Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Intro

Hey there,
After years of working in IT, I've decided to take the plunge and dive right into blogging. I don't really know what I will be noting down and also how often as things changes and time is definitely at a premium right now.

I have used Oracle since version 3 back in 1985 but have gotten away from Oracle over the years into Data Management and Data Architecture. I have always tried to keep my hands on Oracle as it progresses from version 5 to 10g now. The RDBMS is a lot more complex and full of features that help make the life of a DBA easier and manageable. My current employer has multiple versions of Oracle from 7.3.4 to 9.2.0.5 and had wanted to move to 10g (r1) but I have managed to convince them to stick to 9.2r2 until we migrate off 7.3.4 and 8.1.7. This, I believe, will give us a stable foundation to plan and move to 10g (by then r2 will be available and tested in the real world).

I have also tried catching up on the going-ons in Oracle-land and found myself fancinated by the war of the "experts" (various postings on c.d.o.s and other forums) and I got to admit that one group of 'experts' are not making their case nor are they looking good in this on-going feud. I have my own opinion on who I think is right and why one of the key participant should take his lumps and admit that he has been incorrect about a number of Oracle technologies and move on from there. Right now, looking at it, I would say that I would be insane to even recommend this particular individual and his organization to my Executives paying outrageous consulting fees for bad advice.

There have been so many technical books on Oracle over the years and I can tell you that just because someone published a book does not make him/her an expert. I have learned over the years that you don't just take things for granted or just because an "expert" say so. You read, understand, and if it seems iffy, try to verify. A lot of time we don't get the luxury of chasing down a problem but rather we are pressed to get things up and running as quickly as possible. That's still doesn't mean that we shouldn't try to get to the bottom of things. In most IT shops, the DBAs will have a test box that they can use to trouble-shoot and test out fixes, identify issues, test new patches, etc. This is part and parcel of the responsibilities of a DBA. Too often I have seen too many "DBAs" with no experience but has their certification and no idea to think and figure out things for themselves. All they have to go on is what they read or have been told. One DBA that I know told me that it would take him two weeks to install and create a new Oracle database! Folks! You have to enjoy what you are doing as a DBA otherwise you will never make it. Part of the fun is taking apart Oracle and seeing how it works, trouble-shooting and resolving issues AND making life easier for you so that you do have the time to research, test and verify!

Well, it's mid week (Apr 20th) and I spent part of the day trying to troubleshoot a SQL*Net issue. One of our virtual servers (VMware) suddenly starting getting timeout error in trying to connect to one of our Oracle databases. In fact, attempts to connect to other databases on other servers ended up the same. Something had change but what? All we know was our System Security Administrator decided to tweak the firewall (the virtual servers are on a separate private network from our database servers). Did a trace (TNSPING.TRACE_LEVEL=admin) to trace the route and it seems that we were getting an ORA-12560 TNS: Protocol Adapter error. Did some research and try a number of suggested workarounds but nothing work. Strange thing was other servers on that private network seems to be fine. Since the database in question wasn't production, I was happy enough to leave it for tomorrow as I had family commitments to attend to.

That's enough musing for the day and tomorrow, I will post on what I have found about the above error (or maybe one of my DBA would have fixed it by then)

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