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Handling kernel upgrades with Ansible prior to an Oracle installation

As part of the process of setting up VMs in the cloud for use with the Oracle database it is frequently necessary to update the systems to the latest and greatest, and hopefully more secure packages before the Oracle installation can begin. In a similar way I regularly upgrade the (cloud-vendor provided) base image when building a custom image using Packer. This demands for an automated process in my opinion, and Ansible is the right tool for me.

I may have mentioned once or twice that a Spacewalk powered (or equivalent) local repository is best for consistency. You may want to consider using it to ensure all systems are upgraded to the same packages. Applying the same package updates in production as you did in test (after successful regression testing of course) makes testing in lower-tier environments so much more meaningful ;)

Oracle Cloud Infrastructure: using Network Security Groups and the caveat with the subnet’s default security list

This is going to be one of these posts I’m mainly writing to myself, in the hope that a) I don’t forget about that topic too soon and b) someone might have the same question and doesn’t want to spin up an environment to find out.

Broadly speaking Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (and some other cloud providers) give you 2 different means of securing the Virtual Cloud Network at the VCN level:

Video : Vagrant Oracle Real Application Clusters (RAC) Build

In today’s video we’ll discuss how to build a 2-node RAC setup using Vagrant.

This video is based on the OL8 19c RAC build, but it’s similar to that of the OL7 19c RAC build also. If you don’t have access to the patches from MOS, stick with the OL7 build, as it will work with the 19.3 base release. The GitHub repos are listed here.

If you need some more words to read, you can find descriptions of the builds here, as well as a beginners guide to Vagrant.

Oracle REST Data Services (ORDS) : Database APIs – First Steps 258w" sizes="(max-width: 223px) 85vw, 223px" />

In my never ending quest for automation, I finally got round to looking at the Oracle REST Data Services (ORDS) Database APIs.

Packer by HashiCorp : Second Steps?

In a previous post I mentioned my first steps with Packer by HashiCorp. This is a brief update to that post. 300w" sizes="(max-width: 584px) 85vw, 584px" />

I’ve created a new box called “oracle-7” for Oracle Linux 7 + UEK. This will track the latest OL7 spin. You can find it on Vagrant Cloud here.

Packer by HashiCorp : First Steps

A few days ago I wrote about some Vagrant Box Drama I was having. Martin Bach replied saying I should build my own Vagrant boxes. I’ve built Vagrant boxes manually before, as shown here.

The manual process is just boring, so I’ve tended to use other people’s Vagrant boxes, like “bento/oracle-8”, but then you are at the mercy of what they decide to include/exclude in their box. Martin replied again saying,

“Actually I thought the same until I finally managed to get around automating the whole lots with Packer and Ansible. Works like a dream now and with minimum effort”

Introducing packer: building immutable infrastructure in the cloud

After having spent a bit of time with Packer to create Vagrant base boxes it was time to focus on the cloud. I have referenced Packer multiple times in my cloud talks as a popular way to create immutable infrastructure and/or custom images, and I wanted to share how you could potentially make use of the technology

Be aware that this is a post about cloud technology. If you are following along, be aware that you will incur cost.

Introducing Packer: building Vagrant base boxes hands-free

I have referred to Packer in some of my cloud-related presentations as an example of a tool for creating immutable infrastructure. In addition to the cloud, Packer supports a great many other build targets as well. Since I work with VirtualBox and Vagrant a lot, Packer’s ability to create Vagrant base boxes is super awesome. Combined with local box versioning I can build new Vagrant systems in almost no time. More importantly though, I can simply kick the process off, grab a coffee, and when I’m back, enjoy a new build of my Oracle Linux Vagrant base box.

Using wallets with dbca in Oracle 19c

One of the features I haven’t seen blogged about is the option to provide SYS and SYSTEM passwords (among other parameters) to dbca via a wallet. This is documented in chapter 2 of the Database Administration Guide 19c.

[oracle@server1 ~]$ dbca -silent -createDatabase -help
        [-useWalletForDBCredentials  Specify true to load database credentials from wallet]

I was curious how to use this feature as it might provide slightly better security when deploying new databases via dbca. It turned out it wasn’t too hard in the end, and I decided to briefly put my efforts into this short article.

Versioning for your local Vagrant boxes: handling updates

In my last post I summarised how to enable versioning for Vagrant box outside Vagrant’s cloud. In this part I’d like to share how to update a box.

My environment

The environment hasn’t changed compared to the first post. In summary I’m using

  • Ubuntu 20.04 LTS
  • Virtualbox 6.1.6
  • Vagrant 2.2.7

Updating a box

Let’s assume it’s time to update the base box for whatever reason. I most commonly update my boxes every so often after having run an “yum upgrade -y” to bring it up to the most current software. A new drop of the Guest Additions also triggers a rebuild, and so on.


Once the changes are made, you need to package the box again. Continuing the previous example I save all my boxes and their JSON metadata in ~/vagrant/boxes. The box comes first: