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10 Oracle 12c Installation Do’s

Here are ten things you shouldn’t overlook when installing Oracle 12c. Getting off to a good start with a solid, proper installation is key to success. By recognizing the common pitfalls up front, you experience less heartache and pain later on.

Know the Documentation

Every OS that runs Oracle has a corresponding documentation set. This documentation covers installation prerequisites such as operating system packages, kernel parameters, network configuration, and more.

Here’s the quickest way to get to the Oracle documentation:

  1. Go to Oracle.

  2. Select the version you’re interested in.

    You see all the product offerings here, including the database. At this point, we’re focused on the database, so find the appropriate section.

  3. When you enter the 12c documentation set, click the Installing and Upgrading link to go to a subset of the documentation that focuses on installation and upgrade topics.

    You can also click the + on the left side of the screen to get a list of more links for installing and upgrading.

  4. Click the OS of your choice to enter the OS-specific installation guide.

Observe the Optimal Flexible Architecture

The Optimal Flexible Architecture (OFA) is an Oracle guideline that lays out how software and databases should be installed on a system. The OFA has these main purposes:

  • Find Oracle files in explicit locations, even when on multiple devices.

  • Set up a software tree that allows easy patching and upgrades.

  • Mirror Oracle installations across all environments so they’re the same or similar.

  • Keep separate Oracle files and installation types.

  • Facilitate routine management tasks.

  • Facilitate backup and recovery.

  • Manage and administer growth.

  • Facilitate layout for best performance.

Configure Your Profile

The profile applies more to UNIX-type environments. However, by learning the key elements needed inside the profile, you can also see that they may apply to Windows.

The profile is the program (for lack of a better word) that runs every time you log in to your operating system. It is typically found in your home directory. Depending on the shell you use, it might be named any of the following ways:

  • .profile

  • .kshrc

  • .bash_profile

By configuring this script, you can take better advantage of the operating environment and your Oracle software. Different types of users also may have different profiles. Furthermore, you may have multiple profiles depending on what you will do when you log in.

The profile sets up variables, execution paths, permissions, and sometimes limits in your session. The Oracle documentation recommends specific settings for your environment. Some are OS specific; others apply to almost all Oracle installations.

Definitely include these elements in your profile:

  • Oracle base variable

  • Oracle home variable

  • Path variable

  • Default file-permission settings

  • Aliases

  • Library variables

Without a properly configured profile, you have to change these every time you log in to the system.

Write Your Own Documentation

Although plenty of documentation is available for you on the Internet and from Oracle itself, none of it is going to apply specifically to your installation. Every system has its little ins and outs and configuration customizations that differ slightly from what’s out there.

Even if you follow the Oracle documentation to the letter, wading through it to install the software a second time (say, on another machine) is sometimes tedious.

Call your documentation what you want:

  • Playbook

  • Cookbook

  • Cheatsheet

Creating a document with all the concise steps needed for your installation (and patching, database creations, and backup strategies) and keeping it in a shared, accessible location will help all future activities be more consistent, efficient, and mistake free.

Set umask

If you read and follow the Oracle documentation, setting the umask parameter should not be a problem. Linux/UNIX environments have an umask setting.

Become Oracle

On a production system, the Oracle database software should be installed by a user specifically created for the task. This user is typically named oracle. Imagine that. This is the setup that you find in most systems as well as training materials and documentation.

Naming the user oracle avoids this scenario: The Oracle software is installed as another named user or by a user associated with a different software package. You don’t want John Smith installing the Oracle software stack under his own ID. He may leave the company someday, leaving you with a problem.

Stage It

If you download the software from the Oracle website, you don’t need it on DVD for installation. It is recommended to keep a hard copy somewhere for recovery reasons, but that’s about it.

Patch It

If you’re licensed for Oracle — and you should be — log in to the Oracle Support website and search for the most recent patchsets to apply to your database.

  1. Go to the Oracle Support website.

  2. Enter your login ID.

    If you don’t have one, click the Register button and follow those instructions.

  3. Enter your customer support identifier (CSI).

    You get this when you purchase support from an Oracle sales representative.

    When you log in, you see tabs across the top of the page.

  4. Click the Patches and Updates tab.

  5. Click Product or Family.

  6. Enter the following information:

    • Your product (RDBMS Server)

    • Your release

    • Your OS

    • On the left, options to customize your search

Mind the User and Group IDs

This bit of advice pertains more to Linux/UNIX operating systems. When a group or user is created on Linux/UNIX, that group or user is assigned a user ID number. All file ownership and permissions are based on this number. By default, the OS chooses the first available number.

Back It Up

You finally configured your OS, set up all the Oracle users and groups, configured your profile, staged the software (and its patches), installed Oracle, patched Oracle, and created your first database.

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