Friday, November 21, 2008

Working for unlicensed sites

I wonder how other independent professionals feel about helping companies that are running systems on Oracle without purchasing sufficient (or any) licenses from Oracle. Where do you draw the line? A few examples can be illuminating:

One client of mine simply wanted to complete the RFP requirements to write a proposal to sell servers to a major bank. They only needed to install Oracle on a single host, run a simple load test against it for 24 hours, and submit the results with the RFP. I did not ask, but Oracle was clearly unlicensed at this site.

Another client is running a major order processing and fulfillment system, and "are not sure" if they are licensed. They definitely have no support. My sense is that when you fork over your $50K+tax per proc, you will notice the cash missing from your budget. Do you think I should push for proof of license compliance or is it none of my business?

If your answer is the latter, are there any ethics to apply to these scenarios? How far do you go? Would you download EE onto their server yourself and call it their problem if they fail to license it?

What about a site that queries v$active_session_history without paying for the tuning pack?

I routinely help those interested in complying to do so, and help in negotiations with Oracle, but what about these egregiously non-compliant sites?

Monday, November 17, 2008

How to set your server process spinning

For one of my presentations I searched for some time for a way to make my own server process get into a spinning and hung state. I found the best example in this SQL, which spins on and can be run by any user, including non-privileged. When I had a friend run it as a non-privileged user on a windows server, it made the server almost unusable, and necessitated stoping the Oracle service to get things back to normal.

SQL> select 1 from dual where regexp_like(' ','^*[ ]*a');

The statement will not return, and you may not be able to ^C out of it. The server process/thread will consume all idle CPU and the time will be spent in uninstrumented code (STATUS=WAITED SHORT TIME and SECONDS_IN_WAIT > 1).

Don't run this on any system that you can be fired for bringing down! You have been warned.

The alert log, tail -f, Flatland and Windows DBAs

I was working with Dan Morgan over at PSOUG Saturday and mentioned to him that the ADR Command Interpreter (ADRCI) in 11g provides `tail -f`-like capabilities for the alert log, including on Windows. He was impressed by this, as previously, we have had to download third-party software to do anything like `tail -f` against the alert log on Windows.

c:\> adrci
ADRCI: Release - Beta on Mon Nov 17 10:29:51 2008
Copyright (c) 1982, 2007, Oracle. All rights reserved.
adrci> show alert -tail 100 -f

I imagine the ability to follow the tail of logfile to be nothing short of revelatory for some Windows-only DBAs, some of whose eyes I have seen visbly widen in amazement as they watched output appear in the cmd window real-time from the alert log. I described it to Dan as being like popping out from a two-dimensional world into a world where you suddenly realize there are three dimentions. Wow! Everything looks so colorful!