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I’m in the midst of transferring over to my travel laptop to run all my VMs on and retiring my previous ASUS work laptop to my youngest son.  I was surprised to find out that not ALL laptops are set up to run virtual environments these days.

1.  Virtualization may not be enabled in the BIOS, (i.e. On-Boot UEFI in the Lenovo Yoga 11s.)

enable_vm

Once this is enabled, save the configuration and reboot, allowing you to now run a VM on your laptop.

If you are importing appliances, make sure you have set the location to import the disks to the appropriate location, especially if you are using an external disk to house your VMs.

Before you click, “Import”, look at the very bottom where the location of the virtual disk will reside and verify that is where you want them to live.  The default is commonly the data location for the PC user on Windows or the /home/user for Linux users.

imp_disk

 

Now onto the VM

2.  All VM images are not the same.  If you are using an image file or have created the image from scratch, be prepared to do some preparation to get the image ready before you can successfully install Oracle on it and/or any other product such as Enterprise Manager, etc.

The nicest part is that Oracle will let you know what is wrong in its prereq checks during the installation of Oracle.  It’s going to let you know if your OS and virtual host has what it takes to support the installation-

vm_updates

 

Most of these are pretty straight forward for anyone who’s installed Oracle for awhile, maybe not for those that are newer to the product.

1.  Most VM images have a small /tmp and/or it can be filled quickly by installation.

  • clear out files from /tmp after each installation or in this case, failed install.
  • create a soft link to point to a second temp directory that has more space and make it the default temporary directory.

2.  Increase is the swapfile space.  This can be created in a location you have space to reserve and read/write swap to.  On  our VM, we’re kind of limited at the moment, so we’re just going to create a swapfile off of /u01 and give it 2GB of space:

dd if=/dev/zero of=/u01/swapfile bs=1024 count=2097152
mkswap /u01/swapfile
swapon /u01/swapfile
swapon -a

3.  Hard limit/soft limit-  These can be fixed by the following inside your VM, most of the steps must be performed as ROOT, but verify if it’s looking for ROOT to perform or a check as the OS user-

Next, we’re alerted that the max open file descriptors is an issue, so let’s look at those for the system, the user and then increase them:

cat /proc/sys/fs/file-max
Do as the user!!
ulimit -Hn
4096
ulimit -Sn
1024

We’ve now verified that they are smaller than the requested amount, (in our installation, it requested 65536) so we’ll add this and then verify the change in the file-

sysctl -w fs.file-max=65536
vi /etc/sysctl.conf
We can also simply append to file, (as ROOT):
fs.file-max = 100000

Now save and verify with the following:

sysctl -p

Log out and log back in to set the new values.

Next post we’ll take on all those darn lib files… :)

 

I love my Lenovo Yoga 11s special build, ultra book.  It has 16G of memory, an Intel core i7 and 256 SSD, but that’s no where near the amount of space that I’m going to require to be running numerous virtual environments on it.  To help me out, I went on a fun buying and testing spree with a number of external disk solutions to find what worked best for my needs.  

The contenders, (yes, I was all over the board on these)-

The goal was to come up with a solid combination of performance, portability and storage.

I’m not going to go over any benchmarks as you can see the claims by the manufacturer and the reviews from folks who purchased them on the links, but I can tell you what ended up working for me.

The My Book was just to large and clunky.  I didn’t get the speed increases with the external power supply, (there were recommendations to get an external with added power as my Yoga doesn’t offer a whole lot in the tiny package…)  I think it would make a good backup drive, but not good for running VMs and no way was I hauling the literally “book” sized external drive overseas and to conferences!

The Toshiba Canvio, along with two other 5400rpm drives I already had were solid, had space of 500MB to 1.7TB, but they didn’t show the performance I required and the USB was 2.0 on the older ones.  It was good, but not good enough, so the Toshiba Canvio lost due to size vs.  price.

The PNY 128 GB flash drive was fast enough, but it’s just too darn small.  The price is really great at $50, (and for those Best Buy shoppers, Amazon has it for a third of what you’re paying at Best Buy!) so it is only good enough to be used as an external flash drive to SUPPORT the VM environment, (which I’ll explain in a little bit.)

