers. In retrospect, the cooperation in that time was remarkable.
These Forms & Reports developers had always been used to working on a host-based platform.

For those of you who actually remember Oracle Forms & Reports and wonder…
Was there ever Forms & Reports host based?
Yes there was, but it is creepily long ago!!

Because of the nature of Forms & Reports, there always was a lot of consideration about where to place application code. This especially became true when PL/SQL was introduced and the migration to Oracle Forms & Reports 6.5 came about.
This brought the transition to client/server based computing and introduced physical distance between the database and the “front-end”.
Front-end between quotation marks, as in today’s world we don’t actually know “front-end” anymore in this same qualification. The “Frond-end” was always more elegantly and fittingly described as a “fat-client”, because of the sheer size of the software and utilities that were required on the end-users workstation.

The physical separation and distance between the presentation entity and the data manipulation engine required and inspired a lot of thought and debate on where the bulk of data processing had to be done.
You can imagine the impact of having a specific data manipulation done inside an Oracle Form that lived on a desktop on the other end of the network. Especially when the required data set is large. Having 1,000 records being fetched, where 2 where manipulated and then send back in bulk, repeated 100 times, 4 times a minute on a 10 Mbps network. OK, clear, that needs to be done smarter.
The solution: work with small data sets and do database side manipulation to limit client/server communication. And actually, that worked quite well!!

All good and fine… But how does this tie in to #DBADev? This already sounds so harmonious. And how could APEX Connect 2016 have inspired this article?

Well… Let’s see

Later on, I found that this cooperation appeared to be not so normal.
If you step out of the world of client-server computing and move on to “todays world”, that started more or less in the nineties with web based computing – or cloud-computing “avant la lettre“ or “my stuff on your computer” or however you describe it – you find a world that consists of “strange things”.
I find these things “strange things” because I believe they are suboptimal, and luckily I find myself not alone in this corner.
Suboptimal in a way that data manipulation solutions (lets call them applications for now) should be considered to be database agnostic. This independence dictates that you use the database as just a data store or even more accurately, as a persistency store. Blane Carter 2 minute TechTip

In another scenario these applications are designed and build by developers who are very good at creating intuitive and sharp looking user interfaces. Unfortunately often with a lesser developed understanding of the mechanics involved in dishing up and serving data to this newly established middle tier.

With the continuing professionalization of IT over the past 20 years, we have seen the creation of a wide variety of disciplines. These range from those who think about IT (architects, managers, designers) to those who build IT (programmers, engineers) to those who run IT (system administrators, operators) and the majority of these disciplines today are self-contained groups of professionals and specialists who excel at their own game. Basically that is good as the profession is wide and complex enough to support this.
The problem is that there is no longer anyone who has the whole picture.

Bring it on / together!

apex-logoAPEX Connect 2016, to me personally, was the first time I really saw #DBADev in practice. With the following two examples I want to illustrate my inspiration.

The first talk of this genre was @alexnuijten with his confessions, and subsequent smart tips and best practices in “Structuring an APEX application”.
As a pure database developer like Alex, you are automatically more prone to thinking about “DBA-stuff”. A lot of these best practices, although they are very database centric, like using a view for each application screen, are obviously primarily there to help the developer. And, don’t get me wrong, that is a very good thing! Alex inspires to try and combine the best of both worlds, which helps getting the most out of your application, your database, and therewith frankly, out of your total investment.

The second example was the information-packed presentation by Dietmar Aust @daust_de, called “Oracle APEX Scripting – die Kommandozeile ist Dein Freund“ (the command line is your friend).
Much more than “just about developing”, this presentation bridged gaps in more than one way. Perhaps it is even #DBADevOps if you think about it.

The recent DOAG Database days held a few additional surprises with the presence of @cczarski and @nielsdb. A very will pitched presentation by Bruno Cirone really sparked the growing interest in the topic!!

