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Using Oracle Enterprise Manager Database Console 10g: A Convert's (almost) Story

by Robert Freeman


 

It just struck me this moment. I was sitting here playing with the new Oracle Enterprise Manager Database Console 10g and I had to admit — I like it. Let me tell you that my conversion was not an easy thing. I've been working with Oracle since Oracle7.0.something. Since my first encounter (fight) with the different variations of OEM, I've come to hate OEM more than just about anything. In the past, OEM was a hassle to configure, a hassle to use, and had more bugs in it than you would be slapping off your body were you in the deepest, darkest jungle. I'd given up on OEM forever. In fact, when I was writing my book, Oracle Database 10g New Features, the folks at Oracle were saying, "Give it another try." I so didn't want to touch it that I hired another author to write that part of the book. Bottom line: I wanted nothing more to do with OEM.

Unfortunately, the fates conspired against me, and I was really backed into a corner with regards to OEM. I was in the midst of writing a series of articles on Oracle Database 10g's new AWR features, and I realized that Oracle Database 10g Database Control really is a central part of this new architecture and I really had to at least try to use the product. Now that I have used it, I find that it's a nice product. It's great for the beginner DBA, and if you are an old, command-line DBA, don't turn your nose up at it just yet. In a second, I'll explain why OEM might be worth taking a look at even if you were DBA'ing with Oracle Version 3.

The first order of business was to educate myself and figure out how OEM worked these days. Now, I'll tell you off the bat that I had a few problems in this initial phase. I tried to install Oracle Database 10g Grid Control first, and never could get it to work right on my NT laptop. Then, once I installed 10g Grid Control, I could not get to my database, and I could never get 10g Grid Control up and running (to be fair, I only spent about four hours trying to make it work).

Strike one.

Then I realized I didn't really need 10g Grid Control, since I was using just a single database, and was not using RAC. Oracle Database 10g comes with Oracle Database 10g OEM Database Control (OEMDBC), I thought to myself. So I removed 10g Grid control and tried OEMDBC.

First, I opened up Mozilla, and called up OEMDBC. Lo and behold, the darned thing came right up for me with the sign on screen. Holly cow! I signed in, and was taken to a configuration screen asking me for more sign-on information. I entered this information and thought to myself, "This is just to easy!" Unfortunately, I was right.

Strike two.

After some research, I found out that OEMDBC wanted to log into a few database accounts that were locked out. Once I unlocked the accounts (SYSMAN and DBSNMP) and made one other NT-specific fix (allowing the OS account I was using to do batch processing), I was off to the races!

And I like it!!

OEMDBC started up with a nice home page that presents a ton of nice information about the database as seen in this screen dump:

Here, you get basic information on your database, and there are plenty of opportunities to drill down into more detail if you desire. This basic database-related stuff is going to be dynamite for the beginner DBA. From this point, I can shut down or start up the database, look at CPU utilization information, look at SQL response times, and a number of other statistics. The OEMDBC home page also offers interfaces into Oracle's back-up- and-recovery functionality, database-space usage, and high-level information on various alerts and scheduler-related information.

Oracle also makes problem diagnosis easier with such old-timer applications as Lock Manager and Top Sessions. They are rewritten, and look better than ever in the Web interface that OEMDBC offers. From Top Sessions, you can observe your sessions and determine which are consuming the most logical or physical I/O, who is doing the most sorting. You can enable tracing for a given session, which is very handy.

Now, if you are an old timer, I told you that I'd give you a reason to look into OEMDBC. Oracle is adding new features all the time, and Oracle Database 10g is no exception. I imagine that there might be lots of new Oracle9i features that you are not quite familiar with yet. I am a command-line junkie, I'll admit it, but when I can reorganize tables online with just a few point-and-clicks (and it actually works!), I start thinking there is better use for my time than writing scripts.

Oracle Database 10g comes with a new job scheduler that is just so much easier to manage from OEMDBC. Jobs are easy to create and easy to manage from this interface. Other Oracle Database 10g new features such as the new advisors, the ability to shrink existing segments, and the new alert infrastructure, all make OEM worth looking at again.

Of course, as with any graphical interface, OEMDBC leaves one wishing for more at times. For example, when in Top Sessions, if you choose to look at the active running SQL, it would be nice to be able to see specific PL/SQL operations that are active as well. That's been a long-time complaint of mine. Also, some screens seem to be missing a REFRESH button, which is more of an inconvenience than anything else. Of course, as with any command-line DBA, once in a while, you find an option missing here or there that's available from the command line, but what really sticks out in my mind is how few of those I've found in OEMDBC.

I should also mention that after running OEMDBC for awhile on my laptop, I had some interesting problems with it involving my networking configuration, but I see that less as a problem with OEMDBC and more of a problem with having a laptop that plugs into about three different networks, and runs standalone SANS network. The moral of that story is, make sure you have a stable network configuration, with an IP that isn't changing dynamically all the time. If not, you might have problems connecting to OEMDBC after your initial install. I'm still looking for a work around on this problem, and if I find it I'll mention in it up coming articles.

Speaking of up coming articles, look for my coverage on Oracle Database 10g's new advisor architecture!

So, in conclusion, there is a lot that is right about OEMDBC. It's made a believer out of me, and while I still head out to the command line most of the time, it's not because I don't like OEM….

"Hi… my name is Robert and I am a SQL prompt junkie."

--

Robert Freeman is an Oracle consultant and has been working with Oracle for more than 15 years. In the last five years, Robert has produced nine books, and a number of articles on Oracle including Oracle Database 10g New Features and Portable DBA: Oracle. Robert has also spoken at various user conferences including IOUG-A and UKOUG.


 

 

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