Tim Hall

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Oracle related rants (and lots of off-topic stuff)...
Updated: 2 hours 4 min ago

Shadow IT : Low-code solutions can help!

Wed, 2020-02-26 02:24

I recently had a bit of a rant on email about the current state of Shadow IT at work. Typically, we don’t know it is happening until something goes wrong, then we’re called in to help and can’t, mostly because we don’t have the resources to do it. My rant went something like this…

“This is shadow IT.

Shadow IT is happening because we are not able to cope with the requirements from the business, so they do it themselves.

We need to stop being so precious about tool-sets and use low-code solutions to give the business the solutions to their problems. This allows us to develop them quicker, and in some cases, let them develop their own safely.”

We are not a software house. We are not the sort of company that can take our existing staff and reasonably launch into microservices this, or functions that. In addition to all the big projects and 3rd party apps we deal with, we also need to provide solutions to small issues, and do it fast.

Like many other companies we have massive amounts of shadow IT, where people have business processes relying on spreadsheets or Access databases, that most of us in IT don’t know exist. As I mentioned in the quote above, this is happening because we are failing! We are not able to respond to their demands. Why?

For the most part we make the wrong decisions about technology stacks for this type of work. We just need simple solutions to simple problems, that are quick and easy to produce, and more importantly easy to maintain.

What tool are you suggesting? The *only* thing we have in our company that is truly up to date at this time, and has remained so since it was introduced into the company, is APEX. It also happens to be a low-code declarative development solution, that most of our staff could pick up in a few days. The *only* tool we have that allows us to quickly deliver solutions is APEX. So why are we not using it, or some other tool like it? IMHO because of bad decisions!

You’re an Oracle guy, and you are just trying to push the Oracle stack aren’t you? No. Give me something else that does a similar job of low-code declarative development and I will gladly suggest that goes in the list too. I’ve heard good things about Power Apps for this type of stuff. If that serves the purpose better, I’ll quite happily suggest we go in that direction. Whatever the tool is, it must be something very productive, which doesn’t require a massive learning curve, that also gives us the possibility of allowing the business to development for themselves, in a citizen developer type of way.

It should be noted, we are wedded to Oracle for the foreseeable future because of other reasons, so the “Oracle lock-in” argument isn’t a valid for us anyway.

So you’re saying all the other development stuff is a waste of time? No. In addition to the big and “sexy” stuff, there are loads of simple requirements that need simple solutions. We need to be able to get these out of the door quickly, and stop the business doing stuff that will cause problems down the line. If they are going to do something for themselves, I would rather it was done with a tool like APEX, that we can look after centrally. I don’t want to be worrying if Beryl and Bert are taking regular backups of their desktops…

Are you saying APEX is only good for this little stuff? No! I’m saying it does this stuff really well, so why are we using languages, frameworks and infrastructure that makes our life harder and slower for these quick-fire requirements? Like I said, it’s not about the specific tool. It’s what the tool allows us to achieve that’s important.

What would you do it you could call the shots? I would take a couple of people and task them with working through the backlog of these little requirements using a low-code tool. It might be APEX. It might be something else. The important thing is we could quickly make a positive impact on the way the company does things, and maybe reduce the need for some of the shadow IT. It would be really nice to feel like we are helping to win the war on this, but we won’t until we change our attitude in relation to this type of request.

So you think you can solve the problem of shadow IT? No. This will always happen. What I’m talking about is trying to minimise it, rather than being the major cause of it.

Cheers

Tim…

Shadow IT : Low-code solutions can help! was first posted on February 26, 2020 at 9:24 am.
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The Goal and The DevOps Handbook (again) : My Reviews

Tue, 2020-02-25 01:31
The Goal

In my recent review of The Unicorn Project I mentioned several times how much I loved the The Phoenix Project. Some of the feedback was that I should take a look at The Goal by Eliyahu M. Goldratt. After all, The Phoenix Project is an adaptation of The Goal.

I had a credit on Audible, which I’ll explain later, so I gave it a whirl.

I don’t know if it was the writing, or the voice acting, but The Goal has so much more personality than The Phoenix Project. I can barely believe I’m saying this after the amount of praise I’ve given to The Phoenix Project over the years.

The Goal is centred around manufacturing. It’s about the productivity issues in a failing factory. Despite being part of the tech industry, I feel the focus on manufacturing actually makes it easier to follow. There’s something about picturing physical products that make things seem clearer to me. This, and the fact many of these concepts were born out of manufacturing, are no doubt why The Phoenix Project makes repeated references to manufacturing.

