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Fedora 16 may use Btrfs by default…

Looks like Fedora 16 might use Btrfs as the default filesystem.

I hope the “Oracle doesn’t understand Open Source” brigade remember where this project started. :)



Fedora 15: Further Observations…

I’ve mentioned Fedora 15 a couple of times recently:

A couple more things I’ve noticed along the way:

  • Lots of the early press complained about the “reduced productivity” of the GNOME3 desktop. Having used it for a while now I can safely say it doesn’t impact me at all. When I’m using my MacBook Pro I have to move the mouse down to the bottom of the screen to activate the doc. It’s like a reflex reaction. I’ve found I do much the same thing with GNOME3. If I’m using the mouse to switch to Activities (rather than the Windows key), I make a circular anti-clockwise motion with the mouse so it touches the top-left corner of the screen. That switches to Activities without a mouse click, so on the down move of the circle I’m over the doc. It’s really pretty stress free. A single mouse move with no extra clicks. Sorted.
  • I did an upgrade from Fedora 14 on one machine. Fedora 15 includes LibreOffice in place of OpenOffice. As a result OpenOffice was not “upgraded”, and the existing OpenOffice installation stopped working. It wasn’t a problem, I just installed LibreOffice, just an observation.



Tuning Log and Trace levels for Clusterware 11.2

With the introduction of Clusterware 11.2 a great number of command line tools have either been deprecated ($ORA_CRS_HOME/bin/crs_* and others) or merged into other tools. This is especially true for crsctl, which is now the tool to access and manipulate low level resources in Clusterware.

This also implies that some of the notes on Metalink are no longer applicable to Clusterware 11.2, such as the one detailing how to get more detailed information in the logs. Not that the log information wasn’t already rather comprehensive if you asked me…

And here comes a warning: don’t change the log levels unless you have a valid reason, or under the instructions of support. Higher log levels than the defaults tend to generate too much data, filling up the GRID_HOME and potentially killing the node.

Log File Location

The location for logs in Clusterware hasn’t changed much since the unified log structure was introduced in 10.2 and documented in “CRS and 10g/11.1 Real Application Clusters (Doc ID 259301.1)”. It has been extended though, and quite dramatically so in 11.2, which is documented as well in one of the better notes from support: “11gR2 Clusterware and Grid Home – What You Need to Know (Doc ID 1053147.1)”

The techniques for getting debug and trace information as described for example in “Diagnosability for CRS / EVM / RACG (Doc ID 357808.1)” doesn’t really apply any more as the syntax changed.

Getting Log Levels in 11.2

If you are interested at which log level a specific Clusterware resource operates, you can use the crsctl get log resource resourceName call, as in this example:

# crsctl get log res ora.asm
Get Resource ora.asm Log Level: 1

Don’t forget to apply the “-init” flag when you want to query resources which are part of the lower stack:

[root@lonengbl312 ~]# crsctl get log res ora.cssd
CRS-4655: Resource ‘ora.cssd’ could not be found.
CRS-4000: Command Get failed, or completed with errors.
[root@lonengbl312 ~]# crsctl get log res ora.cssd –init
Get Resource ora.cssd Log Level: 1

Interestingly, most Clusterware daemons start leaving a detailed message in their log file as to which module uses what logging level. Take CSSD for example:

2011-06-02 09:06:14.847: [    CSSD][1531968800]clsu_load_ENV_levels: Module = CSSD, LogLevel = 2, TraceLevel = 0
2011-06-02 09:06:14.847: [    CSSD][1531968800]clsu_load_ENV_levels: Module = GIPCNM, LogLevel = 2, TraceLevel = 0
2011-06-02 09:06:14.847: [    CSSD][1531968800]clsu_load_ENV_levels: Module = GIPCGM, LogLevel = 2, TraceLevel = 0
2011-06-02 09:06:14.847: [    CSSD][1531968800]clsu_load_ENV_levels: Module = GIPCCM, LogLevel = 2, TraceLevel = 0
2011-06-02 09:06:14.847: [    CSSD][1531968800]clsu_load_ENV_levels: Module = CLSF, LogLevel = 0, TraceLevel = 0
2011-06-02 09:06:14.847: [    CSSD][1531968800]clsu_load_ENV_levels: Module = SKGFD, LogLevel = 0, TraceLevel = 0
2011-06-02 09:06:14.847: [    CSSD][1531968800]clsu_load_ENV_levels: Module = GPNP, LogLevel = 1, TraceLevel = 0
2011-06-02 09:06:14.847: [    CSSD][1531968800]clsu_load_ENV_levels: Module = OLR, LogLevel = 0, TraceLevel = 0

This doesn’t match the output of the previous command. Now how do you check this on the command line? crsctl to the rescue again-it now has a “log” option:

# crsctl get log -h
  crsctl get {log|trace} {mdns|gpnp|css|crf|crs|ctss|evm|gipc} ",..."
   mdns          multicast Domain Name Server
   gpnp          Grid Plug-n-Play Service
   css           Cluster Synchronization Services
   crf           Cluster Health Monitor
   crs           Cluster Ready Services
   ctss          Cluster Time Synchronization Service
   evm           EventManager
   gipc          Grid Interprocess Communications
   , ...    Module names ("all" for all names)

  crsctl get log res 
        Resource name

That’s good information, but the crucial bit about the and other parameters is missing. The next question I asked myself was “how do I find out which sub-modules make are part of say, crsd. Apart from looking at the trace file”. That information used to be documented in the OTN reference, but it’s now something you can evaluate from Clusterware as well:

[root@lonengbl312 ~]# crsctl lsmodules -h
  crsctl lsmodules {mdns|gpnp|css|crf|crs|ctss|evm|gipc}
   mdns  multicast Domain Name Server
   gpnp  Grid Plug-n-Play Service
   css   Cluster Synchronization Services
   crf   Cluster Health Monitor
   crs   Cluster Ready Services
   ctss  Cluster Time Synchronization Service
   evm   EventManager
   gipc  Grid Interprocess Communications

Back to the question as to which modules make up CSSD, I got this answer from Clusterware, matching the log file output:

# crsctl lsmodules css
List CSSD Debug Module: CLSF
List CSSD Debug Module: CSSD
List CSSD Debug Module: GIPCCM
List CSSD Debug Module: GIPCGM
List CSSD Debug Module: GIPCNM
List CSSD Debug Module: GPNP
List CSSD Debug Module: OLR
List CSSD Debug Module: SKGFD

To get detailed information about the log level of CSSD:module, I can now finally use the crsctl get {log|trace} daemon:module command. My CSSD logfile stated the CSSD:OLR had log level 0 and trace level 0, confirmed by Clusterware:

# crsctl get log css “OLR”
Get CSSD Module: OLR  Log Level: 0

Note that the name of the module has to be in upper case. If you are lazy like me you could use the “all” keyword instead of the module name to list all the information in one command:

# crsctl get log css all
Get CSSD Module: CLSF  Log Level: 0
Get CSSD Module: CSSD  Log Level: 2
Get CSSD Module: GIPCCM  Log Level: 2
Get CSSD Module: GIPCGM  Log Level: 2
Get CSSD Module: GIPCNM  Log Level: 2
Get CSSD Module: GPNP  Log Level: 1
Get CSSD Module: OLR  Log Level: 0
Get CSSD Module: SKGFD  Log Level: 0

Setting Log Levels

Let’s have a look how to increase log levels for the critical components. I am picking CSSD here, simply because I want to know if Oracle records the chicken-and-egg problem when having voting files in ASM in the ocssd.log file. (CSSD needs to voting files to start, and ASM needs CSSD to run, but if the voting files are in ASM, then we have gone full circle). With all the information provided in the section above, that’s actually quite simple to do.