Which leads me to the Patriot 256GB SuperSonic-  This 256GB, blazing fast flash drive is just big enough and plenty fast enough to run your VM for demos and webinars with the speed you want, but the price is the same as what you’d be paying for the Best Buy PNY version.  This is a fantastic deal for a 256GB fast USB 3.0 flash drive.

Then comes in the Touro 1TB 7200, 3.0 USB external drive.  It out performed all the other drives, the price was fantastic.  The combination of this for my standard VMs and the Patriot 256GB SuperSonic flash drive for demos is a nice combination.  I also kept the 128GB PNY flash drive-  why?  As you work with VMs, you come across the need to download and copy files as you are building.  It’s nice to have a fast flash drive with plenty of space to download to.

The end setup is portable enough that I can easily travel and present, but it’s fast enough that I can avoid some of the technical difficulties we all have run into when attempting to demonstrate via a VM.  A special thanks to Leighton Nelson, Tyler Muth and Connor McDonald for their recommendations.  This saved me a lot of time and I was able to test out just what fell inside that range to build out what would work for the setup I needed! :)

20140316_192114 

Yes, you heard that right-  DBA Goth Cowgirl is getting an upgrade to Enterprise Manager, (EM12c) Goth Cowgirl!  I will be starting as Oracle’s Consulting Member of the Technical Staff for the Strategic Customers Program, specializing in Enterprise Manager on March 17th.  The Strategic Customer Program is a group that rolls up under the Systems Management product line and is one of four primary product lines, (the other three being Database, Fusion Middleware and Applications.)  We comprise the whole of Enterprise Manager and OpsCenter.

This opportunity has been long in the making and I look forward to focusing on the Enterprise Manager product as both part of the development team and presenting at conferences.  Its been made quite clear to me that both my technical and marketing/presentation skills will be highly sought after in my new role and I’m looking forward to being a integral part of the EM team.  I will be primarily working remote, but will travel for short term technical engagements and marketing efforts whenever requested.

So for those of you who want to continue to master EM12c with me, EM12c Goth Cowgirl, continue to follow me as I’ll be offered invaluable expertise as I deep dive into the source of all that is EM12c with Oracle!

I want to thank all those that helped me in some way with this opportunity, including Dan Koloski, Pete Sharman, Tyler Muth, Mary Melgaard, Wendy Delmolino, Pramod Chowbey, Will Scelzo and Adilson Jardim.  These are all incredible folks within Oracle and their guidance and support is tremendously appreciated now and in the future.

em12c_img

The New Chapter

Today is my last day at Enkitec and I look back on a whirlwind two years.  As many people know, I never seem to stop moving, (I hear my mother’s voice from when I was a small child saying, “Kellyn, sit down!  Kellyn, don’t climb!  Please, sit still!” :))  Nope, still doesn’t work, but I also never seem to stop growing and it’s time to take that next step in my career.

These last two years have been phenomenal, starting out as a new Oracle ACE and a flurry of conference appearances, it’s culminated to me speaking at 16 conferences, two challenging years as the conference director for RMOUG’s Training Days, database track lead for ODTUG’s ever popular, KSCOPE conference, earning my ACE Director and being inducted into the OAK Table Network.  Somewhere in all of this, I was able to co-author two books, (Pro SQLServer 2012 and Expert EM12c) and start a third, (The Enterprise Manager Command Line Interface, (EM CLI).

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed supporting my wonderful Enkitec clients and working with my peers who’ve been part of the Remote DBA team, (shout out to Mike M., Bobby N, Katy, Lance, Gary, Greg and those that have come and gone from the remote team….)  I wish the continued success for those that I’ve been friends with long before Enkitec and have recently been able to call coworkers-  Martin Bach, Bobby Curtis, Frits Hoogland, Karl Arao, Alex Fatkulin and Andy Klock, (poor Alex and Andy stuck with me a second time around! :))  I appreciate the support of my direct leads who in a place of very flat hierarchy, made sure I had what I needed to be successful with Enkitec clients the last two years-  Jon Adams, Andy Colvin, Mike Moehlman and Martin Paynter.

After a couple weeks of transitioning my clients over to the competent hands of my teammates, I will be taking the next couple weeks off to concentrate on the Enterprise Manager 12c CLI book.  Its rather amazing we’ve gotten as far as we have considering how busy Ray Smith, Seth Miller and I am with day jobs, user groups community and conference demands.  These guys rock to work with on a book and I’m very proud of how incredible this little project of ours has come together.  Ray and Seth are stand up guys.

You will be seeing me speak this next week at HotSos and then the beginning of April at Norway’s OUGN, (Tim and I will be doing a joint keynote, along with our own tech sessions and I believe Heli and I have the makings of a great WIT session!)  Tim and I will be flying back from Norway and then a couple days later, right back out to Las Vegas for Collaborate for a full schedule.  I have three speaker sessions, a number of panels and other opportunities to network and speak to everyone.  My tech sessions for each of these will be focused on master EM12c, DBaaS and effectively utilizing ASH and AWR.

Thank you everyone who has helped me get to where I am and have supported me in my next opportunity to shine.  A special thanks goes out to Tim Gorman, my partner, mentor and biggest supporter.  I will be announcing officially where you can find me very soon, so stay tuned!

A number of folks have told me how much they enjoy the content that I “buffer” out throughout a 24 hr automated period, but hate how much  they often miss vs. getting “spammed” with all of it at once and just being overwhelmed.  I’m trying to find the best of both worlds and have started to push this content out to my very own Flipboard magazine.

If you love Flipboard and would like to find the stories of interest I push out on Twitter, Facebook and Linked In, you can now subscribe to DBA Kevlar Ammo and get all the ammo you need… :)

There is also a link at the top of this blog that can take you to the Flipboard magazine to subscribe, too:  dbakevlar_ammo

Enjoy and I’ll keep the content up to date, pushing to my buffer as well as “flipping it” to my magazine! :)

I know, I know… Just answering questions that I keep receiving from folks repeatedly, so if you know this one, love ya, if you need this answer, here it is! :)

To secure/unsecure or to resyncronize an agent, you need the agent registration password.  This would have been created when you performed the installation and configuration of the Enterprise Manager 12c.  If you didn’t perform the installation or you’ve just started to support it, you are most likely scratching your head and asking where could so and so have put that password?!?!?

No fear-  you can add one to be used and used immediately.

Log into your EM12c Console and then click on Setup…

regi_pass

 

Once you click on Registration Passwords, you’ll be taken to the Registration Management page:

init_reg_pass

 

You will notice that the Agent Registration Password that was created at the time of the install will show.  You have two choices-

1.  Edit the existing one or

2.  Create a new one using the Add Registration Password button at the upper right:

add_regis_pass

 

 

The reasons for not editing an existing one?

1.  Other administrators may be using it and just haven’t shared the information with you.

2.  I have never removed one and not sure if it would lend to some agents being blocked and require a resync.  In a large environment, not sure I even want to take the chance, (will test on one of my own VM’s at a future date, promise!)

Needless to say, I commonly just add a new one, so click on the “Add Registration Password”

Add in the information regarding your new password.  Now, if you enter in the same password as the default Agent Registration Password?  EM12c recognizes this and will NOT add the new one… :)

new_reg_pass1

 

Click on OK.  You will now see the new Agent Registration Password, which can be used in securing an agent, etc.

 

new_agent_pass2

 

>emctl secure agent
Oracle Enterprise Manager Cloud Control 12c Release 2
Copyright (c) 1996, 2012 Oracle Corporation.  All rights reserved.
Agent is already stopped…   Done.
Securing agent…   Started.
Enter Agent Registration Password : <Enter Your New Agent Registration Password Here>
EMD gensudoprops completed successfully
Securing agent…   Successful.

 

When an agent reports that it’s blocked and needs to be resync’d, most DBAs are going to log into the Enterprise Manager 12c console and attempt a resynchronization to have it fail.  A resync isn’t required very often, but if you do run into “Agent Blocked”, here are the initial steps that should be performed to have a resync complete successfully.