I realise some people will prefer The Phoenix Project, because it more closely resembles what they see in their own failing technology organisations, but I think I’ve changed my opinion, and I think The Goal is now my favourite of the two.

The DevOps Handbook (Again)

Another thing I mentioned in my review of The Unicorn Project, was how much I disliked The DevOps Handbook. That seemed to surprise some people. So much so, I started to doubt myself. I couldn’t bring myself to read it again, so I decided to sign up for Audible and get it as my free book. That way I could listen to it when driving to visit my family at weekends.

I was not wrong about this book. In the comments for The Unicorn Project review, I answered a question about my attitude to The DevOps Handbook with the following answer.

“I found it really boring. I guess I was hoping it would be more of a reference or teaching aid. I found it really dry and quite uninformative for the most part. It mostly felt like a bunch of people “bigging themselves up”. Like, “When I worked at X, things were terrible, and I turned it around by myself and now things are fuckin’ A!” Similar to this book, I think the important messages could be put across in a tiny fraction of the space.”

There are undoubtedly valuable messages in The DevOps Handbook, but my gosh they make you work hard to find them. If they removed all the dick-waving, there wouldn’t be much left.

Another thing I found annoying about it, was it didn’t feel like it really related to my circumstances. I work with a load of third party products that I can’t just scrap, much as I’d like to. I found myself thinking these people were probably just cherry-picking the good stuff to talk about, and forgetting the stuff that was harder to solve. I’ve written about this type of thing in this post.

The messages in the “good DevOps books” are universal. They help you understand your own problems and think your own way through to solving them. I don’t think The DevOps Handbook helps very much at all.

So that’s twice I’ve tried, and twice I’ve come to the same conclusion. Stick with The Goal and The Phoenix Project. There are better things to do with your time and money than wasting it on The DevOps Handbook and The Unicorn Project. That’s just my opinion though!

Cheers

Tim…

PS. By the time I had waded through The DevOps Handbook a second time I had already got a new credit for Audible, which is why I tried The Goal on Audible, rather than reading it. I’m glad I did.

PPS. There are a few cringeworthy gender stereotypes in The Goal, but remember when this was written…

The Goal and The DevOps Handbook (again) : My Reviews was first posted on February 25, 2020 at 8:31 am.
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VirtualBox 6.1.4

Thu, 2020-02-20 06:15

VirtualBox 6.1.4 has been released.

The downloads and changelog are in the usual places.

I’ve done the installation on my Windows 10 PC at work and all is good. I’ll probably do the installations on my Windows 10, macOS and Oracle Linux 7 hosts at home tonight and update this post.

Happy upgrading!

Cheers

Tim…

Update: I did the upgrades on my Windows 10, macOS and Oracle Linux 7 hosts at home. Everything went fine, and it all looks good for now.

VirtualBox 6.1.4 was first posted on February 20, 2020 at 1:15 pm.
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Why no GUI installations anymore?

Wed, 2020-01-29 03:50

I had the following comment on a RAC article yesterday.

“this way of training is not good. please train as previous method.”

I believe the person in question didn’t like that I no longer do those massive articles showing how to install RAC using the GUI. Instead I do automatic silent builds using Vagrant and shell scripts. My recent RAC articles just describe the Vagrant builds. I’ve written about this before, but I think it’s worth repeating.

GUI is dead to me!

For a long time I was only running the GUI installations to get screen shots for articles. All the installations I did at work were scripted. This started to feel wrong, as it felt like I was promoting something I don’t do, and don’t believe in. As a result, I stopped putting the GUI stuff in most of my articles also. Instead including the silent installation and configuration commands, and typically giving a link to my Vagrant builds.

GUI takes a long time!

I run lots of builds. Every weekend I am running Vagrant and Docker builds almost constantly on OL7, Windows 10 and macOS hosts. RAC builds of various versions. Data Guard builds of various versions. Single instance builds of various versions. Docker builds of Oracle and non-Oracle stuff. If I had to do those builds manually using the GUI I would be lucky to complete a couple a day.

Doing archaic style builds and gathering screen shots of them takes a long time, and that’s wasted time.

What about people learning the tech?

If you are trying to learn something new, you should start straight away using the silent builds. Try to ignore the GUI stuff even exists. Why?

