Oracle Database Administration with Orac

Database Administration got you down? Here's a tool to help you out.
Orac in Action

A number of common tasks are faced by DBAs, such as the management of users, database performance, and of course, the actual database files. We'll take a look at the last item, database file management, to show how Orac can be used to make this task easier.

A full explanation of Oracle storage concepts is beyond the scope of this article. In short, though, a database is composed of Tablespaces which can contain multiple DataFiles. A Tablespace is composed of 1 to n DataFiles. Each of these DataFiles contains the actual database information for tables, views, stored procedures, etc. Typically, the data is segregated in such a way that system-related information is stored in a different Tablespace/DataFile than application-related data. Since DataFiles are fixed in size at database creation time, DBAs must monitor the available space and add or expand the DataFiles before they run out of room. Newer versions of Oracle, by the way, have more sophisticated space management techniques which alleviate some of these problems.

Figure 3 shows a list of Tablespaces in the database and how much free space remains. Orac has summed the total space for each Tablespace. In other words, if a Tablespace is composed of three DataFiles, then the total space available in the three files is displayed. This brings up another great feature of Orac. Each report includes a button called “See SQL” that displays the exact query run to generate the report. If there is ever any question about how a report was generated, you can get to the actual source quickly and make the needed improvements or corrections.

Figure 3. List of Tablespaces

Future Directions

As mentioned earlier, Orac loads both the SQL and its user interface from a text file at startup. Orac is perfectly capable of loading a user interface and the related SQL for databases other than Oracle. In fact, developers are hard at work on Informix, and some work has also been done for Sybase. The Orac team would very much like to see additional databases such as MySQL, mSQL and PostgreSQL supported in the future, and we're actively looking for volunteers to help out.

Another area developers are hard at work on is the dbish (database interface shell). This module provides the user with a way to enter ad hoc SQL into the database. The initial module has already been coded and is being tested now. By the time you read this, most of the bugs will likely have been worked out.

While parts of Orac make use of Tk to draw some primitive graphs, there is certainly room for improvement. In the near future, Orac will make use of the functionality in the GD and GIFgraph Perl modules to provide better charting and graphing capabilities.

These are only a few of the areas where work is in progress. The Orac team is actively soliciting feedback from anyone and everyone who would like to make Orac a better program.


Kevin Kitts is the Senior Oracle DBA at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in Chevy Chase, MD. In his spare time, he enjoys working with Linux software including Perl, DBI/DBD and Tk and converting MS Access databases to Oracle web applications on Linux.



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Re: Oracle Database Administration with Orac

Anonymous's picture

I have configured Tk to run with DBI for oracle on windows. But I am having difficulty running orac, though, I tried running the code under listing 1 for one of my remote oracle databases, and it runs fine.
Any help would be highly appreciated.

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