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Submit an Abstract to RMOUG Training Days 2016!

As the Training Days Director for Rocky Mountain Oracle User Group, one of my tasks is not just running the conference for RMOUG, but also promoting it.

RMOUG Training Days was the first conference I ever attended, (2004) and the first one I ever presented at, (2009.)  Its one of the reasons my career is where it is now and how I stayed in touch with the man who is now my partner in life, best friend and husband.


The Training Days conference is the largest regional Oracle User Group conference in the US and is held each year at the Colorado Convention Center with it’s unforgettable venue.



Our conference has an amazing group of volunteers and attendees, which can be seen easily just by a picture showing last year’s keynote from Maria Colgan:


With that said, currently the call for papers is open and I would like to recommend to everyone that they submit an abstract.  To prepare you for this task, let me go over a few reminders of what it takes to make a great abstract:

  1. Take the time to make a great abstract title and fill out the abstract and summary completely!
  2. Run it through spelling and grammar check.  If you submit a “sloppy” abstract with misspellings and errors in grammar, how can we know that you’ll take the time to ensure that the presentation will be performed professionally and technically accurate?
  3. List a few take-aways the attendee will leave with.  What is the value that will be gained by attending your session?
  4. Fill out your speaker biography.  We like to know a bit about you and why you are important to have presenting at the conference.
  5. No marketing!  Keep your session technical.  Our conference is a technical conference and nothing irks our attendees like marketing!  If they like what your teaching, they’ll search out your company and/or product-  trust me!

Our conference sessions selection is based off the scoring of our valuable abstract reviewers.  If you are selected to be a presenter, these are a few other things you can do to ensure that you are desired to return:

  1. If you’re on social media, find out what the twitter handle and hashtag are for the conference.  Promote it.  Many user groups have little to no marketing budget and appreciate the support.
  2. If you have a blog, find out if they can provide you a speaker button for your webpage or if they mind if you create one from their conference logo.  This is more marketing support that is greatly appreciated.
  3. While at the conference, tweet, post and share what you love about the conference.
  4. Fill out conference evaluations for both sessions you attend and the conference overall evaluation.  This lets speakers know how they did and what they can improve upon.  For conference evaluations, this data is invaluable in the next year’s planning and enhancements!

Finally, if it’s your first time submitting a paper, don’t hesitate to reach out and ask for mentoring or guidance.  Many conferences have senior speakers that can assist you and I know at RMOUG, we have a special selection process to ensure that our members get to hear from new speakers in the community.  Ensuring success of the next great presenter in the Oracle world is important to us all.  Take a deep breath and a dive into the great world of knowledge sharing!  Everyone wins when every one contributes!

Submit your abstract today!  The deadline is September 30th, 2015!









Copyright © DBA Kevlar [Submit an Abstract to RMOUG Training Days 2016!], All Right Reserved. 2015.

Middleware Diagnostics Advisor (MDA) Setup

One of the areas I’ve been exploring recently is the setup and use of the Middleware Diagnostics Advisor, more commonly known as MDA. MDA is an advisor in EM12c that analyzes the entire stack and provides diagnostic findings by identifying root causes for any problems it discovers. It correlates and analyzes the input and offers advice on how to resolve the problem. For example, it can help you identify that slow SQL statements or a JDBC connection pool is causing a performance bottleneck. As described in the documentation, MDA is currently supported for Oracle WebLogic Server 10g Release 3 (10.3) and higher. MDA monitors JDBC DataSources, EJBs, and JMS Queues.

MDA enables you to easily identify the underlying states in the application server environment that are causing degraded performance. These underlying states can manifest themselves as slow responses for requests, hung servers, slow servers, high memory utilization, high disk I/O, and so on.

MDA analyses the overall performance of an aspect in a runtime environment. When the overall performance of the aspect degrades beyond a certain limit, MDA diagnoses the issue to find the underlying cause. However, individual one off issues, which do not affect the overall performance, are not isolated by MDA.

MDA diagnoses performances issues in the following areas:

  • JDBC findings:
    • Checks if the SQL execution takes a long time.
    • Checks if the JDBC Pool size is small, and if the wait time for connections is high.
    • Checks if reclaimed connections are found for data sources, and if the effective pool size is small.
  • JMS findings:
    • Checks if the message processing is slow.
    • Checks if the number of messages reprocessed due to transaction timeout is high.
    • Checks if the number of messages reprocessed due to transaction rollback is high.
    • Checks if the message delivery is delayed.
    • Checks if the queue slowed down due to large number of messages.
    • Checks if the queue slowed down due to large size of messages.
  • EJB findings:
    • Checks if the remote call made by the EJB takes too long to return.
    • Checks if the EJB takes too long to execute.
  • Thread findings:
    • Checks if there are locks that are being waited on by other threads.

If you want to see a video of MDA in action, follow this link to see MDA sizing the JDBC connection pool.

Under the Covers

Now that you know a little bit more about what it does, let’s have a look at how you set up MDA and what happens under the covers.

Enabling and Disabling MDA

Firstly, let’s look at how MDA is enabled. That’s pretty straightforward, as it’s enabled out of the box when you deploy the JVMD agent. Once that’s done, you can disable it altogether if you want, or indeed enable it again, from the WebLogic Domain menu. Go to All Targets and select the WebLogic Domain you want to enable/disable MDA for, then from the WebLogic Domain menu select “Diagnostics” followed by “Middleware Diagnostics Advisor” as shown in the screenshot below:


That will take you to the page shown in the next screenshot. In this example, I’ve drilled into the WebLogic Domain installed with the OMS, and selected the first OMS in the two OMS configuration I have in this example. Once you select the target name, the bottom half of the screen appears as shown, prompting you for login information. In this example, OMS1 already has MDA enabled, so the “Disable” button is now available to me:


Now that enabling and disabling is at a fairly broad level – the WebLogic domain. What if you wanted to be a bit more granular than that? Well, you can do that too. So for each of the findings categories listed above (JDBC, JMS, EJB, and Thread) there’s a specific emctl command to either enable or disable the checks. Here’s an example for disabling the check for JMS findings:

bash-3.2$ which emctl
bash-3.2$ emctl set property -name oracle.sysman.emas.mda.disableJmsAnalysisForTargets -value all
Oracle Enterprise Manager Cloud Control 12c Release 4
Copyright (c) 1996, 2014 Oracle Corporation. All rights reserved.
SYSMAN password:
Property oracle.sysman.emas.mda.disableJmsAnalysisForTargets has been set to value all for all Management Servers
OMS restart is not required to reflect the new property value

OK, that was pretty easy. How about re-enabling it? Well, that’s not listed in the documentation and switching the property name from disableJmsAnalysisForTargets to enableJmsAnalysisForTargets isn’t the easy answer you might expect. </p />

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Back to the future

Back in 1993 I started my career at Oracle as a Unix System Administrator with a specialization in Sun Solaris. I have been using the Solaris operating system ever since the Solaris 2.0 Early Adopter program started in 1991. Those were the days ;-) In late 1998 I switched from being a system administrator to […]

Lets Talk DB Perth

Last week in Perth, we held a “Lets Talk DB” event.  This was a free event organised by our local Perth Oracle office (big thanks to Dennis Ward for his organisational skills), where Richard Foote, Chris Muir and myself, spent the day describing some of the Oracle innovations to DBA and Developers alike.  Chris referred to the three of us as the “Coalition of the Delisted” for we are all former Ace Directors, the ‘former’ label being the result of joining Oracle.


Richard’s task was covering database 12c features from a DBA perspective. My task was covering database 12c features from a Developer’s perspective. Chris was the glue in the middle, with an informative overview of Oracle REST Data Services (ORDS).

Interestingly, although ORDS was perhaps the least well known of the subject matter, I get the feeling that this might have been the most important session of the day, because REST/JSON certainly seems to be the emerging defacto standard of database interaction as the world moves more and more to obsession with the devices in the pocket and on their wrist :-)

Feedback from the attendees was incredibly positive:

-“good level of tech detail”
-“all very relevant. Good that it focussed on some less well known features”
-“incredible informative”
-“It was all very useful”
-“Presenters and slides were well organised and informed”
-“Opportunity to talk 1-on-1 with speakers”

which makes us the speakers and organisers feel great, and inspires us to organise more soon.

Hand in hand with that, was my offer to anyone that attended – if you want more time on the topic of successful development with Oracle, or 12c features…for your own staff, in your timeframe, and at your own site…for no cost, then all you need to do is get in touch and we’ll sort something out.  Our goal is to make you more successful with Oracle. 


We’re here to help.

Now available: Oracle Certified Master 12c Upgrade exam

The Oracle Database 12c Certified Master upgrade exam was recently released and those who wish to take this upgrade exam can do so on October 9th, December 22nd or December 29th in Utrecht, The Netherlands. Hope to see you soon ;-)-Harald

YouTube Cameos : My Channel Needs You!

I’ve spent the last couple of months uploading videos to my YouTube channel.

At the start of each technical video, I introduce myself by saying something like, “Hi. It’s Tim from oracle-base”, and I use a video clip of someone from the Oracle community saying, “.com”,  to finish off the website name. I then put links to their blog, twitter, website etc in the description box. It’s just something fun and stupid to lighten the tone of the videos and to give a shout out to people in the community. :)

If you take a look at the clips, you’ll see they vary a lot. Some are simple and straight, just filmed on a webcam or phone. Others are a little more elaborate, like the one filmed under water. Some come with some funny outtakes I put at the end of the video. :)

Here’s a montage of all the clips I’ve used so far.

If you want to be included in one of the videos, send a clip of yourself saying “.com” to me (tim (at) along with your blog and twitter URLs and I’ll include it in a future clip.

I don’t mind you using some casual company branding, like wearing the t-shirt, but this is really about community, so don’t send me a McDonalds advert! :) Any user group clips, like the one I got from Auckland are great too.

I try to use them on a first-come-first-served basis, so get in early before I start gathering clips at OpenWorld. :)



Update: Whoops! I missed out my crazy uncle Martin Widlake. You can see his clip here.

YouTube Cameos : My Channel Needs You! was first posted on September 13, 2015 at 8:40 am.
©2012 "The ORACLE-BASE Blog". Use of this feed is for personal non-commercial use only. If you are not reading this article in your feed reader, then the site is guilty of copyright infringement.

Friday Philosophy – If You are reading this You are probably Pretty Smart

I bet I can predict a few things about you. And I mean You, the person reading this on my Blog right now.

At senior school (when you were aged between 11 and 16-ish) you were at the top of your classes. At least most of them. You were in the top few in your year for most science subjects and probably Maths too.

And you were not bad at any of your subjects once you had a choice over them, but there was at least one subject you were glad to get rid of as you were poor at it. But if you think back, I bet you were simply *almost average* at it, there were as many kids or more worse at it than you then there were better than you at it. You were just not as stand-out good as you were in other subjects. Come on, I’m right aren’t I? Even your poor subjects you were OK at compared to all the other kids.

You almost certainly went to college and, if you are under 35, you did to study a STEM subject – Science, Technology, Engineering & Maths. If you are 40-50 you did not study computing but you ended up working in it anyway. 35-40? You either studied computing, thought about it or took options in your course that had a major element of computer programming.

However, you were probably not quite the smartest kid in your year at school.

What makes me think this? Because I can mind-read(*)?

No, I think this simply due to the fact that you work in corporate IT or something very similar. You use your brain to solve issues or get tasks done. I think that the generally high level of intelligence is a more common trait in IT than the other thing I can probably predict about you – you don’t feel you are a people person, not really. Using myself as an example; I present at conferences, I have run training courses and I usually have something to say in a large group or discussion; I even partly run London Oracle Beers, a social Oracle user group. But I can’t make small-talk with people I don’t know and I am uncomfortable meeting new people.

We have to be intelligent to make a career in IT and most of us were probably drawn, at least in part, towards computers and software as we could work on it on our own and the computer did not have any feelings to dent or make any social demands on us. However, many (most) people are social nervous and so I think the more defining trait of people in IT is that they are intelligent – and intelligent in the way that IQ tests measure intelligence: A mixture of learnt patterns and various problem solving/logic/deduction skills. If you have had your IQ tested I am sure you are 120+. I would not be at all surprised if you score 130+. But you still have a little way to go to beat… my wife.

