Notifications for Expiring DBSNMP Passwords

Most user accounts these days have a password profile on them that automatically expires the password after a set number of days.   Depending on your company’s security requirements, this may be as little as 30 days or as long as 365 days, although typically it falls between 60-90 days. For a normal user, this can cause a small interruption in your day as you have to go get your password reset by an admin. When this happens to privileged accounts, such as the DBSNMP account that is responsible for monitoring database availability, it can cause bigger problems.

In Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c you may notice the error message “ORA-28002: the password will expire within 5 days” when you connect to a target, or worse you may get “ORA-28001: the password has expired". If you wait too long, your monitoring will fail because the password is locked out. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could get an alert 10 days before our DBSNMP password expired? Thanks to Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c Metric Extensions (ME), you can! See the Oracle Enterprise Manager Cloud Control Administrator’s Guide for more information on Metric Extensions.

To create a metric extension, select Enterprise / Monitoring / Metric Extensions, and then click on Create.

On the General Properties screen select either Cluster Database or Database Instance, depending on which target you need to monitor.  If you have both RAC and Single instance you may need to create one for each. In this example we will create a Cluster Database metric.  Enter a Name for the ME and a Display Name. Then select SQL for the Adapter.  Adjust the Collection Schedule as desired, for this example we will collect this metric every 1 day. Notice for metric collected every day, we can determine the exact time we want to collect.

On the Adapter page, enter the query that you wish to execute.  In this example we will use the query below that specifically checks for the DBSNMP user that is expiring within 10 days. Of course, you can adjust this query to alert for any user that can cause an outage such as an application account or service account such as RMAN.

select username, account_status, trunc(expiry_date-sysdate) days_to_expire
from dba_users
where username = 'DBSNMP'
and expiry_date is not null;

The next step is to create the columns to store the data returned from the query.  Click Add and add a column for each of the fields in the same order that data is returned.  The table below will help you complete the column additions.


Display Name

Column Type

Value Type

Metric Category



User Name





Account Status





Days Until Expiration





When creating the DaysToExpire column, you can add a default threshold here for Warning and Critical (say < 10 and 5). 

When all columns have been added, click Next.

On the Credentials page, you can choose to use the default monitoring credentials or specify new credentials.  We will use the default credentials established for our target (dbsnmp).

The next step is to test your Metric Extension.  Click on Add to select a target for testing, then click Select. Now click the button Run Test to execute the test against the selected target(s). We can see in the example below that the Metric Extension has executed and returned a value of 68 days to expire. Click Next to proceed.

Review the metric extension in the final screen and click Finish.

The metric will be created in Editable status.  Select the metric, click Actions and select Deployable Draft. You can do this once more to move to Published. Finally, we want to apply this metric to a target. When managing many targets, it’s best to add your metric to a template, for details on adding a Metric Extension to a template see the Administrator’s Guide. For this example, we will deploy this to a target directly. Select Actions / Deploy to Targets. Click Add and select the target you wish to deploy to and click Submit

Once deployment is complete, we can go to the target and view the Metric & Collection Settings to see the new metric and its thresholds.  

After some time, you will find the metric has collected and the days to expiration for DBSNMP user can be seen in the All Metrics view.   For metrics collected once per day, you may have to wait up to 24 hours to see the metric and current severity. In the example below, the current severity is Clear (green check) as it is not scheduled to expire within 10 days.

To test the notification, we can edit the thresholds for the new metric so they trigger an alert.  Our password expires in 139 days, so we’ll change our Warning to 140 and leave Critical at 5, in our example we also changed the collection time to every 5 minutes.  At the next collection, you’ll find that the current severity changes to a Warning and any related Incident Rules would be triggered to create an Incident or Notification as desired.

Now that you get a notification that your DBSNMP passwords is about to expire, you can use OEM Command Line Interface (EM CLI) verb update_db_password to change it at both the database target and the OEM target in one step.  The caveat is you must know the existing password to use the update_db_password command.  To learn more about EM CLI, see the Oracle Enterprise Manager Command Line Interface Guide.  Below is an example of changing the password with the update_db_password verb. 

$ ./emcli update_db_password -target_name=emrep -target_type=oracle_database -user_name=dbsnmp -change_at_target=yes -change_all_references=yes

Enter value for old_password :
Enter value for new_password :
Enter value for retype_new_password :
Successfully submitted a job to change the password in Enterprise Manager and on the target database: "emrep"
Execute "emcli get_jobs -job_id=FA66C1C4D663297FE0437656F20ACC84" to check the status of the job.
Search for job name "CHANGE_PWD_JOB_FA66C1C4D662297FE0437656F20ACC84" on the Jobs home page to check job execution details.

The subsequent job created will typically run quickly enough that a blackout is not needed, however if you submit a script with many targets to change, your job may run slower so adding a blackout to the script is recommended.

$ ./emcli get_jobs -job_id=FA66C1C4D663297FE0437656F20ACC84

Name Type Job ID Execution ID Scheduled Completed TZ Offset Status Status ID Owner Target Type Target Name

CHANGE_PWD_JOB_FA66C1C4D662297FE0437656F20ACC84 ChangePassword FA66C1C4D663297FE0437656F20ACC84 FA66C1C4D665297FE0437656F20ACC84 2014-05-28 09:39:12 2014-05-28 09:39:18 GMT-07:00 Succeeded 5 SYSMAN oracle_database emrep

After implementing the above Metric Extension and using the EM CLI update_db_password verb, you will be able to stay on top of your DBSNMP password changes without experiencing an unplanned monitoring outage.  


A couple of simple questions first:
- are you getting the alert triggered?
- are you getting emails for other alerts?
- do you have a custom incident rule or the out of the box rule?

I'm going on the assumption that the alert is triggering a warning, and that you're using the out of box rules, which do not notify for warning, only critical. See if you bump the thresholds down to generate a critical and if you get it then.

Posted by guest on August 11, 2014 at 05:39 AM PDT #

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