Tuesday, October 30, 2007

My demo system: VMware 6 + OEL5 + Oracle DB 11g

It took me longer to install my demo system as I thought. So be warned when doing this yourself.

My current laptop is a Dell Latitude D820 with 2GB of RAM running a dual boot: Windows XP and Vista. Before I used Windows XP as my demo system, but with the service packs and other installation of software which can interfere with my Oracle config it was too risky to keep it as non-fail demo system. I also wanted to use Windows Vista, but on that, the Oracle database is not supported. Update: according to this it's supported on Windows Vista Business, Enterprise, and Ultimate editions.

So I thought to start using VMware images as demo system. I already tried it in the past (the Oracle VM's) but found it too slow, so I was sceptic about it. But I must admit, it's running fine at the moment.

The time I started with my VM's, Oracle DB 11g for Windows wasn't even out, so I choose for Oracle Enterprice Linux 5 (OEL5). Oracle is putting a lot of effort in linux and using it as their "main" development platform, so most of the soft should come out first for this operating system.

I first used VMware Server (free) to install OEL5, which did work. But when playing with linux and trying to get my network working, I just had one problem after another.
I couldn't understand why it failed, so I tried to use VMware Workstation (not free), which I was sure was supported for Windows Vista. After 5 minutes everything worked.

Tip: When using Windows Vista use VMware Workstation 6 or higher!

The steps I did to get my demo system up and running.

Create a new VMware machine
  1. Select "New Virtual Machine" from VMware to create the hardware specification
  2. Go for a Custom virtual machine configuration - Linux - Linux kernel 2.6.x
  3. I used 1GB Ram, 20GB diskspace, a cd-rom and bridged ethernet
  4. Go with the defaults of the wizard

Install Oracle Enterprise Linux 5

  1. Download Oracle Enterprice Linux from OTN
  2. Unzip the file, you should get 5 iso images
  3. Mount the first cd in your VMware console (Edit virtual machine settings - connection - use iso image)
  4. Start the Virtual Machine
  5. If everything is fine, it will boot the OEL5 cd and will start the wizard for the installation
  6. I used most of the default settings during the installation
  7. Use a static IP address
  8. Select some more packages as default (Customize software packages to be installed) for ex.: Legacy Software Development, Graphical Internet, Development Tools, System Tools
  9. During the installation you'll need to change the cd's (right click on the cd in VMware, Edit and select the other cd)
  10. Reboot the system and finalize the installation

Configure your linux

  1. I had to change the monitor to be able to get a higher resolution
  2. You can also opt to install the VMware Tools which give you some more features
    (I had some problems with these tools as they changed my network settings)
  3. If you prefer to change your shell (for ex. bash instead of ksh), you can do that by using: "chsh". You need to logout and login again so the settings are applied.

Install Oracle Database 11g

  1. Read the installation guide (!). Even the most experienced people sometimes forget to read the installation manual. Something can change in time, the system requirements change, ...
  2. Especially in linux you need to review your kernel parameters and required packages.
    Some of the packages that weren't installed as default, for ex.: libaio-devel-0.3.105-2, unixODBC-devel-2.2.11-1. You find most of the required packages on CD2 and CD3.
    You can use the "rpm -Uvh" command to get them installed.
  3. Create users and groups:
    # groupadd -g 501 oinstall
    # groupadd -g 502 dba
    # useradd -g oinstall -G dba -s /bin/ksh oracle
    # passwd oracle
  4. Append the following to the /etc/sysctl.conf file as the root user and run /sbin/sysctl –p (this command makes the settings immediately applied):
    kernel.sem = 250 32000 100 128
    kernel.shmmax = 536870912
    net.ipv4.ip_local_port_range = 1024 65000
    net.core.rmem_default = 4194304
    net.core.rmem_max = 4194304
    net.core.wmem_default = 262144
    net.core.wmem_max = 262144
  5. The Oracle Universal Installer will verify the requirements, if they are not met you'll get a warning. Before going further, you should review the failed items and resolve the issues.
    Do retry and if all steps are passed successfully, you can start the installation.
  6. I did a normal Enterprise Edition install with the preconfigured database.
  7. You may also check your environment variables (for ex. in /home/oracle/.bash_profile) for the oracle user ($ORACLE_HOME, $PATH, $ORACLE_SID etc.) Make also sure you include the Oracle bin directory in your PATH (export PATH=$PATH:$ORACLE_HOME/bin) so you can run commands from everywhere.