  • Doing something like a RAC build using the GUI is really hard. There are loads of things to click on, and it’s really easy to make mistakes along the way. Typos and picking the wrong options etc. It’s far easier if the only thing you are having to change is the parameters in a property file.
  • If you do make a mistake in a manual build and have to start again, it’s soul destroying. Throwing away a days work and having to start again makes you want to cry, especially if you don’t get much time to do this anyway. I have people contacting me, spending weeks trying to fix things that are beyond repair. When they finally bite the bullet and start again their mystery problem goes away. In contrast, restarting an automatic build is no big deal. Throw it away, start a new build and go and grab some food. No drama.
  • The scripted builds make the individual steps incredibly clear. You can look at the individual scripts in order and see what is happening, and just run the builds and prove they actually work, rather than having to trust things haven’t changed since the article was written.
  • No professional DBA should be using a GUI for anything, if there is a possibility to script that action. If you have DBAs or consultants working that still use GUIs, you should be questioning if they are really the people you want with hands on your systems. Their work will be inaccurate, and they are wasting your money by wasting your time. In some cases taking days to complete what can be done in minutes. If that is the way we expect people to work, why teach them a different way of working as a beginner? It feels wrong to me. You are getting them into bad habits from day one.
  • You are going to have to learn the scripted way to build things at some point, so why not start there. I think we’ve been fooled into thinking the GUI is easier, but it’s really not. It is a burden, not a help for most things.

If you want to still use the GUI, that is your choice. Just don’t expect me to enable your bad choices, and please don’t try and get a job working with me. You are not welcome. Sorry, but not sorry.

What about people who are not focusing on DBA work?

Then the GUI is an even bigger disaster. If you are a developer who just needs a database to work with, use an automatic build to give you what you need and start doing the stuff you care about. Why would you waste time learning to install a database? Fire up an autonomous database for free. Use a vagrant build or a docker image to give you what you need.

I really don’t see a reasonable defence for using a GUI for basic, repeatable administrative tasks anymore.

Conclusion

This is how I feel about it. If other people feel differently and want to still keep producing those GUI build articles, that’s their choice, but I would urge them to consider the message they are sending to beginners. In this day and age, the last thing we need is a bunch of people making DBAs look like dinosaurs, and wasting time on stupid stuff when they could be spending that time preparing for the future!

Cheers

Tim…

Update: Based on my reply to a comment here and on Twitter.

  • Companies demand self-service calls to do everything. They don’t want to ask a DBA to do anything. The DBA must help provide these self-service features, which will require scripting.
  • Developers need Continuous Integration and Continuous Deployment (CI/CD). That is all scripted, including creation of short lived databases for some Test/QA systems.
  • Companies demand infrastructure as code. All config and builds in source control (like Git). You can’t put button presses in Git.
  • Companies are not paying you to waste time. If we did a race, with me doing a Vagrant build of RAC and you doing it manually, I would finish several hours before you. That’s wasted time and money. I’m not sure how your company thinks about this time usage.
  • I guess it’s harder to invest the time if you only ever do something once, but the counter argument is you should be confident to replace everything if something breaks. I am never confident without a script.

If you are using a GUI to do something that can be scripted, you are failing. You may not have realised it yet though. I’m sorry if that sounds harsh, but it’s what I believe.

Why no GUI installations anymore? was first posted on January 29, 2020 at 10:50 am.
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Video : Decoupling to Improve Performance

Mon, 2020-01-27 02:17

In today’s video we demonstrate how to cheat your way to looking like you’ve improved performance using decoupling.

This was based on the following article.

This came up in conversation a few days ago, so I thought it was worth resurrecting this demo. It doesn’t really matter what tech stack you use, the idea is still the same.

The star of today’s video is Logan Rosenstein, formerly of OTN, and now working for Zignal Labs, and author of Building Towers by Rolling Dice.

Cheers

Tim…

Video : Decoupling to Improve Performance was first posted on January 27, 2020 at 9:17 am.
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Video : Schema Only Accounts in Oracle Database 18c Onward

Mon, 2020-01-20 01:53

Today’s video is a demonstration of schema only accounts, introduced in Oracle Database 18c.

This is based on the following articles.

The star of today’s video is Paul Vallee, of Pythian and Tehama fame.

Cheers

Tim…

Video : Schema Only Accounts in Oracle Database 18c Onward was first posted on January 20, 2020 at 8:53 am.
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Video : Oracle REST Data Services (ORDS) : Including Hyperlinks in JSON Output

Mon, 2020-01-06 01:47

In today’s video we’ll demonstrate how to include hyperlinks in JSON output delivered by Oracle REST Data Services (ORDS).

This is based on this article, which includes some more complete examples.

Good API design is not as simple as you might think, and making sure you pass back relevant information, like URLs for navigating through the services and maybe even service documentation links can make things a lot clearer.

The star of today’s video is James Morle. One of the OGs of performance!

You can check out my ORDS articles and YouTube ORDS playlist here.