Log onto the server that is reporting it’s blocked.
If a MS Windows server, then open a command prompt “as an administrator” and go to the agent home, (this can be seen in the console under “home location” and has the word, “core” in the path)
So for our example:
E:\app\oracle\agent12c\core\12.1.0.2.0\bin>
If Linux/Unix, go to the $AGENT_HOME, ensuring you are in the “CORE” directory and proceed to bin.
1.  Stop the agent:
>emctl stop agent
Oracle Enterprise Manager Cloud Control 12c Release 2
Copyright (c) 1996, 2012 Oracle Corporation.  All rights reserved.
The Oracleagent12c1Agent service is stopping………….
The Oracleagent12c1Agent service was stopped successfully.
 
2.  Secure the agent:
>emctl secure agent
Oracle Enterprise Manager Cloud Control 12c Release 2
Copyright (c) 1996, 2012 Oracle Corporation.  All rights reserved.
Agent is already stopped…   Done.
Securing agent…   Started.
Enter Agent Registration Password : <– Enter the Registration Password, if unknown, create a new one in the Console.
EMD gensudoprops completed successfully
Securing agent…   Successful.
 
3.  Restart the agent:
>emctl start agent
Oracle Enterprise Manager Cloud Control 12c Release 2
Copyright (c) 1996, 2012 Oracle Corporation.  All rights reserved.
The Oracleagent12c1Agent service is starting……………………
The Oracleagent12c1Agent service was started successfully.
 
4.  Verify that it’s secured by trying to upload, but still blocked, which we expect, (the unblock has to be done AFTER a resecure):
>emctl upload agent
Oracle Enterprise Manager Cloud Control 12c Release 2
Copyright (c) 1996, 2012 Oracle Corporation.  All rights reserved.
—————————————————————
EMD upload error:full upload has failed: The agent is blocked by the OMS. Agentis out-of-sync with repository. This most likely means that the agent was reinst
alled or recovered. Please contact an EM administrator to unblock the agent by performing an agent resync from the console. (AGENT_BLOCKED)
 
5.  Now, Submit a resync from the console to complete the task:
Click on Targets, All Targets. In the search menu, type in the name of the host that is experiencing the issue.  All targets that are part of that host will come up.  Notice the one that says “Agent”.  Click on it and it will bring you to the Agent console.
Below the name of the host target name on the upper left, you will notice it says, “Agent”  Click on this and then in the drop down menu, click on “Resyncronization”.
Follow through the defaults and click then click on the job that is submitted to perform the resync.  You can monitor it till it’s complete, (sometimes it can take up to a 1/2 hour to clear out all the issues.
Once it says “Succeeded”, then you can log in and successfully upload, as well as the status should be green for all targets connected to this agent.

So I survived one more year as the conference director for RMOUG Training Days 2014! :)  There was some question to my survival as we entered the week before the conference, but I can say, I’m surprisingly intact and once I finish this post, it’s onto the next challenge!

If you’re unfamiliar with the conference, Rocky Mountain Oracle User Group’s Training Days has been an incredibly well supported conference by many of the best Oracle speakers, Oak Table members and ACE/ACED in the world.  I’m very proud to be a member, a board of director, as well as the conference director for a different number of years, depending on the role… :)  This is my second year as conference director and I’ve really enjoyed the challenge.

This year there were a number of additions and enhancements to the conference.  These included and weren’t limited to…

1.  Exchanged the first half day  ”University Sessions” which always were offered as a additional fee, with “deep dive sessions”  which were now included in all full registration passes.  The added benefit of these is that they decreased added electrical and AV costs from the convention center, saving us a lot of money in our budget.

2.  Single day passes were now available for those that were previously unable to take off two 1/2 days for a conference.  These passes were only good for the single, full day they were purchased for and no access to the deep dive sessions, but the percentage of registrations showed that they are something our members were thrilled to take advantage of.  The full registration was still the better value, but many had told us, it wasn’t the cost of our conference-  we have the best bang for the buck anywhere when it came to price-  it was getting the time away from work to attend.

3.  Extend the ACE lunches to both days and reserve a seat for the ACE/ACED that the table was for.  Yeah, yeah-  not fun to come to your table and not have a chair to sit down in.  I had wanted a red banner or napkin placed on the chair with a reserved sign, but hey, we’re getting there on how this RMOUG created opportunity for the attendees to speak with their favorite ACE/ACED!

4.  OTN and RAC Attack-  Laura Ramsey rocked the house with the help of RAC Attack SIG members Bjoern Rost, Bobby Curtis, Maaz Anjum,  Javier Ruiz and Leighton Nelson.  These guys made sure that the tables were manned at all times and folks had the help they needed to build a great DB12c RAC of their own! :)

5.  First Evening Welcome Reception-  We understood clearly that our members were often driving home and weren’t always interested in having drinks, so we added a coffee bar and will continue to enhance this event to give people the best experience.  I noted this year that  the new setup for the exhibitor area really seemed to keep the networking flowing and everyone had a great time.

6.  Speakers-  Our speakers are number 1 top knotch and we ensure this by using a large review team, close to 50 individuals, then use this rating system to score abstracts.  We do not limit any speaker opportunities by who they work for or how many are from what company, but we do limit how many top presentations are in per track and try to give new speakers a chance.  If we can’t at the regional user group level, how will you ever get a chance to hear these future great technical speakers elsewhere?

So if you’re curious how this works, we have trimmed down our conference after last year realizing that our days were simply too long and that we could either extend out another day, (not an option, remember, we’re having trouble with folks getting even 2 1/2 days off…) or could trim, so I went from 142 sessions down to 100 with shortened days and less rooms.

I build the conference by the percentage of each track that abstracts are submitted, so yes, our conference has the percentage of sessions you see for each of the tracks you view below in the spread sheet.  We had to choose 100 presentations from 343 abstracts submitted.

Type: PRESENTATIONAbstract Count: 343

Topic Count Percentage
Application Development       90   26.2
Business Intelligence       25    7.3
Database Administration       93   27.1
DBA Deep Dive       52   15.2
Database Tools of the Trade       30    8.7
Hyperion       24    7.0
Middleware        9    2.6
Professional Empowerment       12    3.5
Other        8    2.3

This ended up equating to most folks getting 1 accepted presentation each, with maybe a second one if they were considered a top speaker and had the scores to prove it.  With the ratings, you always know that speakers like Tom Kyte and Jonathan Lewis are going to have more that are in that top 5.0 rating, so you need to take their top 2 and simply understand, you can’t take more of their presentations or you won’t be able to give others a chance to speak.  I then come back in after the track leads have built their tracks out of the # of abstracts they are allowed that equate to the percentage you see above and “pepper” in the new speakers that we want to ensure to give a chance to.  Saying no is never easy and yet considering we are only able to say yes to less than one of every three abstracts, it still happens and it’s a difficult choice to decide who stays and who goes in the schedule.

7.  More Guidebook!  This mobile app was a hit last year and so we’ve enhanced some of the features and are still working on all the aspects we would like to see in the application.  The social media activity for this conference, especially on Twitter was incredible!  I had so may people emailing me and asking how they could ensure on attending next year just on the feedback via social media!

8.  Introduced RMOUG’s virtual WIT.  We now are going virtual with the WIT program as the first SIG to meet virtually.  We tried an onsite meeting each month or so and it was just too difficult for many to attend.  The Lean In and Mightbell site have offered us a great virtual location, along with Google Hangouts to have our monthly meetings!  If interested in signing up, just click here to check it out!

Ideas for Next Year

1.  A Virtual track or two that people can register for a lesser fee and attend.  This would take some planning, as anyone who works with virtual attendance software knows, it can have some surprising challenges.

2. Electronic evaluations.  I hate paper-  not sure about you, but I would love to “gamify” it and have it anonymously submit the evaluation, but register the attendee into a drawing for every session he does an evaluation for, (max of how many sessions per day…) towards a raffle for a great prize like an IPad or similar.  The amount of work this would eliminate would be fantastic.  Now I just need to find the folks that can build this for me into our conference app… :)

3.  More contests via Twitter and Facebook for during the conference.  Commonly I’m just toast by the time the conference comes around, so as it goes on, I’m unable to do these types of things, but I wanted to do a “picture with the convention center bear” contest and “best conference gif award” or “best conference lip sync” but never got to it….next year, next year… :)

Overall

I can’t share too much yet, as the conference just ended, but I can tell you that our numbers were up, attendees and speakers feedback has been fantastic so far!  I’m content that we are headed in the right direction to continue RMOUG Training Days as the conference that all others model themselves after!

