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SYSASM Role in Oracle 11g

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

Oracle 11g New Features Tips

The Oracle release 11gR1 is the last version which supports logon to an ASM instance with sysdba privileges. In coming future releases, sysasm privileges will need to be used in order to logon to an ASM instance using operation system authentication. This is a security enhancement which is used to cleanly separate ASM storage administrators from database administrators.

In 10gR2, Oracle had introduced the asmcmd tool to provide a storage administrator with an interface for managing ASM storage.

In the first 11g release, it is still possible to logon as sysdba as well as sysasm. This will definitely be changed with the next coming release 11gR2. When Oracle 11g is installed, a question will come up about the operating system group which is allowed to logon to an ASM instance without needing a password in addition to the OS groups for logon as sysdba respectively as sysoper. The access to remote ASM instances is managed through the password file of the ASM instance. This password is case sensitive as all passwords are in an 11g database. For more information on secure passwords, refer to chapter 8.

There is a new column in v$pwfile_users for the sysasm privilege:

SYS AS SYSDBA @ orcl11 SQL> select * from v$pwfile_users; 

USERNAME                       SYSDB SYSOP SYSAS
------------------------------ ----- ----- -----
SYS                            TRUE  TRUE  FALSE

% Add a user to the password file by granting sysasm privileges.

Oracle Enterprise Manager for 11g also provides an interface which allows creating and managing ASM users. This functionality can only be accessed when the user is logged on to OEM with sysasm privileges.

Figure 1:  Creating and Managing ASM-Users

To separate storage management responsibilities from database administration duties is a very good idea. There should not be a need to explain what the difference between a database instance and an ASM instance is to the storage administrators and how to logon to it. Also, DBAs might not really be interested in how a database works and what a tablespace is.
All a DBA wants from the storage administration side are enough LUNs in place in time.

On the other side, the storage administrator might only be interested if there is still enough free disk space left in the ASM disk groups. This is possible now. With asmcmd, a storage administrator can use UNIX look and feel like commands to find out about the space utilization in the ASM storage. And by using the sysasm operating system privileges, it is possible to limit the access to instances without needing a password for logon only to ASM instances.


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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