Cheers

Tim…

Video : Oracle REST Data Services (ORDS) : Including Hyperlinks in JSON Output was first posted on January 6, 2020 at 8:47 am.
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VirtualBox 6.1 : No compatible version of Vagrant yet! (or is there?)

Wed, 2020-01-01 06:10

VirtualBox 6.1 was released on the 11th of December and I totally missed it.

The downloads and changelog are in the usual places.

I spotted it this morning, downloaded it and installed in straight away. I had no installation dramas on Windows 10, macoS Catalina and Oracle Linux 7 hosts.

The problem *for me* was the current version of Vagrant (2.2.6) doesn’t support VirtualBox 6.1 yet. I can’t live without Vagrant these days, so I installed VirtualBOx 6.0.14 again and normal life resumed. See Update.

I’m sure there will be a new release of Vagrant soon that supports VirtualBox 6.1, but for now if you use Vagrant, don’t upgrade to VirtualBox 6.1 yet. I’m sure you won’t have to wait long… See Update.

Cheers

Tim…

Update 1 : A couple of people Peter Wahl and Andrea Cremonesi pointed me at this post by Simon Coter, which contains config changes to allow Vagrant 2.2.6 to run with VirtualBox 6.1.

Update 2 : I’ve followed Simon’s post and it worked fine. If you are using Windows 10 as the host and have done a default installation of Vagrant, the files he’s discussing are in these directories.

C:\HashiCorp\Vagrant\embedded\gems\2.2.6\gems\vagrant-2.2.6\plugins\providers\virtualbox\driver\

C:\HashiCorp\Vagrant\embedded\gems\2.2.6\gems\vagrant-2.2.6\plugins\providers\virtualbox\

Update 3 : I updated by work PC also. It required a couple of reboots to get things working. I think it may be something to do with the way we do security here. It’s working fine now.

VirtualBox 6.1 : No compatible version of Vagrant yet! (or is there?) was first posted on January 1, 2020 at 1:10 pm.
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Video : SQLcl and Oracle REST Data Services (ORDS)

Mon, 2019-12-02 02:41

In today’s video we’ll demonstrate the ORDS functionality built into Oracle SQLcl.

This is based on this article.

There are loads of other ORDS articles here.

The star of today’s video is Arman Sharma, captured at Sangam 2015. Seems like yesterday.

Cheers

Tim…

Video : SQLcl and Oracle REST Data Services (ORDS) was first posted on December 2, 2019 at 9:41 am.
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Video : Oracle REST Data Services (ORDS) : OAuth Implicit

Mon, 2019-11-25 02:21

In today’s video we look at the OAuth Implicit flow for Oracle REST Data Services.

This goes together with a previous video about first-party authentication here.

Both videos are based on parts of this article.

There are loads of other ORDS articles here.

The star of today’s video is Bob Rhubart, who amongst other things is the host of the Oracle Groundbreakers Podcast.

Cheers

Tim…

Video : Oracle REST Data Services (ORDS) : OAuth Implicit was first posted on November 25, 2019 at 9:21 am.
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Video : Oracle REST Data Services (ORDS) : OAuth Authorization Code

Mon, 2019-11-18 02:27

In today’s video we look at the OAuth Authorization Code flow for Oracle REST Data Services.

This goes together with a previous video about first-party authentication here.

Both videos are based on parts of this article.

There are loads of other ORDS articles here.

The star of today’s video is Atul Kumar, who has done on bunch of video’s on his YouTube channel.

Cheers

Tim…

Video : Oracle REST Data Services (ORDS) : OAuth Authorization Code was first posted on November 18, 2019 at 9:27 am.
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Docker Birmingham – November 2019

Thu, 2019-11-07 01:58

Yesterday evening I went to the Docker Birmingham meetup, sponsored by Black Cat Technology Solutions.

This event was a single longer session by Matt Todd called “Make Data Science Great Again (Part 2)” I didn’t see part 1, but he gave a summary, so that wasn’t too much of a problem.

Matt started off by introducing the scientific method and discussed reducing variables when testing, so you know the impact of a change. The suggestion being that development and data science should be the same. What better way to reduce variables than to package up a data science lab to make sure everyone is working on the same thing, so there is no/less variability between researchers, and they can focus on their work, not piecing together the kit.

He then went on to discuss Cloud Native Application Bundles (CNAB), and how they can be used to more reliably package multi-container applications, guaranteeing dependencies to a level greater than that possible by using Docker Compose alone. As an example he demoed his Digital Scientists Lab, which is a CNAB bundle containing a bunch of common kit used by data scientists (Jupyter, Spark, Flink, Kafka, RabbitMQ, Nifi, Elastic Stack etc.), which he could in theory give to several people to run experiments. It’s just his playground, but it gives you an idea of what’s possible. Using Nifi to link stuff together looked cool!

