Category Archives: Standard Edition

DOAG 2014, Nüremberg visited


Traveling to Nuremberg, anticipating three days of Oracle submersion. There are so many speaker heading over there it cannot be anything but successful.
This will be the first conference I will attend after being accredited as Oracle ACE Associate which, for me, makes it again a little more special.TurboProp
The first surprise, though, was just that. Arriving, by bus, at the boarding-location, there was a Bombardier DASH8-Q400 waiting, which turned out to be a turbo-prop aircraft. Okay, I jumped from a Cessna Caravan twin engine turbo-prop before, but this was still a first. As I am writing these lines, we’re descending upon Nüremberg.

On the first day of the conference, which started with a beautiful but rainy morning stroll to the conference center, The action started to really kick in from about 12:00 with the first session of my good friend Peter Raganitsch, talking about the 10 worst practices in APEX. A refresingh way of looking at software development by focussing on how to do it wrong!
The day ended with one of the “most pleasantly unorganized sessions” of the conference, where Johannes Ahrends and Philppe Fierens joined me on stage for the Standard Edition Round Table, #DOAG14-edition.

The second day was full of sessions, and I vistited Joel Kallman “APEX fast=true”, discussing the the knowledge needed to do serious application development on APEX, creating #DBADev. And, off course, the sharp presentation of my friend Franck Pachot about interpreting AWR-reports!
At 17:00 it was time for my third event, the “Electronic Patients Records system based on Oracle APEX” talk, which had quite a good turnout.
GatheringThe day ended with a super-cool meet-up with Mia Urman, Lonneke Dikmans AND Brynn Llewellyn… And later on we had a real nice depiction of #DBADev 2.0, involving Joel Kallman, Philippe Fierens, Illoon Ellen and myself.

Gathering

The third and last day of the conference was spend executing #RepAttack. This session concluded 3 full days of hands-on hacking with cool software and getting a feel of some of the new stuff.

RepAttack

A few of the cool new meetings (which we’ve dubbed the e-people to real people conversion by IRL) involved:

Thank you, DOAG, for a superb conference. I thoroughly enjoyed it. To all the Oracle aficionados, until next time!!


Post #OOW14

Back at San Francisco International. Unfortunately in the knowledge that Alex Nuijten and I (probably amongst others) found out to be standby for this flight. –> During the writing of this post we found out we will be home in time, which is great news in any case.

This time around Oracle Open World has indeed been different. Usually I always like to post a list of people I had, until now, just met on-line. Each and every gathering I went to, there would be a bunch of new people.
I am going to skip this habit because the post would just get too long 🙂 There is a big difference attending a conference of the magnitude of Open World, knowing people or being here as a solitaire visitor, which I did in 2010.

As I wasn’t just a visitor at Open World, I actually had the chance to actively contribute to this technology fest. #RepAttack, as an opportunity to share knowledge about logical data replication. Together with a fine crew of Dbvisit replication specialists!

DataTitansMy colleague Vit Spinka spoke about the evolution of redo logs, which gives a great background to this technological solution. Vit spoke, as did other members of the Dbvisit crew, like Arjen Visser and Mike Donovan.

The major highlight for me personally was to have the ability to host #RepAttack at the Oak Table location. Together with the champions of Delphix and Confio, we occupied the Children’s Creativity Museum Community Lab and explained and taught about different technologies. Our subject being Logical Data Replication (of course).

RepAttack CCM

Un-very-fortunately, I attended Oracle Open World on an exhibitor pass. This meant I got to see no session at all (Okay, except the on or two I snuck into). All the more time to stroll around the exhibition terrain, see the demo-grounds and have lunch with Martin Nash in the sun (which was a very nice experience), especially since Martin persuaded my to go out and hand out the left-over lunch to some homeless people around the Moscone Center. Thus heading the call of Connor Mc’Donald.

Okay, so before I forget… A big thank you to Björn Rost and Henning Voss of Portrix Systems for making the Appreciation Event a night worthy of remembrance! And to my friends at Dbvisit of course, for getting me to San Francisco in the first plance!!

Time flies when you’re having none…

A saying all too true! Having spent too little time with too few of my Oracle friends in the great city of San Francisco, it was again time to fly home… As you saw, in the beginning of this post.

Next stop… #DOAG14!!

Oracle Open World 2014

In flight to San Francisco on the 27th of September 2014. Heading out to Oracle Open World for the second time.
Much has changed since my previous visit.

