Tuesday, 4 December 2007

Oracle 11g on Oracle Linux

So here's the thing...

I decided to have a more detailed look at Oracle 11g. I like the Oracle relational databases, really I do. They are a mature, stable, scalable database which is feature rich. It can run on Linux, Unix, Windows and even a Mac if you want. However, my focus in this blog is the installation of the database on Linux. Oracle's own in fact...

So Oracle offer a "distro" of Linux. Sounds good as a concept, Oracle offering an OS on which you can install their database and all. However, if you are a newbie to Linux and/or Oracle you gonna need to set aside quite a bit of time for this. (By quite a bit, read: "a lot!")

Now my issue isn't so much the number of settings required during installation, it's a complex piece of software, nor the planning on how it should be or where it should be installed. All that is fine. I understand that. It's just that the actual act of installing Oracle 11g on Oracle Linux should be, well, seamless should it not?

I'm sorry, the fact that I installed Oracle linux with practically all package options selected (didn't select the KDE development ones) yet still didn't get the "oracleasm" packages installed mystifies me. The fact that I didn't get prompted with a question asking "are you intending to use this installation as a platform for another Oracle product" and then providing me with a list, is a little concerning. Some way of being able to configure the installation of the OS based on what I want to do later with other Oracle products seems somewhat natural, yet it is lacking. But what really sends me down a rabbit hole of despair, is the fact that of the 3 "oracleasm" packages required for using Automated Storage Management, one of them is not included in any of the 5 disks of Oracle Enterprise 5 ISO images.

I cannot help but wonder if I am just being picky. It's just that it seems natural to me to include all requirements for a successful installation in the installation software. In order to use ASM I need to have already installed the ASM libraries, yet to do that I need to go to OTN and download the missing package. To make matters worse, the package seems to have been released a long time ago yet the ISO images for Oracle Linux Enterprise 5 have not been updated to include them.

Then, to top it all off, once you actually get the dang thing installed, (i.e. the OS and 11g) there are no installations of start up scripts or anything. Nope. Nada, bupkiss, didley-squat! You want Oracle 11g to start up automatically you darn well get to write them yourself or find someone else's on the web and use that. As it happens, using someone else's is probably natural seeing as by the time you've actually managed to install the software you are probably on to your 2nd or 3rd blog, the writers of which have probably included theirs.

Add to this that if you are using ASM without RAC, you need to include the marking of your RAW disks for oracle ASM in your start up scripts in order to get the ASM service to know about else the Oracle database won't start. (Maybe this is meant to be included in a config file somewhere but I couldn't find any documentation on that. Some blogs talk about using "rawdevices" but that has been deprecated now.)

The long and short of all of this is that I can fully understand now, why someone would install Microsoft SQL Server for a demo etc. You could have Windows installed, the SQL Server software installed and configured and the demo built whilst you are still faffing about trying to get everything you need for the Oracle installation.

What a shame... In my opinion, for what its worth, the Oracle RDBMS is far better and complete in its offering than SQL Server. I guess I mean it is more mature. But lets face it, money talks, and if at a fraction of the price you can have a database and have it installed dancing on one leg whistling Dixie in the fraction of the time of something else, why wouldn't you?

Links I used:
  1. Install Oracle 11g for RAC
  2. Create RAW devices using LVM

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