Oracle OpenWorld Unconference Session Proposal

A few weeks ago, I posted a proposal to hold a session in the OpenWorld Unconference event. If you’re interested in discussing the complex configuration of Oracle Application Server in various situations like load balancing, virtual hosting, SSL configuration, and other often challenging situations, please head over and put a comment on the posting.

I’ll be joining several other session proposers at the Unconference event on Monday to reserve a time and place to hold this session. Once I have a slot reserved, I’ll update the page on the wiki with time and location as well as posting it here.

Please post something there or contact me directly if you’re interested in reviewing some of the common settings, discussing ways to work around limitations in the application server, applications, and other tips and tricks. I plan for this session to be highly interactive, but I firmly believe that everyone will leave with at least one new idea, technique, or tip in their brain.

OOW Appreciation Event Lineup Updated

I previously posted on Oracle OpenWorld’s Appreciation Event lineup. Unexpectedly, they changed the lineup to remove Prince, but they also added Lenny Kravitz…not a bad trade, though both have good shows I expect. Billy Joel is still on the lineup as well as Stevie Nicks, so there should be something for just about everyone.

See you there–only 3 more weeks!

Another “special” circumstance when running OAS on Windows

We encountered an “interesting” challenge recently where some, not all, OC4J containers in an Oracle Application Server installation would “crash” (they would stop running). There was no apparent pattern to the “crazy” crashing containers. The system administrator was actively doing application (re)deployments at the rate of 3-4 per week. The containers seemed to be “crashing” randomly, sometimes throughout the day, sometimes just after a deployment.

We increased many timeouts for OPMN as we believed that OPMN was just incorrectly “seeing” the containers as down and restarting them. OPMN restarts them by shutting them down first and then starting them.

We filed cases with Oracle support to no avail–they didn’t come up with any useful suggestions in a week or more. They were trying, but didn’t come up with the solution.

The system administrator developed a theory based on what he believed was a pattern. Every time he did a deployment, he would notice a crash of all the non-Oracle default containers. That is, the home and OC4J_WebCenter containers didn’t crash.

The deployment process that he followed resulted in him connecting to the server using remote desktop. His remote desktop client was configured with the /console option which was required by some other servers he managed, more about that later.

Once he was able to demonstrate that he could make the containers crash each time he logged off, we started testing variations using the system console, the remote desktop client with and without the /console option and found a pattern. The remote desktop client without the /console option did not cause a crash, but all other combinations did. Through all of this, the home and OC4J_WebCenter containers remained up and running.

Bottom line: Read Metalink Note 245609.1 which documents the apparently, well-known fact that logging out from the Windows console causes JVM termination. The very simple fix is to start the containers with the “-Xrs” option which tells the JVM to ignore certain signals from the OS.

The really terrible thing about all this is that Oracle puts the -Xrs option on the containers deployed during the installation, but the OEM tool doesn’t add them to the container startup parameters for the custom containers. Easy to fix, even easy to find once you know what to look for.

This begs two questions:

  1. Why doesn’t Oracle add -Xrs to the startup options for the containers created after the initial installation? That would have avoided all the problems and there’s apparently no negative side effect–at least not that we’ve seen.
  2. How could an SR analyst not find this Metalink note and refer us to the simple solution? Granted, we didn’t find it easily in our searches either, but eventually it was one of us that found the article and solution. Now that we know the fix, a simple search for -Xrs on Metalink gets plenty of hits. As they say, hindsight is 20/20.

Hopefully, this information will help some of you that are lucky enough to work on OC4J deployments on Windows.

Oracle OpenWorld in sight, 3 weeks away

Just looked at my calendar and realized that we’re less than a month away from Oracle OpenWorld! There are tons of great sessions on the list and my schedule is full after even just a quick scan. That means there will certainly be hard times ahead as new sessions catch my eye (there are always a few) and I have to make the hard decisions on the fly.

If you’re looking for RAC information, check out the sessions hosted by the RAC SIG and the RAC SIG events. They’re all posted on the RAC SIG website at As you’ll see, Sunday is the IOUG User Group Forum Day and many of us will be spending time in Moscone West to attend these great sessions. There are also some RAC SIG events on Monday and Tuesday as well, so be sure to attend them as well.

My presentations are on the schedule finally. If you’re interested in what I have to say, stop by these sessions:

  • Sunday, 10am, Moscone West 2002-L2: High Availability Options for Oracle Database, S292927
  • Sunday, 1pm, Moscone West 2005-L2: Is That Really You? (Co-presented with Matt Topper), S292939
  • Monday, 4:45pm, Hilton Yosemite Room C: RAC For Beginners: The Basics, S291026

I’ll also be attending the RAC SIG events, so you can spot me there. When not attending those sessions, I’ll either be hanging out in the Unconference area, the OTN Lounge, the Piocon exhibit hall booth, or off watching some of the other great sessions.

I’ll post my complete schedule and planned sessions as the start of the conference gets closer. Hope to see you there. I’m also online at the  OpenWorld Connect site. Look me up (dannorris) and join the RAC SIG group there as well.

I’m an Advanced Diver

I think I caught the scuba diving bug because after I got the initial certification, I’ve been working to figure out how I can get more certifications and more diving into my schedule! I cautiously signed up to do my PADI Advanced Open Water certification dives on October 6-7 fearing that it may be very cold by then. However, as those in Chicagoland can attest, the temperatures hit 85+ degrees each of the two days. The water wasn’t as cold as I thought–about 70 degrees at the surface.

For Advanced Open Water certification, you have to do five dives. The first three are mandatory for everyone: Underwater Navigation, Deep, and Night. Then, you pick two more from a list of 5-7 (can’t remember exactly) others. My two electives were: Peak Performance Buoyancy and Wreck Diving. Of the five dives, my favorite was the Deep Dive. It was in a place in Haigh Quarry referred to as “the hole”. It’s a relatively small place in the back of the quarry (read: long surface swim) that goes down to a platform at 80 feet. As expected, the water got quite cold at depth and the usual cloudiness in the water made it pretty dim down there as well. Those carrying computers reported that the water temperature at 80 feet was 49 degrees. We stayed there for a few minutes and did a few games to test ourselves for nitrogen narcosis, a common condition at deeper depths. I wasn’t experiencing any signs during my test–not sure about the others.

I managed to convince my wife to let me go on a dive trip with a dive buddy (that I’ve known since grade school). We go to Cozumel on December 14th–less than 2 months away!

Congratulations to all my dive buddies in the Advanced OW class–we all passed. Thanks also to Eunice Z (our esteemed dive mistress and instructor) as well as Divemaster Ted who was great at getting us all down to the cold depths.

Oracle OpenWorld OTN Unconference Event

I’m excited to see that Oracle has a group of people paying attention to trends in technology events and making sure that Oracle’s events keep up with the industry. If you’re going to be at OpenWorld, be sure to stop by the OTN Unconference event. I expect that I’ll be hanging out up there regularly throughout the first part of the week. I haven’t been lucky enough to attend an Unconference-style event, but I’ve heard a lot about them and they sound like great networking opportunities and great places to learn some great new tidbits.

Kudos to Justin K and the OTN team for putting Conference 2.0 (I think I just made that up) into OOW.