I started to make a few mental connections when he discussed the relationship to experimental data, because I look after the infrastructure for a research publishing system, and being able to keep not only the published research, but also the experimental data and potentially a way to reproduce the research findings is pretty important. It keeps those academics honest, if you know what I mean. It’s funny how just a few links to something you know a little bit about, and other stuff starts falling into place.

It was all a bit mind-blowing, but in a good way. I’m still only scratching the surface of this stuff, but it’s really good to see what else is going on in this space. I’ve added a few more things to my list of things to play around with.

It’s a couple of months until the next event, but there’s a CNCF event next month, so watch out for that!

Thanks to the folks at Black Cat Technology Solutions for sponsoring and organising the event, and to the Matt Todd for doing a great session. See you soon!

Cheers

Tim…

Docker Birmingham – November 2019 was first posted on November 7, 2019 at 8:58 am.
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In Defence of Best Practices

Fri, 2019-10-18 03:38

The subject of “Best Practices” came up again yesterday in a thread on Twitter. This is a subject that rears its head every so often.

I understand all the arguments against the term “Best Practices”. There isn’t one correct way to do things. If there were it would be the only way, or automatic etc. It’s all situational etc. I really do understand all that. I’ve been in this conversation so many times over the years you wouldn’t believe it. I’ve heard all the various sentences and terms people would prefer to use rather than “Best Practice”, but here’s my answer to all that.

“Best practices are fine. Get over yourself and shut up!”

Tim Hall : 18th October 2019

I’ve said this more politely in many other conversations, including endless email chains etc.

When it comes down to it, people need guidance. A good best practice will give some context to suggest it is a starting point, and will give people directions for further information/investigation, but it’s targeted at people who don’t know enough about what they are doing and need help. Without a best practice they will do something really bad, and when shit happens they will blame the product. A good best practice can be the start of a journey for people.

I agree that the “Always do this because ‘just bloody do it!'” style of best practice is bad, but we all know that…

I just find the whole conversation so elitist. I spend half of my life Googling solutions (mostly non-Oracle stuff) and reading best practices and some of them are really good. Some of them have definitely improved my understanding, and left me in a position where I have a working production system that would otherwise not be working.

I’m sure this post will get a lot of reactions where people try and “explain to me” why I am wrong, and what I’m not understanding about the problems with best practices. As mentioned before, I really do know all that and I think you are wrong, and so do the vast majority of people outside your elitist echo chamber. Want to test that? Try these…

  • Write a post called “Best Practices for {insert subject of your choice}”. It will get more hits than anything else you’ve ever written.
  • Submit a conference session called “Best Practices for {insert subject of your choice}”. Assuming it gets through the paper selection, you will have more bums on seats than you’ve ever had before for that same subject.

Rather than wasting your life arguing about how flawed the term “Best Practices” is, why don’t you just write some good best practices? Show the world how they should be done, and start people on a positive journey. It’s just a term. Seriously. Get over yourself!

Cheers

Tim…

PS. I hope people from yesterday’s tweets don’t think this is directed at them. It’s really not. It’s the subject matter! This really is a subject I’ve revisited so many times over the years…

Updates

Due to repeatedly having to explain myself, here come some points people have raised and my reactions. I’m sure this list will grow as people insist on “educating me” about why I’m wrong.

I prefer “standard” or “normal” to “best”. As I said at the start of the post, I’ve heard just about every potential variation of this, and I just don’t care. They are all the same thing. They are all best practices. It’s just words. Yes, I know what “best” means, but that’s irrelevant. This is a commonly used term in tech and you aren’t getting rid of it, so own it!

I’ve seen people weaponize best practices. OK. So are you saying they won’t weaponize “standard practices” or “normal practices”? They won’t ever say, “So are you telling me you went against normal practices?”. Of course they will. Stupid people/companies will do stupid things regardless of the name.

But it’s not the “best”! Did you even read my post? I’m so tired of this. It’s a best practice to never use hints in SQL. I think that’s pretty solid advice. I do use hints in some SQL, but I always include a comment to explain why. I have deviated from best practice, but documented the reason why. If a person/company wants no deviation from best practice, they can remove it and have shit performance. That’s their choice. I’ve been transparent and explained my deviation. If this is not the way you work, you are wrong, not the best practice.

Most vendor best practice documents are crap. I have some sympathy for this, but I raise tickets against bad documentation, including best practices, and generally the reception to these has been good. The last one was a couple of weeks ago and the company (not Oracle) changed the docs the same day. I always recommend raising an SR/ticket/bug against bad documentation. It doesn’t take much time and you are improving things for yourself and everyone else. I feel like you can’t complain about the quality of the docs if you never point out the faults.

In Defence of Best Practices was first posted on October 18, 2019 at 9:38 am.
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Video : Oracle REST Data Services (ORDS) : AutoREST

Mon, 2019-10-07 02:05

Today’s video is a demonstration of the AutoREST feature of Oracle REST Data Services (ORDS).

This is based on the following article.

I also have a bunch of other articles here.

The star of today’s video is Connor McDonald of “600 slides in 45 minutes” fame, and more recently AskTom

Cheers

Tim…

Video : Oracle REST Data Services (ORDS) : AutoREST was first posted on October 7, 2019 at 8:05 am.
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MOS Auto Responses : What’s my problem with them?

Wed, 2019-10-02 02:54

A couple of days ago I took to Twitter with a rather “incendiary” tweet caused by my frustration with MOS. It’s not about the specific SR or issue itself. It’s more a frustration with MOS generally and the way they handle some requests, specifically the automatic responses. I’ll explain.

The Moaning
  • I had an issue.
  • I Googled and didn’t find too much in the way of help.
  • I opened a SR about the issue, including an image to help explain my issue.
  • During that process it suggested some other stuff I might want to look at, one of which was quite interesting, but none of which were actually relevant. No problems I thought. At least I’ve learned something…
  • Next thing I get some emails about updates to my call. I logged in to find these 4 responses.
Response 1 Response 2 Response 3 Response 4
  • I was really angry about the auto-responses, and unloaded on Twitter using some rather “choice language”…

I totally understand a request for more information. The response of, “Please upload the RDA/TFA/AHF file”, is common and understandable on many occasions. It does annoy me more than a little when you are asking a general question, that is not specific to your software version, but you still have to upload it. Whatever…

So why did I lose the plot this time?

  • There are 4 messages, instead of one consolidated message. I hate that. It’s annoying. I just know that someone is running a report saying, “Look, we’ve done 1 gazillion responses this month”, but it’s all generated crap! This should have been one concise and clear request for additional information.
  • Just look at that second response. Are you kidding me? Loads of rubbish I don’t need to know and repetition of the first message. If I sent this sort of message to my users I’d be marched out of the building. If you think this is acceptable, please quit your job now! You have no place in a role that is even remotely user-facing.
  • How do you think people are going to respond to this? It makes me angry and I kind-of know what I’m doing. How do you expect some junior member of staff to respond to this? I’ll tell you how. They will ignore it, never fix the issue and think “Oracle is crap”. Thanks! Just what we need. I asked a colleague to look at it and their response was, “It’s like they don’t want you to continue with the request”. See?
  • People pay a lot of money for support, and this is what you are presented with? Really?

I’ve now deleted the tweet. I was *not* asked to delete it, and if I had been I definitely would not have, but I decided to because it was gathering too much momentum, such is the general feeling about Oracle Support, and it was not meant to be me grandstanding. It was just genuine frustration with a service my company is paying money for!

I’m a fan of automation. I understand wanting to streamline the SR process, and if automation can help, that’s great, but this is not the way to do it!

What should it look like?

It’s just my opinion, but I think something like this would be reasonable.

We need more information to continue. Please run the following Trace File Analyzer (TFA) commands and upload the files.

1) Run this command on the Agent target machine and answer the questions when prompted.

./tfactl diagcollect -srdc emtbsmetric

2) Enable debug on the OMS server using this command.

./tfactl diagcollect -srdc emdebugon

Repeat the actions in EM that you are trying to diagnose, then disable debug on the OMS server using this command.

./tfactl diagcollect -srdc emdebugoff

If you need more information about TFA or manual file collection for this issue, check out DOC ID 2279135.1.

If you would like to read more about the My Oracle Support automatic troubleshooting, check out Doc ID 1929376.1.

A single message that asks for the relevant information, and gives links if you need something more. That gets the job done, isn’t scary to new people and isn’t going to cause me to lose it on Twitter.

Feedback from Oracle

You may have noticed this post in my feed for a couple of days, but when you clicked on it, it was password protected. That’s because I wrote the post to provide some better feedback than my initial tweet, but delayed the publication while I waited for some feedback from Oracle. I was put in contact with the Vice President, Global Customer Support and the Sr. Director, DB-EM Proactive Support. Their respective responses were as follows. I’ve left out their names as not all folks like being name-checked.

