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March 2019

Oracle Magazine

Generally my blog is just snippets of tech content that take my interest as I encounter them (most commonly when looking at AskTOM). If I think they’ll be useful, I’ll just plonk them out right there and then. If you prefer your content in longer (and more structured Smile) form, then also I publish longer form articles on Oracle Magazine every couple of months. Below is a consolidated list of my articles. I’ll try to keep this list updated as I add new ones.

Old Dog, New Tricks, Part 2
Here’s a new SQL syntax for hierarchy processing.

SQL prevents database corruption and injection, except in the ridiculous movie’s hacker scenes.

SQL is the Structured Query Language used to define and manipulate data in most of the databases in the world, and the most critical ones (banks, hospitals, airlines, secret services… ). And then, it gives the impression that with SQL you can do whatever you want, bypassing all application control, as if it were a backdoor to your database, wide opened on the network.

Superman 3 “overide all security” command

Programmers always laugh when seeing ridiculous hacking scenes in movies. In 2016 there was this “use SQL to corrupt their database” line in Jason Bourne (nothing to do with JSON or /bin/sh, by the way, it’s a movie) and recently in StarTrek: discovery series the hacking 'audit' was explained as “The probe used multiple SQL injections”. I’ve put the links at the end of this post.

Using SSMS with Power BI

I’m curious by nature and many have shown interest when I connect Power BI to the SQL Profiler to collect performance information, but if you can do that, what happens when you connect it to the SQL Server Management Studio, (SSMS)?

That can seem quite foreign, but if you can connect it to the SQL Profiler, you can connect it to the SSMS. Why you can do this is clearly understood when you begin to look underneath the covers of the PBIX file and the processes that run from your desktop.

Effective PeopleSoft Performance Monitoring

This advice note describes how to configure PeopleSoft systems on Oracle so that performance metrics are collected that are useful performance monitoring and subsequent performance tuning.

Stop The DBA Reading Data in Subtle Ways

The Problem: Dan asked me a question about whether the DBA can be stopped from accessing views such as V$SQL or V$SQL_BIND_CAPTURE with Database Vault because these views can be used to read data from the SGA. I have covered....[Read More]

Posted by Pete On 08/03/19 At 03:41 PM

Append hint

One of the questions that came up on the CBO Panel Session at the UKOUG Tech2018 conference was about the /*+ append */ hint – specifically how to make sure it was ignored when it came from a 3rd party tool that was used to load data into the database. The presence of the hint resulted in increasing amounts of space in the table being “lost” as older data was deleted by the application which then didn’t reuse the space the inserts always went above the table’s highwater mark; and it wasn’t possible to change the application code.

The first suggestion aired was to create an SQL Patch to associate the hint /*+ ignore_optim_embedded_hints */ with the SQL in the hope that this would make Oracle ignore the append hint. This won’t work, of course, because the append hint is not an optimizer hint, it’s a “behaviour” hint.

Comparison between #Oracle and #Exasol

After having worked with both databases for quite some time, this is what I consider to be the key differences between Oracle and Exasol. Of course the two have much in common: Both are relational databases with a transaction management system that supports the ACID model and both follow the ANSI SQL standard – both with some enhancements. Coming from Oracle as I do, much in Exasol looks quite familiar. But let’s focus on the differences:


Oracle is leading technology for Online Transaction Processing (OLTP). If you have a high data volume with many users doing concurrent changes, this is where Oracle shines particularly.

Exasol is leading technology for analytical workloads. If you want to do real-time ad hoc reporting on high data volume, this is where Exasol shines particularly.

External table preprocessor on Windows

There are plenty of blog posts about using the pre-processor facility in external tables to get OS level information available from inside the database. Here’s a simple example of getting a directory listing:

Oracle Security Training in London with Oracle University

I have just agreed some training dates with Oracle University in London and I will be teaching my very popular two day class How to Perform a security audit of an Oracle database on the 29th and 30th April 2019....[Read More]

Posted by Pete On 07/03/19 At 12:15 PM

Connections with a wallet – redux

Wow…it is nearly 4 years ago now that I wrote an article on connecting to the database via a wallet to avoid having to hard code passwords into script. That article is here:

So I went to do a similar exercise on my new 18c Windows database today, and to my surprise things went pear shaped at the very first step