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October 2014

Oracle fanboy and blind to the truth?

I had a little exchange with someone on Twitter last night, which was initiated by him complaining about the cost of Oracle and predicting their demise. Once that was over I spent a little time thinking about my “fanboy status”.

If you know anything about me, you will know I’m an Oracle fanboy. I’ve spent nearly 20 years doing this stuff and the last 14+ years writing about it on the internet. If I wasn’t into it, it would be a pretty sorry state of affairs. So does that mean I’m totally blinded like all those Apple fanboys and fangirls? No. I just don’t choose to dwell on a lot of the negative and instead focus on the positive, like the cool bits of tech. The common topics I hear are:

What’s more sexist: Time’s question or Sandberg’s response?

So I was reading Time’s September 22, 2014 edition and came across 10 questions for Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg when I reached this absolute gem:

Why do you think women are so afraid of making mistakes?

WOW. So in the question women are defined as being afraid of making mistakes. Now I don’t know whether this comes from Charlotte Alter (the by line for the 10 questions) out of whole cloth or whether it was inspired by something Sheryl Sandberg wrote or said previously of which I’m not aware.

In my book attributing qualitative faults (like fearing making a mistake) to one sex as opposed to another is pretty much the definition of sexism. I’m not saying the sexes cannot be compared. On average men are taller than women. More women have wombs than men. Calling out objective differences of fact is not sexist in and of itself.

Let the Data Guard Broker control LOG_ARCHIVE_* parameters!

When using the Data Guard Broker, you don’t need to set any LOG_ARCHIVE_* parameter for the databases that are part of your Data Guard configuration. The broker is doing that for you. Forget about what you may have heard about VALID_FOR – you don’t need that with the broker. Actually, setting any of the LOG_ARCHIVE_* parameters with an enabled broker configuration might even confuse the broker and lead to warning or error messages. Let’s look at a typical example about the redo log transport mode. There is a broker configuration enabled with one primary database prima and one physical standby physt. The broker config files are mirrored on each site and spfiles are in use that the broker (the DMON background process, to be precise) can access:

Exadata and Virtual Private Database: will it offload my query?

During one of the classes I taught about Exadata optimisations I had an interesting question:

If I am using VPD, will Exadata still offload the query?

Background is that we discussed function offloading, and the meta-view v$sqlfn_metadata. It turned out that SYS_CONTEXT() is not offloadable in


On a client site recently, experimenting with a T5-2 – fortunately a test system – we decided to restart an instance with a larger SGA. It had been 100GB, but with 1TB of memory and 256 threads (2 sockets, 16 cores per socket, 8 threads per core) it seemed reasonable to crank this up to 400GB for the work we wanted to do.

It took about 15 minutes for the instance to start; worse, it took 10 to 15 seconds for a command-line call to SQL*Plus on the server to get a response; worse still, if I ran a simple “ps -ef” to check what processes were running the output started to appear almost instantly but stopped after about 3 lines and hung for about 10 to 15 seconds before continuing. The fact that the first process name to show after the “hang” was one of the Oracle background processes was a bit of hint, though.

Digital Learning – LVC: It’s the attitude, stupid!

The single most important factor for successful digital learning is the attitude both of the instructor as well as of the attendees towards the course format. Delivery of countless Live Virtual Classes (LVCs) for Oracle University made me realize that. There are technical prerequisites of course: A reliable and fast network connection and the usage of a good headset is mandatory, else the participant is doomed from the start. Other prerequisites are the same as for traditional courses: Good course material, working lab environment for hands on practices and last not least knowledgeable instructors. For that part notice that we have the very same courseware, lab environments and instructors like for our classroom courses at Oracle University education centers also for LVCs.

VirtualBox 4.3.18

VirtualBox 4.3.18 has been released. The downloads and changelog are in the usual places.

It’s a maintenance release, so mostly bug fixes and the odd little addition.

Happy upgrading… :)



Managing your Database in a Zombie Apocalypse

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Only two things are really certain: network latency over long distances, and the fact that humanity will soon rapidly degenerate into undead brain-eaters.

When that day comes, when the dead are crowding at your door and the windows are busted out and ripped up rotted arms are clawing at the inside of your home, I know what you’ll be thinking: is my database protected?

Changing my focus? (Update)

The day before I left for OpenWorld 2014 I wrote a post called “Chaning my focus?” where talked about the possibility of dropping out of the forum scene and focusing more on writing. It’s now nearly 3 weeks later, so I thought I would follow it up to let people know what is going on…

Pretty soon after I left for OOW14 I locked the forums on my site. I had a touch of guilt, but also felt a massive sense of relief. At that point I was working on the basis I would leave them locked for OOW, then reassess when I got back.

Delphix and Oracle 12c partnership

More and more people have been asking me how Delphix compares with Oracle EM 12c Cloud Control with Snap Clone.

Delphix compliments Oracle. Oracle and Delphix are partners.  Delphix is an Oracle Gold ISV partner and we collaborated at Oracle Open World on hosting hands on Delphix labs.