The previous time I came to this biggest of IT events in the world, I came as a spectator, representing an IT company, where my mission was to soak up as much knowledge as I possibly could, submerging myself in the flow of the event.
This time ‘round, I come as a participant, representing another IT company that wants to add to the scene and deliver a smart alternative.
And also personally there is a huge difference! Previously I went alone and was thrilled to find Frits Hoogland at the gate, which was already a familiar face to me back then! Now I am travelling to meet up with many more friends… listening to Metallica on the flight already reminds me that I will meet Gurcan Orhan over there! And in the pervious weeks many promises were made for quick meet ups and catch ups on the grounds of what we call “Oracle Open World”!

Clock set to Pacific Summertime, good morning world!!
Time has come a long way since my previous trip! Where I was bound to the onboard entertainment system a few years back, now I can work, prepare and write this text in flight. Hoping to meet all of you guys out here.
And today, Oracle Open World came to a real kick-off, when we went to the Golden Gate Bridge Run, organized by @thatleffsmith, where we ran or walked with a great number of Oracle celebrities, ranging from @oraclebase through @helifromfinland and Frits Hoogland to @dbvisit!
After this @ilmarkerm, myself and two lovely ladies from Finland shared a cab to Moscone where we met up with the RACAttack Ninja’s at the OTN Lounge…

image

It is turning out to be a good day, with the building of the Dbvisit stand, sneaking into the sessions of the Dbvisit speakers and meeting many, many friends!

#RepAttack, it’s all about learning

Everything we do in our daily life is about learning. Especially in IT we are used to continuously learning. Digging through documentation, figuring out how this or that piece of software should work. Downloading, installing, configuring, trying, tweaking, tuning…
Dbvisit Standby

For Dbvisit, it all started with Dbvisit Standby. Logical data replication, but, logical data replication is not so hard in the end. To get it running stable, to make it do exactly what you want it to do, is an oversee-able task. With it’s wizard driven installer and the clear task of having two exactly the same databases and a little bit of time, you’ll have this process of shipping archived log files, nailed. Getting it stable and reliable is built in, so not much worry there.

Logical data replication on the other hand, is a whole different ballgame!
For a long time logical data replication was just for bigger companies with intricate information needs. And it is a little more challenging than physical data replication. There are database, schema or table considerations, what and what not to replicate to where, making sure you get it stable and reliable in your environment. Checking and following up on changes and doing all kinds of work to make sure you get the best our of your setup.

Nevertheless, Logical data replication will help you in doing:

  • “Zero downtime database migrations”
  • “Report offloading”
  • “Schema consolidation”
  • “Real-time business intelligence” operations

And because these things are about you…

You deserve a “flying headstart”

with Dbvisit Replicate!

Dbvisit_Replicate_HR croppedTo be able to bring you this, we looked at the heroes from the Oracle Technology Network for inspiration. This special group of gurus called the RACAttack Ninja’s have been involved in educating and supporting any and all with a setup of Oracle’s Real Application Cluster technology on your laptop.

Inspired by this example, Dbvisit created #RepAttack! A techno-opportunity that will be traveling the world with it’s inaugural session nowhere less than at Oracle Open World 2014.

#RepAttack is a great opportunity to network with your peers who are just as curious as you are, and to access a fantastic team of warriors who will work with you one-on-one to ensure you are up and running quickly and leaping over any hurdles effortlessly. The session will include a deep dive into core concepts to make sure you return to your organization with an in-depth understanding of how both replication and virtualization really work. Take the time to attend and be that “go-to” person when questions around these concepts come up at work.

Keep an eye out as new details will emerge over the coming days and weeks!
Make sure you checkout Twitter hashtag #RepAttack or just submit your e-mail address below!

#RepAttack sessions by her warriors have been confirmed to be at:
Oracle Open World 2014 in San Francisco, USA
Deutsche Oracl-Anwendergruppe (DOAG) Jahreskonferenz 2014 in Nürnberg, Germany

And remember!
#RepAttack is about YOU!

Watch this following video of one of my personal heroes Ronald Rood playing with Logical Data Replication in Dbvisit Replicate:

TCL, Total Cost of Loss, a new business perspective

‘Total cost of Loss’ (TCL) was launched at the World Premiere of the Standard Edition Round Table during the OUGF Harmony 2014 annual user conference.

Doing nothing does not mean it costs nothing

Joel J. Goodman, Finland 2014

“TCL.” Abbreviations.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2014. Web. 15 Jun 2014. <http://www.abbreviations.com/term/1519392>.

Total Cost of Loss is the representation of the cost for an organization when data is lost. Experience learns that this is the hardest exercise in business continuity to figure out and the most neglected threat to an organization.

