Friday Apr 12, 2013

The Best Kept Secret in Support That is Not Suppose to be a Secret

BugTags 

What are Bugtags ?

The bug database keeps dialogue and fix information for suspected product defects for various Oracle products. 
Some bugs are true defects and get fixed in some code line, sometimes with detailed information about the defect and sometimes with very little comment.
Some times they are enhancements to features or new features altogehter, also with or without details.

A bugtag is a separate entity which can be created for any fixed defect or enhancement and includes summary information and categorizations of the defect
or enhacement.
A bugtag is an optional extension to a fixed defect or added enhancement.

See : Introduction to "Bug Description" Articles [ID 245840.1]) for more details.

What products BugTags cover ?

Currently a bugtags are only created for server products, and mostly only the RDBMS.

What information is in a BugTag ?

A bugtag include attributes such as:
  • Bug number that the bugtag describes
  • A summary title (intended to be a customer friendly bug title)
  • A short description of the bug issue (a few paragraphs at most)
  • A range of versions believed to be affected by the bug
  • A list of specific versions known to be affected by the bug
  • A list of specific versions where the bug is fixed (eg: Patch set versions / Patch set update versions etc. where the fix is included)
  • Some categorization of the bug (to give an indication of product area / feature affected, type/s of symptom seen etc..)
  • Hooks to indicate any key errors, parameters etc  which may be relevant
  • Optional link to a more specific document about the bug
  • Some indication of if an issue is particularly notable or not
  • For port specific issues which platforms are affected
  • A simple testcase,if available, to reproduce the issue as example of what to look for.

Where Can I find the BugTags ?

Bugtag data is propogated to customers via MOS Notes in several ways:

  • Each bugtag is represented by a single MOS Note (document id = bugno.8) 
Eg (Defect 16475397.8  / Enh 10248538.8)
  • Certain reference notes include automatically maintained lists of bugs derived from bugtags inlined into them. 
Eg: ORA-600/7445 reference notes include a "Known Bugs" section which is automatically populated using the bugtag data for bugtags marked with a HOOK for that ORA-600, etc..
ORA-600 [kclchkblkdma_3] [ID 468202.1]
  • Certain notes have sections created from reports against the bugtag data.
Eg: Init.ora Parameter "CURSOR_SHARING" Reference Note [ID 94036.1]
Eg: 11.2.0.3 Patch Set Updates - List of Fixes in each PSU [ID 1449750.1]

Who writes the BugTags ?

Bugtags are created and maintained internally by Oracle Support.
Among them, Me (Abel Macias). I specially like writing the ones for CBO and performance related bugs and fixes included in the Exadata Bundle Patches.

What is the lifecycle of BugTag ?

When a defect is fixed then it becomes eligible for making a bugtag.
Support Analysts will pickup the task to make the bugtag note and posted in MOS.
In the following events the note becomes elibile for an update (some updates are automatic, some are manual):
  • Someone adds a comment to the Note.
  • A new base version includes the fix in its code.
  Lets assume the fix for bug 1 is scheduled to be included in a future version like 12.1.0.1. While the future version is not officially released the note will indicate 12g (future release)
  •   When 12.1.0.1 is released and the fix is confirmed to be included in it then the note is updated indicating it is fixed in 12.1.0.1.
  • A regression was introduced by this fix or has been superseded with another fix.
  • A second defect filed is closed as duplicate of the defect and has new symptoms not observed before.
  Like a defect may address one particular ora-600 but later a different ora-600 is identified that is fixed by the same fix.
  Eg: Bug 10408668 - Assorted Dumps with Queries with distinct aggregates having subqueries as arguments [ID 10408668.8]

About

I am Abel Macias email, an Oracle support engineer that specialized in Performance that belongs to Exadata Support.
Disclaimer This blog looks to broadcast my experiences while diagnosing performance problems on Oracle's RDBMS, mostly on Exadata.
The views expressed on this blog are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Oracle.

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