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echa-oracle (2) Versions 1.0.2

Installs/Configures Oracle on CentOS 6.4

cookbook 'echa-oracle', '= 1.0.2'
cookbook 'echa-oracle', '= 1.0.2', :supermarket
knife cookbook site install echa-oracle
knife cookbook site download echa-oracle


Installs and configures the Oracle RDBMS, patches it to the latest version, and creates databases.

Tested with an Open Source Chef Server/Chef Client combo only.

Oracle version was used to develop this cookbook, but the code should work for other versions as well, with some modifications.

The latest patch from My Oracle Support (MOS) as of this writing is Patch 16056266 - Patch Set Update.

At the time this cookbook was being developed the latest patch was Patch 14727310 -, which is the one it uses.

For guidelines on how to adapt the cookbook for other PSU versions, see latest_dbpatch, under Recipes, below.


  • Have either an open Source Chef Server or a Hosted Chef account at the ready.
  • Spin up a CentOS VM using your choice of hypervisor and/or Vagrant, and the CentOS-6.4-x86_64-minimal.iso, which you can get here:


  • Your NIC is not up by default, make sure to edit the /etc/sysconfig/ifcfg-eth0 file and run service network start.
  • Make sure your FQDN is properly configured (test this with hostname -f), else runInstaller will fail.
  • You don't want to transfer Oracle's binaries in the clear across the Internet. Set up a Web server to serve them over HTTPS unless you're on a secure local network.
  • Create a role to override the default attribute values for the URLs of Oracle's install files & patches with your own; e.g.:

    name "ora_quickstart"
    description "Role applied to Oracle quickstart test machines."
    run_list 'recipe[echa-oracle]', 'recipe[echa-oracle::logrotate_alert_log]', 'recipe[echa-oracle::logrotate_listener]', 'recipe[echa-oracle::createdb]'
    override_attributes :oracle => {:rdbms => {:latest_patch => {:url => 'https://secure.server.localdomain/path/to/'}, :opatch_update_url => 'https://secure.server.localdomain/path/to/', :install_files => ['https://secure.server.localdomain/path/to/', 'https://secure.server.localdomain/path/to/']}}
  • You need to set up an encrypted data bag item to secure the oracle user's password. See Opscode's docs site for details on encrypted data bags: encrypted data bag doc Your encrypted item requires a key named pw, whose value is the password of the oracle user- you can set that to whatever you want. You must set the value of node[:oracle][:user][:edb] to the name of your data bag, and that of node[:oracle][:user][:edb_item] to the name of the encrypted item; the defaults are oracle and foo, respectively.

  • If you're using the open source Chef Server, add this line to /etc/chef-server/chef-server.rb:

erchef['s3_url_ttl'] = 9999

then run chef-server-ctl reconfigure to reconfigure Chef Server. This config edit avoids running into CHEF-3045, which we are liable to do because of the time it takes to install Oracle's binaries and spin up a database.

  • Bootstrap the node, telling Chef to create the FOO database on it:

    knife bootstrap HOSTNAME -r 'role[ora_quickstart]' -j '{"oracle" : {"rdbms": {"dbs": {"FOO" : false}}}}'
  • Go grab a cup of tea, as this is apt to take a fair amount of time to complete :-)



See here:

Oracle's requirements


This cookbook was successfully tested using Chef-Client 11, in combo with the open source Chef Server 11, as well as with Hosted Chef.

If you use the open source Chef Server, because installing a database takes a long while, and owing to CHEF-3045, you'll want to increase the value of erchef['s3_url_ttl'] in /etc/chef-server/chef-server.rb; which value to choose depends on the number of databases you create, and how fast your nodes are. In most cases, this should give you room to spare to install a couple databases:

erchef['s3_url_ttl'] = 9999

then run chef-server-ctl reconfigure to reconfigure Chef Server.


  • CentOS 6.4 (x86_64)
  • RHEL 6.4 (x86_64)
  • Scientific Linux 6.4 (x86_64)

echa-oracle was tested on the distros/versions given above; YMMV on older versions of their 6.x branches. The development target was Centos x86_64 minimal install. DISCLAIMER: note that, out of those three platforms, Oracle Database 11g R2 is only certified on RHEL 6 :-) For more detail, check the certification matrix on My Oracle Support: certification matrix


  • Access to My Oracle Support to download the install media and the patch files.

You will not be able to download the install files from Oracle Technology Network (OTN), since the version available there is From: Oracle DB Downloads page

"11/10/11: Patch Set for Linux, Solaris, Windows, AIX and HP-UX Itanium is now available on Note: it is a full installation (you do not need to download first). See the README for more info (login to My Oracle Support required)."

For this version of the cookbook, you'll need the following packages:

Patch 14727310 (
OPatch 6880880 (
Oracle media:
Oracle media:

Note: You don't need all seven media files in order to just install the RDBMS' binaries.


