12c Release 1

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Interesting post-install steps for Oct 2013 PSU

I have already written about RAC/Grid Infrastructure related patching of to, aka the October 2013 PSU for the database.

This post is a follow-up for pure RDBMS-only installations. I initially thought it wasn’t worth blogging about it (and hence the lag between the posts) but I came across an interesting post-apply step that is required for the databases: datapatch.

This is a new tool to run post the Patch Set Update installation against the non-CDB.

UPDATE: Oracle discourages the application of the patch set for RAC/GI on Multi-Tenant.

Here is the reference output for a non-CDB:

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Getting up and running with UCP and Application Continuity

I have already posted a couple of articles on the use of Oracle’s Universal Connection Pool in the past with regards to Workload Management and Oracle RAC 11.2. Since then a lot happened, with the release of Oracle 12c being the most notable event. With 12c you get lots of interesting new features for JDBC, and the one I would like to present today is Application Continuity. This continues the previous post on playing with Application Continuity outside of a midlle-tier environment. Well, if you allow me to call Tomcat 7 “middle-tier” that is.

The aim of this post is to extend my previous posts about setting up UCP with Application Continuity. The basic setup remains unchanged, but this time I tested with JDK 1.6 (build 1.6.0_45-b06) and Tomcat 7.0.47 on Oracle Enterprise Linux 6.4 64bit.

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Playing with Application Continuity in RAC 12c

One of the more interesting features in Oracle 12c RAC is application continuity. Why do I believe it is? Because it relieves developers from having to think about retrying connections and catch SQLExceptions in the code. I already thought that Fast Application Notification and Fast Connect Failover (FCF) are great, _but_ they required the developer to understand RAC and Oracle which you can’t take for granted. In fact looking back over the last few years since I co-wrote Pro Oracle Database 11g RAC on Linux the number 1 complaint I got from developers was that RAC was too complex (see for example in this thread on oracle-l)

Now Application Continuity takes away 2 problems I have seen.

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Inside a RAC 12c GNS cluster

Based on some reader feedback I started looking at GNS again, but this time it will be for RAC 12c. According to the documentation GNS has been enhanced so that you can use it without subdomain delegation. I decided to try the “old fashioned” way though: DHCP for VIPs, SCAN IPs, subdomain delegation and the like as it is the most complex setup. I occasionally like complex.

The network setup is exactly the same as I used before in 11.2 and thankfully didn’t require any changes. The cluster I am building is a 2 node system on Oracle Linux 6.4 and the Red Hat compatible kernel. I have to use this as the Unbreakable Kernel doesn’t know about block devices made available to it via virtio-scsi. I use virtio-scsi for shared block devices very much in the same way I did for Xen.

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Applying PSU in the lab environment

Since the first patch for Oracle 12c has been made available I was of course keen to see how to apply it. For a first test I opted to use my 3 node RAC cluster which is running on Oracle Linux 6.4 with UEK2. This post is not terribly well-polished, it’s more of a log of what I did…

The cluster makes use of some of the new 12c RAC features such as Flex ASM but it is not a Flex Cluster:

[oracle@rac12node3 ~]$ srvctl config asm
ASM home: /u01/app/
Password file: +OCR/orapwASM
ASM listener: LISTENER
ASM instance count: 2
Cluster ASM listener: ASMNET1LSNR_ASM
[oracle@rac12node3 ~]$

My database is a standard 3 node administrator managed build:

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Support for Pluggable Databases in Enterprise Manager

Currently there is an interesting thread on the oracle-l mailing list about OEM 12c support for database 12c Release. Unlike previous OEM generations this time OEM was not lagging behind. I am using OEM with the database plugin and yes, I can see PDBs!


The above snapshot is from the database targets overview page. As you can see there is a Container Database (CDB1) and it has exactly 1 PDB. When you click on the CDB you get to the main page:

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Creating a 12c Container Database from scripts

If you are curious how to create a CDB without the help of dbca then the “generate scripts” option is exactly the right approach! I am a great fan of creating databases with the required options only-the default template (General Purpose) is dangerous as it creates a database with options you may not be licensed for and additionally opens security risk.

The best^H^H^Heasiest way to understand how a Container Database (CDB from now on) is created is to let dbca create the scripts. The process is the same as with an interactive installation except that at the very end you do NOT create the database but tick the box to generate the scripts.

The resulting scripts will be created in $ORACLE_BASE/admin/${ORACLE_SID}/scripts. Change directory to this location and you will be surprised about the sheer number of files ending in *.sql

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Adding a node to a 12c RAC cluster

This post is not in chronological order, I probably should have written something about installing RAC 12c first. I didn’t want to write the tenth installation guide for Clusterware so I’m focusing on extending my two node cluster to three nodes to test the new Flex ASM feature. If you care about installing RAC 12c head over to RAC Attack for instructions, or Tim Hall’s site. The RAC Attack instructions are currently being worked at for a 12c upgrade, you can follow/participate the work on this free mailing list.

The cluster I installed is based on KVM on my lab server. I have used Oracle Linux 6.4 with UEK2 for the host OS. It is a standard, i.e. not a Flex Cluster but with Flex ASM configured. My network configuration is as shown:

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Oracle Automatic Data Optimisation 12c

One of the seriously cool new features in the Oracle database 12c is the automated lifecycle management option. I freely admit you can get the same with other storage vendors (EMC FAST VP is the one I know first hand, but 3PAR and others have similar technology) but this is not really an option for the Oracle Database and Exadata. A quick word of warning: I have not even opened the licensing guide for 12c yet, this may well be a cost option so as always please ensure you are appropriately licensed before using this feature.

Why this post

The official documentation-VLDB and Partitioning Guide, chapter 5-is a bit lacking, as is the SQL Language Reference, hence this post.

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Flex ASM 12c in action

I have been working on Flex ASM for a little while and so far like the feature. In a nutshell Flex ASM removes the requirement to have one (and only one!) ASM instance per cluster node. Instead, you get three ASM instances, not more, not less-regardless of cluster size.

Databases which are in fact “ASM clients” as in v$asm_client connect remotely or locally, depending on the placement of the ASM instance and the database instance.

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