“Hi Tim, Just reviewed your blog post and agree that the auto-responses are verbose. Adding our DB proactive lead who will follow up with you directly on planned next steps.”

Vice President, Global Customer Support

“Hi Tim, I have reviewed your blog regarding your experiences with SR automation. I want to thank you for providing this feedback. Direct feedback from users of SR automation is extremely important and valuable. We take the effectiveness of our SR automation very seriously. Our intention is to provide a streamlined support experience which allows us to identify information, up front in the SR, that will result in the shortest resolution time. There is a balance between casting a wide net to ensure we receive all diagnostic data required vs. the ease of consuming/executing the request to get that data. Admittedly, we don’t always strike the correct balance.   

Regarding the case described in your blog, I agree that our diagnostic messaging should be more concise and consumable. I also appreciate your thoughts on using collectors, such as TFA, to simplify the instructions. We have a plan to address this specific automation flow to eliminate superfluous information and provide a clear message around what is required and how to obtain that information. Additionally, I will incorporate your feedback into our review process, which is conducted on an on-going basis for our automation flows. Please feel free to contact me if you have any other feedback or suggestions. As I said, this kind of feedback is appreciated and always welcomed.”

Sr. Director, DB-EM Proactive Support

The whole Twitter episode wasn’t my finest moment, but if nothing else I’m glad the message got through to the correct people. Of course, all of this is just words unless something substantial happens. Please don’t let us down!

To everyone else out there, please continue to add your own constructive feedback on all things (in life). There’s no point complaining about a problem, if you’ve never actually raised it. I think of it like voting. If you didn’t bother to vote, I don’t really think you are entitled to moan about the outcome.

Cheers

Tim…

PS. Comments are disabled.

MOS Auto Responses : What’s my problem with them? was first posted on October 2, 2019 at 8:54 am.
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MobaXterm 12.2

Wed, 2019-09-25 02:06

In another “the rest of the world ceases to exist in the lead up to OpenWorld” moment, I missed the release of MobaxTerm 12.2.

The downloads and changelog are in the usual places.

For Windows users who, like me, spend most of the day connecting to machines via SSH, this is the best tool I’ve found.

Cheers

Tim…

MobaXterm 12.2 was first posted on September 25, 2019 at 8:06 am.
©2012 "The ORACLE-BASE Blog". Use of this feed is for personal non-commercial use only. If you are not reading this article in your feed reader, then the site is guilty of copyright infringement.

OpenWorld and Code One 2019 : The Journey Home

Fri, 2019-09-20 09:06

I got up at a reasonable time and got caught up with blog posts, then it was time to check out and get the BART to the airport. Bag drop was empty, because the rest of the planet was waiting at security. After what felt like an eternity I was through security and sat down and waited for my plane…

We boarded the flight from San Francisco to Amsterdam on time and didn’t have a significant wait for the departure slot, so the captain said we would arrive early. No luck with a spare seat on this flight. The guy next to me was about my size, but wasn’t making an effort to stay in his space. There was some serious man-spreading going on. I ended up spending most of the flight leaning into the aisle and pulling my arm across my body, so my left elbow feels knackered now. Doing that for 11 hours is not fun. I managed to watch the following films.

  • The Shape of Water – I love this film. I’ve seen it a load of times.
  • Rocketman – I wasn’t feeling this at the start. I’m not big on musicals, and I didn’t like the stuff when he was a kid. Once Taron Egerton started playing him it was cool. I kind-of forgot he wasn’t Elton John. If you can get past the start, it’s worth a go!
  • The Accountant – I liked it. Ben Affleck doing deadpan and expressionless is the perfect role for him.
  • John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum – I got up to the final sequence, so I’m not sure how it ends. Pretty much the same as the previous films, which I liked. Just crazy fight scenes with loads of guns.

There was one bit of the flight that was odd. The in-flight entertainment died, then we hit some turbulence. Queue me deciding it was linked and we were all going to die… Pretty soon the turbulence stopped, then after about 10 minutes the screens rebooted…

I had quite a long wait at Schiphol. About 3 hours. That was pretty dull, but what are you going to do?

The flight from Amsterdam to Birmingham was delayed by a few minutes, then the was the issue of people trying to board with 15 pieces of hand luggage and a donkey. I had my bag on my feet. Luckily it was only an hour flight.

II was originally planning to get the train home, but I was so tired I got a taxi. The driver was a nice guy and we had a chat about his kids and future plans, which is a lot nicer than listening to me drone on…

I’m now home and started doing the washing…

I’ll do a wrap-up post tomorrow, with some thoughts about the event…

Cheers

Tim…

OpenWorld and Code One 2019 : The Journey Home was first posted on September 20, 2019 at 3:06 pm.
©2012 "The ORACLE-BASE Blog". Use of this feed is for personal non-commercial use only. If you are not reading this article in your feed reader, then the site is guilty of copyright infringement.