# crsctl set log -h
  crsctl set {log|trace} {mdns|gpnp|css|crf|crs|ctss|evm|gipc} "=,..."
   mdns          multicast Domain Name Server
   gpnp          Grid Plug-n-Play Service
   css           Cluster Synchronization Services
   crf           Cluster Health Monitor
   crs           Cluster Ready Services
   ctss          Cluster Time Synchronization Service
   evm           EventManager
   gipc          Grid Interprocess Communications
   , ...    Module names ("all" for all names)
   , ...     Module log/trace levels

  crsctl set log res =
      Resource name
                     Agent log levels

The object I would like to research is the voting file discovery. I know that the ASM disks have an entry in the header indicating whether or not a disk contains a voting file, in the kfdhdb.vfstart and kfdhdb.vfend fields as shown here:

# kfed read /dev/oracleasm/disks/OCR1  | grep kfdhdb.vf
kfdhdb.vfstart:                     256 ; 0x0ec: 0×00000100
kfdhdb.vfend:                       288 ; 0x0f0: 0×00000120

With the default log information, I can see the voting disk discovery happening as shown in this cut down version of the ocssd.log:

2011-06-02 09:06:19.941: [    CSSD][1078901056]clssnmvDDiscThread: using discovery string  for initial discovery
2011-06-02 09:06:19.941: [   SKGFD][1078901056]Discovery with str::
2011-06-02 09:06:19.941: [   SKGFD][1078901056]UFS discovery with ::
2011-06-02 09:06:19.941: [   SKGFD][1078901056]OSS discovery with ::
2011-06-02 09:06:19.941: [   SKGFD][1078901056]Discovery with asmlib :ASM:/opt/oracle/extapi/64/asm/orcl/1/ str ::
2011-06-02 09:06:19.941: [   SKGFD][1078901056]Fetching asmlib disk :ORCL:OCR1:

2011-06-02 09:06:19.942: [   SKGFD][1078901056]Handle 0x58d2a60 from lib :ASM:/opt/oracle/extapi/64/asm/orcl/1/ for disk :ORCL:OCR1:
2011-06-02 09:06:19.942: [   SKGFD][1078901056]Handle 0x58d3290 from lib :ASM:/opt/oracle/extapi/64/asm/orcl/1/ for disk :ORCL:OCR2:
2011-06-02 09:06:19.942: [   SKGFD][1078901056]Handle 0x58d3ac0 from lib :ASM:/opt/oracle/extapi/64/asm/orcl/1/ for disk :ORCL:OCR3:

2011-06-02 09:06:19.953: [    CSSD][1078901056]clssnmvDiskVerify: discovered a potential voting file
2011-06-02 09:06:19.953: [   SKGFD][1078901056]Handle 0x5c22670 from lib :ASM:/opt/oracle/extapi/64/asm/orcl/1/ for disk  :ORCL:OCR1:
2011-06-02 09:06:19.954: [    CSSD][1078901056]clssnmvDiskVerify: Successful discovery for disk ORCL:OCR1, UID 4700d9a1-93094ff5-bf8b96e1-7efdb883, Pending CIN 0:1301401766:0, Committed CIN 0:1301401766:0
2011-06-02 09:06:19.954: [   SKGFD][1078901056]Lib :ASM:/opt/oracle/extapi/64/asm/orcl/1/ closing handle 0x5c22670 for disk :ORCL:OCR1:

2011-06-02 09:06:19.956: [    CSSD][1078901056]clssnmvDiskVerify: Successful discovery of 3 disks
2011-06-02 09:06:19.956: [    CSSD][1078901056]clssnmCompleteInitVFDiscovery: Completing initial voting file discovery
2011-06-02 09:06:19.957: [    CSSD][1078901056]clssnmCompleteVFDiscovery: Completing voting file discovery

Now I’m setting the new log level for SKGFD, as this seems to be responsible for the disk discovery.