You probably were not the smartest kid in your year at school as the smartest kid either went into medicine/vet school, academia, law or crime – something more way-out-there.

So what point am I making? None really. It’s more just an observation. Though I do think you should occasionally take time to say a prayer of thanks to Pythagoras (or whoever you think is listening) and remind yourself how lucky you are. Most of your intelligence is inherited and the smaller (but not insignificant part) is due to schooling and your own efforts (note, I’m talking intelligence, not what you know – the two are different but aid each other). Your brains were given to your by your parents and grandparents, no matter how hard that can sometimes be to believe :-). I was on a PL/SQL course with Steven Feuerstein about 10 years ago and he took a minute or two to passionately state how lucky all of us on the course were to have our brains, to be making our living by thinking and not back-breaking toil or dull manual work. It was a sentiment I whole-heatedly agree with. I actually love spending time digging a ditch or chopping down trees but I would hate having to do it every day for a living.

Of course, intelligence of the IQ type is not everything and it does not make you a better person. I’m sure we have all known some very smart assholes and some wonderful people who can’t think themselves out of a damp paper bag. Some people have average IQ and yet have talents most of use would struggle with, like making a violin sound anything but bloody awful. I’ve known academics with an IQ somewhere Way Up There but who had about as much common sense as a pigeon. I have come across a few examples of intelligence bigotry in my time too. I know one guy in an academic institute who tried to insist that the highest grade you could achieve and the top of your salary band be dictated by your best academic qualification. No one without some sort of degree should get above level 5, No one with less than a 2(i) allowed in grade four and to get to grade 2 a PhD was needed. He was a very smart asshole. I’ve known a couple of people without a degree in this business of IT and both of the ones I’m thinking of right now are very, very good at what they do.

So be grateful for that brain of yours and just remember that most people are not as intelligent as you, so show patience in explaining and working with them. And if you are not patient, you could well be an intelligent asshole. You might need to learn to not be like that.

(*) Just as an aside, deducing things about groups of people and, in fact, traits most people have is not hard. It’s called cold reading. It’s what mediums, mind readers, psychics and other intelligent assholes use to hoodwink people. Part of it is things you can guess at given one piece of information or even none. I can deduce things about you because you work in IT. I know you feel you’ve never reached your potential and you have more to give as *almost everyone does*. No one wants to be seen to be selfish but we all know we are, at least at times. Even Mother Theresa thought so at times. The other aspect to it is reading body language and empathy, which is why I can’t make a living as a psychic. I just don’t get people….

Just thinking on this aside for a second, maybe mediums and psychics could get less abusive jobs as data analysts? Deducing things about people based on averages and correlation is Big Data Business right now.

(Update – thanks to the person who quietly contacted me to point out my spelling error/poor grammar with “patience” and “patient” – in my section in intelligent assholes too! He showed real patience with me)

Longer strings in 12c

Most people are now aware that in 12c, a VARCHAR2 has been extended from a maximum size of 4000 to 32767 bytes.

Similarly, there’s many a note/blog post etc about needing to set the following parameter to enable it:

SQL> alter system set max_string_size = EXTENDED scope=spfile;

System altered.

and then bounce the database. But its important note that its NOT just as simple as that. Here’s what will happen if you only do that

SQL> startup upgrade
ORACLE instance started.

Total System Global Area 2097152000 bytes
Fixed Size                  3047568 bytes
Variable Size             503320432 bytes
Database Buffers         1040187392 bytes
Redo Buffers               13725696 bytes
In-Memory Area            536870912 bytes
Database mounted.
Database opened.

SQL> alter system set max_string_size = EXTENDED;

System altered.

SQL> shutdown
Database closed.
Database dismounted.
ORACLE instance shut down.

SQL> startup
ORACLE instance started.

