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A technical security analysis of the snmp daemon on Exadata

Recently I was asked to analyse the security impact of the snmp daemon on a recent Exadata. This system was running Exadata image version This blog article gives you an overview of a lot of the things that surround snmp and security.

First of all what packages are installed doing something with snmp? A list can be obtained the following way:

# rpm -qa | grep snmp

Essentially the usual net-snmp packages and a package called ‘sas_snmp’.

A next important thing is how the firewall is configured. However, the default setting of the firewall on the compute nodes with exadata is the firewall turned off:

Conjuctive Normal Form

I recently tweeted about a comment I’d picked up at the Trivadis performance days regarding tablescans and performance.

“If you can write your SQL in conjunctive normal form it can help the optimizer to offload more predicates”

Inevitably someone asked me if I had an example to demonstrate this – I didn’t, and still don’t really, but here’s an interesting demo based on an example from the Oracle In-Memory blog showing how the optimizer will rearrange your filter predicates before passing them to the tablescan code for evaluation against an inmemory table.

How much memory is truly used by my Oracle instance?

There are many posts about the amount of memory that is taken by the Oracle database executables and the database SGA and PGA. The reason for adding yet another one on this topic is a question I recently gotten, and the complexities which surrounds memory usage on modern systems. The intention for this blogpost is to show a tiny bit about page sharing of linux for private pages, then move on to shared pages, and discuss how page allocation looks like with Oracle ASMM (sga_target or manual memory).

The version of linux in this blogpost is Oracle Linux 7.2, using kernel: 4.1.12-37.6.3.el7uek.x86_64 (UEK4)
The version of the Oracle database software is (july 2016).

Copy Data Management with Delphix on Exadata

I’ve been busy reading and testing everything I can with Delphix, whenever I get a chance.  I’m incredibly fascinated by copy data management and the idea of doing this with Exadata is nothing new, as Oracle has it’s own version with sparse copy.

The Oracle database, in-memory parallel execution and NUMA

In a previous article called ‘memory allocation on startup’ I touched on the subject of NUMA; Non Uniform Memory Access. This article is about how to configure NUMA, how to look into NUMA usage and a real life case of NUMA optimisation using in-memory parallel execution.

At this point in time (start of the summer of 2016) we see that the CPU speed competition has stagnated and settled at somewhere below maximally 4 gigahertz, and instead the number of core’s and the size of memory is growing. The common used server type in the market I am in is a two socket server. It is not unthinkable that in the near future servers with more than two sockets will increase in popularity, which facilitates the increase in (parallel) computing capacity and maximal amount of memory.

Friday Philosophy – The Singular Stupidity of the Sole Solution

I don’t like the ‘C’ word, it’s offensive to some people and gets used way too much. I mean “cloud” of course. Across all of I.T. it’s the current big trend that every PR department seems to feel the need to trump about and it’s what all Marketing people are trying to sell us. I’m not just talking Oracle here either, read any computing, technical or scientific magazine and there are the usual adds by big I.T. companies like IBM and they are all pushing clouds (and the best way to push a cloud is with hot air). And we’ve been here before so many times. It’s not so much the current technical trend that is the problem, it is the obsession with the one architecture as the solution to fit all requirements that is damaging.

Index Usage

There are some questions about Oracle that are like the mythical Hydra – you think you’ve killed it, but for every head you cut off another two grow. The claim that “the optimizer will switch between using an index and doing a tablescan when you access more than X% of the data” re-appeared on the OTN database forum a little while ago – it doesn’t really matter what the specific value of X was – and it’s a statement that needs to be refuted very firmly because it’s more likely to cause problems than it is to help anyone understand what’s going on.

Collaborate 16: My sessions

I’ll be at Collaborate 16 next month and looking forward to seeing lots of good friends, learning some new things, and sharing a little experience too. For the last of those, I’ll present 3 sessions, er, more like 2.2 sessions:

Big Nodes, Concurrent Parallel Execution And High System/Kernel Time

The following is probably only relevant for customers that run Oracle on big servers with lots of cores in single instance mode (this specific problem here doesn't reproduce in a RAC environment, see below for an explanation why), like one of my clients that makes use of the Exadata Xn-8 servers, for example a X4-8 with 120 cores / 240 CPUs per node (but also reproduced on older and smaller boxes with 64 cores / 128 CPUs per node).

The Oracle wait interface granularity of measurement

The intention of this blogpost is to show the Oracle wait time granularity and the Oracle database time measurement granularity. One of the reasons for doing this, is the Oracle database switched from using the function gettimeofday() up to version 11.2 to clock_gettime() to measure time.

This switch is understandable, as gettimeofday() is a best guess of the kernel of the wall clock time, while clock_gettime(CLOCK_MONOTONIC,…) is an monotonic increasing timer, which means it is more precise and does not have the option to drift backward, which gettimeofday() can do in certain circumstances, like time adjustments via NTP.

The first thing I wanted to proof, is the switch of the gettimeofday() call to the clock_gettime() call. This turned out not to be as simple as I thought.