Configure Oracle Application Express (APEX)

  1. To configure APEX you can follow the instruction in the Postinstallation tasks
  2. Before, I always used Apache as my webserver for APEX, but now I thought to go for the embedded PL/SQL gateway
  3. As most of you know, with 11g APEX is preinstalled ;-) The installation is made so easy!
  4. Open a terminal and go to $ORACLE_HOME/apex
  5. Connect with SQL*Plus as sysdba and run @apxconf
  6. It will ask you for the port of the Oracle XML DB HTTP server. I'm not sure 8080 (default) is a great port to use as it's sometimes in conflict with other products... so I used 7779.
  8. Go to your fixed ip or hostname in a browser:
  9. The first time can take some time, but you should see APEX coming up

Tip: Read the manuals!

Some screenshots of my system

If you want to read how to install something like above but in Rac, Frederik (Frikkie) Visser wrote a very good article.

That was basically what I did to create my demo system. During this process, I sometimes "cursed" my machine. John Scott was very supportive, but also teased me more than once with "get a Mac"! We'll see ;-)

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

To all APEX enthusiasts... OOW APEX Roundtable

To all APEX enthusiasts...

ODTUG was so kind to offer me, VP of the IOUG APEX SIG, one of their timeslots to host the APEX roundtable at OOW. This session will be open for *ALL* User Groups. The goal is to talk to all people interesting in Oracle Application Express.

The APEX roundtable (Session ID: S293602) will take place on Sunday from 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM in Moscone West 3014 - L3.

I'm thrilled to announce my panel at OOW:

  • Tony Jedlinski - APEX Developer of the year 2005
  • John Scott - APEX Developer of the year 2006
  • Patrick Wolf - APEX Developer of the year 2007
  • ... (depending flights, somebody of the Oracle APEX Development team)
  1. Quick intro about the SIGs and Panel speakers
  2. To start the discussion I'll ask the panel about web 2.0, coding techniques, security and best practices (15 minutes)
  3. The floor is open to you all to ask questions to the panel (35+ minutes)
If you've already some difficult questions for the panel, put it as a comment on this blog, so they can get prepared ;-)

Hope to see you all there!

Use of 11g functionalities (pivot) in Windows

Yep... it's possible! Oracle Database 11g is out for Windows. You can download it here.

Already a lot others blogged about it, but as I'm more blogging about Oracle Application Express, I thought to blog into that direction for this new release...

11g brings you a lot of new features. Especially the PLSQL New Features are useful to any APEX developer. Now you know you can use it on your windows servers too.
One of the new nice things is the Pivot function...

If you want to read more about these new features (for developers), here are some nice links:

I'm not going to install Oracle DB 11g on my windows system as I'm currently creating my VM's for OOW: Oracle Enterprise Linux + Oracle Database 11g + BI Publisher. (I'll blog later the steps I did to create these VM's) I don't want my machine crashing anymore, so I'm preparing myself ;-)

Monday, October 22, 2007

OOW 2007 APEX Meetup

It's that time of the year again, with OpenWorld just around the corner, so John Scott and myself are trying to arrange an APEX Meetup again like we did last year.

If you're interested in coming along to the Meetup, we made a simple application (APEX of course) where you can say which days are best for you (and we'll go with the most popular day).

You can register your interest in the APEX Meetup here.

Hope to see you there!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

OOW 2007 Blogger Meetup (by MR)

As last year, Mark Rittman is organizing another Oracle Blogger Meetup at Oracle Open World. Just as last year the fun will be in "The Thirsty Bear". Date & Time: Tuesday 13th Nov, 7pm

You can read all details (and subscribe) on Mark's Blog.

It's always nice to meet the other Oracle bloggers in real life. Maybe you didn't know, but even Oracle bloggers can talk about other things than Oracle and have a lot of fun ;-)

In a few weeks you'll read about the night on several blogs (and this one)!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Oracle Open World fever

Blogs are filling up with Oracle Open World (OOW) messages, people are getting ready to leave for San Francisco, presenters are rehearsing their presentations, meetings are getting planned, sessions are scheduled, ...