Total System Global Area 2097152000 bytes
Fixed Size                  3047568 bytes
Variable Size             503320432 bytes
Database Buffers         1040187392 bytes
Redo Buffers               13725696 bytes
In-Memory Area            536870912 bytes
Database mounted.
ORA-01092: ORACLE instance terminated. Disconnection forced
ORA-14695: MAX_STRING_SIZE migration is incomplete
Process ID: 10924
Session ID: 6 Serial number: 58918

SQL> startup upgrade
SP2-0642: SQL*Plus internal error state 2133, context 3114:0:0
Unsafe to proceed
ORA-03114: not connected to ORACLE

Now that all looks quite alarming, because your database looks like its in a bad way. But its not. (As documented) you also need to run a migration script when enabling the extended sizes. Here’s what you should be doing:

SQL> startup upgrade
ORACLE instance started.

Total System Global Area 2097152000 bytes
Fixed Size                  3047568 bytes
Variable Size             503320432 bytes
Database Buffers         1040187392 bytes
Redo Buffers               13725696 bytes
In-Memory Area            536870912 bytes
Database mounted.
Database opened.

SQL> @?/rdbms/admin/utl32k.sql


SQL> shutdown immediate
Database closed.
Database dismounted.
ORACLE instance shut down.

SQL> startup
ORACLE instance started.

Total System Global Area 2097152000 bytes
Fixed Size                  3047568 bytes
Variable Size             503320432 bytes
Database Buffers         1040187392 bytes
Redo Buffers               13725696 bytes
In-Memory Area            536870912 bytes
Database mounted.
Database opened.

and the job is done

Oracle OpenWorld : It’s just around the corner…

The total insanity that is Oracle OpenWorld 2015 is just around the corner. I’ve got my flights and hotels booked, so I think I’m good to go!

The first couple of days will be ACE Director briefings. The big announcement this year will be the Oracle Games Cloud (#OGC), but as a beta program participant I’m under NDA so I’m not allowed to talk about it. It will be interesting to see what else is coming down the pipeline. I expect lots of hardware refreshes and standard stuff like that, but there is always something unexpected that makes you sit back…

Of course, the main event of the ACED briefing will be me gathering 100+ “dot com” YouTube cameos. Dress to impress and perfect diction please… :)

As far as presentations go:

  •  SQL for Functionality, Performance and Maintainability, and its future : I’ve been invited to join this panel session. I’m the token dumb-ass to help you relate to panel. My job is to nod, like I know what people are talking about and occasionally scratch myself. :)
  • Twelve More Things About Oracle Database 12c Part One [UGF3190] and “Twelve More Things About Oracle Database 12c Part Two [UGF3191]” : UKOUG are using their two user group sessions to host another multi-speaker extravaganza. I was involved in this last year, but submitted my entry too late to get in this year. There are so many good EMEA presenters! Anyway, I’m on reserve if someone can’t make it, or if there is any spare time for a “13th thing”. If I get to do it, my slot will be called “12 Oracle 12c Data Pump enhancements in 7 minutes!” :)

Apart from these events, there are always loads of things to get involved in, so it’s going to be a busy few days!

If you are new to the OpenWorld experience, I suggest you check out Jeff Smith’s post called, How to Survive, no, Thrive at Oracle Open World. Making the most of OOW is a skill. It’s a pity if you get to the end of the event and feel like you missed out. Preparation is the key! :)

For those who are lucky enough to be going, I’ll see you there soon. If you can’t make it, many of the headlines will be streamed live and you have a blogsphere that will keep you updated on the fun bits!



Oracle OpenWorld : It’s just around the corner… was first posted on September 10, 2015 at 8:30 am.
©2012 "The ORACLE-BASE Blog". Use of this feed is for personal non-commercial use only. If you are not reading this article in your feed reader, then the site is guilty of copyright infringement.

VirtualBox 5.0.4

virtualboxVirtualBox 5.0.4 has been released.

It’s a maintenance release, with a whole bunch of bug fixes. Downloads and changelog in the usual places.

The “Check for Updates…” link from the menu hasn’t noticed the upgrade yet, so if you are keen you will have to download it manually. :)

Happy upgrading…




VirtualBox 5.0.4 was first posted on September 9, 2015 at 9:38 am.
©2012 "The ORACLE-BASE Blog". Use of this feed is for personal non-commercial use only. If you are not reading this article in your feed reader, then the site is guilty of copyright infringement.