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Unix for Oracle DBAs Pocket Reference Reviewed
by Michael Dinh
From the San Diego Oracle Users group  -

Buy this Oracle book here

The Oracle Database product operates on a variety of operating systems, including Unix, Windows, and Linux. The Oracle database administrators (DBAs) need to be familiar with the database platform -- the operating system. For Oracle DBAs working in a Unix environment, O'Reilly & Associates has a publication, Unix for Oracle DBAs Pocket Reference. The author, Donald K. Burleson, does a thorough job explaining Unix commands, e.g., sed, nohup, umask. The author also mentions that the intended purpose of this book is to provide a quick reference describing the Unix commands most often used by Oracle database administrators. The book is not a tutorial on the use of Unix.

The introduction contains a brief description of what is covered in major topic areas. The emphasis is on Unix commands common to all dialects. The author also attempt to cover different Unix platforms: HP-UX, IBM AIX, and Sun Solaris are the majority with a little reference to DEC UNIX and IRIX. Several topics, Server Values and System Log Messages only covered HP-UX and AIX, are very brief.

Understanding Unix topic provides the reader with some history of Unix. Also, there is an introduction to the case sensitivity, safety, linkability, and shell in Unix. All Unix commands and command options are case sensitive; ls -c and ls -C will have different results. There is no recycle bin; therefore, be careful of the rm command, especially rm -rf. Last of all, shell scripts written in this book are for the Korn shell.

Building Unix Commands primarily emphasizes the command:


ps -ef|grep "ora_"|grep -v grep|awk '{ print $2}'|xarg kill -9

The section shows the reader how to decompose a Unix command and how to build a complex Unix command from scratch using the example above. Using the same principle, the author composes a script to find all files containing a specific string.

The book also provides references to Unix Server Environment, Process Management, Server Values, Memory and CPU Management, Semaphore Management, System Log Messages, Server Monitoring, File Management, Disk Management, and Miscellaneous Shell Scripts. In the Server Monitoring section, the author demonstrates command usage at the command line and in a shell script. The shell script is utilized to automate the collection of system statistics, to store the data in the database, and to report the results using SQL*Plus.

The book does have one annoyance. One shell script shows the DBAs how to make a tape backup, using the tar utility. The script has a good explanation for the commands and the command parameters. However, script lacks code to shutdown the database. There must be the assumption; all DBAs know that the database must be shutdown prior to performing a cold backup, copying the data file to tape, in order to have a good backup.

In summary, Unix for Oracle DBAs Pocket Reference is a good book to have, at an inexpensive price. Be sure to check out the O'Reilly website for this book at to download the examples in the book and to view the author's tip, Five Timesaving Unix Commands for Oracle DBAs.


Copyright 2002 Michael Dinh. All rights reserved.




Burleson is the American Team

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