Just to show you OOW will be *big* again. Over 50.000 people will move to the biggest Oracle event, San Francisco will be colored red again, the Oracle logo will be everywhere...

This blog and I are preparing for the event too. In a couple of days I'll publish some info about the APEX sessions, my presentation, the APEX roundtable and the APEX meetup.

So... get ready for the "OOW experience"!

Some earlier posts about OOW 2007 and my blog posts of OOW 2006.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Upgrade HTC P3300 with Windows Mobile 6

As I blogged before I'm very happy with my HTC P3300 mobile phone/pda...

During the weekend I upgraded my phone from Windows Mobile 5 to Windows Mobile 6.

There are not that many changes, it's more like a WM5 Second Edition. Nevertheless I think this upgrade is definitely worth! I really needed this upgrade as WEP security for Wifi is from WM6 onwards available out-of-the-box. So now I can connect to my wireless Lan at home and be even more online ;-)

Other features why I believe this upgrade is useful:

  • It looks to me the interface is faster and more slick
  • Better Outlook with support for html mails
  • New tunes / sound themes which can be attached to events
  • Improved security
Some articles of WM6 I found useful: here and here.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Teaching Oracle - the next year

Just as last year (see here and here) I teached a part of the Oracle DBA course to some students.

Last year the students, the school and myself really enjoyed working together, so we decided it would be a good idea to do this more.

I believe the students are well coached by their teachers. The only down-side is that it's very "academic". Having somebody from "the field" talking about their experience and how the teached material is used in "real life", can be a nice added value for the students.

Just as last time I talked for the last year informatics students. I was surprised they were so "open" for Oracle. A few years ago a lot of students were sceptic about Oracle, but I've the impression that it's changing... The students looked really interested in the topics I talked about (for ex. Security and Performance & Tuning).

Next to the "official material" I talked about the evolution of the Oracle database (10/11g with APEX ;-) and beyond) and also about the free Oracle database (XE) which they can try themselves.

Again I liked it a lot... it's nice to hear from these students what they're interested in these days and what they think about Oracle.

In a few days I'll teach the second group this material.

Monday, October 08, 2007

I hope my baby will be more gentil

My wife sent me this link (trailer)...

I can't say "Oh My God!", I should say "Oh Baby" ;-)

Having a baby changes your life. I can speak out of experience now.
It's wonderful but also very demanding. It's very different being with three than just with two. Our baby is changing so quickly, unbelievable what an evolution we all have been going through.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Oracle APEX Forum - Week 39

*** After a long time, I finally said to myself to start this Oracle Application Express Forum Wrap-up again ***

My goal is to put some links to the forum that took my attention in the last week. Sometimes these posts made me laugh, sometimes they made me cry and some of them I found really interesting.

The most interesting topics:

  • none
If you saw something in the forums I should have included, you're free to put a comment.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Dinner with Steven

Last night my family and I met Steven Feuerstein. Steven past Brussels on his way to Oslo and was so friendly to invite us for dinner.

It was a special night... it was the first real time we went out with our baby, the first time Matthias went to a restaurant and the first time my wife met Steven.
Of course she already knew him from me talking about him, but I think she was pleasantly surprised we could also talk about other things then PLSQL and APEX ;-)

Although it's already autumn in Belgium it was a nice and warm (for the season) evening.
We went to one of the most famous streets in Brussels, called Rue des Bouchers, basically a street with only restaurants...

It's amazing how fast things go... I think it was June 2006 at ODTUG when I met Steven for the first time in real life. From then on I met him several times on Oracle conference and only a year later we have diner in Brussels. As I already blogged before, I've been always looking up to Steven, so it was a great pleasure to have a meal with him.

I think Matthias will also be proud after a couple of years when he sees the picture of "the PLSQL Evangelist" holding him in his arms. I certainly don't want to push Matthias in the direction of computers and software... there're so many others things in the world to explore, he needs to find his own way. Nevertheless I'm already proud in his place ;-)

Thanks Steven for the lovely evening! And I'm so happy I could share it this time with my family...