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May 2nd, 2011 — May 8th, 2011 Generate the Custom HTML Email for this Issue
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A Tool for Determining the Contents of Oracle Flash Cache
Blogger Provides Handy Adjunct to Oracle Database 11g
In a blog post on the Pythian site Christo Kutrovsky writes about a tool of his own devising that makes it possible to determine the contents of a flash cache. Such a tool is necessary, he writes, because Oracle provides only a “list flashcachecontent” command in the cellcli tool, which has no summarization options, and displays only object numbers. His tool allows users to query the cell flash content on all cells, in a manner that is similar to querying the buffer cache (db_cache) contents in v$bh. The tool uses Oracle Database 11g’s new External table feature “preprocessor” and a perl parser script that executes the commands simultaneously on all cell nodes. The blog goes over installation of the tool and interpretation of results.
Oracle E-Business Suite, Oracle Exadata Database Machine Adopted by healthAllianceNew Zealand
Oracle Solutions Boost Performance, Simplify Administrative Issues
healthAlliance New Zealand Ltd (HANZL) has deployed its upgraded Oracle E-Business Suite 12.1.2 across an Oracle Exadata Database Machine X2-2 that allows healthAlliance to deliver a highly robust, scalable and pre-integrated platform to an expanding number of District Health Boards (DHBs). Oracle reports that the organization also employs a second Oracle Exadata Database Machine X2-2 at a separate physical site to provide a shared services platform for other business applications and serve as a disaster recovery site for Oracle E-Business Suite. All the DHBs joining HANZL’s shared services platform will be using Oracle E-Business Suite 12.1.2, including Oracle E-Business Suite Financial Management, Oracle E-Business Suite Advanced Procurement and Oracle E-Business Suite Supply Chain Management, according to Oracle. Lab performance testing has of Oracle Exadata Database Machine X2-2 on HANZL data revealed a significant increase in application performance and demonstrated the viability of transforming reporting capabilities from batch job to real-time and on-demand. Coupled with the reduced deployment and integration costs associated with Oracle Exadata’s pre-integrated package of servers, storage, networking, and software, led to adopt Oracle Exadata Database Machines for its core infrastructure, Oracle said.
Forrester Survey Finds UNIX Still Retains a Loyal Following
Especially Among Enterprises Using It for Mission Critical Workloads
In the Forrester Consulting study "UNIX: Compelling Value and Bright Future" -- which was commissioned by HP -- UNIX was found to have a loyal and slowly growing band of enthusiasts who find it valuable as an OS for mission-critical workloads. Forrester found several considerations at work behind this commitment to UNIX, which are:

  • Reliability: better with UNIX systems than with any other alternative but mainframes

  • Scalability: surpassing all comers in non-mainframe performance

  • Availability: lower rates of downtime for online maintenance than with Linux

  • Disaster recovery: superior capabilities in this category

  • Minimal track record of alternative OSes: UNIX was found to be thought superior in all of the above categories

  • TOC: for large workloads, UNIX is cheaper to manage

Even though Linux shipments are growing more rapidly than UNIX, among the 15 medium to large companies surveyed by Forrester that currently use UNIX plans are to continue for at least the next five years.

Introduction to IPS for Developers: Oracle Hands-on Lab
How to Set Up a Local IPS Depot Server; Add and Install a Simple Package
The Image Packaging System (IPS) in Solaris 11 Express is a framework that provides life cycle management for binary software installation. Introduction to IPS for developers another of the Oracle Hands-on Labs, shows students how to set up a local IPS depot server, add a simple package and install the package. Contents of the lab are as follows:

Lab exercises

  • Introduction to IPS
  • Setting up your own local repository
  • Package and submit a simple to application to a IPS repository
  • Integrating IPS to your build environment
  • [Converting your project from SVr4 pkgs to IPS|[EX5]

The expected total time to completion for all three exercises is one hour.

"Oracle Solaris 11 Express Best Practices: Updating Software"
Minimizing Risk in Managing Updates
"Oracle Solaris 11 Express Best Practices: Updating Software," an article by Ginny Henningsen, discusses how to perform software updates in Oracle Solaris 11 Express, focusing on best practices that minimize risk. The author includes a helpful table that illustrates the task and technology differences between Solaris OS 10 and Solaris 11 Express. Henningsen observes that, to update or install packages in Oracle Solaris 11 Express, users can assume an authorized role (for example, by issuing a pfexec or su root command) instead of explicitly logging in as root. Command examples in this article presume a privileged user (see “User Accounts, Roles, and Rights Profiles” in Getting Started With Oracle Solaris 11 Express.) The author concludes with the observation that "Oracle Solaris 11 Express uses the underlying functionality of ZFS to create a safe method of software updates. Just as Live Upgrade enabled safe upgrades in Oracle Solaris 10, BEs in Oracle Solaris 11 Express allow you to revert to a previous software state."
Revue of New Functionality in MySQL 5.6.2 Development Milestone Release
Taking Replication to a New Level
The replication functionality released as part of MySQL 5.6.2 Development Milestone Release include the following, as explained in this MySQL Blog:

  • Rock-solid data integrity: Crash-Safe Slaves and Replication Event Checksums

  • High performance: Multi-Threaded Slaves and Optimized Row Based Replication

  • Increased flexibility: Time-Delayed Replication, Multi-Source Replication and Informational Log Events

  • Enhanced ease-of-use: Remote Binary Log Backup and Server UUIDs

Each enhancement is explained in the blog, which makes them available for download.

Cloud Computing
Develop Your Roadmap for Cloud Computing
Webcast Series Shows the Way to Implementation
Beginning on May 5, 2011 and extending through May 26, 2011, a series of webcasts on cloud computing under the umbrella title "Develop Your Srategy and Roadmap for Cloud Computing" will be presented. The times, topics and speakers for each are as shown below:

  • May 5, 9:00 a.m. PT: Roadmap to Enterprise Cloud Computing with Rex Wang, VP, Product Marketing, Oracle Infrastructure and Management

  • May 12, 9:00 a.m. PT: Oracle Exalogic Elastic Cloud: Revolutionizing Data Center Consolidation with Alex Andrianopoulis, VP, Product Marketing, Oracle Fusion Middleware

  • May 19, 9:00 a.m. PT: Private Cloud Database Consolidation with Willie Hardie, VP, Product Marketing, Oracle Database

  • May 26, 9:00 a.m. PT: Planning a Cloud Implementation with Jim Baty, VP, Oracle Global Enterprise Architecture Program

Registration is required for this series.

Top Ten Articles for last few Issues
Vol 158 Issues 1, 2, 3 and 4; Vol 157 Issues 2, 3, 4 and 5
We track how frequently each article is viewed on the web site to determine which the readers consider the most important. For last week, the top 10 articles were:

  • Was It a Mistake for Oracle to Ignore the Commodity Hardware Market Sector
  • National Australia's Bank Builds Cloud Infrastructure on Oracle VM, Oracle Enterprise Linux
  • Implementing Fibre Channel SAN Boot with Oracle's Sun ZFS Storage Appliance
  • Consolidating Applications with Oracle Solaris Containers: Oracle White Paper
  • Sun Blade Servers Provide Foundation for Red Sky/Red Mesa Supercomputer
  • Reducing Costs Through Better Server Utilization
  • Oracle Releases Maintenance Update for Oracle VM VirtualBox 4.0.6
  • 3.4 Beta Ready
  • Notes from OReilly MySQL Conference
  • BMC Software Leverages SPARC Servers for Virtualization, Energy Efficiency

The longer version of this article has list of top ten articles for the last 8 weeks.

    Improving Oracle Database Performance by Adding Smart Flash Cache
    Paper Reports Impressive Results on Sun SPARC Enterprise Midrange Server
    In a paper released on the Oracle Technetwork and written by Roger Bitar, significant improvements in the performance of Oracle database were found when smart flash cache was added to the configuration. Testing was done with the iGEN-OLTP 1.6 benchmark formulated to simulate a lightweight Global Order System. Tests were run both with and without the smart flash cache, each time varying the size of the SGA buffer cache at 10%, 16%, and 20% the size of the database, Bitar reports.

    The results demonstrate that an intelligent database that knows how to efficiently take advantage of flash-based storage can experience significant improvements in performance. Specific findings are that, when the SGA buffer cache size in memory is equal to 10% of the total database size, the system can scale to support 43% more users and 29% greater TPM than on a Sun SPARC Enterprise M4000 server without Database Smart Flash Cache technology.

    This approach is markedly less costly than increasing the capacity of the SGA buffer cache size.

    Oracle Enterprise Manager 11g: Sterling Tool for Managing Exadata Database Machine
    Multiple Aspects of Management Made Possible with a Single Solution
    The Information Indepth Newsletter for March 2011, "Extreme Performance: Managing Oracle Exadata Database Machine with Oracle Enterprise Manager 11g," reports the views of Mughees Minhas, senior director of Oracle Product Management, that Oracle Enterprise Manager 11g can maximize Oracle Exadata performance and manageability at every phase of the lifecycle, including:

    • Deployment and provisioning
    • Infrastructure testing
    • Management and monitoring of multiple elements managed as one
    • Policy-based management and precautions against configuration drift
    • Maintenance made essentially automatic with My Oracle Support

    Register to view the webcast, "Managing Oracle Exadata Database Machine with Oracle Enterprise Manager 11g."

