Monday, July 27, 2009

CP5 for released

Just wanted to let you know that Oracle has just released CP5 for You will find it on MetaLink as patch number 8354043. When compared to CP4, 28 bugs have been fixed.

So far this cumulative patch has been released for the following platforms:
  • Micrpsoft Windows 32-bit
  • Linux x86 (works for both 32 bit and 64 bit)
  • Sun Solaris SPARC (32-bit)
If you are upgrading to CP5 from any patch level other than CP4 then JDBC patch patch for bug 4398431(release needs to be installed before you apply CP5.

This patch needs to be applied to all Oracle Homes, i.e. Infrastructure home as well as all related midtier homes.


The following posting has been updated:

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Getting virtually there with Discoverer

With so many different versions of Discoverer and versions of the database it always difficult to know what tools and patches you need for everything to work together. One way to make this much easier is to use virtual machines to install the software.

The computer I use the most is my laptop running Windows Vista and using the VMWare workstation tool, I have Discoverer Administator, Desktop, Plus and Viewer all working together with the Oracle 11g database on the laptop. I haven't got Discoverer 11g working yet in a VM, but I will try the software in the VM environment before installing elsewhere. You need lots of memory (I have 4Gb) and don't expect stunning performance. But having all the tools installed together is invaluble for testing, evaluation and training.

One thing I really like with this approach is that you can snapshot the VMs at any point in time. Then if you make a mistake, for example, an installation does not work properly, then you can quickly revert the VM back its previous state.

There isn't enough time for a detailed instructions to install all the Discoverer tools but here are the basic steps you need to follow:

  1. Download and install VMWare workstation ( which you can get on a one month trial.
  2. Download the Oracle Enterprise Linux DVD from the e-delivery site ( Check which releaes you want as OEL release 5 does not work with some versions of Oracle 10gAS.
  3. Create a VM of type Red Hat Enterprise Linux. Give the VM the maxium recommended memory. Use a bridged network and specify the hostname and IP address. You can then add the hostname and IP address into the windows hosts file so that you will be able to access Discoverer running in the VM from the windows browser.
  4. Install the VM tools which is an addition Linux package supplied with the VM workstation.
  5. Add the ip address and hostname in the /etc/hosts file.
  6. There are some addition Linux packages (such as gcc and gcc-c++) need to be installed. These are listed in the database and application server installation manuals. All the packages are available in the OEL DVD.
  7. Some Linux kernal parameters have to be increased. Details of how to do this are in the 11g database installation guide. For an 10gAS installation you need shmmax = 4294967295 and msgmnb = 65536
  8. There are some other pre-installation tasks for the Oracle 11g in the installation manual. These are adding the oracle, dba and oper unix groups and changing the shell limits.
  9. Use VM Workstation to create a windows shared drive.
  10. Download Oracle 11g database (, unzip in the shared drive and run the installer to install Oracle 11g in the VM.
  11. Download the Discoverer software e.g. Business Intelligence ( for Linux CDs. Unzip into the shared drive and run the installer from the Linux command line. Download and install any patches you need.
  12. Download the Discoverer tools software for windows (Admin and Desktop) and install on Windows Vista.
  13. Create a new tablespace for Discoverer and create an End User Layer. You are now ready to start importing objects into the EUL and creating workbooks.

Another thing I like about this approach is that you can run Discoverer Plus and Viewer in the windows browser connecting to the application server and database in the Linux VM just as you would if the Linux was on a separate server. You can create many different VMs, each with different versions, different software tools etc and switch between them to try out different ideas.

I can post more detailed instructions if anyone is interested.

Oracle releases Discoverer 11g

Hi everyone
The long and eagerly awaited release of Discoverer 11g has just been announced by Oracle and it is available for download right now. This new version of Discoverer is now part of Oracle Fusion Middleware 11g.

Here is a (link) to the software download. Scroll down to the section entitled Portal, Forms, reports and Discoverer and click on the appropriate link(s) for your platform. The download is beigger than you have been used to.

Here is a (link) to the documentation download.

My good friend Abhinav, who runs the Oracle BI Blog and was the techincal editor for the Discoverer 10g Handbook, has more information available (link). Please pay close attention to Abhinav's comments regarding the order for installing the software.

My friend, Mark Rittman, who also runs a blog and wrote the OLAP chapter in the Discoverer 10g Handbook, has further information (link) including some screenshots.

Here are some important notes for you to consider:

  • Currently the software is only available for the Microsoft Windows and Unix x86 platforms. The other operating systems as well as the 64-bit versions will be available soon
  • The OC4J engine that we have all got used to has been dispensed with and replaced with the WebLogic Server, otherwise known as WLS. Get used to this acronym as it will soon become common place within the Discoverer environment
  • From 11g, Discoverer is still available as a stand-alone install but the install is done from a single interface. If you want to use the full-blown install there is now a single install instead of the two as there are with 10g.

I will be making more postings in the coming months as we all come up to speed on the new version.

One thing to note, as far as I know at this stage, is that once up and running the functionality of Discoverer 11g is virtually the same as the later versions of Discoverer 10g. I am not sure which cumulative patch it is equivalent to but as soon as I find out I will let you know.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Keeping it simple

There's a lot to be said for the KISS principle.

Very often I find that all a company wants is a simple report generated out of an easy to use query tool. Yet, all too often, somewhere along the way a salesrep for a competitive product has persuaded them that the simple to use end-user tool they have been using all these years is now old hat and needs to be replaced. Sound familiar?

Not so very long ago I was at a conference when I overheard a friend of mine speaking with the senior sales representative for one of Oracle's competitors. Unaware that I was within spitting distance the sales rep was heard to say "and I bet that English so and so is here somewhere!"

Because the simplest of situations amuse me immensely, "Good morning" is all I had to say and off he stalked. What had transpired is that one of my Discoverer customers had been approached by a competitor who had somehow picked up a vibe that Oracle would no longer be supporting their beloved query tool. After dispelling this idea my client decided to stay with Oracle and asked the other vendor to leave.

The truth of the matter is that my client really does have a very simple set of requirements revolving around variances of "tell me how many widgets I sold last month". They don't need a sledgehammer to crack that walnut and keeping it simple is something their report writers are very good at.