Monday, 23 November 2015

Upgrading OCM 11g to OCM 12c (Series) 1 - Initial Assessment

A little History and Finally, an Introduction


Check out other posts of this Series:


It's been a while since the OCM upgrade exam aka 12COCMU has been released. I have been checking and testing some of the new features of the Oracle Database 12c for a while.
I have decided that now it is time to get serious about getting my 11g OCM certification upgraded to 12c.

It seems Oracle technical certifications still hold a true value in emerging countries, specially performance-based ones like the OCM.
I am writing this post sitting in my chair in Brasil. Yes, I am back to homeland - Brasil after a 10-year-long period where I have been working in Europe and Africa.
I have allowed myself a long vacation, 6 months in fact. During this time, I managed to stay away from "techy stuff" as much as possible. Well, not totally, as I still had to fix the odd broken PC here and there as people still do not understand the difference between a DBA and "the guy who works with computers".

"Seriously, being a DBA can mean, to some extent, that you have some sort of special powers!
It means your mom's friend will most likely ask you to fix any sort of Windows problems, your brother-in-law wants you to configure his TV set-up box AND your grand-daddy may even ask you to fix his TV aerial on the roof!"

Jokes apart, it was good to have this period and I feel I am ready to get back to business.
I have applied for a remote job at Phytian, went through the interview process, thanks to Jared Still who interviewed me. Well, I am not sure I was supposed to reveal his name here though.

By the way, even though this wasn't a direct question, while we were talking he caught me by surprise! As always, one subject leads to another and we ended up talking about the ASM rebalance power... Well, the top notch is not 11 any more on 12c! In fact, 11 is almost nothing on 12c!

Check out his post on this subject as this "small" detail that could lead to big problem if we are not aware of it.

So, while a wait for a position to open in a matching Time Zone, I may as well take the time to concentrate on the OCM upgrade.

Oh, I almost forgot... It seems that if you work with Oracle in Brasil, and this might be true in some other countries too, if you want to differentiate yourself, you have the following options:

Oracle ACE Program

An old friend of mine Alex Zaballa, as well as being an Oracle Evangelist, he's also an ACE Director. When I asked him about the program, He mentioned that you have to devote a lot of time to the programme and for some reason, it is not well valued in Brasil as it is in other countries like the UK and USA. So, what I get from that is: 1) It will be valued as Brasil seems to copy what happens elsewhere. 2) If you intend to move outside Brasil, it is a good thing to have in your bag of tricks!

Oracle Certified Master

This is something that only depends on your will, time and effort. It is something you can do at your will and once you have it, your have it...
According to Alex Zaballa, who is OCM 11g too, the Brazilian marked seems to value more the OCM credential than the ACE credential.
Well, if you ask my opinion on that, I would say they should value OCM more than ACE as OCM means that you "might" know a little about what you do. Whereas ACE may guarantee that you wear an Oracle shirt at all times.
Of course, combining the two accreditations would be the best thing to do. But to do just that, you must love Oracle and you might find yourself wearing underpants with an Oracle logo on it.

Doing an Excellent Job - Experience

Well, this one, does not require many explanations. I believe experience and jobs well performed will always outsmart any credentials. I guess you think like that too! Even if you have many credentials.
One happy customer leads to another customer and this will eventually lead you to success. Well, it might take a while though.

Ok, enough of nonsense and let's start writing about the OCM 12c upgrade exam:

To whom this Series of posts will apply to?

This blog applies to individuals who already possess the OCM 11g accreditation as this is intended to outline some steps as a preparation for the 12COCMU exam.
This may also be helpful if you intend to become an OCM 12c with no previous OCM credentials. However, the series will only cover a subset of the exam objectives you will find on that specific exam.
Also, note that at the time of this writing only the upgrade exams are available on the Oracle WebSite.

Building your Study Lab

I was checking the OCM 12c Upgrade Exam details Page. The good thing is that, just like with the 11g OCM exam, it details all software and versions that will be used in the test lab. Even though it clearly states that your study lab does not need to match versions exactly as stated in the page, I believe it would be good idea to build a study lab that is as close as possible to the exam's one.

Exam Environment
  • Oracle Linux Release 6.5 64 bit
  • Mozilla Browser, Text (emacs, gedit) and vi editors
  • Shell environment: bash, csh
  • Use either CLI or GUI environment and tools when available
  • Oracle Database 12c Enterprise Edition Release  64 bit
  • Oracle Grid Infrastructure 12c Release 1 (
  • Oracle Enterprise Manager Cloud Control 12c Rel 4
So, in the next posts, we will be burning some RAM, CPU and disk space as we build some Virtual Machines using Oracle's VM VirtualBox.
We might need to spend some time setting up the study lab. I may or may not create specific posts on how to set up the VM's and install the Oracle software. I still need to decide whether or not I will be creating a post showing how to install Oracle Linux for example.
However, since two of the exam objectives are "Install the Oracle Database 12c Software" and "Install Oracle Grid Infrastructure", we will have to delve deep into that.
General Database and Network Administration, and Backup Strategy
  • Create and manage pluggable databases
  • Create and manage users, roles, and privileges
  • Configure the network environment to allow connections to multiple databases
  • Protect the database from loss of data due to any kind of failure
  • Create and manage database configuration files
Data and Performance Management
  • Modify materialized views
  • Create a plugged-in tablespace by using the transportable tablespace feature
  • Create partitioned tables
  • Configure the database to retrieve all previous versions of the table rows
  • Configure the Resource Manager
  • Tune SQL statements
  • Perform real application testing
  • Create SQL Plan baselines
Data Guard
  • Create a physical standby database
  • Make the standby database available for testing
  • Restore the standby database to its normal function
  • Configure fast start failover
Grid Infrastructure and Real Application Clusters
  • Install Oracle Grid Infrastructure
  • Create ASM disk groups
  • Create and manage an ASM instance
  • Create ACFS
  • Start, stop, configure, and administer Oracle Grid Infrastructure
  • Install the Oracle Database 12c software
  • Create RAC databases
  • Configure services

Where to find things in the Documentation - Important

This is something that I found very useful when sitting the 11g OCM exam.
Knowing where to find things in the ocean of pages of the Oracle Database Documentation is very beneficial as you could find yourself spending too much time looking for a specific command or syntax.
To help with that, the idea is that we should always include information on where to get specific bits of information from the documentation for each exam topic.
For instance, you definitely do not want to write a full CREATE DATABASE statement set-up Resource Manager by hand. Well, unless your mind is so powerful that you can remember all the syntax. However, if you do have a very powerful brain that is capable of memorizing all the syntaxes, I bet your other-half  keeps telling you that you forget things...
So, the idea is that in the next posts, I will be writing about how to create a study lab as well as covering some if not all of the Exam Objectives as some of them are pretty "vague". Take "Tune SQL Statements" for instance. No way we can write a post that will cover all that it represents.

I might get some people to participate in the creation of the series... let's see how it goes.
Até la!

Check out other posts of this Series: