Oracle 11g – First Impressions


The official launch is at hand. In less than 3 weeks Oracle 11g will be presented at the world during a, probably, great launch event in New York. AMIS entered the beta test program in the end of Juli, early August 2006. It was the first time we participated in beta testing and I think, we are honored (to test the software in advance) and lucky now to share our thoughts. So living towards the event, lets share some first impressions I got during those first encounters with the new database software.

When I installed for the first time the beta software, it was like unwrapping a new present. I like presents (who doesn’t). AMIS will do a lot unwrapping, after the 11g launch, but let’s tell you what my first impressions were (based, for now, on the current Windows version, to make it more visual). Be aware, the following is based on a beta release and a lot can still change or repackaged, when officially launched and delivered at your doorstep.

Oracle 11gR1 Directory Structure

The new and the old

After installation of the Oracle Database Windows software, some small items are immediately noticeable.

One of my favorites is gone: the sqlplusW.exe executable. I shouldn’t have been surprised, because this was announced a long time ago, now it finely was excluded from the trench lines included its web variant: iSQLPlus. Some of you will see this as a great step forward. I will dearly miss my companion on Windows, because the Windows command shell is not one of my favorite shells, so I will have to find an alternative (or maybe execute it from within Cygwin).

Don’t be afraid, the actual sqlplus.exe is still packaged with the software. I worked with Oracle on Windows since Windows NT 3.0. So after a long line of changing from sqldba.exe to svrmgrl.exe to sqlplus.exe; now the sqlplus.exe executable is here to stay. There are still some little differences between Windows and other operating systems, regarding naming and utiltities, but these becoming the exception to the rule, which makes, for instance, describing what you are doing and writing documentation more general and more applicable to more operating systems.

What came in it’s place?

SQL*Developer. As said, a lot of you, will now stand-up and cheer, especially because it becomes a very interesting and powerful tool to do your database and programming work. After installation on Windows a new directory is added (C:\Oracle\product\11.1.0\db_1\sqldeveloper) where SQL*Developer and it’s supporting packaging reside.

What’s also immediately noticeable? APEX !

From 11g and probably onwards, APEX has claimed its own place / directory (C:\Oracle\product\11.1.0\db_1\apex) and will be installed when you install the database software. I guess I don’t have to mention much about APEX, it is already here for a while, and it is a great environment to setup small web applications and more (who knows how mature this software environment will become in the future!).

Fault Diagnosabilty Infrastructure (FDI)

In the software directory structure, a small directory called “diag” is created (and easily overlooked) which is the first sign of big steps regarding manageability of, among others, diagnosing and tracing database and client events. The original bdump, udump and cdump structures, being dedicated for tracing and alert have been replaced (the first steps are now at hand) by the new Fault Diagnosabilty Infrastructure.


All information about diagnose information, alerting and tracing and more, will now reside in one place. This has a lot of advantages regarding manageability of all this kind of information for all databases on one node. It is the first step to the new diagnosable infrastructure and one of the consequences is that a lot of information is not presented in plain text, but now shown in XML format.

New tooling

One of the new tool introduced in 11g is the ADRCI tool that can present you the XML information in the diag directory structure, in the old known format or, for example, grep on things like “ORA-“ from the log.xml (new alert.log replacement). It has also fun stuff like –tail parameter where the tool shows the same behavior like the “tail –f” on Linux or UNIX (and we are still talking Windows environment here!).  So when I was talking about annoying old Windows command shell behavior, here the new software gives us a hand with Linux, UNIX common solutions. Maybe after a while I don’t have to use alternatives like Cygwin or the sourceforge utility set on Windows, which you can find by the way at, because there will be an option, in this case, with the Oracle software embedded alternative (like the ADRCI tool example already shows).


The old alert and trace files are not completely replaced by this new infrastructure and can still be found. Most of them reside now in the directory O:\diag\rdbms\beta4\beta4\trace. My example Windows database has the ORACLE_SID “beta4”. This is reflected in the directory diag structure by recursively “rdbms”,  database name “beta4”, database SID “beta4” and then a “trace” directory.