Next to the two best known terms RTO & RPO and the less well known term RTDA (‘Recover Time to Data Availability’), TCL is aimed at providing the business with an extra ratio to conduct BCP.

To correctly evaluate investments that have to be done to create a sufficient RTO time frame or RPO granularity, there has to be an understanding of the magnitude of the (financial) importance of the underlaying (data)system. TCL is aimed at calculating this figure where this figure is valid per specific data system.

The following components have currently been identified as being part of TCL:

  1. Collection price per granule of data*
  2. Present value per granule of data
  3. Business value per granule of data
  4. Added value in a dataset combination

* a granule of data is the smallest possible set of variables comprising a usable piece of information.

1. Collection price per granule of data:
The amount of effort (time, computing power, etc.) which is required to assemble and record the granule of data in the data-structure.

For example: 1) the time it takes to pick up an item and scan it’s bar-code with a bar-code scanner and put the item back, or 2) the time it takes to enter somebodies name and address at admittance inclusive of possible preparation and filing.

2. Present value per granule of data:
The current amount of effort (if possible) which is required to reassemble and record the granule of data in the datastructure. This entity is taking into account that historical data could be easy to collect at the historic point in time (#1) but would take an unequal effort to collect at present.

For example: 1) establishing if the item was on stock at the given moment, what it’s bar-code would have read at that time and possibly who scanned it at what location, or 2) finding out what person came to be admitted at that specific date and retracing what the date would have been that was entered at that specific moment and possibly by whom.

3. Business value per granule of data:
The value of the single entity of data for the operational business after the moment of measurement. During data lifetime, the value of a specific granule of data can change. Most often it will become less valuable, making it possible to archive or even cumulate** the data in multi teer storage solutions, but, when called upon, it could be this specific granule of data could be of vital importance!

For example: 1) knowing how many of a specific item is in stock, or 2) having identified a specific person within the clientgroup.

4. Added value in a dataset combination:
It can very well be and most probably is, that any granule of data is of key importance to a dataset combination, where several bits of data of different datasets of data-systems combined create information which is vital to any specific action within an organization.

For example: 1) knowing how many of a specific item is in stock to support a JIT-delivery system to keep a production line uninterruptedly going, or 2) delivering the right treatment to any specific person and being able to bill them accordingly.

** Cumulation of data can destroy a recovery path for retrieving any specific granule of data.

Creating a formula to calculate any TCL will be relatively easy.

Creating a model to extract or calculate or even guesstimate the values for the different variables of the formula will be the challenge.
A challenge that needs to be met because of the ever increasing volume of data and the ever increasing importance of certain realms, like healthcare, public services, transportation, etc., within this data mass.

Please step on board and help define TCL as it could prove to be a critical factor when push comes to shove!

DOAG 2014 Nuremberg Germany

I am very happy to say that I will be at DOAG 2014.

In the quest to emphasize the Oracle technology as not just the #1 in technology but also the #1 in afford ability and ease there will be 3 events I shall contribute:

  • Electronic Patients Records system based on Oracle Application Express
  • Oracle Standard Edition Round Table*
  • Undisclosed surprise!!

*co-presented with my good friend Philippe Fierens ACEA

Please stay tuned to learn more as we progress towards November 2014.

doag

Oracle in perspective

A brief overview of alternatives…

This document focuses on the perception of the Oracle database related to ‘Small and Medium businesses’, European Style.
First we will take a quick look at Enterprise licensing and give a ballpark idea of prizes en possibilities. Next I will put this in perspective with more detail and will highlight possibilities to get ‘high end results’ with what is branded as ‘entry level’ investments. Everywhere I say Oracle, I mean the Oracle database.

Oracle is investment intensive
Oracle Enterprise Edition licenses are price-listed for over € 35.000 per processor. These CPU’s actually are not ‘real CPU’S’ but units which are defined according to Oracle’s Core Factor Table.
An Oracle Enterprise Edition license allows you to a) install and use the Oracle Enterprise Edition software and b) buy additional tooling to complete the Enterprise software stack. In this setting there is Oracle Active Data Guard, Oracle Database Vault, Partitioning, etc. to consider.
With Oracle Enterprise Edition it is possible to create a high performance, high available and ‘disaster resistant’ environment. Where it needs to be remarked that this program-set comes with an according price tag.

Oracle Standard Edition environment
A special exception in the Oracle license politics is the Oracle Standard Edition database. This installation uses the exact same database-software (binary compatible) as the Enterprise Edition edition but comprises a significantly reduced set of features and options that can be found in this global overview. The most important question is if these features and options are really needed to realize a high performance, high available and ‘disaster resistant’ environment.
Let’s first quickly zoom into a practical example the indicate an investment-perspective.
Based on a HP Proliant DL380 Gen8 E5-2690v2 Server with 2 processors with each 10 cores.