# crsctl set log css “SKGFD:5″
Set CSSD Module: SKGFD  Log Level: 5

Does it make a difference? Restarting Clusterware should give more clues. Looking at the logfile I could tell there was no difference. I tried using the trace level now for the same module:

# crsctl get trace css SKGFD
Get CSSD Module: SKGFD  Trace Level: 5

Interestingly that wasn’t picked up!

$ grep “Module = SKGFD” ocssd.log | tail -n1
2011-06-02 11:31:06.707: [    CSSD][427846944]clsu_load_ENV_levels: Module = SKGFD, LogLevel = 2, TraceLevel = 0

So I decided to leave it at this point as I was running out of time for this test. I’d be interested if anyone has successfully raised the log level for this component. On the other hand, I wonder if it is ever necessary to do so. I can confirm however that raising the log level for the CSSD module created a lot more output, actually so much that it seems to equal a system wide SQL trace-so don’t change log levels unless support directs you to.

A more user friendly multipath.conf

During some recent work I did involving a stretched RAC for a SAP implementation at a customer site I researched TimeFinder/Clone backups. As part of this exercise I have been able to experiment with RHEL (OEL) 5.6 and the new device mapper multipath package on the mount host. I have been very pleasantly surprise about this new feature which I’d like to share.

Background of this article

Device Mapper Multipath is the “native” Linux multipathing software, as opposed to vendor-supplied multipathing such as EMC’s Power Path or Hitachi’s HDLM.

My customer’s setup is rather unique for a SAP environment as it uses Oracle Enterprise Linux and not Solaris/SPARC or AIX on the Power platform with an active/passive solution. Well if that doesn’t make it sound unique, the fact that there is a plan to run Oracle RAC potentially across sites using ASM and ACFS certainly makes this deployment stand out from the rest.

The reason I mention this is simple-it requires a lot of engineering effort to certify components for this combination. For example: it was not trivial to get vendor support for Solutions Enabler the storage engineering uses for connectivity with the VMAX arrays, and so on. After all, Oracle Enterprise is a fairly new platform and Red Hat certainly has an advantage when it comes to vendor certification.

What hasn’t been achieved was a certification of the EMC Power Path software for use with SAP on Linux, for reasons unknown to me. The result was simple: the setup will use the device-mapper multipath package that comes with the Linux distribution.

Configuring multipath

Now with this said I started looking at MOS to get relevant support notes about Linux’s native multipath and found some. The summary of this research is available on this blog, I have written about it in these articles:

What I didn’t know up to date was the fact that the multipath.conf file allows you to define the ownership and mode of a device. As an ASM user this is very important to me. Experience taught me that incorrect permissions are one of the main reasons for ASM failing to start. Remember that root owns block devices by default.

Consider this example:

multipaths {
multipath {
wwid        360a98000486e58526c34515944703277
alias       ocr01
mode        660
uid         501
gid         502

The above entry in the multipaths section translates into English as follows:

  • If you encounter a device with the WWID 36a…277
  • Give it an alias name of “OCR01” in /dev/mapper
  • Set the mode to 660 (i.e. rw-rw—)
  • Assign device ownership to the user with UID 501 (maps to “grid” on my system)
  • Assign the group of the device to 502 (maps to “asmdba” on my system)

The path settings are defined globally and don’t need to be mentioned explicitly for each device unless you prefer to override them. I like to use an alias although it isn’t really necessary since ASM relies on a 4k header in a block device to store its identity. If you don’t chose to alias a device I recommend you use the user friendly name instead, mainly for aesthetic reasons.

Why is this really cool? For me it implies two things:

  • I can now be independent of ASMLib which provided device name stability and set the permissions on the block devices correctly for ASM
  • I don’t need to create udev rules to set the permissions (or /etc/rc.local or whichever other way you chose before to set permissions)

Nice! One less headache, as I have to say that I didn’t really like udev…

Fedora 15: First big problem…

Yesterday I hit a pretty major problem with Fedora 15. I did a reboot and the login screen came up fine, but when I tried to log in I got a message saying,

failed to load session ‘gnome’

No options or alternatives. Just back to the login screen. ??

