Category Archives: certification

Oracle Certification Portal

On the certification portal, http://certview.oracle.com you can now view your certification. This replace the original Sun Certmanager (used to be certmanager.net/sun) and it provides you an interface to publish your information to third parties.

Both Sun and Oracle Certifications are visible.

If you publish your information, your recipient will receive a link that will show your credentials :

Credentials

Credential Title Certification Date
Oracle Database 11g Administrator Certified Master 19-SEP-12
Oracle Database SQL Certified Expert 19-JUL-07
Certified Expert Oracle Database 10g Real Application Clusters Administrator 27-JUN-07
Oracle Application Server 10g Administrator Certified Associate 28-APR-06
Oracle Database 10g Administrator Certified Professional 14-SEP-05
Oracle9i Database Administrator Certified Master 05-FEB-04
Oracle9i Database Administrator Certified Professional 18-FEB-03
Oracle8i Database Administrator Certified Professional 19-DEC-02
Sun Certified Network Administrator for Solaris 8 08-AUG-02
Oracle8 Database Administrator Certified Professional 17-JAN-02
Sun Certified System Administrator for Solaris 2.6 22-MAY-00

OCM 11g upgrade

Last Friday I went to Munich for THE upgrade exam. I have a few recommendations based on my preparation.

DISCLAIMER: no recommendation is based on the exam

Check you have a similar environment. You will get 11gR1 database and 10g entreprise manager. Personnaly I did my preparation on 11gR2 and 11g/12c em, I did not find useful to prepare on some oldish version. You should have some Linux / Unix around. It does not really matter if you use AIX, HPUX, Solaris or Linux.

I bought myself a keyboard with German Layout (the one with ß, Ä and Ö) to gain speed

Read each topic carefully and get proficiency:
- Database:
I know the meaning of the initialisation parameters. In need, I can quickly check one in the Reference
I am familiar with the sql syntax and have read the SQL Reference more than once

- Network configuration :
I know how to configure sqlnet.ora, tnsnames.ora and listener.ora without looking at the documentation.
I have carefully tested all possible parameters in Net Service Guide

- ADR :
I know how to set up the ADR location in the database and network.
I know how to use the command line utility, documented in utilities -> adrci

- RMAN :
I know how to configure RMAN with the configure statement. I am efficient in doing backups and restores
I have read the RMAN Reference carefully.

- Dataguard :
I am confident with the dgmgrl utility and with oem to configure and monitor dataguard.
I have read the Dataguard Broker Guide

- Materialized view
I have read and tested the examples in the Datawarehouse Guide -> Materialized views

- Secure Lob
I have played with lobs as basicfile and securefiles to check the differences and new features. I have read the secure files guide

- Streams
Streams is a very complex product. I have attended last year a five days course in Paris to only realise it is utterly tricky to maintain and debug, it case of errors.
I know where to look at if the capture, propagation or apply fail. Mostly in alert log, but also in the DBA views. I know how to restart the different processes. I am confident with both the OEM and PL/SQL Packages DBMS_STREAMS_*.
I have read the Streams Concept and Streams Replication Administration

- Resource manager
I know both the GUI and command line. I have read Admin guide -> Resource Manager

- Advisors and baselines
A very valuable resource to read is the 2 Days Perf Guide. It may sound strange to prepare an OCM exam with a 2-Days guide, but it is an awesome lecture.
To get deeper and learn the API usage, read Performance Tuning -> Optimizing SQL Statements

- Replay a capture workload
I learnt both the PL/SQL and EM usage in the Real Application Testing User Guide

Almost all the other topics are self explanatory and almost trivial once you know the syntax by heart…

I spent over one year preparing this exam and if you browse my recent posts, you will find detailled example that somehow relate to miscellaneous findings
Check mount option in linux
Transport tablespace over db links
Fast start failover
On star transformation
my first ADR package

For those of my readers who are on this way, good luck!

PS: no, I do not know the result yet…

OCE Solaris Network Admin

I read Paul Sorensen blog : Sun certifications will be renamed next week.

For instance the Sun Certified Network Administrator will be Oracle Certified Expert, Oracle Solaris 10 Network Administrator.

But to get the OCE Solaris title, you need to upgrade your certification [...] to receive an Oracle certification title (check more details on the Oracle Certification website here).

I never upgraded my Sun credentials, I am a Solaris 2.6 system admin and Solaris 7 network admin, but this equivalency with OCE surprised me.

There are even two OCM Java certifications : Oracle Certified Master, Java EE 5 Enterprise Architect, originally Sun Certified Enterprise Architect (SCEA) and Oracle Certified Master, Java SE6 Developer, originally Sun Certified Java Developer (SCJD)

Also, since a few months, there is an upgrade to the 9i OCM DBA certification : 11g OCM Upgrade. I hope I can do this one :)

one more OCE certification

I have passed my Oracle 9i Certified Master exam in 2004. Since then the 10g exam has been in preparation.

Well, according to dba10gocm_upgrade the OCM Upgrade exam content has not been finalized.

There is also an OCM Member restricted website. In case you have the password, you can read :
More Great Benefits Coming Soon . . .

Soon=Forever+a few centuries?

According to Paul answer to my comment on his blog : we are developing a one-day upgrade exam for 10g OCM to 11g OCM and will include a streamlined path for 9i OCM to 11g OCM

Ok, I am a bit pessimistic about the future of OCM. As OCM Gregory Guillou posted on my previous blog post :
It doesn’t really make any sense to have an upgrade exam for the what ? 50 9i OCM ?

Since about last year there is a way more succesful exam suite. The Oracle Certified Expert. I did myself pass the rac and sql ones.

Ok, the news :
There is a new Oracle Certified Expert exam which is called : Oracle Database 11g Performance Tuning Certified Expert

The exam is in Beta now, good luck to you!

certification blog

I just notice a new blog on blogs.oracle.com :
Oracle Certification Blog

This is probably the right place to ask questions or get news about certification.

Out of the many questions I may ask here are just a few I am preparing.

- When will the OCM upgrade for 9i OCM be available ?
- When will be the 9i exams retired ?
- ocm upgrade : 10g upgrade has not been finalized yet. Why ?
- What is the expected date for 11g OCM ?

Ok, I have add this blog to my feed and will start posting comments soon …

11g certification

The 11g OCP certification should be available this year. You can register for the production exam 1Z0-050 New Features on Prometrics and pass the exam on Mon Feb 18th or later, the OCA exams 1Z1-051 SQL Fundamentals and 1Z1-052 Admin I are in beta and the OCP exam 1Z1-053 Admin II is planned for early 2008 (well, the OCA exams are planned for late 2007, so do not rely on this timeframe).
Check the official page :
Oracle Education 11g certification

The 11g OCM is planned for a later date (whatever that means). Well, I am no longer going to wait for the 10g OCM upgrade for 9i OCM… I am not going to do a certification for an older release since 11g exams are available. I will rather do the 11g ocp this year. As I wrote earlier, the 10g OCM was planned for late 2004…

get certified at openworld

On Sunday you can assist to the 11g exam cram from 9am to 5pm. It may be too late to register, I tried anyway :
11g db Exam Cram

Then you may want to get your OCP credentials for a discount price.
on-site testing

The Oracle Database 11g New Features for Administrators exam will be available in beta version during the conference. Beta exams are not available at Oracle OpenWorld 2007.

If I read this correctly, it means 11g New Features is available during the conference but not at the conference :shock:

Please send me free OCP questions…

Dear Friends,

Planning to appear for Oracle DB 10g: Administration I exam, Would be very grateful if you send across braindumps/questions/tips related to that.

