Oracle’s ADR Command Interpreter (ADRCI) – Part 2

Oracle’s new ADR with command interface shows promise for
DBAs to quickly investigate diagnostic information.

In Part
of this series, we took a very high-level look at Oracle Database 11g release of ADR. We visited some of ADR’s
infrastructure, parameters, and even how to extract some diagnostic data with a
very simplistic ADRCI command. In this article, I’d like to take a slight step
back and visit some key definitions to ADR. By doing this I think we can all
gain a level-set on terms and proceed more effectively in the next part of this

What is the Automatic Diagnostic Repository (ADR)

ADR is a simple file-based (directory structured)
repository that contains diagnostic data generated from Oracle. It is a collection
of items such as trace files, dumps, alert logs, etc. that can be used by
administrators to investigate problems and the health of the database. ADR is
the new unified directory structure that will hold all diagnostic data from all
Oracle products and components—simplifying the search and correlation of
information across all aspects of a single or multiple database instance.

What is ADR Command Interpreter (ADRCI)

ADRCI is a command line utility that serves as the interface between you the
administrator and the automatic diagnostic repository (ADR). You can do such
things as view diagnostic data, view reports, view alert logs, and even package
the diagnostic information for sending to Oracle support. While we only looked
at a very simplistic set of commands in part 1, the ADRCI is actually a very
robust interface with a rich command set. Much like SQL*Plus, you can create
and execute scripts to handle a variety of daily DBA type tasks.

What is a Problem

Within ADR, a problem is nothing more than a critical error that has
occurred within an Oracle product or component such as the database. These are
the typical ORA- errors you would normally search through the alert log for. An
important aspect of ADR is that each problem is individually tracked and
assigned a unique problem ID.

What is an Incident

Since a problem could happen many times, an incident is a single occurrence
of the problem. Individual incidents are also tracked within ADR and are given
a unique numeric incident ID within ADR. Behind the scene, ADR will put
together all the diagnostic data about the particular incident and store this
packaged information in an ADR subdirectory created uniquely for that incident.
The process flow for when an incident occurs is something like this:

Entry is made in the alert log

Incident is sent to Oracle Enterprise Manager

Diagnostic data is gathered about the incident

Incident ID is assigned

Incident and gathered data is stored in ADR subdirectory

What is Incident Flood Control

Often times, as you can guess, a problem has the potential to generate
hundreds of incidents if left un-checked. The generation of diagnostic data
could be enormous and possibly congesting or creating an issue (space,
performance, etc.) in ADR. Because of this, ADR has a built-in mechanism, flood
control, which is applied to excessive incident generation after thresholds
have been met. After the thresholds have been met, ADR will only generate an
alert log entry and record the event in ADR—bypassing the packaging of
diagnostic data in another subdirectory of the ADR repository.

Current threshold levels to
trigger flood control include and cannot be modified:

When 5 incidents occur for the same problem key in one hour

When 25 incidents have occurred for the same problem key in a single day

When 50 incidents for the same problem key occur in one hour

When 250 incidents for the same problem key occur in one day

What is a Problem Key

Every problem is assigned a problem key. The problem key is a text string
that includes the error code and possibly some error parameters. Problem keys
are not unique across problems and any two incidents that are considered to
have the same root cause will have the same problem key.

What is an Incident Package

We have already sort of talked about how ADR will
gather associated diagnostic information for an incident. An incident package
makes use of the Incident Packaging Service (IPS) to collect diagnostic data,
plus any additional information you might want to add such as external files,
before sending the incident to Oracle Support. How much do you want to bet
Oracle Support was frustrated and bombarded with un-related information? This
packaging is probably a good thing for them and you as it will keep all related
incident information together and easy to transport.

What is Finalizing

An incident package is really just a logical collection of diagnostic
and external information. An incident package can continually be added to,
modified, and even have pieces removed before it is actually saved to a
physical format (zip). The finalizing processes signals the completion of the
modification of an incident package and can now be physically created and saved
into a zip file for transport.

ADR Base

Just like the Oracle database, with ORACLE_BASE and
ORACLE_HOME, ADR has an ADR Base directory that is the base directory for all
ADR Home directories. It is the root directory that all diagnostic information
is branched off from. It is set by the DIAGNOSTIC_DEST initialization

ADR Home

Much like ORACLE_HOME, ADR Home is the location on disk
where ADR maintains a directory for all diagnostic data related to a single
instance or Oracle product. So if you had two Oracle instances on the same
machine you would see two different directories under the ADR Base directory.
This is quite handy because some ADRCI commands will work across ADR homes at
the same time and allow you to research problems for all instances that are on
a single machine.


Because ADRCI commands can operate across all ADR homes under a single ADR
Base, Homepath can be used to point at specific ARD Homes within the ADR Base.
A couple of interesting behaviors for Homepath include:

When Homepath points to a single ADR home, only that ADR home is
considered current

When Homepath points to a directory above an ADR home, all ADR homes
under the directory are considered current

When Homepath is NULL, all ADR homes under ADR base are considered

This article should have gotten you familiar with the definitions surrounding the use of ADR and ADRCI. You should have a good understanding of key components and be ready to dive into the wealth of diagnostic information contained within the repository.


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James Koopmann

James Koopmann
James Koopmann
James Koopmann has fourteen years of database design, development and performance tuning experience. In addition, he has extensive database administration experience in Oracle and other relational databases in production environments, specializing in performance tuning of database engines and SQL based applications. Koopmann is an accomplished author with several technical papers in various Oracle related publications such as Oracle Magazine, Oracle Professional and SQL>UPDATE_RMOUG. He is a featured author and database expert for DatabaseJournal, a member of the editorial review committee for Select Journal (The Magazine for the International Oracle Users Group), an Oracle Certified Professional DBA and noted speaker at local Oracle User Groups around the country.

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