— Oracle Enterprise Edition:
2 x 10 cores x 0,5 core factor = 10 licenses x € 37,492 = € 374,920 excluding maintenance.
— Oracle Standard Edition:
2 x 1 processor = 2 licenses x € 13,813 = € 27,626 excluding maintenance.
— Oracle Standard Edition One:
2 x 1 processor = 2 licenses x € 4,578 = € 9,156 excluding maintenance.

In this setting we can save up to € 365,764 by leveraging Standard Edition. The reason is that the Standard Edition software is significantly cheaper but mainly because of the fact that the Standard Edition software is licensed per processor socket in stead of by the units defined by the ‘Core Factor Table’!
The limitation is that Standard Edition has a limit of 4 sockets per server and Standard Edition One is limited to 2 sockets per server. This is an important fact!

Room for investment
In our example it is possible to decide in favor of Standard Edition One. What we can subsequently deduce is that we have a theoretical budget of about € 350,000 available to make sure we have a sufficient high performance, high available and ‘disaster resistant’ installation. Even if we were to consume all of this budget, which is not very likely, the return on this investment remains high because the year-by-year support-cost for this environment is ((10 x € 8,248.19) -/- (2 x € 1,007.15)) € 79,467.60 per year cheaper.
In this calculation possible discounts have not been included. Looking at the volume of the investment differences any discounts will have to terminating influence. The year-by-year support-cost will remain based on the original price of the software.

Virtualization
One of the most significant hurdles with leveraging the Oracle software is virtualization, where technical considerations are not the toughest to deal with; the license consequences are!
As we concluded, Oracle Standard Edition is applicable on max 4 processors. In case of virtualization, it is true that all processors of all hardware, where the Oracle database can migrate to, either automatically or with live migration.
With this rule it is nearly impossible to leverage Standard Edition licenses and will is it be nearly impossible to use virtualization in a ‘small to medium business’ setting… Unless a smart alternative is chosen.

Alternatives
1. The abstraction layer
By leveraging virtualization-software as a abstraction layer, a server installation can be separated from the physical hardware configuration on which it runs. By using this alternative it is possible to recover from hardware failure more efficiently.
2. 2 x 2 sockets
By using a limited virtualization-cluster of 2 nodes with 2 sockets each having the maximum possible number of processor cores, the complete advantage of virtualization can be created using the maximum advantage of Standard Edition. Please note that we would need a Standard Edition license. Alternatively you could create a cluster with 2 x 1 socket to facilitate the usage of a Standard Edition One license.
3. ESL
In the case software from a third party is used, this software development party can agree on using a Embedded Software License; from Oracle. This form of licensing is quite specific and is therefor not further discussed here.
4. What will virtualization not solve
Virtualization is not replacement for Backup and it is no alternative for disaster proofing an Oracle database. These specific tasks are resolved by using backup of standby database tooling.

Tooling
In the beginning of this article it is indicated that the Oracle Enterprise Edition software give you the right to buy additional tooling to complete the Enterprise Software installation.
Alternatives for this tooling are also available for Standard Edition installations. Please consider:

  • Dbvisit as an alternative for Oracle Data Guard or Oracle Golden Gate
  • OraSash as an alternative for Oracle Active Session History
  • Nagios or SPS GenSys as alternatives to Oracle Enterprise Manager

Conclusion
Based on the information above we can conclude there are good possibilities to leverage the Oracle Database in a ‘Small and Medium Business’ environment. The information above is no complete and ultimate description of all possibilities, but this quick overview gives enough to work with to zoom into any specific challenge.

OUGF Harmony 2014 #ougf14

ougf

I flew out today to Finland. And I ended up having the opportunity to share my flight with Björn Rost.
The reason this time was to participate in the (meanwhile legendary) Oracle User Group Finland presentation.

After arriving I got picked up by Ann Sjökvist and we travelled to Oracle Finland HQ for a meeting in preparation for the World Premiere of the Oracle Standard Edition Round Table. After this meeting Ann dropped me of at GLO art Hotel, which looks like an ancient castle for her to proceed in the preparations for OUGF14.
A little later I went out on the town with Alex Nuijten to find the rest of the international crew, and we did! We joined forces with some of the biggest names in the Oracle community today like:

we took the legendary Helsinki City Sight Seeing tour by Heli which led us to the Speaker Dinner, where the crew was complete, adding:

and many more!!

