Tightening Security with SELECT ANY DICTIONARY in Oracle 12c

Developers and users sometimes request the SELECT ANY DICTIONARY system privilege to enable them to view various data dictionary tables.  This may be fine for querying DBA_TABLES, etc, but the Oracle data dictionary contains a LOT of information.  Some of the views/tables are compromising from a security standpoint. (more...)

Data Pump 12c – Pumping Data with the LOGTIME Parameter

Since its release, Oracle Data Pump has been a worthy successor to the traditional exp/imp tools.  However, one area lacking with Data Pump has been something as simple as the ability to identify how long each step of a Data Pump job actually takes.  The log will show (more...)

RMAN 12c – More SQL without ‘sql’

Up until version 12c, the RMAN command line parser was capable of parsing certain DML and DDL statements.  To do this, we use the “sql” command from the RMAN command line, like this.

11gHost> rman

Recovery Manager: Release 11.2.0.2.0 - Production on Wed Aug 7 (more...)

Oracle 12c – Out With the Grid, In With the Cloud

So Oracle database 12c is out now.  The cloud (and hence the “c”) is hanging over us.  At least we don’t have to hear about “the grid” anymore.  New versions of Oracle are funny things – as DBAs, we’re kinda excited about the possibilities, but then reality (more...)

New book

Just a quick announcement that my second book is available from Packt Publishing.  OCA Oracle Database 11g: Database Administration I: A Real-World Certification Guide (again with the long title) is designed to be a different kind of certification guide.  Generally, it seems to me that publishers of Oracle certification guides assume that the only people who want to become certified are those with a certain level of experience, like a working DBA with several years on the job.  So, these guides make a lot of assumptions about the reader.  They end up being more about a (more...)

Open World 2012 Presentation

Here's an audio link to my presentation at Oracle Open World this year, How Enterprise Manager 12c Brokers Peace Between DBAs and Compliance Officers. This is just my portion, I also spoke with Dave Wolf from Oracle Corp. Dave covered a lot of the features and framework of Enterprise Manager 12c. My portion, as a DBA for the Department of Defense, was in regards to how we're using 12c to manage and monitor security. At the DoD, we have a detailed list of security requirements for all of our systems, including Oracle Databases. It can be tough to monitor this (more...)

alt.oracle 2012-09-30 06:38:00

Just an FYI.  I'll be speaking at Oracle Open World again this year.  If you're there, my session is as follows.

:  CON9591
:  How Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c Brokers Peace Between DBAs and Compliance Officers
 
This session discusses how to use Oracle Enterprise Manager 12cto completely automate the process of applying database patches while reporting on compliance against your own and Oracle’s security and implementation best practices. Specifically, you’ll learn how to quickly identify databases missing critical patches, how to automate patch applications, and how to maintain (more...)

You Don’t Know SQL


Or maybe you do. However, I’ve talked to a lot of DBAs (pretty much the target audience for this blog) and you might be surprised how often the SQL skills of your average DBAs dwindle over time. In today’s role-specific market, developers do developer stuff while DBAs do database stuff. Somewhere in between falls SQL – the red-headed stepchild of the programming world. Ask a DBA and they’ll probably say SQL is a legitimate fourth generation language. Tell a Java programmer that and they’ll laugh themselves into a seizure. It’s strange that DBAs become less familiar with SQL over time, (more...)

Worst Blogger Ever…

Yes.  I know.  I'm the worst blogger ever.  That last post says... <choke>... May.  But I have an excuse (sort of).  Busy does not describe my past six months.  Some of you are familiar with the reason, but for those of you who aren't, I'll post about it very soon.

Purple Sweaters and Oracle 11g


If you're geeky enough like me, you get a little excited whenever Oracle puts out a new version. Most of us have wondered at one time or another what it would be like to be able to beta-test the new Oracle version before it comes out. You may read the pre-release articles about the new features, if nothing else to keep ahead of the technology curve. Like geeky me, you may download the new version on the same day it comes out – maybe to play with it a little or just to see how it's different. But as intrigued (more...)

