10 Jul

Blue Gecko has been acquired!

It is my pleasure to officially announce that Blue Gecko has been acquired by Datavail.  Based in Broomfield, CO, Datavail is among the largest providers of remote database administration services in North America and the largest remote managed services provider in the Rocky Mountain region.

Together, Blue Gecko and Datavail will continue to offer 24×7 remote DBA with a focus on providing the best possible service and support for our customers.  Datavail gains a presence in the Seattle market with a highly regarded reputation built by Blue Gecko over the last 11 years; and over the coming months, Blue Gecko will introduce a host of new services and additional access to more support staff available 24×7.

For our existing customers, our entire Seattle staff (including JJ and me)will remain in the Seattle office and will continue our support work as usual.  Any questions can be sent directly to me at chuck@bluegecko.net.

Editorially, I’d like to add that this transaction is the result of good timing for both parties: Datavail was looking to grow and expand into the Pacific Northwest, while at Blue Gecko, we’ve been working hard to expand our 24×7 coverage and enhance newer platform support such as SQL Server.  After a few short talks, we were buzzing about how we could leverage and learn from each other; and quickly realized the benefits of merging the two companies.  Just a few months later,I’m happy to say it’s been a pleasure working with the Datavail team.  I’m also incredibly excited about the benefits and opportunities for our customers going forward.


10 Jul

Datavail Acquires Blue Gecko

Broomfield, Colo. — July 10, 2012 — Datavail announced today its acquisition of Seattle-based Blue Gecko, which now positions the company among the largest providers of remote database administration (DBA) services in North America and the largest remote managed services provider in the Rocky Mountain region. According to terms of the agreement, Datavail, which provides 24×7 database services spanning database administration, monitoring, staffing and consulting, is acquiring more than 100 customers, hundreds of projects and highly skilled employees with additional Oracle expertise. Blue Gecko will operate as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Datavail with the intent to merge business and technical operations over the next year.

With 75 percent of Blue Gecko’s customers located in the Pacific Northwest, this acquisition is part of Datavail’s strategic plan to grow aggressively in local North American markets. In addition to broadening its geographic reach, Datavail will benefit from Blue Gecko’s strong presence in the Oracle and MySQL communities and its knowledgeable staff. For Blue Gecko customers, Datavail will offer a host of new services, additional support staff and technical expertise.

“By merging our managed services capabilities and resources with the established presence and highly regarded reputation that Blue Gecko has built, Datavail is well positioned to serve the Seattle market and effectively support this strategic growth,” said Mark Perlstein, president & CEO, Datavail. “As we grow, providing optimum customer service will remain our number one priority. This company operates based on a high degree of ethics and customer transparency; we do what’s right for our customers.”

Blue Gecko customers will continue to work with their current database administrators (DBAs), and gain access to a larger portfolio of services, including increased Microsoft SQL Server capacity, the Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) framework and staff augmentation. Blue Gecko principals Chuck Edwards and JJ Ecker will assume executive management positions with Datavail and remain based in Seattle.

“This acquisition provides exciting growth opportunities for our employees and offers more expansive services and support for our customers,” said Chuck Edwards, CEO, Blue Gecko. “Datavail values the relationships we have built with customers and our domain knowledge so both will be leveraged to best serve our growing customer base.”

Blue Gecko A/S, located in Denmark, was not acquired by and is not affiliated with Datavail, but maintains a commercial relationship with Datavail.

About Datavail Corporation

Datavail Corporation is one of the largest providers of remote database administration (DBA) services in North America, offering database design and architecture, administration and 24×7 support. The company specializes in Oracle, Oracle E-Business Suite, Microsoft SQL Server and MySQL, and provides flexible onsite/offsite, onshore/offshore service delivery options to meet each customer’s unique business needs. Founded in 2007, Datavail is based in Broomfield, Colorado and supports enterprise clients located worldwide. For more information, visit www.datavail.com.