  • Ensure that your FQDN is properly configured (check the output of hostname -f), else runInstaller will fail.
  • At least a basic knowledge of Oracle administration will come in handy, in particular if you want to modify attributes' values and/or modify the cookbook's code or resources.
  • If you want to increase the size of /dev/shm, edit /etc/fstab accordingly, and make sure to add this entry to /etc/rc.local or /etc/rc.d/rc.sysinit to have your changes persist across reboots:

/bin/mount -o remount /dev/shm

This works around a bug in RHEL and derivatives: Red Hat Bugzilla Bug 669700


echa-oracle defines a single top-level namespace: :oracle. Values that pertain to the whole Oracle setup (not only the RDBMS) are defined there directly: * node[:oracle][:ora_base] - sets the Oracle base's absolute pathname, defaults to /opt/oracle. * node[:oracle][:ora_inventory] - sets oraInventory's absolute pathname, defaults to /opt/oraInventory.

:oracle has two children: :user, and :rdbms.

Attributes under :user are specific to the oracle user, as you may have guessed: * node[:oracle][:user][:uid] * node[:oracle][:user][:gid] * node[:oracle][:user][:shell]- note that this is set to /bin/ksh by default. * node[:oracle][:user][:sup_grps] - sets the oracle user's supplementary groups, a Hash whose keys are group names, and whose values are gids. The default value is {'dba' => 202}. * node[:oracle][:user][:pw_set] - a flag that indicates whether the oracle_user_config recipe has set the password of the oracle user (and can thus skip doing it again); defaults to false. * node[:oracle][:user][:edb] - sets the name of the data bag from which we'll fetch the encrypted item storing the oracle user's password. Defaults to oracle. * node[:oracle][:user][:edb_item] - sets the name of the encrypted item in which the oracle user's password is stored. Defaults to foo.

Attributes under :rdbms relate to the Oracle RDBMS proper, rather unsurprisingly: * node[:oracle][:rdbms][:ora_home] - sets the oracle home's absolute pathname; defaults to #{node[:oracle][:ora_base]}/11R23. * node[:oracle][:rdbms][:is_installed] - flag to indicate whether the dbbin recipe has installed the RDBMS, and can thus be skipped. * node[:oracle][:rdbms][:install_info] - a Hash storing information about the RDBMS installed on the node (version, patch number, and timestamp of last patching); defaults to the empty Hash. See the get_version recipe for greater detail. * node[:oracle][:rdbms][:install_dir] - sets the oracle installation directory's absolute pathname; defaults to #{node[:oracle][:ora_base]}/install_dir * node[:oracle][:rdbms][:response_file_url] - sets the URL of the response file you want Chef to use instead of having it generate a basic ocm.rsp itself. * node[:oracle][:rdbms][:deps] - an Array storing the package names of the Oracle RDBMS' dependencies. * node[:oracle][:rdbms][:env] - a Hash of variable names/values that makes up the RDBMS-specific environment for the oracle user. * node[:oracle][:rdbms][:install_files] - an Array of URLs that specify the locations of the Oracle RDBMS' installation files: and * node[:oracle][:rdbms][:sys_pw] - sets the password for the SYS default open database user. Has a default placeholder value. * node[:oracle][:rdbms][:system_pw] - sets the password for the SYSTEM default open database user. Has a default placeholder value. * node[:oracle][:rdbms][:dbsnmp_pw] - sets the password for the DBSNMP default open database user. Has a default placeholder value. * node[:oracle][:rdbms][:opatch_update_url] - sets the URL of the OPatch update ( * node[:oracle][:rdbms][:latest_patch][:url] - URL of the latest Oracle RDBMS patch ( * node[:oracle][:rdbms][:latest_patch][:dirname] - sets the name of the latest patch's expanded directory. Will typically match the part of the latest patch's filename following the initial 'p', up until (and exclusive of) the first _ (14727310, in our case), but this is not guaranteed. * node[:oracle][:rdbms][:latest_patch][:is_installed] - flag to indicate whether latest_dbpatch recipe has patched the RDBMS, and can thus be skipped. * node[:oracle][:rdbms][:dbs] - a Hash whose keys are database names and whose values are Booleans. A value of true indicates that the database has already been created, and should thus be skipped by the createdb recipe. Defaults to the empty Hash. * node[:oracle][:rdbms][:dbs_root] - sets the pathname of the root directory for the databases.


By order of appearance in a typical workflow:


Includes 5 recipes, which are, in order:

  • echa-oracle::oracle_user_config
  • echa-oracle::deps_install
  • echa-oracle::kernel_params
  • echa-oracle::dbbin unless node[:oracle][:rdbms][:is_installed]'s value is true.
  • echa-oracle::latest_dbpatch unless node[:oracle][:rdbms][:latest_patch][:is_installed]'s value is true.

