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Little things worth knowing: Is there a penalty in establishing a connection to Oracle using the MAA connection string? Part 2

In the very lengthy previous post about the MAA connect string I wanted to explain the use of the MAA connection string as promoted by Oracle. I deliberately kept the first part simple: both primary and standby cluster were up, and although the database was operating in the primary role on what I called standby cluster (again it’s probably not a good idea to include the intended role in the infrastructure names) there was no penalty establishing a connection.

Little things worth knowing: Is there a penalty in establishing a connection to Oracle using the MAA connection string?

Sorry for the long title!

I had a question during my session about “advanced RAC programming features” during the last Paris Oracle Meetup about the MAA connection string. I showed an example taken from the Appication Continuity White Paper ( Someone from the audience asked me if I had experienced any problems with it, such as very slow connection timeouts. I haven’t, but wanted to double-check anyway. This is a simplified test using a sqlplus connection since it is easier to time than a call to a connection pool creation. If you know of a way to reliably do so in Java/UCP let me know and I’ll test it.

Little things worth knowing: what does opatchauto actually do?

I recently applied system patch 20132450 to my installation on a 2 node RAC system on Oracle Linux 7.1. While ensuring that OPatch is the latest version available I came across an interesting command line option in opatchauto. It is called “-generateSteps”.

Hey dude, where’s my memory? part 2

In my previous article I started exploring the memory usage of a process on a recent linux kernel (2.6.39-400.243.1 (UEK2)), recent means “recent for the Enterprise Linux distributions” in this context, linux kernel developers would point out that the kernel itself is at version 3.19 (“stable version” at the time of writing of this blogpost).

Hey dude, where’s my memory?

This blogpost is about finding the actual amount of memory a process is taking. In order to do so, this post dives into the memory mechanisms of Linux. The examples in this article are taken from an Oracle Linux version 6.6 server, with kernel 2.6.39-400.243.1 (UEK2). This is written with the Oracle database processes in mind, but actually uses examples of a processes running ‘cat’, which means the contents of this post are absolutely not limited to Oracle database processes.

Let’s start off with a simple example. Let’s look at our own memory map. In order to do so, I use the ‘cat’ executable and the ‘maps’ entry in the proc pseudo-filesystem. This is how that is done, including the result:

Using the Oracle Grid Infrastructure Agents for GoldenGate on Oracle restart

I was testing Oracle Goldengate on a non-clustered Oracle database with ASM. With ASM, you need to have the grid infrastructure installed. The cluster ware for the single node install is called ‘oracle restart’.

The most convenient way to have Goldengate running at startup that I could find, was using the Oracle Grid Infrastructure Agents. These agents are not installed by default, you need to download these from the Oracle Technology Network. The download is with the grid infrastructure downloads in the database section.

The installation is very simple: unzip the file, and run the script with the arguments ‘–install’ and ‘–directory’ arguments. The directory argument needs to point to a directory outside of the grid infrastructure home. My first choice would be to have it in the infrastructure home, but the install script does not allow that.

Oracle system V shared memory indicated deleted

This article is written with examples taken from an (virtualised) Oracle Linux 6u6 X86_64 operating system, and Oracle database version However, I think the same behaviour is true for Oracle 11 and 10 and earlier versions.

Probably most readers of this blog are aware that a “map” of mapped memory for a process exists for every process in /proc, in a pseudo file called “maps”. If I want to look at my current process’ mappings, I can simply issue:

Understanding enhancements to block cleanouts in Exadata part 2

In part 1 of the series I tried to explain (probably a bit too verbose when it came to session statistics) what the effect is of delayed block cleanout and buffered I/O. In the final example the “dirty” blocks on disk have been cleaned out in the buffer cache, greatly reducing the amount of work to be done when reading them.

Understanding enhancements to block cleanouts in Exadata part 1

Travel time is writing time and I have the perfect setting for a techie post. Actually I got quite excited about the subject causing the article to get a bit longer than initially anticipated. In this part you can read about block cleanouts when using buffered I/O. The next part will show how this works using direct path reads and Smart Scans.

The article ultimately aims at describing the enhancements Exadata brings to the table for direct path reads and delayed block cleanouts. Delayed block cleanouts are described in Jonathan Lewis’s “Oracle Core”, and in one of his blog posts, so here’s just a summary.

The delayed block cleanout

What happens in ASM if usable_file_mb is negative and you lose a failgroup

Having read the excellent post “Demystifying ASM REQUIRED_MIRROR_FREE_MB and USABLE_FILE_MB” again by Harald von Breederode I wanted to see what happens if you create a setup where your usable_file_mb is negative and you actually have to rebalance after a fatal failgroup error. I am using on Oracle Linux 6.6/UEK3 in a KVM in case anyone is interested. I/O times aren’t stellar on that environment. It’s Oracle Restart, not clustered ASM.

Note: this post is only applicable if you are using ASM for data protection, e.g. normal or high redundancy. External redundancy is a different thing: if you lose a failgroup in a disk group with external redundancy defined then you are toast. The disk group will dismount on all ASM instances. No disk group = nothing to write to = crash of dependent databases.