It is funny how an idea that was initiated some 18 months ago, conceived together with Sabine Heimsath @flederbine has grown and evolved out of natural demand. For me, this is one other aspect of the industry, where APEX is setting new frontiers.
With a growing awareness and more people recognizing the gap, the deficits it is bringing and the benefits cooperation brings, I have good hopes.

APEX is not only the technology that enables you to create web-based apps super quickly, it is also the technology that brings developers and DBA’s truly closer to each other, ensuring a maximum bang for the buck when it comes to utilizing your database infrastructure investments!
I am not saying we are there, but this is definitely a first step in the right direction!

My picks, no, Agenda… for UKOUG_Tech15

I went over the agenda for UKOUG_Tech15 and took my picks & suggestions.
Then I thought, why not share these…

MONDAY

The Oracle Database In-Memory Option: Challenges & Possibilities
Christian Antognini – Trivadis AG

Standard Edition Something for the Enterprise or the Cloud?
Ann Sjökvist – SE – JUST LOVE IT

All about Table Locks: DML, DDL, Foreign Key, Online Operations,…
Franck Pachot – DBi Services

Silent but Deadly : SE Deserves Your Attention
Philippe Fierens – FCP
Co-presenter(s): Jan Karremans – JK-Consult (Having a link here would be silly, right)

Oracle SE – RAC, HA and Standby are Still Available. Even Cloud!
Chris Lawless – Dbvisit

SE DBA’s Life a Bed of Roses?
Ann Sjökvist – SE – JUST LOVE IT

Oracle Standard Edition Round Table
Joel Goodman – Oracle
Co-presenter(s): Ann Sjokvist, Philippe Fierens, Jan Karremans

TUESDAY

Watch out for #RepAttack… all day long!!
And earn your RepAttack badge-ribbon…

Advanced ASH Analytics: ASHmasters
Kyle Hailey – Delphix

Community Keynote – Dominic Giles

Oracle BI Cloud Service – Moving Your Complete BI Platform to the Cloud
Mark Rittman – Rittman Mead

Infiniband for Engineerd Systems
Klaas-Jan Jongsma – VX Company

Oracle Database In-Memory Option – Under the Hood
Maria Colgan – Oracle

Do an Oracle Data Guard Switchover without Your Applications Even Knowing
Marc Fielding – Pythian

Using Oracle NoSQL to Prioritise High Value Customers
James Anthony – RedStack tech

WEDNESDAY

HA for Single Instance Databases without Breaking the Bank
Niall Litchfield – Markit

Database Password Security
Pete Finnigan – PeteFinnigan.com

Connecting Oracle & Hadoop
Tanel Poder – PoderC LLC

Enterprise Use Cases for Internet of Things
Lonneke Dikmans – eProseed
Co-presenter(s): Luc Bors – eProseed

Bad Boys of On-line Replication – Changing Everything
Bjoern Rost – portrix Systems GmbH
Co-presenter(s): Jan Karremans – JK-Consult

RMAN 12c Live : It’s All About Recovery,Recovery,Recovery
René Antúnez – Pythian

Hopefully it will attend you to some interesting session for you!

Kscope15, a celebration of tech…

Kscope15 promised to be a brand new experience in more than one way.

Kscope15LogoAs I start to write this report, I am flying from Düsseldorf airport to Atlanta. It will be the first time flying to the United States with a stopover, and because of Erik van Roon, I came prepared. With just carry-on luggage, I should end up at my final destination, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, together with my ‘stuff’. I am flying Delta Airlines this time, and for an airline that promises just a ‘lunch’ during the 9 hours flight, they do come up with a lot of food…

My colleagues of FOEX have already arrived at the event-venue and are setting up our booth.

On arrival at Fort Lauderdale airport, I am scheduled to meet-up with distinguished product manager for PL/SQL and EBR, Bryn Llewellyn. From there, we would travel to Hallandale Beach to check into our hotels. This plan was only hindered by sheer force of wind shear at Atlanta International, which delayed my flight.

The first day, the Sunday, started off with a boiling walk to the Diplomat hotel. Upon registration I was pleasantly surprised that FOEX had graciously upgraded my conference pass to a full pass, which is cool as I get to attend sessions! And the kind ladies of ODTUG had even attached an ACE Associate ribbon to my name-tag, of which I am kind of proud.

I had so many cool meet-ups and run-ins at Kscope. Just to name a few new friends in no particular order:

Of course I spent most of my time in the APEX and database development tracks. If you look at the momentum that APEX is generating, I think we can safely say that we are making a difference… We can say with confidence: #LetsWreckThisTogether!

The “together” bit was beautifully expressed by Joel Kallman as you could hear a pin drop when Carl Backstrom and Scott Spadafore of the APEX team were remembered…

But still there is a lot of work that has to be done to further spread the word on APEX. I guess I have had at least 4 conversations where I had the opportunity to talk about and explain APEX to people who were still oblivious. That is one of the most rewarding this to do.

Nikki beachThe week passed so quickly and most experiences are becoming great memories very quickly now. The countless meet ups with friend and heroes from the Oracle world, the white party at Nikki Beach and the after party at The Mansion and of course the Oracle content which was dished out with great quality.

Just on more thing… Travelling Über is the best! I have been doing this in San Francisco and used the service here to get back to the airport. Why would you take a taxi with this service around? Because of the way it works, the drivers I have met, have been much more friendly than regular ‘cabbies’. I would recommend this any day.

So, now I am heading home, hanging in the sky somewhere between Fort Lauderdale and Atlanta. Thinking back on Roel’s blog post on his first Kscope… will this have changed my life? Quite possibly, but on the other hand things could not get much more crazy than they have been over the last 6 to 12 months!!

If you are looking to read up on the business side of things, please check out the FOEX blog!

Please also don’t forget to check out the #Kscope15 hash tag on Twitter and remember, when you are at an Oracle conference, also use the #orclconf as additional hash tag. This will help to make it even easier to follow your favorite tech-community on-line!

Register redo-log manually with Divisit Replicate

For those of you who haven’t been working with on-line data replication; in short, it is a way to copy data from a source database to a target database and do this on-line (both databases are active) and do it near-real-time.
This means that when you enter data in you source database, you can immediately query it from your target database. This makes on-line data replication ideal for numerous tasks, like moving and / or upgrading your database while it is being used, with almost no downtime at all.

This tale is of an actual project that I conducted. I used Dbvisit Replicate as my tool of choice.

dbvisit-replicate-logical-replication-made-easy-18-638Dbvisit Replicate can use a so-called FETCHER process to act as the “long-arm” for the MINE process. Mining extracts the information from the redo-log files, but, in specific situations, this can be too much of an overhead for the source database server. By moving the MINE to a proxy server, this overhead can be significantly reduced.

In some cases it can be useful to manually transfer redo-log files to the mining stage directory of Dbvisit.
I came across this requirement when catching up a lot of redo from a RAC database. In this case, the RAC cluster creates two streams of redo. When starting the replication processes, the first thread is transferred by FETCHER from the source server to the proxy, before the second thread is transferred. This means mining will pause until the second thread successful delivers the first redo-log file of the second thread. The redo-log information from the second stream is necessary to create consistent and chronologically ordered SQL-statements for the target database. In effect, the SCN’s from first redo-log information of the first stream need to line up with the SCN’s of the second redo-log information.

In this case, this meant having to wait a day or more before mining can start. This is why I decided to copy a number of redo-log files from the source server to the proxy server, where the MINE process is running, manually.
After the copy, the files need to be registered with in the dbvrep-repository. Without this information, the MINE process has no knowledge of the files that are present and about what their contents are.