I started the machine up in “Full multiuser mode” by hitting the “a” key during boot and adding “3″ on to the boot parameters. Once at the login prompt I could now log in as root. Since it looked like it might be a GNOME problem I uninstalled and reinstalled GNOME.

yum -y groupremove "GNOME Desktop Environment"
yum -y groupinstall "GNOME Desktop Environment"

No change!

My next thought was to install KDE, so at least I would have a desktop. I did this using,

yum -y groupinstall kde

I made KDE the default window manager by editing the “/etc/sysconfig/desktop” file to contain.


The machine now rebooted and I got KDM as the display manager. This allowed me to start KDE, but surprisingly, also allowed me to start GNOME as my window manager.

Now I figured it was probably an issue with GDM, not GNOME itself, so I reinstalled GDM.

yum -y remove gdm
yum -y install gdm
yum -y install gdm-plugin-fingerprint

Bingo. I was now able to switch back to GDM as my display manager by editing the “/etc/sysconfig/desktop” file to contain.


I have no idea what happened to cause this problem in the first place. Googling for a solution wasn’t much help because most posts are really old and the new ones just said reinstall.

If anyone else has misfortune to run into this issue, you now know how I got out of it.

Incidentally, my brief time on KDE did not fill me with a desire to switch. I think I prefer GNOME. I am however a little nervous about the stability of Fedora 15 after this incident. Maybe I did something dumb to cause it, but if I did, I have no idea what it was. I’m just running a browser and VirtualBox VMs for the most part.



How to use the RAC FAN Java API

I researched an interesting new feature available with Oracle 11g R2, the so called RAC FAN API when writing the workload management chapter for the RAC book. The RAC FAN API is documented in Oracle® Database JDBC Developer’s Guide, 11g Release 2 (11.2) available online, but when it came to the initial documentation following the release on Linux it was pretty useless. The good news is that it improved!


The aim of this API is to allow a Java application to listen to FAN events by creating a subscription to the RAC nodes’ ONS processes. The application then registers a FANListener, based on the subscription, which can pick up instances of the following events:

  • ServiceDownEvent
  • NodeDownEvent
  • LoadAdvisoryEvent

All of these are in the oracle.simplefan namespace, the javadoc reference of which you can find in the official documenation.

When it was initially released in I tried to get the FAN subscription to work without any luck, the registration with the ONS didn’t work. Schematically, this is how it should work:

The application (shown on the top) requires an Oracle client for the ONS configuration and libraries, and the setup is very similar to how you’d set up FCF. With the ons.config file pointing to the RAC nodes’ ONS processes you should be able to read FAN events as they occur on the source system. The ons.config in $CLIENT_HOME/opmn/conf/ons.config has to contain the local and remote ONS port, as well as all the RAC nodes with their remote ONS port. When subscribing to the events, you specify the service name you’d like to receive events for.

My 4 node RAC cluster is comprised of node rac11gr2drnode{1,2,3}, with local ONS listing on port 6200 for external, and port 6100 for internal requests. This can be checked using the onsctl debug command on any cluster node.. The client’s ons.config contains these lines:

nodes=rac11gr2drnode1:6200, rac11gr2drnode2:6200,rac11gr2drnode3:6200, rac11gr2drnode4:6200

Unfortunately I couldn’t subscribe to the remote ONS-I know that my setup is valid because of my UCP/FCF testing I did previously (check my earlier blog postings about how to get started with UCP and Tomcat 6). Or maybe it doesn’t work on Windows, who knows? Trying to subscribe to the remote ONS my application bails out with the following error:

Exception in thread “main” oracle.ons.SubscriptionException: Subscription request timed out after 30000 millseconds.  Possible causes: OPMN may not be running, you may have an OPMN running in an alternate ORACLE_HOME using duplicate port values, or OPMN may be misconfigured.
at oracle.ons.SubscriptionNotification.waitForReply(
at oracle.ons.ONS.addSubscriber(
at oracle.ons.Subscriber.realStartup(
at oracle.ons.Subscriber.(
at oracle.simplefan.impl.FanSubscription.subscribe(
at oracle.simplefan.impl.FanSubscription.createFanSubscription(
at oracle.simplefan.impl.FanManager.subscribe(
at de.mbh.TestClass.(
at de.mbh.TestClass.main(

I tried my favourite search engine on the Exception but couldn’t find any useful information. This is not a big deal for me, I can start a local ONS on the client. This is shown here:

C:\oracle\product\11.2.0\client_1\opmn\bin>onsctl ping
ons is not running ...

C:\oracle\product\11.2.0\client_1\opmn\bin>onsctl start
onsctl start: ons started

C:\oracle\product\11.2.0\client_1\opmn\bin>onsctl debug
HTTP/1.1 200 OK
Content-Length: 3627
Content-Type: text/html

== client:6200 5872 11/05/26 11:47:16 ==
Home: c:\oracle\product\11.2.0\client_1

======== ONS ========
--------------------------------------- ----- -------- -------- --------  6200 4dde2fb0 00000006 00000008


TYPE                BIND ADDRESS               PORT  SOCKET
-------- --------------------------------------- ----- ------
Local                          6100    344
Remote                                       any  6200    352

Servers: (3)

---------------------------------------- -------- -------- -------- ----------
dbInstance_rac11gr2drnode1_6200          4d53d6a4 00029496 00000002          0 6200
dbInstance_rac11gr2drnode2_6200          4d3eb9e2 0006cbeb 00000002          0 6200
dbInstance_rac11gr2drnode3_6200 4d5937d6 0001990f 00000002          0 6200

Connection Topology: (4)

IP                      PORT   VERS  TIME
--------------------------------------- ----- ----- --------  6200     4 4dde2fb2
**                  6200
**                  6200
**                   6200  6200     4 4dde2fb2
**                  6200
**                  6200
**                   6200  6200     4 4dde2fb2
**                   6200
**                  6200
**                  6200  6200     4 4dde2fb2=
**                  6200
**                  6200
**                  6200

Server connections:

-------- --------------------------------------- ----- ------ ----- --- ----
0                   6200 010405 00000 001  ---
1                   6200 002405 00000 001
2                   6200 010405 00000 001  --
3                   6200 010405 00000 001  ---

Client connections:

-------- --------------------------------------- ----- ------ ----- --- --- -
4                                internal     0 01008a 00000 001 002
request                       6100 03201a 00000 001 000

Worker Ticket: 28/28, Last: 11/05/26 11:47:15

-------- --------
120 00000012
124 00000012
128 00000012


Received: Total 12 (Internal 6), in Receive Q: 0
Processed: Total 12, in Process Q: 0

Pool Counts:
Message: 1, Link: 1, Ack: 1, Match: 1


With a local ONS started on my client, I can actually subscribe to the ONS and make use of the events. The easiest way is to simply decode the load balancing events, as I did in my code, shown below (modified version of the code in the Oracle documentation to make it work):

package de.mbh;

import oracle.simplefan.FanSubscription;
import oracle.simplefan.FanEventListener;
import oracle.simplefan.FanManager;
import oracle.simplefan.LoadAdvisoryEvent;
import oracle.simplefan.NodeDownEvent;
import oracle.simplefan.ServiceDownEvent;
import java.util.Properties;

public class TestClass {

TestClass() {

Properties p = new Properties();
p.put("serviceName", "OEMSRV");

System.setProperty("oracle.ons.oraclehome", "c:\\oracle\\product\\11.2.0\\client_1");

FanSubscription sub = FanManager.getInstance().subscribe(p);

System.out.println("I'm subscribed!");

sub.addListener(new FanEventListener() {

public void handleEvent(ServiceDownEvent arg0) {
System.out.println("Service Down registered!");

public void handleEvent(NodeDownEvent arg0) {
System.out.println("Node Down Event Registered");

public void handleEvent(LoadAdvisoryEvent arg0) {
System.out.println("Just got a Load Advisory event");

System.out.println("originating database: " + arg0.getDatabaseUniqueName());
System.out.println("originating instance: " + arg0.getInstanceName());
System.out.println("Service Quality     : " + arg0.getServiceQuality());
System.out.println("Percent             : " + arg0.getPercent());
System.out.println("Service Name        : " + arg0.getServiceName());
System.out.println("Service Quality     : " + arg0.getServiceQuality());
System.out.println("Observed at         : " + arg0.getTimestamp() + "\n\n");
} } );

* @param args
public static void main(String[] args) {
// TODO Auto-generated method stub
TestClass tc = new TestClass();

int i = 0;
while ( i < 100000)  {
try {
} catch (Exception e) {

System.out.println("execution ended");


When compiling or executing the code, you need the simplefan.jar and ons.jar files in your classpath, and chances are that you need ojdbc6.jar as well.

Starting the application reveals Load Balancing events being read:

I'm subscribed!
Just got a Load Advisory event
originating database: LNGDS1RD
originating instance: dbInstance_rac11gr2drnode3_6200
Service Quality     : -1
Percent             : 51
Service Name        : OEMSRV
Service Quality     : -1
Observed at         : Thu May 26 11:56:03 BST 2011

Just got a Load Advisory event
originating database: LNGDS1RD
originating instance: dbInstance_rac11gr2drnode3_6200
Service Quality     : -1
Percent             : 49
Service Name        : OEMSRV
Service Quality     : -1
Observed at         : Thu May 26 11:56:03 BST 2011

This proves that you can write your own connection cache, which allows you to react to *down events and rebalance your session differently.

Fedora 15: First Impressions…

It’s been nearly six months since I made the switch from CentOS to Fedora as my main desktop OS.

The Fedora 15 final release dropped a couple of days ago and I slapped it on my main desktop PC straight away. As usual, the first impression is all about the visuals. GNOME 3 looks great. I’m sure lots of people think KDE looks great too, but I tend to just stick with the default window manager, so it’s GNOME for me.

If you’ve read any of the press you will know that the menu bar and task bar have been removed. This is kinda weird at first. How does it affect me?

  • Task Bar: I was surprised how reliant I was on the task bar for switching between open apps. I would say about 50% of the time I was using the task bar and 50% of the time I was using alt+tab. Now I’m using alt+tab 100% of the time. I think this change has worked really well for me. I feel like I’m navigating quicker.
  • Menu Bar: I think this one will annoy a few people. In essence, the menu bar is still there, but one layer down. If you click on “Activies” in the top left (or hit the Windows key) you switch to the activities screen. There is a favorites doc on the left and if you click “Applications”, you get a menu (more like a filter) on the right of the screen. That’s all nice, but the thing I really like is if you click the Windows key and type in a few letters it returns all apps and items that contain those letters in the name. Similar to the Windows menu, but prettier. So if you insist on using the menu like an old-style menu, I think this change will annoy you as it requires an extra click and some animations. If you use the favorites doc and the search feature I think it’s quite cool.

The fancy visuals worked straight out of the box for my main desktop machine, but one of my other machines (with a better graphics card) couldn’t handle GNOME 3 and ran using fallback mode. Fallback mode is pretty much like previous GNOME releases with a menu bar and task bar. I’m sure some people will prefer fallback mode, but I think the new stuff is certainly worth a try.

If you really can’t handle the new interface you can manually switch to fallback mode. Start up the System Info dialog (Activities > Applications > System Settings > System Info), click “Graphics” , flick the “Forced Fallback Mode” switch and relog.

