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Incident Packaging Service (IPS) in 11g

Oracle 11g New Features Tips by Donald BurlesonJune 29, 2015

Oracle 11g New Features Tips

In order to improve the process of receiving help from Oracle Support, Oracle 11g introduces a new feature called Incident Package Service that provides a utility to extract information about incidents, or exceptions, from the Automatic Diagnostic Repository (ADR). 

Obtaining Oracle Support

As any experienced Oracle professional knows, obtaining support from Oracle requires submitting a Service Request (SR), formerly known as a Technical Assistance Request, TAR, via a MOSC account.  Service Requests are assigned a severity depending on the impact of the incident.  This is based on a set of rules that Oracle defines; the higher the severity, the higher the priority.  The severity is generally assigned using the following criterion:

  • Severity 1 - issue is critical to the business, impacting production, and requires immediate attention

  • Severity 2 - issue causes a severe loss of service with no acceptable workaround; however, operation can continue

  • Severity 3 - issue causes a minor loss of service that is inconvenient

  • Severity 4 - issue causes no business impact

Severity 1 service requests are worked on around the clock 24/7 by Oracle support which passes the SR between support staffs in centers around the world.  Most SRs will be assigned a severity of either 2 or 3.    In theory, this support paradigm should be effective and provide a great level of customer satisfaction.  However, in practice, receiving support from Oracle is often tedious and requires a great deal of patience.

The SR process from beginning to end is usually a time consuming process and often requires several follow ups before the issue is clearly identified.  The majority of service requests involve the assigned Oracle support engineer requesting additional information, such as trace files, specific database settings, or the output from a provided script.  Each time that additional information is requested, the SR is placed in a hold status until the customer replies.  Since most of the Oracle support centers are located outside the U.S., the assigned engineer often does not respond during regular U.S. business hours.  Depending on the severity of the SR, the replies from the assigned support representative can take a considerable amount of time. 

In most cases, the main reason that the support process seems to drag on inefficiently is because the original SR was submitted a case without adequate information.  This is necessary for the support engineer to accurately diagnose the root cause of the incident.  In Oracle 11g, a new feature called the incident packaging service (IPS) can be used to gather and submit all of the information about an incident to Oracle support.

How IPS Works

The Incident Packaging Service is an extension of another new feature in Oracle 11g called the Automatic Diagnostic Repository.  The ADR is a system managed repository for organizing and storing trace files and other diagnostic data and is discussed in greater detail in Chapter 7. When problems are detected in the database, they automatically create an incident in the ADR.  A problem can have many incidents since the same problem might occur many times. 

An incident package is a logical structure that contains a collection of metadata.  This is stored in the ADR, and points to diagnostic data files both inside and outside of ADR.  The incident package only exists as metadata and has no content until a physical package is generated from the logical package.  IPS can be used to create packages based on a problem, an incident, a time interval, or an empty package. 

  • An IPS package based on an incident includes diagnostic data related to that incident. The data includes trace files, dumps, health monitor reports and such. 

  • A package based on a problem includes the diagnostic data for incidents that reference the problem. 

  • An incident package based on a time interval includes diagnostic data for incidents that occurred during the provided time interval. 

Upon generating the physical incident package, all diagnostic and information files are placed into a zip file in a designated directory.  Once the zip file has been created for a logical package, an incremental zip file can be created for the same logical package.  This package contains all diagnostic files added or changed since the last zip file.  There are several methods for using IPS including the Enterprise Manager's Support Workbench and the command line ADRCI (ADR Command Interpreter) utility.

 NOTE: Rampant author Laurent Schneider has some additional insight into creating an Oracle Automatic Diagnostic Repository (ADR)


This is an excerpt from the new book Oracle 11g New Features: Expert Guide to the Important New Features by John Garmany, Steve Karam, Lutz Hartmann, V. J. Jain, Brian Carr.

You can buy it direct from the publisher for 30% off.


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