The update is an easy insert statement, but it should be handled with care, as this needs to be quite precise and it needs a bit of specific information about the redo-log files being added.
You can use the following insert statement to register the files:

insert into dbvrp.dbrsmine_redo_log_history
       (
       ddc_id
     , mine_process_name
     , sequence
     , thread
     , resetlogs_id
     , first_scn
     , next_scn
     , online_name
     , arch_name
     , read_count
     , from_fetcher
     , last_mine_start
     , last_mine_end
     , create_date
     , last_change_date
       )
values
       (
       1
     , ‘MINE’
     , 128779 -- sequence number of the copied file;
     , 2 -- assuming you are updating this thread.
     , 804864915 -- the reset-logs id from the redo-log file
     , 199910296688 -- the first scn from the redo-log file
     , 199911476897 -- the next scn from the redo-log file
     , null
     , ‘/u01/app/oracle/some-big-storage/dbvrep-mine/mine-stage/thread_2_seq_128719.1485.804864915’
       -- full path and name of the file
     , 0
     , ‘Y'
     , null
     , null
     , sysdate
     , sysdate
       )
;

And you can get the information you need about the files here:

select lh.sequence#
     , di.resetlogs_id
     , lh.first_change#
     , lh.next_change#
  from v$log_history lh
 inner join v$database_incarnation di
 using (resetlogs_change#)
 where sequence# = 128779
;

After registering the first file for the second thread, in the Replicate-console, you can watch the MINE process kick off. This process will then again halt after the first file of the second stream is processed in parallel with the first file of the first stream.

Schermafbeelding 2015-05-31 om 21.23.11

I kept adding files until the FETCHER process was able to take over, or you could do this until you test-case or PoC is over.

Complex UI’s versus Simple UI’s

A few days ago I attended the AMIS UX & UI event.

During this interesting event, Niels Mansveld from AMIS presented about UX Frameworks. And he started off his presentation with an illustration about how user interfaces can create an “experience”, so to say. This illustration was a movie clip by Pixar, taken from the movie “Lifted”. It was so funny and, if you would watch it, you immediately know what Niels meant!

lifted uiThe day after I thought to show this movie at home and I found the YouTube link (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pY1_HrhwaXU). When I watched the clip, I realized that there was a second part to the preview, which Niels had left out, probably because of time concerns.
What struck me is actually the following…

I have seen quite a few views on user interfaces lately… Most of them talk about having clean and intuitive layouts and that it is important to think thoroughly about this. Shakeeb Rahman and Ultan O’broin are names that pop into my mind when thinking about this, and these gentleman are very clear about this!
Clean, intuitive UI’s make the Enterprise thrive!

Okay, but, as said, the clip went on for a little bit!TOAD saves

The second half tells the story of the Toad saving the situation, by using this same ultra intricate interface! By knowing what knob did which function, he was super-quick in saving the day!
Now, what would that mean?

Having a clean and intuitive layout may not be the ultimate solution in any situation, regardless! Having an application with a learning curve (not immediately judging the steepness of this learning curve is not always bad. If this interface helps the professional do his/her job in just a fraction of the time, because he/she knows what button to push, I think it’s a good thing.
I have to admit, there were one or two remarks about this in the flashing demo by Paco van der Linden… Bit I guess it is too little emphasized.

cockpitThere are several applications where these, more complicated interfaces do a superb job in helping the task at hand. And, as with anything, don’t blindly follow “best practices”, also in designing user interfaces!
Step back and think what would work best in your situation!

Hope this helps!

Updating SQL Developer to use newer Java version

I was being teased by SQL Developer.

Everytime I started it came nagging about that it was being forced to live in an old Java version called jdk1.7.0_45 and that is was not feeling happy about it.
So, I should remedy this, I thought to myself.

First visit was, inspired by some search-work on the WWW, a file called product.conf. Which offered two possiblities:

java

SetJavaHome to some logical location
or
SetJavaHome to nothing, and then SQL Developer would kindly ask me to point it to somwhere to live.

Well… no. My SQL Developer refused it all and just started with this jdk 1.7.

Same hack done in another file on another location, a file called sqldeveloper.conf.
Same result.

