Oracle Observations

March 1, 2007

First Oracle tip!

Filed under: Oracle Names — bigdaveroberts @ 1:34 pm

Oracle Names was one of those products which never met its promise, I suspect largely because of a lack of a ‘point one’ release.

I have no experience of the first release of Oracle Names, but I was surprised by the substantive change in the product between releases 2 and 3. (The versions that came with Oracle 7.3 and the version that came with Oracle8.1.7).

This first entry on Oracle names will cover general names advice, with troubleshooting and upgrading being covered later.

 1) You should not be considering rolling out new installations of Oracle Names! The product has been superseded by Oracles implementation of LDAP.

2) The commands for registering and unregistering nodes are very syntactically intolerant. It is very easy by mistyping a single character in a command to produce significant dilatory effects.

Specifically there must be a space between -t and the following argument, and the -d and the following argument, and the arguments can contain no spaces. Also no new lines are allowed!


register testdb -t database -d (DESCRIPTION=(ADDRESS=(PROTOCOL=TCP)(HOST=testsvr)(PORT=1521))(CONNECT_DATA=(SID=TESTDB)))

Additionally, the unregister command is case-sensitive. If the description is not identical (including case) to the description used to register the database, the unregister command will fail:


unregister testdb -t database -d (DESCRIPTION=(ADDRESS=(PROTOCOL=TCP)(HOST=testsvr)(PORT=1521))(CONNECT_DATA=(SID=TESTDB)))

The address used to register the database with the -d parameter is the same as the data that would have been used to set up a database in the tnsnames.ora file, except for the fact that the whole entry must be on one line and contain no spaces.

3) When an oracle client contacts a names server, that data returned can be from 1 of 4 places.

1 In the names executable memory
2 From another names server on another machine.
3 From a cached file in the $ORACLE_HOME/network/names directory
4 From the database (the main repository for names data)

When incorrect data is returned, the data is wrong in 1 or more of the above locations!

4) While I know of no method of checking what the names server has in its process space, it is possible to check what is in the cache and the database.

To find out what is stored in the cache file go to the names directory and grep for the database name.


$ cd $ORACLE_HOME/network/names
$ grep -i testdb *.ora

To find out what is stored in the database, connect to the database and perform the following query:

1 select * from onrs_region
  2 where upper( name_p ) like ‘%TESTDB%’
  3* and ZD_VALUE1_P is not null
SQL > /



It can be seen in the above example that the information in both locations (database and cache) are similar.

5) I believe that if the database and cache were wrong, it would still be possible that the names server could be returning data from another names server. I.e. even though 2 servers are defined at the client end, and the names client will transparently contact the second names server if the first server doesn’t respond, there are also mechanisms in names where the names server on machine B with transparently contact the names server on machine A to resolve a TNS name, in this case the database and cache could both be wrong, while the correct data could be returned to the client!

If you suspect that the incorrect data is being passed to the names server from another names server, then you should configure your own sqlnet.ora file to use oracle names name resolution, and you should list only one names server at a time and verify what is being returned by using tnsping to connect to the database.


  (ADDRESS = (COMMUNITY = = TCP)(Host = onamessvr)(Port = 1527))


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