Pl mail to this id : ***@yahoo.com

Many Thanks,
***


When I appeared to my first multiple choice question exam by Prometrics back in 1997, there were no brain dumps, no free question except the 10 sample questions on the vendor site, and no book. I missed Sun JDK 1.0.2 exam because of the many questions related to java.media.Player and other classes totally unknown to me.

In 2000, I did OCP 8.0 and 8i. That was 5 exams. One of the exam was called Oracle 8.0 Network. I had and I still have never used connection pooling, Oracle Names, Oracle Connection Manager.
So I bought a book to prepare for the certification :


Oracle8 DBA Network Administration Exam Cram

Guess what, I mastered that exam. Those books are fairly useless, you do not really learn something, but you learn questions by heart and passing an exam on a topic you do not know is dramatically easy.

About brain dumps, I recommend you the following lecture


NO BRAINDUMPS
CertGuard’s definition of a Braindump

On the Internet, there are hundreds of vendors that sell exam questions. Oracle itself has a kind of partnership with SelfTestSoftware. SelfTestSoftware is an official vendor of test simulators. Well, why paying 99$ for a test? A new trend is to post on the official Oracle Technical Network Certification Forum your email address and beg for free questions. I have alerted ocpfraud_ww@oracle.com about this behaviour.

Is OCM better? Well, at least you must know how to use your fingers to type quickly. I received not less than 50 emails from people asking for the content of the exam.

I passed the OCM in early 2004. Later in 2004, former Oracle Certification Principal Jim DiIanni revealed the content of the Practicum in Oracle Magazine :shock:

Recently I did the Oracle Certification Experts beta exams for RAC and SQL. Those exams are also multiple choice tests and could also be a market for illegal certification sites.

If you want to pass the 11g New Features exam, you could also attend to a new feature course.
In OpenWorld next week there are also some mini-lessons from Oracle University like :
Oracle Database 11g: Can I Do That? Introducing 11g SQL and PL/SQL Enhancements
Oracle Ace Lutz Hartmann is giving 11g courses in Switzerland : http://sysdba.ch/aktuell.php

SQL Expert?

I have attended the sql certified expert beta exam this morning. There were a lot of errors in it, I added in the comment that they have to groundly review their regular expressions questions. There were a lot of rubbish question, but hardly any challenge, it is more like detecting the incorrect syntax. So I am deceived. I have to wait 3 months for the result, but I expect no more than 90% 8-)

They even have an exhibit with a table containing many columns with the same name (!)

Well, I hope they will improve with the comments I made when the production release will come out.

The time to answer the question is sufficient. I had only 139 questions in 3 hours, and I needed only 2 hours actually with plenty of time to review.

RAC exam

I have attend the RAC beta exam this afternoon. 181 questions in 3.5 hours, it is a lot of questions! I prepared by reading the 2-day dba RAC document. There are also some questions about Maximum Availability Architecture (MAA) with physical and logical standby. Also some question which are Linux speci

I have been short on time, the question were very long to read, and 181 questions in 210 minutes, I did not have the time to review all.

Now I must wait about 10 weeks to get the result, but I am quite optimistic 8-)

Oracle Certification

I have been waiting for three years for the OCM 10g upgrade certification. Still waiting…
OCM DBA 10g Upgrade

Gavin just posted about the Oracle Expert Program

The beta phase has started for 1Z1-046 Managing Oracle on Linux for DBAs and 1Z1-048 Administering Real Application Clusters. Those exams will lead to Linux and RAC Certified Expert certifications.

Beta exam 1Z1-312 Oracle Application Server 10g: Administration II has not started yet. This exam will lead to Oracle Application Server OCP certification.

I have never taken a beta exam. They are quite long (3.5 hours), and you have to wait a few months to get your score. Since the OCM DBA 10g has not been released, I may well go for the RAC Expert exam if I have the time in June.

References :
Oracle Certification Program Beta Exams
Expert Program Page

OCM preparation

The OCM 10g Upgrade is currently under development, and the OCM 10g exam should be available in May.