23 Mar

Oracle (finally) announces support for Oracle Database 11gR2 on OEL6

Over a year after first releasing Oracle Enterprise Linux 6, Oracle finally announced Thursday that it will support running Oracle Databases on Oracle Enterprise Linux 6 (OEL6). Currently, the certification is only valid with the Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel (UEK).

What’s that? You thought Oracle already supported their flagship software product on the current version of their flagship operating system and kernel? Well that is what most of Blue Gecko’s Remote DBA customers thought too. Too often we have had to break the news to a customer who has already dutifully built out their hosts with Oracle’s latest Linux that they will need to reinstall with OEL 5.x in order to be running a supported combination.

Oracle’s certification site adds a few more details. Although the UEK v.2 has been available since March 13, this certification only applies to OEL6 with UEK v.1. So don’t go upgrading to the latest and greatest UEK yet. Also, this certification appears to be valid only for x86-64 architectures, not i386. My Oracle Support’s Certify tool also only shows the certification as valid only for Oracle databases running patchset

Finally, certain things you would want to have when running Oracle, such as the oracle-validated RPM bundle, are still missing from the Unbreakable Linux Network’s OEL6 Yum repositories.

Our advice is to not go rushing to upgrade yet. Let’s give it a few months for the early adopters to flush out the usual SNAFUs, and then take another look.

25 Jan

Too Many Flashbacks

With apologies to Dr. Seuss.

Did I ever tell you the makers of RAC
had seven features and named each flashback?

Well they did, and it wasn’t a smart thing to do.
You see, when the customers wanted a clue
as to how to keep data from getting deleted
the RAC folks said “flashback” and customers heeded.

They turned on all seven of those flashback features
Each one was a slightly dissimilar creature.
Some used the UNDO, some used flashback files
Some just renamed tables to bin$ styles.

One was a place you keep things for recovering
Another was just for forensic discovering
With so many features called by the same name
when thinks broke no one knew just which one they should blame.

On a Friday three minutes past seventeen hundred,
users ask, “What’s the deal? Our data’s been plundered.”
“It looks like all names in the customer table,
are now ‘John Q Public,’ a certain mislabel.”

It was Nimrod, an intern fresh from his instruction.
What he thought was just test was really production.
“No Problem,” says Morton, the wise DBA,
“Flashback is on. I’ll restore it today.”

First Morton asked Nimrod what time he committed
his update that had any where clause omitted.
“I ran it at just past noon yesterday lunch,
It ran for so long that I went for a munch.”

By now it had been almost thirty one hours
but Morton knew that he could call on his powers,
and on the mere fact that that the undo_retention
was set to two days, a quite lengthy extension.

But woe! When he tried to engage Flashback Query,
he got “snapshot too old” and it ruined his theory
that undo_retention makes Oracle hold
all undo data no matter how old.

It turns out that there was no undo_guarantee
or autoextend which would also be key
to use all Flashback features reliant on Undo
A realization he would slowly come to.

Now Flashback Transaction and Versions Between
were out of the picture, although unforseen.
But he still had four more kinds of Flashback to try
So he thought them each through, to see if they might fly.

Undropping the table would use flashback syntax,
But that wouldn’t help, since the table was intact.
With database flashback all could be reverted
But subsequent changes would then be subverted

Do you know who was governor of California
When Flashback Data Archive came out and I’ll warn ya,
it will not help poor Morton, though it’s called Total Recall.
He’d have had to enable it for tables to see all.

The last of the flashbacks was the old FRA,
the Flashback Recovery Area they say.
And it’s just a directory where things are kept
Like logs and old backups made while Morton slept.

So after all that there was nary a way
to use Flashback of any sort to save the day.
Old-fashioned LogMiner was what Morton used
To restore all the rows that poor Nimrod abused.

With so many flashbacks and so much confusion
I bet that Oracle regrets the profusion
of so many things that they call the same name.
But now its too late and there’s no one to blame.

19 Jan

The strangest Oracle problem I ever encountered – can you guess the cause?

