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