Day two, the start of OUGF Harmony 2014, started with a nice stroll down to Helsinki City Center where we met up with all the speakers and participants of the convention to travel down to Haltia Finnish Nature Center.
At this greatest of all venues, you could be for a tech convention, we had breakfast to kickoff the convention by a keynote presentation by Heli Helskyaho.
And this day got to be even better than it started.
The keynote by James Morle  made it clear that opinions matter where IT is concerned. Arguably the best keynote seen in many years! Mindless following of Marketing-ized ideas, best practice and Google will turn you into an idiot instead of a genius.
There were a lot of good session, more than anyone could attend…

The sessions I attended (besides the keynotes) were:

  • Gurcan Orhan: How to handle DEV & TEST & PROD for ODI – with a perfect example of how quickly a smart implementation can become utterly intricated for nothing
  • Björn Rost: The Ins and Outs of Flashback Data archives – explaining the use of flashback even within a Standard Edition environment
  • Keynote: Bryn Llewellyn: PL/ SQL Enhancements in Oracle Database 12c

At 14:00 I had the opportunity to host my own talk on APEX for Electronic Patients Records (if you are interested in the slides, please drop me a line), having a good attendance. The day ended with a nice musical performance of a band formed by Oracle employees while some preferred the sauna experience and a dive in the lake near the venue.

SaunaJumpMost of the participants returned to Helsinki while a small group of heroes stayed on site for a camp close to the venue.

Day three, the second day of the convention started with a keynote by Graham Wood of the Real World Performance Group while the twitter-stream on #ougf14 was revived showing camping and jumping pictures (a tradition initiated by Yuri Velikanov) from the day before!
In preparation of the Oracle Standard Edition awareness campaign I followed the well attended session from Ann Sjökvist talking about the Standard Edition DBA, a different approach to the trade.

SE-RT-OUGF
At 12:00 we kicked off the first ever Oracle Standard Edition Round Table which was quite a succes! In a very lively discussion we got to discuss CPU’s, sockets, tooling, investments, bridging gaps and creating awareness to leverage the #1 database in the world for even many more situations and projects as we are all used to!! We even got to launch a brand new three letter IT acronym “TCL” which represents the Total Cost of (data) Loss for an organization.

With many unique get togethers this day also slowly drawn to a close. On request of Björn Rost the entire remaining gathering of Oracle enthusiasts made The Jump which, for me, was a unique experience, captured by Philippe (we had to jump a few times, yes :-))

OUGF Jump
As often, the best is kept for last! By ways of being the cherry on the cake, during the “hunt for food” by The Pragmas, downtown Helsinki, we stumbled on the Helskyaho-company at Yume (or even Twitter), possibly the best restaurant of Helsinki and they were so good to invite us to join them. This way we got to spend a dinner in the company of the legendary Chris Date which will possibly be a once in a lifetime experience.

Legendary impomptu get togetherWith OUGF Harmony 2014, the standards for Oracle Usergroup conferences again was raised by a magnitude! A great job by our Finnish friends and a promise for next year.

Can you boost your Oracle database performance on HP-UX for free?

Database performance, as is true with all performance related matters, has to do with resources.

This story specifically focuses on a real life experience with Oracle database performance on HP Unix running on Intel integrity CPU’s like these:

CPUinfo

The issue with installation is the hyper-threading aka. the use of the logical processors.
When the server is booted and is running, you can do basic performance review with a default tool like top.

lcpu_attr=0

In this exact case the server is running fine and there is no need to investigate further. But, in cases where there were performance issues, it would be a good idea to be aware of the numbering of the CPU’s in this overview (0, 2). This numbering suggests there would also be a ‘1’ and, where there would be a ‘1’ there would probably also be a ‘2’…

Yes there is and it is called ‘lcpu_attr’. A HP Unix kernel parameter which is, to my taste, a bit odd, not well known or well documented…

lcpu_attr (Tunable Kernel Parameter)

When turned on, lcpu_attr activates the logical CPU’s immediately. When you run top again, this is what it’ll look like (immediately)

lcpu_attr=1

Okay! Great… but… there are some catches.
This parameter lcpu_attr is a dynamically tunable kernel parameter but… it’ll crash your databases. So you will need a minimum of planned downtime for this action.

Also, you can set hyper-threading on in the EFI boot-loader.
But then you should be aware of this!

In the end, in this real-life story, we helped the situation advance by just doing:

1. stopping Oracle database(s)
2. kctune lcpu_attr=1
3. starting Oracle databas(s)

All in all, it could be not difficult to boost your Oracle database performance on HP-UX for free!

Thanks to my good friend Gerard van der Kooij for finding the final link!