How will I prepare for the 10g OCM?

  • Part I, get confident with the environment :
    According to http://education.oracle.com/certification, the exam will be on redhat AS3 with DB 10.1.0.4. RHAS3 is not free. If I had not RH in my company, I would then probably use WhiteBox Linux or a similar RedHat clone to get an environment as close as possible to the lab. It seems very important to me is to get the same terminals (Gnome) and the same Browser (Mozilla 1.6).

    I am trained to customized my environment within seconds. For example, I like to have a bookmark for 10G Book List, one for the Reference, one for SQL Reference, one for PL/SQL Packages Ref and one for RMAN Reference. So within one click, I can reach the appropriate book. I also like to shortcut most of my commands… I like to type pmon instead of ps -ef |grep ora_pmon and so I defined some aliases. I am able to define those below plus a few more obscure ones in less than one minute.

    
    alias abort='echo shutdown abort|sqlplus -L -s / as sysdba'
    alias alert='vi $ORACLE_HOME/admin/$ORACLE_SID/bdump/alert_$ORACLE_SID.log'
    alias nomount='echo startup nomount quiet|sqlplus -L -s / as sysdba'
    alias ora='cd $ORACLE_HOME'
    alias pmon='ps -ef | grep [p]mon'
    alias startup='echo startup quiet|sqlplus -L -s / as sysdba'
    alias sysdba='sqlplus -L / as sysdba'
    alias tns='cd $ORACLE_HOME/network/admin'
    

    I have read man vi until my eyes hurt. I have trained using GNOME keyboard shortcuts until my finger skin burnt.

    I have shortcut to set my oracle homes, and I am proficient with Unix commands.

    With the few commands I defined, I am able to do most maintenance tasks and to call the oracle binaries like sqlplus faster than Lucky Luke.

    I have read the SQL reference manual, the reference manual, and the RMAN reference manual.
    I can type in less than two minutes the complete syntax for creating a database. I am familiar with the most commonly used character sets. I can create tablespaces, add and remove files (well, removing logfile and tempfiles only in 10gR1).

    I have a bulletproof backup and recovery strategy. I know how to check critical ORA- message in the alert log, I can identify the missing files / directories on disk, I can recover from any error.

    I know -almost- every listener.ora, sqlnet.ora (except the security related ones), and tnsnames.ora. I can create sqlnet.ora, listener.ora, tnsnames.ora, start and stop my listener within one minute.

  • Part II, read the specification
    I print the documentation and I make sure I have understood the objectives. I try every scenario. In order to save time during the preparation, I am using scripts, so that I can generate a few databases quickly. For each scenario, I am generating errors. If you train with a collegue, try to generate the most surprising database corruption for your collegue at each scenario ;-)

    There is a RAC scenario. I have received an Egenera blade to test Oracle Real Application Cluster, with up to 8 nodes. I documented in a previous post the steps I followed to install RAC on my notebook before receiving the Egenera hardware : Suse10 10gR2 Laptop Rac.

    … invest enough time … do not schedule it too early … search for articles in Oracle magazine

  • Part III, relax
    It is a nice challenge. Do sleep enough before the exam. Book a quiet hotel at least one day before. Do not work on the day before. Just rest.

  • Oracle Application Server

    One month ago, I attended an Oracle Application Server course in Geneva, Switzerland. We were a group of 3 students and the 5-days lesson has been extremly interesting and intense. Starting at 9am, we used to finish at 5:30pm or later.

    At LC Systems, we have a few customers using OAS, that is why I did jump into this non-database product cursus.

    As I experienced in the course, it is quite different from Oracle Database. Technically speaking, you do not need much database know-how to administer an application server.

    There are basically two parts. One is the Infrastructure. It contains a Directory Server (LDAP) which is stored physically on a database. As for the Grid Control, you can just click Next->Next->Next->Install to have it up and running (if you are lucky). You do not specify the size of the memory, the location of the files, the logging mode, nothing. Just the database passwords.