Using the Database Configuration Assistant

Regarding new Oracle software, my first steps always start with using the dbca utility, aka the Database Configuration Assistant tool, to create an out of the box demo environment. If I have time, that is, if I take the time, I will use the Database Configuration Assistant for creating a demo environment based on scripting (the “custom database” option). So I will avoid the RMAN restore actions and it will give me database scripting which I can explore. By doing this, it will give me a first impression of; what’s new, what’s changed, etc.… The downside is, because I almost always use my laptop for such an exercise, or a small virtual machine environment, that It will take more time to create the database (its build from scratch), because my laptop isn’t as powerful as a server environment (at least mine isn’t). 

More security aware

Most of the starting screens are the same as you and I are used to. Some are not. One of these screens announces the more tightened security policies and possibilities under Oracle 11g. A screen is presented with the new “Enhanced default 11g Security” settings or “Revert to the pre-11g default Security” settings. Among others, you enable here, when choosing the default 11g Security option, auditing and using a new default password profile. 


More options

The Database Configuration Assistant Database options screen shows options for “Oracle Database Vault” and “Oracle Database Options for .Net”. The Standard Database Components screen enables you now to install APEX via the Database Configuration Assistant.


It now also has an option to customize XMLDB features, in this case to enable or disable the Protocol Server and set the desired ports for HTTP(s) and WebDAV or FTP(s). Knowing how many times these kinds of questions are asked on the OTN XMLDB forum, this is a welcome addition for a lot of people, and probably also simple to implement because this it is nowadays very easy to enable or disable the Protocol Server via the dbms_xdb package. But then again, isn’t it always easy, if you know how…

New features

The next Initialization panel show one of the other new features: Automatic Memory Management. This is already discussed a little bit on the internet and if possible I will discuss this in a later post. Under the “All Initialization Parameters” button you are able to see (under “show advanced”) that on my desktop these settings are influenced by MEMORY_MAX_TARGET and MEMORY_TARGET initialization parameters. SGA and PGA can now be controlled as one, by Oracle (the next step after the introduction of SGA_TARGET and SGA_MAX_SIZE).


After setting the parameters according to you wishes, as you are used, the next screen will show you a summery and after that gives you the option to create the database (et all: APEX, XMLDB, etc) and or create scripts.


This will now give a glance at the database create scripts generated in the default %ORACLE_BASE%\admin\%ORACLE_SID%\scripts directory (Linux/Unix notations would have been $ORACLE_BASE\admin\$ORACLE_SID\scripts).

Examining the scripting will give you an awful lot of new information of how things have been changed or how new features are implemented.

This concludes this first post. Of course there is still a lot to explain, but there are to many things that have been improved, changed, discarded or altered to mention in this first post. More can be expected here or, if you are interested in XMLDB features will come up on my XMLDB (promo) site ;-)




The information demonstrated and shared here is based on Oracle beta software. The following is intended to outline Oracle’s general product direction.  It is intended for information purposes only, and may not be incorporated into any contract.  It is not a commitment to deliver any material, code, or functionality, and should not be relied upon in making purchasing decisions.  The development, release, and timing of any features or functionality described for Oracle’s products remains at the sole discretion of Oracle.


About Author

Marco Gralike, working for AMIS Services BV as a Principal Oracle Database Consultant in the Netherlands, has experience as a DBA since 1994 (Oracle 6). Marco is also eager and skillful in other fields, like Operating System Administration and Application Servers, mainly to find working, performing solutions. Marco has been specializing in Oracle XMLDB, since 2003, focusing on his old love, database administration and performance. He is an Oracle XMLDB enthusiast ever since. He is also a dedicated contributor of the Oracle User Group community, helping people with their steep XMLDB learning curve. To this purpose, Marco also devoted his personal blog site to XMLDB and other Oracle issues. Marco is a member of the OakTable network and an Oracle ACE Director (specialization Oracle XMLDB).


  1. I am looking to build a proper website that will enable viewers to leave information etc. Along with other interesting features. I am planning to use ASP, C#, SQL express and some tool for the web GUI. I would be interested in your comments and suggestions.

    Very kind regards,


  2. Thanks for that, Marco. I haven’t been involved in beta testing, so it’s interesting stuff.