new gig, installation snafu

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Wanted to do a brief post to get myself to resume writing.

I haven’t blogged for over one year. I started a new job in Oct 2010 and that’s kept me occupied. I’m now longer a full time DBA but still heavily involved in databases. I’m doing pre-sales at EMC focused on database backup with EMC’s backup and recovery product line. I help customers understand how they can use EMC’s Data Domain, Networker and Avamar products to backup Oracle, SQL Server, DB2, Sybase, Greenplum and more. Great job, great company to work for, great customers!

For some internal testing, I was installing Oracle 10g on Oracle Enterprise Linux 5.5 and 5.7. Had to do the following:

  1. Needed to install several missing rpms, the usual stuff.
  2. Ran the installer with the ignoreSysPreReqs flag since the Linux releases were far newer than the installer.
  3. When launching the Oracle patch, the runInstaller command bombed without displaying the GUI and complained about a error. Google searches revealed a well blazed trail to the work around, which follows.

New deinstall tool

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I needed to uninstall Oracle database from a windows host and came across something new to 11G R2.

I ran the Oracle Universal Installer (oui) and chose the “Deinstall” button, which is located where it’s always been. But instead of beginning the deinstallation set of screens, it just popped up a message box reading, “Please run the deinstall command $ORACLE_HOME/deinstall/deinstall.”

It turns out there is a new utility just for deinstallation. It is uniform across all Oracle platforms. The documentation details can be found here.

I was sufficiently surprised that I checked some 10.2.0 and 11.1.0 installations. They did not have the $ORACLE_HOME/deinstall directory, so it definitely is new for 11.2.0.

Unexplained Mysteries

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A big part of what DBAs do is troubleshoot. And a good DBA has a tenacious attitude toward troubleshooting. Also, he or she relentlessly applies cold hard logic to a problem to arrive at a solution. Hoping and wishing for a solution doesn’t cut it.

So when do you choose to let go of a problem, leaving it unsolved? I recently let go of a problem for which I know there is an explanation, but I don’t know just what.

I installed Oracle database on a Solaris 10 sparc machine. Worked fine. I applied patch The OUI gui said that worked fine. I did not check the inventory after the install. Then I applied several recommended patches for 11g that get installed with the OPatch tool. And OPatch came back and said the patches were not needed! How can this be, I thought. I opened a ticket with Oracle. Then I looked at the inventory and saw that the installation did not show up in the inventory. However, was definitely installed. The banners for sql*plus, exp, expdp and v$version all said so, as did dba_registry.

Oracle support felt that something had overwritten the comps.xml file in the oraInventory/ContentsXML directory. It didn’t look that way to me. There were some suspicous entries in the oui log file, but nothing conclusive. Oracle support suggested that I install into a different home and try again.

So maybe it was a rogue file restore that overwrote comps.xml. Or maybe there is some strange bug in OUI that Oracle hasn’t hit upon yet. But I have filed this one under Unexplained Mysteries. It’s not worth my time to dwell on it further. I’ve got to keep my 11g research going!

file permissions: 10.2.0 on unix, vista issues

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A critical element in computer problem trouble shooting is checking correctness of permissions. Are file permissions correct? What about database permissions? Group membership of operating system ids? And so on. We computer geeks will be doing more of this now that software comes installed with increased attention to security and permissions.

Here are two new wrinkles I ran across today, both involved with installing Oracle.

On a unix host I was trying to enable a unix user id to be able to login and use sqlplus and export/import utilities, but I did not want this id to belong to the dba unix group. I was working on Solaris with Oracle However, each time the user invoked sqlplus, “Permission denied” errors resulted. Clearly a permission problem, but I did not want to perform trial and error chmod commands on various files. Metalink yielded an exact match for my problem. Permission Denied Errors for users other than “oracle”, docid 443638.1. Turns out that in Oracle 10.2.0 and higher, the Oracle installers sets file permissions quite restrictively for security reasons. There is a script that one can run to relax permissions. It’s $ORACLE_HOME/install/

The other permission issue concerned installing an Oracle client on Vista. (Side note: you have to do Oracle or higher to get Oracle client to work on Vista.) I was using an automated script to install the client and had added to the script some file copy statements to get the correct sqlnet.ora, tnsnames.ora and ldap.ora files on the client machine. Vista didn’t like that since the User Account Control (UAC) feature was turned on. UAC blocks file copy/delete via scripts, and throws up lots of confirmation dialogs if you are manipulating files via GUI tools. But you can disable UAC. My Digital Life and The How To Geek explain how on their blogs. For good measure, I’ll copy and paste what they provided below. Involves updating registry keys.

Disable UAC
C:\Windows\System32\cmd.exe /k %windir%\System32\reg.exe ADD HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\System /v EnableLUA /t REG_DWORD /d 0 /f

Enable UAC
C:\Windows\System32\cmd.exe /k %windir%\System32\reg.exe ADD HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\System /v EnableLUA /t REG_DWORD /d 1 /f

Oracle Installer, oui, oui, oui, OY!

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I’ve been bear wrestling with Oracle Universal Installer (OUI). Oui, or should I say oy.

I had one success with it when I realized it had a bunch of command line switches.  Identifying the switch -waitforcompletion enabled someone writing a vbscript to automated client installs a way to get over a hurdle. With that switch, vbscript will wait until OUI is done with it’s work. Without, the vbscript will go to the next task because on setup.exe exits once it has shelled out to the main java OUI.

But I’ve been really struggling with unix installs of Oracle Internet Directory (OID). OID is now a component of Oracle Identify Manager. I’ve gotten OID to work in single node mode. But I’ve had two days of struggle trying to get replication to work.

My gripes with OUI and also OID are that you have to configure OID replication via the Oracle installer. You can’t just install binaries and then get things working with command line tools. Or maybe you can, but the documentation does not advertise this. Another complaint is that you can’t install OID and then go back to the installer to add another component of Oracle Identity Manager. Or at least the installer has complained that I can’t install into an existing repository whenever I try this…In short, if something isn’t working, I have to uninstall everything and then bear wrestle with oui, oui, oui again.