Installation Cookbooks: Installing Oracle9i

December 30, 2003

When people talk about installing Oracle, more times than not they are referring to installing the program files for the relational database management system (RDBMS) application. Other people use the word Oracle somewhat loosely when referring to any Oracle product (e.g., Forms & Reports, Developer Suite, Application Server, etc.) to be installed. Whichever it is you are installing - the database software or an application from Oracle - understanding and applying an installation methodology will make your job easier.

This article, and others to follow in the Installation Cookbook series, will lay out a methodology or approach to installing Oracle products on UNIX-based systems (primarily using Solaris). Once you see several examples, you will be well-armed when it comes to the occasional egg Oracle lays in its installation documentation. On the whole, the work produced by the technical writers at Oracle, and the overall documentation effort, is really nothing less than superhuman, and the writers and publishers should be commended for their work. However, the sheer amount of documentation can appear overwhelming, especially to a new DBA who is charged with installing software on a server. And, once in a while, the documentation effort falls short (Oracle9iAS immediately comes to mind, as does Oracle9iDS).

Going back to the new DBA charged with installing Oracle software on a server - it is tempting for many in this situation to simply insert the first CD-ROM and go for it, especially if the operating system happens to be based on the Blue Screen of Death. Let's face it: installing software on Windows is pretty straightforward these days. But when it comes to UNIX-based systems, installing software can be an involved process (personal opinion time: the extra effort is worth it because UNIX is so much better). Installing Oracle products on UNIX-based systems should drive home the point that one needs to be knowledgeable of the underlying operating system. It isn't enough to know only Oracle, and being more self-sufficient adds to the value you bring to your current and future employers.

A general outline of installation steps

Instead of just plowing into the reading of a 300 page installation guide and several release notes, if you look for an outline of steps to follow, your comprehension of what must be done is increased. Listed below is a general outline of steps that corresponds to the chapters in most installation guides.

  1. Verify that hardware and software minimums are met or exceeded
  2. Prepare or update the operating system
  3. Create administrative/owner accounts and file structures
  4. Reserve, specify, or designate disk space
  5. Start the Oracle Universal Installer (OUI) and provide information as necessary
  6. Perform post-installation tasks
  7. Test your installation

The first four steps can be considered as pre-installation tasks, step five as THE installation task, and steps six and seven as post-installation tasks. When writing installation cookbooks (primarily for customers, but they work just as well for in-house users), I like to include an introduction along with a list of assumptions or standards, and include a list of references from which the information was drawn. The reference list is useful when you have to come back to the installation procedure and justify why you installed an OS patch cluster or needed to have a bigger disk installed.

So, without further ado, here is a detailed, step-by-step installation cookbook for installing Oracle9i ( on a Sun Solaris platform.