    The second part is called the Middle Tier. It contains a J2EE engine. There you can “hotplug” your application : portal, forms, reports, discoverer…

    The consistency, availability, backup strategy are not as clearly defined as in the db world I know. In the “online backup” mode, you should just hope that nothing is going to modify the xml configuration files at the time you edit them. If your file system is getting full of logs, it can well happen that your config file get truncated. If you think you are not modifying anything during the backup, it could well be Oracle itself that updates the xml files. What did also sound dubious to me is the point in time recovery. It sounds like : “Well, I will try to recover until time your repository with rman, and if I found your backup sets on the disk, it may work. If the config changed since that time, well, this is probably not the best thing to try…”

    The security concept made me hurl more than one time. For example Portal. There is a superuser called PORTAL in the Oracle Internet Directory (OID). To my surprise, you can see his database password in clear text in the OID. This user has, no joke, DBA role in the database. You can “revoke” the DBA role from PORTAL in the Application Server Console, but, believe me, it does not revoke the DBA at the db level. The mod_plsql enables you to encrypt passwords in files. This is a 2-ways encryption, I doubt the algorythm is very strong. The concept rather rely on “No one should ever log-in neither on the application server (with telnet) nor on the repository database (with sqlplus).

    This morning I passed my 1Z0-311 exam with success (0 error).

    OCP Column

    There is a new INSIDE OCP column in the Oracle Magazine this month (May-June 2006 Edition).

    It is about the Application Server exam. In the magazine, it is referenced as 1Z1-311, but the beta phase ended half a year ago, so the exam is now production 1Z0-311. I could guess most answers, and I hope I can succeed at first try, which is no sure thing. Anyway, I will try it next Friday at Oracle University in Baden/Zurich.

    OCM 10g

    The 10g OCM practicum, expected for 2004, is now officially launched.

    Oracle Database 10g Certified Master Exam

    Well, depending on your country, you will get a
    ORA-06502: PL/SQL: numeric or value error: invalid LOB locator specified: ORA-22275. In this case, just change your country to United States. Then you will see the details.

    If you want to register, you probably need to wait a little bit more :

    A public event is not currently available for this offering. To express your interest in a future publicly scheduled event, or, if you would like Oracle University to contact you regarding other options, please Not finding the course or date that you’re looking for? Let us know!

    In addition to 10g New features like bigfile tablespaces, ASM, Flashback DB and Datapump, the 10g OCM includes RAC, logical standby, Grid Control and Performance Tuning assistants. Quite promising…

    The 10g OCM upgrade is currently in developement. But I do not expect it to be available in my country or neighbour country in 2006.

    Details regarding the 10g DBA OCM requirements will be available in December

    Well, when 10g certification came out, it said : “will be available in late 2004″. In March 2005, I contacted Oracle University in Germany. They said : keep watching oracle.com/education. Later, it said : “will be available in mid 2005″.
    In Open World, I met the certification principal, who meant it will start in December and upgrade from 9i ocm will start in January and will be available in all oracle universities which give RAC course. Fine.
    When I came back I saw: “will be available in October”. Today I saw: “will be available in December”.

    Such a move like OCM is very intense, I want to plan at least 2-3 weeks full time to prepare for OCM. I need to go to my boss and say : “this year I will go for 10g ocm”. But what a pity if the certification is always delayed… planned for 2004, no info why it did not take place in 2005, I also fair that there is no guarantee for 2006 in switzerland, as they will surely start in the United States – but do not ask why…

    Keep cool, be patient ;-)

    10g OCP

    I just passed the OCP 10g new features exam this morning. The prometrics server was down at the beginning, after half an hour, I tried to logon but it was complaining the display support only 0 colors (well, how does a display with 0 color looks like?)

    After the support team there changed the resolution from 32bits to 256 colors, it worked.

    I did answer correctly to 51 questions