    Education and Research
    Community Colleges Turn to Oracle for Solutions in Dealing with Growing Enrollments, Budget Cuts
    Oracle PeopleSoft Product Line Widely Implemented
    Oracle cites the experiences of several community colleges that have adopted Oracle solutions as a means to deal with the demands of a growing influx of students with sophisticated demands in the face of budget cuts in their respective states. The schools are Lone Star College System, Kentucky Community and Technical College System, Seminole State College of Florida, and Houston Community College System, all of which have, at the very least, implemented at least one Oracle PeopleSoft solution and, variously, such solutions as Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition. “Oracle’s PeopleSoft Enterprise applications have made us a leaner, more efficient institution. We can better predict enrollments, enhance payroll accuracy and eliminate unnecessary paper waste, leading to $1.65 million in savings,” said William Carter, vice chancellor of information technology, Houston Community College System. Oracle asserts that its solutions are uniquely designed to meet the needs of modern institutions with Web-enabled capabilities – such as online class registration, electronic pay stubs, enrollment analytics and enhanced communication tools – that increase operational efficiency while minimizing costs.
    Brendan Gregg on vmstat
    Three Brief Videos on vmstat for Solaris
    Brendan Gregg presents three brief videos on vmstat, which deal with Key Fields (14:20); All the Fields (20.00); and Scope (6:48). Gregg says that the videos are for vmstat(1M) on Solaris-based operating systems, including Joyent’s SmartOS. For further details on vmstat Gregg refers readers to the source code behind vmstat and the metrics, and also the book "Solaris Performance and Tools," which includes a detailed explanation of the vmstat metrics and of the Operating System internals which they reflect, and shows how other tools including DTrace can provide further information.
    Oracle Technology Network (OTN) Sys Admin Day  Oracle Solaris
    San Diego, CA - Tuesday, May 17, 2011; 8am to 4pm

    Oracle Solaris SysAdmins have their moment in the sun on May 17, 2011, at the Hyatt Regency LaJolla in San Diego, CA when Oracle will focus on using ZFS; Oracle Solaris security; Oracle Solaris Service Management Facility; Oracle Solaris virtualization technologies; and Oracle Enterprise Manager Ops Center at the first OTN Sys Admin Day. The agenda includes a concluding hour during which Sys Admins are invited to share their pressing concerns with Oracle. Agenda includes:

    • Overview of Oracle Systems Software and Tools
    • Hands-On Labs: Oracle Solaris ZFS; Oracle Solaris Security; Oracle Solaris Virtualization
    • Oracle Enterprise Manager Ops Center Lecture
    • Discussion: Most Pressing Sys Admin Issues

    The event will close with a Raffle/

    Ultra-Fast Application Deployment with Oracle VM and Oracle Virtual Assembly Builder: Webcast
    Reduce Time and Errors in Virtualization Preliminaries
    There was an Oracle webcast on April 26, 2011 on how to "Achieve Ultra-Fast Application Deployment with Oracle VM and Oracle Virtual Assembly Builder." Adam Hawley, Senior Director, Product Management, Oracle and Arvind Jain, Product Strategy Director, Oracle explained how the combination of Oracle VM server virtualization and Oracle Virtual Assembly Builder helps enterprises significantly reduce the time-consuming and error-prone, preliminary task of installing, configuring, and deploying all operating system, database, middleware, and application software in virtual machines, as well as automate deployment of multi-tier software assemblies. This was a webcast for which registration was required.
    Java Technology
    Java Spotlight Episode 27: Sharat Chander on the JavaOne Call for Papers
    Guest Explains Content Review, Selection and Scheduling Process

    Java Spotlight Episode 27 features the remarks of Sharat Chander, who discusses the call for papers at JavaOne 2011. Chander, who is chairperson of the 2011 JavaOne Conference Program Committee, explains the content review, selection and scheduling process, along with providing directions on how to submit a proposal designed to meet the selection criteria of the Program Committee.

    Supported Platforms for JDK 7
    Windows, Linux, Solaris and Maybe, in Time, OS X
    When JDK 7 is released in GA, Oracle has tentative plans to support several platforms, which include Microsoft Windows on x86 and x86-64; Oracle, Red Hat, SuSE and Ubuntu Linux on x86 and x86-64; and Solaris on x86, x86-64, and SPARC. Oracle cautions that this may change by release time but those are the platforms currently slated for support. Collaboration is also underway with Apple on an OpenJDK port to OS X, Oracle announces, adding that its release will not happen until some time after JDK 7 GA. Henrik Stahl, from whose blog this information is taken, also provides details on numerous aspects of the JDK 7 release.
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