Before I joined Blue Gecko, I did independent remote DBA work, and called myself ORA-600 Consulting. Stemming from my hair-raising experiences in the trenches at Amazon in the late ’90s / early 2000s, I decided to specialize in emergency DBA work for companies in the midst of crises (I know, great idea for someone who wanted to get away from the Amazon craziness, right?).

One day in 2009, a company in Florida called my cell phone at 2AM. They described their problem as follows:

We have a 32-bit Intel server running Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4 and Oracle Database Enterprise Edition There are four databases ranging in size from 20G to 100G. The storage is EXT3 filesystems on partitions of an Apple Xserv RAID5 array.

We had a power outage yesterday, and the database server powered down and booted back up. Prior to yesterday, it has not rebooted for about one year. We have been running trouble-free for the previous year. Upon reboot, Oracle started automatically, but all of the databases appeared as they did about one year ago. It is like the database hasn’t been saving the changes we have been making for the past year. None of the inserts, updates or deletes made in the past year are present in the databases. We are absolutely flummoxed. Please help!

I logged into the server and it was just as they described. Even the alert log and messages files ended suddenly about one year prior, and picked up again on the day of the most recent reboot. There was no trace of the intervening 12 months of work. The customer was ready to resort to their backups, but wanted to understand the problem before they proceeded. In addition, restoring backups would mean losing the last 24 hours of transactions, since archivelogs had not gone to tape for that long, and they were missing just like everything else from before the most recent reboot.

They weren’t the only ones who were flummoxed. I just sat there thinking, “where do I start?” After some poking around, though, I solved the problem. Any guesses what went wrong here? I’ll post the solution in about a week. No fair posting the solution if I’ve told you this story before!

13 Jan

OurSQL Episode 74: Off the Charts, part 1

This week we kick off a multi-part series on monitoring. In this episode we discuss the MySQL Enterprise Monitor offering from Oracle and the MONyog offering from Webyog.

The Independent Oracle User Group is looking for nominations to the MySQL Council.

The next OTN Developer Day for MySQL will be Thursday, February 9th, 2012 in Frankfurt, Germany. Registration is free.

read more

6 Jan

OurSQL Episode 73: What happened?

This week we present a year in review for the MySQL Ecosystem, including updates from Oracle's MySQL, SkySQL, Percona and MariaDB.

The MySQL developer’s room at FOSDEM has almost 40 submissions, and only about a dozen slots, so they need your vote to figure out what sessions will be presented. Send in your votes via twitter or e-mail, see Giuseppe's blog post and session descriptions.

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31 Dec

OurSQL Episode 72: Blooper Retrospective

This week we play a bunch of bloopers, some you have heard, some you haven't, as our year-end gift to you. We hope these make you laugh!

Sugus candy

26 Dec

OurSQL Episode 71: Table Manners, part 2

This week, we continue our discussion about MySQL and its forks. We discuss the Percona server and MariaDB.

Percona Live comes to Washington, DC on Wednesday, January 11th, 2012 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. There is a 50% discount for students, faculty and staff of educational organizations, and a 35% discount for government employees. http://www.percona.com/live/dc-2012/

Percona Server
Percona software

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16 Dec

OurSQL Episode 70: Table Manners, part 1

We called this podcast table manners because we are often asked what MySQL fork to use. This is part 1 of a 2-part series. This week we delve into Oracle's MySQL and Drizzle.

There will be a "MySQL and Friends" devroom at FOSDEM 2012 in Brussels, Belgium on Sunday, February 5th, 2012. If you are interested in giving a talk, please submit it before December 26th through the submission form. There will also be a dinner on Saturday February 4th, for anyone making travel plans.

Last week we talked about the debian packages available for MySQL 5.5. We went looking for the packages and could not find the Debian drop-down for downloading MySQL 5.5, but we’re happy to report that the drop-down menu item is there now. http://dev.mysql.com/downloads/mysql/

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