As for the OS itself, I’ve had no dramas so far, but it is early days. Time will tell…

By the way, I did the usual Oracle on Fedora thing.



RAC Attack – Oracle Cluster Database at Home

First of all, the RAC Attack deep dive at Collaborate went great – thanks to everyone who participated! The room was full (20 participants) and I got evaluations from about half of them. Here’s a summary of the eval results:

  • 100% class met expectations, would recommend to others
  • 66% easy to follow, could use skills in working environment
  • 100% already familiar with oracle, 90% use oracle daily
  • 0 negative reviews of instructor (phew!)
  • 1 negative review of curriculum: said practice exercises weren’t relevant but training manual was still above average.
  • 0 negative “comments”

There were several positive comments such as this: “I would recommend this class to others. This setup is perfect to pick up new skills and expose what ifs w/out worrying about pressing the wrong button.”

A quick word of warning about database PSU

I am playing around with the Grid Infrastructure PSU 2 and found an interesting note on My Oracle Support regarding the Patch Set Update. This reminds me that it’s always a good idea to search for a patch number on Metalink before applying a PSU. It also seems to be a good idea to wait for a few days before trying a PSU (or maybe CPU) on your DEV environment for the first time (and don’t even think about applying a PSU on production without thorough testing!)

OK, back to the story: there is a known issue with the patchset which has to do with the change in the Mutex behaviour which the PSU was intended to fix. To quote MOS note “Oracle Database Patch Set Update Known Issues (Doc ID 1291879.1)”, Patch 12431716 Is a Recommended Patch for In fact, Oracle strongly recommends you to apply the patch to fix Bug 12431716 – Unexpected change in mutex wait behavior in PSU (higher CPU possible).

In a nutshell, not applying the patch can cause your system to suffer from excessive CPU usage and more than expected mutex contention. More information can be found in the description of Bug 12431716  Mutex waits may cause higher CPU usage in PSU / GI PSU which is worth reading.

Besides this, the PSU was applied without any problems to my four node cluster, I just wish there was a way to roll out a new version of opatch to all cluster node’s $GRID_HOME and $ORACLE_HOME in one command. The overall process for the PSU is the same as already described in my previous post about Bundle Patch 3:

  1. Get the latest version of OPatch
  2. Deploy OPatch to $GRID_HOME and $ORACLE_HOME (ensure permissions are set correctly for the OPatch in $GRID_HOME!)
  3. Unzip the PSU (Bug 11724916 – Patch Set Update (PSU) (Doc ID 11724916.8)), for example to /tmp/PSU
  4. Change directory to where you unzipped (/tmp/PSU) and become root
  5. Ensure that $GRID_HOME/OPatch is part of the path
  6. Read the readme
  7. Create an OCM response file and save it to say, /tmp/ocm.rsp
  8. Start the patch as root: opatch auto and supply the full path to the OCM response file (/tmp/ocm.rsp)
  9. Apply the beforementioned one-off patch

Then wait, and after a little while you spend trailing the logfile in $GRID_HOME/cfgtoollogs/ and having a coffee the process eventually finishes. Repeat on each node and you’re done. I’m really happy there aren’t these long readme files anymore with 8 steps to be performed, partially as root, partially as CRS owner/RDBMS owner. It reduces tge tune ut takes to apply a PSU significantly.

Happy patching!

Pro Oracle Database 11g RAC on Linux is available for Kindle

Addmittedly I haven’t checked for a little while, but an email by my co-author Steve Show prompted me to go to the Amazon website and look it up.

And yes, it’s reality! Our book is now finally available as a kindle version, how great is that?!?

There isn’t really a lot more to say about this subject. I’ll wonder how many techies are intersted in the kindle version after the PDF has been out for quite a while. If you read this and decide to get the kindle version, could you please let me know how you liked it?  Personally I think the book is well suited for the Amazon reader as it’s mostly text which suits the device well.

Happy reading!