ASM – It’s not just for RAC anymore


I'm super critical of Oracle when they screw stuff up or try to push technology in a direction that's bad for DBAs. You'll be hearing some rants about it in upcoming posts. But I also think that Oracle is a company that is actually good for the direction that technology is heading, unlike some companies whose names begin with "Micro" and end with "soft". Yes, they're a vast, stone-hearted corporation that would sell their grandmothers to raise their stock price. So is every other technology company – get used to it. But when they do something right, I'll be fair (more...)

Surrender (a little) to the Dark Side


When I was a freshman in college, I, like many, was bouncing back and forth on what my major should be. I was leaning heavily toward electrical engineering, but my long standing love of computers had me seriously considering Comp Sci as well. I decided to take a couple of introductory Comp Sci classes to see if I liked them. So I tried taking the Introduction to Programming course and lab during my first semester. While I imagine that today they use some cool and zippy language, back then they used Fortran, a programming language that only a mother language (more...)

GUI or not GUI

One of the longest and loudest controversies in the DBA world is that of the graphical user interface vs command line.  Some of the opinions sound like this…

“GUIs are for newbies who don’t know what they’re doing.”
“Why should I learn all the commands – there’s already a tool to do that.”
“GUIs are too slow.”
“Learning the command line takes too long.”
“I don’t need to learn a bunch of commands that I’ll never use – I just want to get my job done.”

My own feelings about this go back to (more...)

Everybody needs a spare database


I've gotten a little preachy in this blog lately, so I thought this time I'd give you something useful. Have you ever wished you had a quicky little set of database tables so you could do some generally wacky stuff that would likely get you fired if you did it on your production database? I thought so. In the past, the only way to do something like this was to build another database somewhere. Of course, where to put it? Some of us weirdos have machines at home where we build databases, do virtual machines or stuff like that. Guilty. (more...)

Oooohhh… shiny!

I went to last year's Oracle Open World. I'd always wanted to go, but having been a consultant for so many years, those opportunities don't always come your way. In my experience, companies will spring for their own employees to go to Open World, but "no way" to that lousy, overpaid consultant who probably won't even be here next week. That leaves it up to the consulting company, whose take on things is usually, "If you don't already know everything they're talking about at Open World, then why did we hire you? Get back to work!" But since I (more...)

Magical Snapshotty-things

Magical Snapshotty-Things

I spent some time with a storage vendor recently. Vendors kill me. No matter what you say, they still cannot for the life of them understand why you are not using their product. And if you are, they are mystified by the fact that you're not using every last bell and whistle. In this case, the vendor was questioning why we weren't using their magical-snapshotty backup solution. Basically the way their backup feature works (similar to most snapshotty type of features) is that when a backup occurs, only the deltas are written out. Then, pointers/vectors (vectors sounds cooler) (more...)

We don’t need no steennkking recoveries!


Since this is a new blog, let's start with something basic - backups. Everybody knows you do need those 'steenking backups'. You know it, the rest of your team knows it, even the suits know it (they read it in a Delta Airlines inflight magazine). But there are a couple of problems I see with backups these days. The first lies with the DBA and, sadly, it can get your ass fired.

Yes, you did a nice and proper RMAN backup of your database. You did the right syntax, you reviewed the log, you even did a 'report need backup' (more...)

alt.oracle – the blog for the rest of us


Welcome to alt.oracle - the Oracle blog of Steve Ries. What can you expect to find here? Well, this blog is designed to be different. I've read a lot of people who blog about Oracle and, while they're fine, they tend to fall into two categories. One, Oracle "business types" telling you about SOA, blah, blah, E-business, blah, blah, cloud computing, blah. The second are those that continually write articles on obscure, esoteric technical solutions that you may have need of once in your lifetime if someone held a gun to your head and said... "Okay punk. Write a (more...)