The author

My career in IT spans several decades. I have lived and worked in England, Australia, Norway and Switzerland. I’ve worked for shipping companies, retailers, an international computer company and an international non-profit organization. I was a developer for many years before taking on the DBA role.

The dashboard

For monitoring Oracle databases the current tool of choice is Oracle Enterprise Manager/Grid Control/Cloud Control. It’s great for drilling down into performance issues and for seeing just about everything. But it’s also complicated, expensive and slow.

When you are under pressure you want to know the availability of all the Oracle instances right now, not the situation a few minutes ago. This tool does not use Oracle agents. It queries each instance directly so there is no middleware getting in the way to slow you down or give misleading results. It gives you a great sense of assurance when you can see the current availability of your instances quickly and reliably any time you want. In my experience when OEM and the dashboard give conflicting opinions on the availability of an instance the dashboard is usually right. It is perfectly safe to use, it only looks at things.

Would you like to know how many of your databases are in Unicode? You can compare properties of all your databases in a mouse click. This is a powerful feature.

The installer does not touch your environment, it just unpacks the software to your local disk. The dashboard uses its own Oracle jdbc driver. Once it is configured with all your database instances, adding a new instance is as simple as adding a line to a control file.

This dashboard is only for DBAs because it expects you to know the database passwords. They are kept in an encrypted file that is only read once when the dashboard is loaded. This means you can keep the file somewhere secure away from the other files.

There is no cost in hardware or extra licenses. The GNU license means that the entire Java source, including the tools for compilation and deployment, is available on request.

The author is happy to help with any installation issues and welcomes your comments.

The name DBcafé is just a name, for want of a better one.