IOW, we set up the oracle user, install Oracle's dependencies, tweak the kernel's parameters, then install the Oracle binaries (unless we've done so already, and patch them to the latest patch version (unless we've done so already).


Create and configure the oracle user. Its password is only set if node[:oracle][:user][:pw_set]'s value isn't true . node[:oracle][:user][:pw_set]'s value is false by default; it's flipped to true after we set the password, meaning that, if you want to change the password after the first Chef run, you'll have to flip it back.

The recipe expects the oracle user password to be stored in an encrypted data bag item; the bag's name is controlled by the node[:oracle][:user][:edb] attribute, whose default value is oracle. The item's name is controlled by the node[:oracle][:user][:edb_item] attribute, whose default value is foo.

The recipe requires the encrypted item to include a key named pw, whose value you must set to the oracle user's password.

For more detail on encrypted data bags, see: Opscode's doc on encrypted data bags


Installs the Oracle RDBMS' dependencies, which are specified as an Array of package names that's the value of node[:oracle][:rdbms][:deps].


Configures kernel parameters for Oracle. We deploy a config file to /etc/sysctl.d/ora_params and reload sysctl settings.


Installs Oracle RDBMS binaries. The install files are specified as an Array of URLs that's the value of the node[:oracle][:rdbms][:install_files] attribute.


Installs latest patch for Oracle RDBMS. The patch file is specified as a URL that's the value of node[:oracle][:rdbms][:latest_patch][:url].

Applying Patch 16056266 with latest_patch.rb has not been tested, but it should work, just by setting node[:oracle][:rdbms][:latest_patch][:url] to the proper URL, pointing at that patch on your HTTPS server.

Also remember to update OPatch 6880880 to the latest version.

Previous PSU patches should work without many changes. worked fine in our environment.


Included by latest_patch. Populates node[:oracle][:rdbms][:install_info]'s Hash with key/value pairs that track the patch number, the patch's timestamp, and the version string, as extracted from the output of:

opatch lsinventory -bugs_fixed


Creates databases. Iterates over the keys of the node[:oracle][:rdbms][:dbs]'s Hash, creating a database for each key whose value isn't truthy. You're meant to specify this Hash yourself, for example in a role, or as part of the bootstrap command line, e.g.:

[snip] -j '{"oracle" : {"rdbms": {"dbs": {"FOO" : false}}}}'

The value associated with a key is set to true after its corresponding database has been created.


logrotate config for the Oracle alert log.


logrotate config for the Oracle listener's log.

Usage Notes

  • You can customise most installation paths and related settings; see the Attributes section, above, for details.
  • Database is installed on the root (/) filesystem. DBAs are encouraged to improve the disk/fs layout as they see fit, and/or to fit local practice.
  • The database template (created by DBCA) is not an Oracle best practise, feel free to replace it with one of your own creation.
  • The database filesystem root is parameterised, using node[:oracle][:rdbms][:dbs_root]. This attribute is leveraged in the database template we ship. If you want to do the same with your own database template, you'll have to turn it into a Chef template as well (and use search-and-replace).
  • Replace the default ocm.rsp with your own if you want to add your email address for updates. Use the $ORACLE_HOME/OPatch/ocm/bin/emocmrsp command to do that (pass it the -help switch to check its usage). Then put the new reponse file on your HTTPS server and set node[:oracle][:rdbms][:response_file_url] to the file's URL.
  • dbbin takes a long time to complete; hence the potential issue with CHEF-3045 for open source Chef Server users.
  • On a similar note, createdb supports the creation of several DBs on the same host, but this is apt to take a small eternity to complete.


  • Add OEM 11g agent installation
  • Add Oracle ASM instance creation
  • More robust way of detecting whether the rdbms binaries and latest patch are installed on the node.

Additional Info

Ari has a blog where he gets into more detail about our testing of echa-oracle cookbook on two cloud providers (using Hosted Chef), and Chefy and Oracly things generally:


  1. Fork the repository on Github: echa-oracle's GitHub repo
  2. Create a named feature branch (like add_component_x)
  3. Write your changes
  4. Write tests for your changes (if applicable)
  5. Run the tests, ensuring they all pass
  6. Submit a Pull Request using Github

License and Authors

Email:: Author:: Ari Riikonen Author:: Dominique Poulain

Copyright:: 2013, ECHA

Licensed under the Apache License, Version 2.0 (the "License"); you may not use this file except in compliance with the License. You may obtain a copy of the License at

Unless required by applicable law or agreed to in writing, software distributed under the License is distributed on an "AS IS" BASIS, WITHOUT WARRANTIES OR CONDITIONS OF ANY KIND, either express or implied. See the License for the specific language governing permissions and limitations under the License.

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