Monday Nov 16, 2015

Checking health of your Oracle Database Appliance using ORAChk

ORAChk (formerly ODAChk) is a handy script tool included on Oracle Database Appliance to facilitate quick checking and validation of configuration, best practices, and patches on the system. ORAChk is integrated with OAKCLI, the Oracle Database Appliance command-line interface, and should be run as the root user.

ORAChk is a handy configuration validation tool. Over time, users may knowingly or unknowingly make changes to Oracle Database Appliance configuration or the environment growth may have led to intentional or unintentional changes. ORAChk is typically used to validate Oracle Database Appliance configuration periodically (say after each upgrade or patching event, or every 3 or 6 months, etc.) and to quickly identify any deviations.

The ORAChk script tool can be accessed as “oakcli orachk” from either Oracle Database Appliance server node. The tool can be run against any of the available database environments currently running on the servers and the output is displayed on the screen as well as captured in an HTML file (and zip file) located within the /opt/oracle/oak/orachk directory for easier viewing (and upload to Oracle Support, if needed).

Among other things, such as verifying that Oracle Database Appliance adheres to the best practices and that any customizations have not have resulted in a configuration deviation from those best practices, ORAChk also checks and validates the operation of the Oracle software stack on both servers in the Oracle Database Appliance cluster.

Some of the checks that are carried out by ORAChk are as follows:

  • Checks against Oracle Database Appliance Best Practices reference set
  • ASM Disk Group attributes and ASM initialization parameters
  • Database standard and undocumented parameters’ settings
  • Kernel parameters and shared memory configuration
  • OS packages installed and patches for Grid Infrastructure and for RDBMS home

The ORAChk output highlights actionable items and upon reviewing ORAChk output, action may be planned for addressing any anomalies to re-align the Oracle Database Appliance configuration as originally intended.

Monday Nov 09, 2015

Agile Development and Oracle Database Appliance

Agile software development is a group of software development methods in which requirements and solutions evolve as self organizing, cross functional teams collaborate to build the product or solution. Oracle Database Appliance provides an ideal platform for Agile Development. The following are some of the Oracle Database Appliance features and functionalities that enable the desired flexibility and adaptability, that may be key to all Agile development environments.

1. Pay-as-you-grow licensing method

Oracle Database Appliance allows for dynamic enabling of CPU cores and software licensing. Thus, you have the ability to identify and measure your requirements before making investments, and then grow the platform capacity at the touch of a button.

2. Oracle Database Appliance Virtualized Platform Implementation

Oracle Database Appliance can be deployed as a Virtualized Platform wherein you can deploy not only databases but also the middle-tiers and web-tiers, all on the same hardware system. Additional, components (virtual machines/ virtual servers) can also be dynamically deployed depending on your requirements while minimizing costs (the database systems operates from only one, specialized VM on each server) and maximizing flexibility and available capacity.  

3. Dynamic and transparent extensibility of storage system

In the default configuration, Oracle Database Appliance has one storage shelf. However, an additional storage shelf can be ordered and dynamically and transparently added to the system without affecting the operational system, thus doubling the storage capacity of the system on demand.

4. Rapid provisioning and cleanup

Oracle Database Appliance allows for truly rapid provisioning of database environments. Using a command-line interface (“oakcli create database”) command, you can provision a stable, pre-tuned, database environment in a matter of minutes. The removal of database is also similarly rapid and easily accomplished. It is also easy to clean up the entire environment and reset it to factory state should you need to redeploy for any reason, reset/restart a project workstream, or move systems among data centers, etc.

5. Multiple software stack versions on one platform

Oracle Database Appliance allows you to configure multiple versions of the Oracle Database on the same hardware platform without having to worry about inter-operability and platform patching. This makes it easy to transition back and forth between multiple versions of the software stack, if needed.

6. Ability to restructure platform and rapidly redeploy

Oracle Database Appliance gives you multiple options for initial deployment. For example, you can choose the RDBMS versions to deploy, the level of disk mirroring, the location of backups, database character sets, database block sizes, and so forth. Although in many cases, these requirements do not change half way through the product, in some cases they do. In a traditional environment it may be very difficult to adapt to such changes, but on Oracle Database Appliance, many such changes can be more easily incorporated.

Thursday May 21, 2015

Appliance Manager is now available

In keeping with the ODA quarterly patching strategy, Appliance Manager is now available. Updates in this patch include new oakcli commands:
  • show dbstorage – view the amount of storage used
  • show fs – view file system details and the disk groups usages
  • *show ib – view IB details
  • *show iraid - view internal RAID and local disk information
  • **show raidsyncstatus - view the status of the RAID rebuild after a failedlocal disk is replaced

The patches can be downloaded from MOS.

For complete information on applying this patch to your ODA, please view the README!

Starting with this release, the older versions of the ODA Documentation is now archived.  You can find the latest and previous versions

Note:  *Only for ODA X5-2 hardware generation.   **Only for ODA  V1, X3-2, and X4-2 hardware generations

Thursday Apr 23, 2015

Downloading the ODA EM PLUG-IN using Self Update

To download the ODA EM Plug-In using EM Self Update, here are the steps:

Click on Setup --> Extensibility --> Self Update

Click on Check Updates

This does require that you can connect to My Oracle Support (MOS).  Make sure to set your MOS credentials in EM as well.

An Update job will start.  Once the job has completed, then click on PLUG-IN Updates. Search on 'appliance' and you will see the Oracle Database Appliance.

You will need to click on the  to download the plug-in.

After ODA Plug-In has been successfully downloaded, navigate to the EM Plug-In page by selecting Setup --> Extensibility --> Plug-Ins.

Scroll down to Engineered Systems and expand it.  You will then see the Oracle Database Appliance Plug-In.  It is now ready to deploy on your OMS and Agents.

Tuesday Apr 14, 2015

Oracle Database Appliance Plug-In for Enterprise Manager

With the Oracle Database Appliance plug-in, you can monitor Oracle Database Appliance targets using Oracle Enterprise Manager Cloud Control 12c. The plug-in provides configuration and monitoring information about any Oracle Database Appliance target running Appliance Manager or higher. Features include:

  • Monitoring of the Oracle Database Appliance as an Enterprise Manager target
  • Monitoring a dynamic group of Oracle Database Appliance systems using tags
  • Oracle Database Appliance components (DB, ILOM, HOST, Virtual Machines, Hypervisor, ASM, and Oracle Appliance Manager) are grouped and can be monitored under a target

The Oracle Database Appliance (ODA) Plug-In for Enterprise Manager is now available. It can be updated via the Self Update feature of Enterprise Manager, which updates components whenever new or updated features become available. The ODA Plug-In is now available via the Enterprise Manager Store, an external site that is periodically checked by Enterprise Manager Cloud Control to obtain information about updates ready for download.

The documentation can be found in the Oracle Enterprise Manager Cloud Control Documentation 12c Release 4 Plug-Ins library.

Update your Enterprise Manager today and check out the ODA Plug-In!

Monday Oct 13, 2014

Oracle Database Appliance 12.1.2 release new features to support a Test/Dev environment in minutes!

Oracle Database Appliance release 12.1.2 supports database and VM snapshots to create storage-efficient and fast instances of the database and guest VMs.  This capability is now enabled with each Oracle Database Appliance running with the latest Appliance Manager 12.1.2 update.

Each new Oracle Database version or will be created in Oracle’s clustered file system, ACFS. ACFS is a highly performant and highly available cluster file system that is built on top of Oracle ASM.  It is fully integrated with the Grid Infrastructure and is database-IO aware. 

With a new single command, a database snapshot is created in minutes ready to be used for testing.

oakcli create snapshotdb –db <snap-shot-db-sid> -from <existing-db-sid>

Oracle Database 12.1.2 release also includes the support of:

  • Database version:,,,
  • Choice of CDB and non-CDB database for new databases
  • VM Snapshots
  • VDisk Support

The ODA OTN Page has updated FAQ, Data Sheet, and whitepaper.

The Oracle Database Appliance Documentation has a new book - Administrations and Reference Guide and updated Getting Started Guide.

Download the latest Oracle Database Appliance 12.1.2 patch release from My Oracle Support (MOS)!

Thursday May 29, 2014

Try the Oracle Database Appliance Manager Configurator - For Fun!

If you would like to get a first hand glimpse of how easy it is to configure an ODA, even if you don’t have access to one, it’s possible to download the Appliance Manager Configurator from the Oracle Technology Network, and run it standalone on your PC or Linux/Unix  workstation.

The configurator is packaged in a zip file that contains the complete Java environment to run standalone.

Once the package is downloaded and unzipped it’s simply a matter of launching it using the config command or shell depending on your runtime environment.

Oracle Appliance Manager Configurator is a Java-based tool that enables you to input your deployment plan and validate your network settings before an actual deployment, or you can just preview and experiment with it.

  1. Simply download and run the configurator on a local client system which can be a Windows, Linux, or UNIX system. (For Windows launch the batch file config.bat for Linux/Unix environments, run  ./
  2. You will be presented with the very same dialogs and options used to configure a production ODA but on your workstation. At the end of a configurator session, you may save your deployment plan in a configuration file. If you were actually ready to deploy, you could copy this configuration file to a real ODA where the online Oracle Appliance Manager Configurator would use the contents to deploy your plan in production.
  3. You may also print the file’s content and use the printout as a checklist for setting up your production external network configuration. Be sure to use the actual production network addresses you intend to use it as this will only work correctly if your client system is connected to same network that will be used for the ODA. (This step is not necessary if you are just previewing the Configurator).

This is a great way to get an introductory look at the simple and intuitive Database Appliance configuration interface and the steps to configure a system.

Tuesday May 20, 2014

Expanding the Storage Capabilities of the Oracle Database Appliance

The Oracle Database Appliance X4-2 comes with a total of 18 TBs of raw shared storage and depending on availability requirements can be configured in a mirrored configuration yielding 9 TBs of usable storage or configured in a tripled-mirrored maximum availability configuration for a total of 6 TBs of usable storage. In most cases this is a sufficient amount of storage but if users require additional storage, there are two options for storage expansion depending on their requirements.

Storage Expansion Shelf

The first option is to add the Storage Expansion Shelf that effectively doubles the raw storage and usable storage. The additional storage shelf is directly cabled to the storage controllers and zero-admin is required for the storage to be added to the Oracle Database Appliance.  After you have cabled and turned it on, The Appliance Manager software configures and re-balances the data across both storage shelves which effectively scales in a linear fashion providing approximately twice the I/O throughput as all spindles are used for the data re-balance.

This is a great option when additional high performance locally attached shared storage is needed, especially for virtual environments where user defined virtual machines need storage space.

Networked Attached Storage

Customers can use Oracle compatible NFS-attached storage with Oracle Database Appliance.

An excellent option is to use Oracle’s ZFS Storage Appliance. There are several features of the Oracle Sun ZFS Storage Appliance that make it the ideal choice for expanding the storage capabilities of the Oracle Database Appliance. These features include intuitive management tools, real-time performance analysis, data compression, multiprotocol integration, de-duplication, cloning and Hybrid Columnar Compression, (HCC).

NFS storage is also a great option to create external database disk backups. Network attached storage for database backups allows isolation of backups from the internal storage, and opens a range of possibilities for management of the backups including replication to a remote site, snapshots for additional copies of backups, compression of backups by the ZFS Appliance, and sharing of the backups with another database server. For a good discussion of network storage backups, (See - Backup and Recovery Strategies for the Oracle Database Appliance).

Tuesday May 06, 2014

Why Does ODA Use Enterprise Edition?

All of Oracle’s Engineered Systems, including ODA, engineer their solutions for optimal Availability, Performance, Security and Scalability. When we compare Enterprise Edition with Standard Edition we see some significant features in Enterprise Edition that provide maximum Availability, Performance, Security and Scalability to provide ODA with an optimal Enterprise Database Solution.

In the area of Availability, Enterprise Edition has many unique features that enhance availability not found in Standard Edition including:

RAC One Node

Data Guard—Redo Apply

Data Guard—SQL Apply

Data Guard—Snapshot Standby

Active Data Guard

Rolling Upgrades—Patch Set, Database, and Operating System

Online index rebuild

Online index-organized table organization

Online table redefinition

Duplexed backup sets

Block change tracking for fast incremental backup

Unused block compression in backups

Block-level media recovery

Lost Write Protection

Automatic Block Repair

Parallel backup and recovery

Tablespace point-in-time recovery

Trial recovery

Fast-start fault recovery

Flashback Table

Flashback Database

Flashback Transaction

Flashback Transaction Query

Flashback Data Archive (Total Recall)

When we look at Performance, Enterprise Edition has the Parallel Query feature not found in Standard Edition. In benchmarking on ODA, with real customer workloads, we have seen better performance when compared to Standard Edition. For many workloads this means a requirement for fewer cores to execute the same workloads while maintaining the same service levels.

When we couple this performance advantage with ‘on-demand’ software licensing, (an exclusive ODA feature), it can result in a significant reduction in the overall cost of Enterprise Edition licensed cores.

Security is an imperative for all enterprise customers and especially important to financial, public sector, healthcare and retail customers.
ODA using Enterprise Edition is able to offer security features not supported in the Standard Edition:

  • Oracle Advanced Security
  • Oracle Label Security
  • Virtual Private Database
  • Fine-grained auditing
  • Oracle Database Vault
  • Enterprise User Security

To protect our customer’s investment in the ODA Engineered System, and extend its useful life, Enterprise Edition offers features that extend system Scalability that do not exist in Standard Edition including:

  • Quality of Service Management Performance                                       
  • Client Side Query Cache                
  • Query Results Cache     
  • PL/SQL Function Result Cache
  • In-Memory Database Cache      
  • Database Smart Flash Cache

Wednesday Apr 30, 2014

ODA Makes Service Easier, Before You Need it and When You Need It!

One of the many features that helps make ODA systems administration much easier for customers is a feature called Auto Service Request, (ASR).

There are times when ODA Administrators spend time detecting and diagnosing hardware problems, and resolving them. Managing these problems can be time consuming and a distraction from other more important activities. ODA’s ASR is a secure, optional customer-installable support feature that provides automatic service generation and priority service request handling for certain hardware faults that might occur in the ODA.

Let’s take a closer look at how ODA’s ASR works. When a hardware fault is detected, ASR opens an Oracle Support Service Request, (SR), and automatically transmits detailed electronic fault diagnostic information to Oracle Support to help them expedite the diagnostic and problem resolution process. (It can also be configured to notify the local administrator or anyone else on the customer end). If parts are necessary to correct the problem they will be dispatched upon receipt of the SR, and in many cases, Oracle engineers will begin working to resolve the problem before others are even aware it exists!

ODA’s ASR only requires an outbound, secure Internet connection to Oracle (based on SSL and https). Customers configure ASR options using the ODA Configurator and may configure ODA ASR during a Custom deployment. They may also configure ASR after deployment (either Typical or Custom) using the oakcli configure asr command.The command prompts for inputs and after all of the required information is supplied, it completes the ASR configuration and is very simple and easy to use.

An ASR configuration requires an administrator to enter their My Oracle Support account user name and password. If you’re using a proxy server for Internet access to Oracle, then the proxy servers name will need to be supplied. A complete description of all the steps and options for ASR configuration are outlined in the Oracle Database Appliance Getting Started Guide, page 5-2, Configuring Oracle Auto Service Request.

ODA doesn’t require a dedicated ASR server like other Oracle products and this makes ASR simpler to install and use. However, if you are using an ASR server for other Oracle hardware then ODA is flexible enough to allow you to connect to and use the existing ASR dedicated server optionally.

If your ODA system is covered under an Oracle Premier Support for Systems plan or is under product warranty, you can take advantage of ODA’s ASR at no additional cost.

ODA’s ASR feature can help improve your system availability and reduce the time to resolve issues.  Make sure you take advantage of this excellent support feature to simplify service requests and compress the time to repair.

Tuesday Jan 14, 2014

BI Solution-in-a-Box is coming

Tammy Bednar, Will Hutchinson, Rob Klaassens, and Mike Mrazek, Oracle Corp.

It’s coming.  The newest addition to the Oracle’s family of Solutions-in-a-Box, BI Solution-in-a-Box. It’s powerful and expandable. Most importantly, it’s surprisingly affordable and easy to manage, even for smaller companies who thought they could never afford enterprise class business intelligence.

Register today to attend and learn how you can replace those Excel spreadsheets and Access databases with the type of analytics big companies have, analytics you thought you could never afford on January 23, 2014 @ 12 pm ET.

Tuesday Dec 03, 2013

Managing Oracle Database Appliance

There are three key tools that you can use to manage the Oracle Database Appliance. Together, these tools are adequate to completely manage, maintain, and operate Oracle Database Appliance including the hardware platform, the operating system, and the databases running on the system.

Oracle Integrated Lights Out Manager (a.k.a., Oracle ILOM)

Oracle ILOM provides a “just like being there” experience and allows you to completely manage your system remotely (including powering it up and shutting it down) over a dedicated network interface. You can start the Remote Console over a web interface to connect to an Oracle Database Appliance server node, check status of hardware components, manage faults (if any), monitor system temperature and ambience, re-image server, and so forth. Point your web browser to the IP address you have configured for the server’s ILOM network interface, and there you are. You typically configure Oracle ILOM interface on Oracle Database Appliance server nodes at the time of initial deployment using the Configurator (when you issue the "oakcli deploy" command). Alternatively, you can configure ILOM before the deployment using the server’s BIOS utility (pressing the F2 key during system boot), or using the “ipmitool” utility from the server operating system command line. You can also configure Oracle ILOM on Oracle Database Appliance after the initial deployment of the system using any of the latter two methods (BIOS or ipmitool).

Oracle Enterprise Manager Database Control (OEM)

Oracle Enterprise Manager Database Control is a no-cost tool to manage Oracle databases and it can be automatically configured at the time of initial deployment of Oracle Database Appliance. Database Control provides a web user interface to manage, maintain, and operate the Oracle database. This includes administering users, data structures, database and instances, user sessions, backup and recovery, analyzing performance, tuning SQL, instance, and database, and so forth. Alternatively, if you use Oracle Enterprise Manager Grid Control or Oracle Enterprise Manager Cloud Control in your organization, you can use it to manage databases running on Oracle Database Appliance. An Oracle Database Appliance plug-in may also become available for Oracle Enterprise Manager Cloud Control in the future.

Oracle Appliance Manager (oakcli)

Oracle Appliance Manager command-line interface (oakcli) provides unique abilities to manage, maintain, and operate the Oracle Database Appliance platform. This includes setup and deployment of the system, running diagnostics on servers and storage, patching server, storage, and network, and creating multiple Oracle homes and database environments, and so forth. Starting with Oracle Appliance Manager 2.8, you can also monitor the hardware (servers, CPUs, power, cooling, and so forth) using oakcli. You can invoke Oracle Appliance Manager command-line interface using the /opt/oracle/oak/bin/oakcli command from an Oracle Database Appliance server node.

Wednesday Mar 06, 2013

Oracle Database Appliance X3-2 Generally Available Now

Good news! The second generation Oracle Database Appliance to be known as "Oracle Database Appliance X3-2" was released on March 5th, 2013. Oracle Database Appliance X3-2 is built using the Sun Server X3-2 servers (the same servers that are used as compute nodes in Exadata environments) and is a substantially more powerful system with a small price differential from the earlier model. Storage Shelf consists of a 2 rack-u unit and an identical expansion storage shelf is also available. You now have 18TB of raw storage which is expandable to 36TB of raw storage (all ASM managed) within a single Database Appliance architecture and configuration. The maximum CPU power increases from 24 cores before to 36 cores, while the new system now has 512 GB of memory (2x256 GB), a quantum jump from the 192 GB (2x96GB) before. The local available disk storage capacity increases from 500GB to 600GB.

Oracle Database Appliance X3-2 when used as a Virtualized Platform (support for virtualization on Oracle Database Appliance was announced in February 2013) can be an extremely powerful system with very substantial further improvement in the already compelling value proposition of Oracle Database Appliance. On Oracle Database Appliance X3-2 you can consolidate multiple database environments. With the Virtualized Platform deployment, you can consolidate entire multi-tier environments within a single Oracle Databse Appliance X3-2 system. The older model continues to be available until May 31st, 2013. You can find more details on the newly announced Oracle Database Appliance X3-2 at

Tuesday Feb 12, 2013

Oracle Database Appliance Performance White Paper Released

A new white paper titled "Evaluating and Comparing Oracle Database Appliance Performance" was recently released. This white paper outlines a quick and simple process to evaluate the performance of Oracle Database Appliance for both OLTP and DSS workloads and compare it to the same workloads when run in your local environment. The testing for this paper was conducted using Swingbench's Order Entry (OLTP) and Sales History (DSS) workloads. Users can review already the documented results and conduct a reverse-POC (proof-of-concept) in their legacy environment by running Swingbench and then simply compare relative performance. 

For the testing conducted during the course of writing this white paper, Oracle Database Appliance was able to support up to 10,000 Swingbench users for the OLTP workload (while maintaining sub-second response times) and provided throughput of more than 2400 MB/Second for the DSS workload. Both are significant numbers. The white paper provides the results of various core configurations tests (related to the pay-as-you-grow feature) in a matrix form.

The paper also covers some minor tweaks to the standard configuration that can enable even greater workload performance. I invite you to take a look at

Friday Nov 16, 2012

An Unstoppable Force!

Building a high-availability database platform presents unique challenges. Combining servers, storage, networking, OS, firmware, and database is complicated and raises important concerns: Will coordination between multiple SME’s delay deployment? Will it be reliable? Will it scale? Will routine maintenance consume precious IT-staff time? Ultimately, will it work?

Enter the Oracle Database Appliance, a complete package of software, server, storage, and networking that’s engineered for simplicity. It saves time and money by simplifying deployment, maintenance, and support of database workloads. Plus, it’s based on Intel Xeon processors to ensure a high level of performance and scalability.

Take a look at this video to compare Heather and Ted’s approach to building a server for their Oracle database!

If you missed the “Compare Database Platforms: Build vs. Buy” webcast or want to listen again to find out how Jeff Schulte - Vice President at Yodlee uses Oracle Database Appliance.


The Oracle Database Appliance saves time and money by simplifying deployment, maintenance, and support of high-availability database solutions. This blog is dedicated to sharing updates about the Oracle Database Appliance from your product team.


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