VirtualBox 6.0.12

Tue, 2019-09-17 11:35

I know I’ve been distracted with the lead up to OpenWorld and Code One 2019, but how did I miss this release? VirtualBox 6.0.12 arrived two weeks ago.

The downloads and changelog are in the usual places.

Being a reckless type, I downloaded it and installed it on my Windows 10m laptop this morning. I’ve got a live demo in 2 hours!

The install was fine and my Vagrant VMs start with no problems. More extensive testing and installations on Oracle Linux and macOS hosts will happen when I get home, but so far so good!

Cheers

Tim…

VirtualBox 6.0.12 was first posted on September 17, 2019 at 5:35 pm.
©2012 "The ORACLE-BASE Blog". Use of this feed is for personal non-commercial use only. If you are not reading this article in your feed reader, then the site is guilty of copyright infringement.

Oracle OpenWorld and Code One 2019

Fri, 2019-09-06 02:40

It’s nearly time for the madness to start again. This will be my 14th trip to San Francisco for OpenWorld, and however many it is since Java One and Code One got wrapped up into this…

  • Flights booked : ✔
  • Hotel booked : ✔
  • ESTA approved : ✔
  • Irrational fear of flying and general anxiety : ✔
  • 80 lbs weight loss : ❌
  • Talk complete : ❌
  • Denial : ✔

At the moment the scheduled stuff looks like this.

Friday :

  • 03:00 UK time : Start the trip over to SF. I know I said I would never do this again, and I know what the consequences will be…
  • Evening SF time : Groundbreaker Ambassador Dinner

Saturday : Day : ACE Director Briefing

Sunday :

  • Day : Groundbreaker Ambassador Briefing
  • Evening : Oracle ACE Dinner

Tuesday :

Session ID: DEV1314
The Seven Deadly Sins of SQL
Date: 17th Sept 2019
Time: 11:30 – 12:15

Wednesday :

Session ID: DEV6013
Embracing Constant Technical Innovation in Our Daily Life
Date: 18th Sept 2019
Time: 16:00 – 16:45
Panel: Gustavo Gonzalez, Sven Bernhardt, Debra Lilley, Francisco Munoz Alvarez, Me

Thursday : Fly home.

Friday : Arrive home, have a post-conference breakdown and promise myself I’ll never do it again…

In addition to those I have to schedule in the following:

  • A shift on the Groundbreakers Hub, but I’m not sure what day or what demo yet. I’ll probably hang around there a lot anyway.
  • Meet a photographer to get some photos done. I’ve told them they’ve got to be tasteful and “only above the waist”.
  • Spend some time annoying everyone on the demo grounds. I know Kris and Jeff are desperate to see me. It’s the highlight of their year!
  • Stalk Wim Coekaerts, whilst maintaining an air of ambivalence, so as not to give the game away. Can anyone else hear Bette Midler singing “Wind Beneath My Wings”? No? Just me?

There’s a whole bunch of other stuff too, but I’ve not got through all my emails yet. Just looking at this is giving me the fear. So much for my year off conferences…

See you there!

Cheers

Tim…

Oracle OpenWorld and Code One 2019 was first posted on September 6, 2019 at 8:40 am.
©2012 "The ORACLE-BASE Blog". Use of this feed is for personal non-commercial use only. If you are not reading this article in your feed reader, then the site is guilty of copyright infringement.

Video : Vagrant : Oracle Database Build (19c on OL8)

Mon, 2019-08-12 02:18

Today’s video is an example of using Vagrant to perform an Oracle database build.

In this example I was using Oracle 19c on Oracle Linux 8. It also installs APEX 19.1, ORDS 19.2, SQLcl 19.2, with ORDS running on Tomcat 9 and OpenJDK 12.

If you’re new to Vagrant, there is an introduction video here. There’s also an article if you prefer to read that.

If you want to play around with some of my other Vagrant builds, you can find them here.

If you want to read about some of the individual pieces that make up this build, you can find them here.

The star of today’s video is Noel Portugal. It’s been far too long since I’ve seen you dude!

Cheers

Tim…

Video : Vagrant : Oracle Database Build (19c on OL8) was first posted on August 12, 2019 at 8:18 am.
©2012 "The ORACLE-BASE Blog". Use of this feed is for personal non-commercial use only. If you are not reading this article in your feed reader, then the site is guilty of copyright infringement.

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