Freshly downloaded SQL Developer, put in place… No help!

Erm…

Rename
drwxr-xr-x  3 root  wheel  102 Jan  6  2014 jdk1.7.0_45.jdk
in /Library/Java/JavaVirtualMachines
to
drwxr-xr-x  3 root  wheel  102 Jan  6  2014 xxx-jdk1.7.0_45.jdk

Nope! Still the same nagging…

What now?

In the end, I wound up with one of Jeff Smits’s helpers.
This guy aksed me to “start SQL Developer from the commandline”. Right, but how?

So I finally found:
/Applications/SQLDeveloper.app/Contents/MacOS/sqldeveloper.sh

And that did start SQL Developer from the command-line…

But… wait… an .sh-file!! Interesting!!

And, behold… in this .sh-file lies the answer:sqldev_startup1

So the file reads:
export JAVA_HOME=`/usr/libexec/java_home -v 1.7`
Which I hacked to:
export JAVA_HOME=`/usr/libexec/java_home -v 1.8`

And, presto, error-message gone and SQL Developer now happily lives in Java 8.

Hope this helps somebody out!!

Setting up SQL Instant Client on MAC

In doing more work directly from my Macbook Air, I ran into a situation where native connectivity to an Oracle environment was needed.Connectivity over Oracle Instant Client
From experience I have always been a big fan of the Full Oracle client, just because it comes with a lot of tools and utilities for troubleshooting, which makes the actual experience a bit more pleasant.
Looking & asking around, though, I learned fairly quickly that this client is just not available for Mac OSX… Thanks to Osama Mustafa for confirming.

So, a fact, although quite a number of IT pro’s are working with Mac!

This leaves no other choise than to divert to the Oracle Instant Client 11, which then, indeed, is just an 11g Instant Client (11.2.0.4)!
It would humor me if Oracle were to bring out a 12c Full Client for Mac, as well as an instant client, if someone would so desire.
To have some more tooling around the client, I downloaded all the packages including at least SQL*Plus.

Though the install process is relatively straight forward (download the archives and unzip them in place) getting SQL*Plus to actually run is a somewhat different ballgame!
As usual, when you start a tool, you’re bombarded by messages about unfound dynamic libraries. This set me (very briefly) on a path to place these files where they were expected on my Mac.

In a place like:

/ade/b/2649109290/oracle/sqlplus/lib

for instance, you would need to place a number of these libraries.
This leaves you with the option to populate your system with all these specific libraries, which is of course just fine, but not my choice (think of the mess in ever having to clean up) and especially not when it can be avoided.

A quick search pointed me to this excellent blogpost by Casey Lucas about this exact same issue. With a tool called ‘otool’* applied as suggested, I am now able to run SQL*Plus natively on my Mac without error messages.

* otool – object file displaying tool
If you need it, call it from the command line. It will install this and other development tools on your Mac.

That is nice, but it’s just only over halfway there.

manneke stopt de stekker erin

 

Now I want something where I can just run:
sqlplus <username>@<database>
without intricate connect-strings.

 

 

This leaves one minor “hack”, or rather “edit” required, your .bash_profile needs a bit of a path addition and an environment setting:
alias ll="ls -l"
export TNS_ADMIN=/Applications/instantclient_11_2
export PATH=/Applications/instantclient_11_2:$PATH

Note: the alias was already in there 😉

To top it off, I created a small tnsnames.ora in the directory with the instant client (keeping all related files neatly tucked away together)

xesource =
(DESCRIPTION =
(ADDRESS =
(PROTOCOL = TCP)
(HOST = 192.168.56.66)
(PORT = 1521)
)
(CONNECT_DATA =
(SERVER = DEDICATED)
(SID = xe)
)
)

And voila, goal acquired.

sqlplus usera@xesource
Never specify the password on the command line. Not only will it be shown, it will also be sent (most probably) unencrypted over SQL*Net

My Oracle 2014, what a blast…

Twenty-fourteen… What a year!

As the year draws to a close, I just wanted to take a few minutes to look back at the passed crazy 12 months… Crazy from a personal as well as a professional point of view!

ougfIn June things took off for the Oracle stuff with a visit to OUGF14. My second real talk after starting to speak in UKOUG-Tech13. Plus the bonus, the first ever Round Table on Oracle Standard Edition, together with my friend Philippe Fierens and the support of Ann Sjökvist. Always imagined, never experienced, the way technology binds people. For all the events happening in Haltia, Finland, please read this post.
OUFG14 was also where I met Gurcan Orhan for the first time. My partner in (hard) rockin’ Oracle stuff!! Together with my international peers, we have quite a team and this makes me super proud.

I owe an apology to the Scotts! I should have been in Linlithgow presenting. I was honored to be selected to travel to the beautiful city of Edinburgh in one of the most beautiful parts of the world, but there were to many things going on, so I had to cancel. I am so sorry!!Scotland

The next stop on the agenda was Oracle Open World. But before I could pack my bags, up and leave, there was A LOT of work to be done at VIR e-Care Solutions coordinating and rolling out a brand new Oracle infrastructure to all of their clients.
And not alone that, there was a trip to Hamburg for Dbvisit with a presentation at the DOAG Data Replication SIG meeting, organized by Johannes Ahrends. Of course, also Björn Rost was present, plus a number of the other representatives of the data replication scene in Germany.

Oracle Open World was not the high-point of 2014, which was somewhat surprising, actually… I cannot really put my finger on it, because the days were packed with good stuff, unexpected encounters and many more goodies… But somehow, the second time around, and with a lot more OUG-experience, it didn’t crack up to be event Numero Uno of 2014! I can safely say, looking back, that national Oracle User Group events are more interesting. You get to have more quality time with the people you just get to meet a few times a year.
Still, with all the content and with everything that happened… And especially the lunch with Martin NStretchedLimoash in the sun at the CCM as well as the unparalleled drive by Stretched Limo to Treasure Island, hosted by Portrix (Henning and Björn) with Yuri Velikanov, Ilmar Kerm and others. I am not complaining!!

Coming back from America there was a huge surprise and honor for me.

ACEAssociateNominated by my peers, Oracle Corp. saw it fit to award my efforts for the Oracle Community with the Oracle ACE Associate recognition. I had never thought or expected this to be a possibility for me, so this was a complete surprise which started a chain of events, ending at the end of this post.

The final event for 2014 was the DOAG Jahreskonferenz in Nuremberg. I guess the biggest event in Europe and the biggest even for me by means of contributions. I had my “Pre-APEX” talk, there was the second edition of the Standard Edition Round Table, co-hosted by Philippe and chaired by Johannes Ahrends!! What a shock 😉 There was the Data Replication forum and Dbvisit #RepAttack!
DOAG also, and again, brought a sheer endless list of new and re-encounters with Oracle Hero’s. My good friend Peter Raganitsch was also there…

At the end of the year, you would think that you would be “home free”, right?

Well 2014 had a last trick up it’s sleeve! The year ended with me saying goodbye at VIR e-Care Solutions BV. After 16 years we had to decide to break up. It’s like tearing off a band-aid. You do it quick and it hurts less, but still…

So, I am a free man!

With this last development, set in the light of everything I had the chance of doing this year, it has been a great deal to handle. The first visit to Oracle Open World, back in 2010 has started a chain of events that has invoked some quite unforeseen twists and turns. It all looks and feels like it has been worth it, but it has indeed taken it’s toll.
Currently I am enjoying some well deserved but also much needed time off with my wife and family and I will start thinking about new ventures in a bit.
Please take a look here and here for some more information!!

Rest assured, there are some new ideas and they are EXCITING!!!
One of them being that  I will be speaking at #OUGN15, better known as the boat conference, with a brand new talk.
But hey, we’re looking back here and I wouldn’t want to spoil too much of the surprise.

Stay tuned…