A special thanks goes out to all the hard work and support to Team YCC and the Training Days Conference Committee.  I couldn’t do it without my peeps! :)

 

Training Days Welcome

Training Days 2014 for RMOUG starts in just TWO days.  Tim and I have picked up Jonathan Lewis and Pete Sharman this weekend, the flurry of speakers will be arriving in the next couple days.  With the fantastic help of Team YCC, we have an incredible conference planned for everyone!  If you haven’t downloaded the Guidebook mobile app from the App store or Play store, do so, as you can’t miss out on this great application to make the most of the conference.  You can build your schedule,  read up on Speaker/exhibitor bios, keep up with all the going on’s at the conference and connect with speakers and attendees!

I’ve added one more video out on the RMOUG YouTube channel welcoming everyone and reminding attendees of some of the great offerings at the conference this week!

See Everyone Wednesday! :)

 

 

I often have folks ask me for assistance when target discovery isn’t successful.  The following is from a client’s environment that shows just how important it is to ensure your server environment is kept pristine.

The goal was to discover a new database on an existing RAC cluster.  The cluster had already been discovered and configured, but the DBA was experiencing a failure upon adding the database targets.  Once the cluster is configured through a manual discovery using the GUID wizard, adding a RAC database is often a simple process.  Just click on Targets and Databases from the EM12c console and you are on your way.

em12c_add_db_0117

 

You can then click on the ADD button to start adding a database target.

The wizard will ask you to choose a host, which for a RAC environment, choose any one of the server nodes from the cluster to proceed.

add_host_0117

Click on Continue to proceed and Enterprise Manager will inspect each host that is part of the cluster and ask you how you would like to proceed:

add_to_cluster_0117

Unless there is a reason to ignore one or more nodes, choose to inspect all hosts that are part of the cluster and click continue.

Now this is where our story takes a bad turn.  The discovery proceeded to check through each of the targets that made up the cluster.  The wizard actually shows you each of the host names as it works through the list of host targets.

add_info_frm_host_0117

After it completed it’s discovery, no databases were discovered and discovery warnings were shown.

discovery_warning_0117 view_warnings_0117

The databases they expected to show up didn’t and the list then included one called XTTS, but there were also errors in the discovery shown at the top.  Clicking on the View Discovery Warnings shows the following:

discovery_warning_0117

This error may not make a lot of sense when first looking at it, but the error actually tells you all you need to know about the problem at hand.

Steps to add targets from any host target/node target include parsing the /etc/oratab file, (on Linux, as least.  For other OS, the oratab file exists in different locations and for Windows, EM12c will check the services.)  The error even tells you which target node experienced the problem.  With this information in hand, log into the host that is identified as having the error and inspect the oratab file.

etc_oratab_0117

Note upon viewing this file, (I’ve blacked out the entries for the client’s production databases) there are four discrepancies once we do a quick check.

  • Why is there an entry for ‘ASM’ and another for the correct ‘+ASM’?
  • There isn’t a SID named db.
  • There isn’t a SID xtts
  • There isn’t an ORACLE_HOME /u01/app/oracle/product/1102_xtts

The fourth reason is the cause for the odd error in the discovery and the other incorrect entries are impacting the discovery process from locating databases properly.  If we look at the other nodes, none of them have these “bogus” entries in the oratab file, (although they could benefit from a bit of cleanup, too!):

good_oratab_file_0117

(Again, I’ve hidden the production databases and only the agent entries are showing)

I proceeded clean up the following entries from ALL of the files:

  • ASM entries, (vs. +ASM)
  • XTTS instance
  • DB instance
  • Any 11g agent, as the client now only used the EM12c

I then saved the changes to the oratab file and started the discovery over.  Success and no longer does the error occur.  The importance of keeping your support files on each database server cleaned up is crucial to the Enterprise Manager 12c for accurate target discovery.

Have a great weekend!