Corrupt download caused installation to hang, unzip lessons learned

I’m posting this because apparently it hasn’t happened to anyone else except me (heavens knows I searched for help!). The root cause certainly wasn’t obvious to me, so hopefully, this will help someone (maybe me, once I forget about it).

All I needed to do was install a default Oracle Database 11g R1 environment with a starter database for some experimentation. Seems simple.

I had archived a copy of linux_11gR1_database.zip from OTN, so I copied that to my Oracle Enterprise Linux 5 U1 virtual machine and unzipped it (no errors or warnings, mind you). I proceeded to launch the installer as the oracle user and it ran me through the 4-6 screens of questions, prerequisite checks, etc, then the summary screen and started installing. The progress bar on the first task (copying files or similar) quickly progressed to 38% and then stopped…forever (I waited an hour). Continue reading “Corrupt download caused installation to hang, unzip lessons learned”

RAC SIG Officer/Board Member Elections

All RAC SIG members should have received an announcement regarding the voting that’s now in progress for new RAC SIG board members/officers. There were several nominations received in July and early August and voting is open now to all RAC SIG members. Just login to the site and use the Elections tab to cast your votes. Make sure you vote for each office (nominations for each office are on separate pages).

I’m giving up my spot as the Events Chair and am running for the President position along with several other fine candidates. Please vote today!

In related news, I just posted the RAC SIG Events taking place at Oracle Open World 2008 on the front page of the site, so check those out (and add them to your schedule in the OOW Schedule Builder) if you’re planning to attend OOW this year!

When I conduct an interview…

This post is a follow up to a thread (“How do you conduct technical interviews?”) that carried on for quite a while on the Oracle-L mailing list (you should consider joining if you aren’t already on the list). Here is my contribution to the discussion that started with the eternal question “How do you find the person with the right attitude, not just technical skills?”

As has been said often, there are no silver bullets and your “gut” feeling has to play at least some part. Here are some of my thoughts (in no particular order) on how I typically conduct interviews (I interview consultant candidates, but IT candidates wouldn’t be much different):

  • My mindset in the interview is about determining whether this person has a high capacity to learn new things quickly and apply/adapt them. This is almost always more important than the knowledge they have in their head now, because at least some significant part of the detail they know will be obsolete or changed in the coming months/years. Continue reading “When I conduct an interview…”

Upcoming presentations: OOW, UKOUG

Every year it seems like I get part way through the Oracle OpenWorld event and comment that next year, I need to be less busy so I can enjoy the event a little more and attend others’ presentations more than giving my own. And yet it seems that somewhere between then and the following year, I manage to volunteer myself for a full agenda of participation via the RAC SIG, IOUG, and my own personal/professional interests.

This year’s conference, coming up September 21-25, will be no different and I’ll be there all week to meet as many new friends as possible (that’s you), see some old friends (that might be you too), and share a few of my technical and community bits of knowledge with anyone that shows up at my sessions (hopefully you). I’ve already glanced through the schedule builder and picked out a lot of sessions that interest me, so pulling myself away from those to perform other presentations or fulfill other duties will be challenging, as usual. First, let me list where you’re certain to find me (you should add these sessions to your schedule using the Schedule Builder to ensure your seat in the sessions): Continue reading “Upcoming presentations: OOW, UKOUG”

IOUG RAC Attack!, Event Summary

As one of the organizers of the IOUG RAC Attack! event, I may have a slightly partial viewpoint, but I think the event overall went very well. The hands-on lab was especially popular and I think participants in the hands-on lab all got to learn at least a few new things. If you’ve been to Oracle Education training classes like I have, you know how it seems like you sometimes have to spend 5 days in training to get 1.5 days’ worth of material. With the hands-on lab at RAC Attack!, we provided guided exercises to demonstrate certain features and/or processes, but the whole day was more like “structured playtime” than particular labs that had to be completed. Continue reading “IOUG RAC Attack!, Event Summary”

IOUG RAC Attack!, Day 1 complete

Many of you have (hopefully) heard of the IOUG RAC Attack! event taking place yesterday and today in Chicago. We had a great first day yesterday with many great technical sessions and the first-day lab guinea pigs didn’t find many bugs or issues in completing the lab exercises and tests. Overall, the format is working out pretty well, though I think many people had a tough time choosing what technical sessions they were willing to miss in order to attend the hands on lab.

For any of the RAC Attack! attendees, please (really, please–like right now before you forget) drop me a line with your feedback and/or leave it here in comments. I am growing more and more confident that we’ll repeat this event at some point in the future. Plus, it’s highly likely that the hands on lab portion will be repeated at the Collaborate09 conference in Orlando in May, 2009 as well (sorry, no website up for it yet). Stay tuned for more details! So, if you didn’t get enough hands on lab time or have coworkers, peers or buddies that couldn’t make it to Chicago, there will be more opportunities for them to participate in the future. I hope Tuesday goes as well as Monday or better and I think it will!

My train is about to arrive in Chicago, so I’ll look forward to seeing today’s lab victims participants shortly!

Security can be basic

Sometimes I think that people think of security, especially database security, as a domain for the highly-skilled consultant. However, sometimes it is the most basic little things that need attention and it doesn’t require a high-priced, highly skilled consultant to figure it out.

Case in point: I recently arrived at a new customer site to help them with some database issues. They have a development environment, test environment, production database, and a clone of production they use for reporting. To get started, they sent me the TNS entries for each of these four databases. I didn’t have any usernames or passwords, so I was still in a holding pattern. Since I was using instantclient, I didn’t have tnsping, but I still wanted to verify that the TNS entries were created properly and that I had connectivity. So, I thought I’d just use scott/tiger to test and expected the ORA-01017 (invalid username/password) error.

I tried development, ORA-01017 which confirmed that the TNS entry was correct, but there was no scott/tiger account (or at least the password wasn’t tiger). Tried the test database, same result. The reporting database, same result. (You can see the punchline coming, right?) I tried the production database and, wouldn’t you know it, I got connected using the scott/tiger account! I was so shocked I think I let out a little yelp of disbelief.

So, for all the DBAs tuned in: here’s a quick and easy way to make things better (maybe still insufficient, but at least safER than now). Lock all the accounts that are not in use or that you can’t confirm are in use. If you need a hint: alter user scott account lock;. If you still don’t get it, then prepare your resume :). If you can’t confirm that the account is needed, lock it. When someone complains, unlock it (yes, it’s that easy). If they go to your boss to complain, explain that you did what you did in the name of database and data security (which is true) and you’ll generally avoid punishment.

If you aren’t sure whether the account is one of Oracle’s built-in, default accounts, consult Pete Finnigan’s lists. For more information, check out Project Lockdown, Oracle 11g Database Security Guide, and Pete Finnigan’s list of whitepapers and presentations. You can’t mention Oracle Security without a link to Mary Ann Davidson’s blog which is both informative and often entertaining.

Feel free to submit your horror story in comments. This same scenario happens all the time, but this time just seemed too silly to keep it a secret. No, I won’t tell you who the customer was :).