Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Oracle: Getting Started

A friend of mine recently expressed interest in learning Oracle.

Here's what I sent him:
Start here:

Oracle Concepts Guide -

You don’t have to read everything, but it’s probably the best place to start. I’d be more than happy to answer some of the more “inane” questions (How do I do this? How do I connect? Etc).

Oracle Documentation (List of Books) -

Don’t be overwhelmed by that. It’s ridiculous how much stuff there is out there. I list some books out by discipline:

--  2 Day DBA -
----  Easiest place to start (after the Concepts Guide)
--  Oracle Database Administrator’s Guide -
----  Definitely getting into the nitty gritty stuff here.
--  PL/SQL Language Reference -
----  That should help you get started with PL/SQL if you so choose

For either role, the bible is probably the SQL Language Reference manual:

Usually what I do, is just download the software and try to get it running. It’s super easy on Windows, a bit more difficult on *nix environments (I just recently installed Oracle on Oracle Enterprise Linux, my first go at a non-Windows environment).

The documentation above is for 11g, the latest version. You can get the software here: I’d suggest installing EE, might as well go full boat. Plus, it doesn’t really make a difference resource wise. If you have 1.5 to 2GB RAM, you should have plenty. You can run an instance at about 512MB.

It requires an account (free) and they do not spam.

Also, try Oracle Database XE, a free (as in beer) standalone edition built off of the 10.2 kernel. Application Express is used as the front end (a pretty sweet GUI tool).

Hope that doesn’t scare you off too much. ;)
Any other pointers? I know there are tons of books so link them up if you feel they are worthy.


Coskan Gundogar said...


I think backup recovery guide needs to be added to the list for DBA.

If you cant recover, you are not a DBA

Boneist said...

I'd add "Start following and the OTN forums - SQL & PL/SQL or Database - General, in particular".

The forums are great for picking up tips and tricks, and also information about common issues. When they're up to speed, it's also a great place to pick up test cases to work on - "How would *I* solve this problem?".

Both have been invaluable resources for me whilst I was (still am) learning!

Narendra said...

I would also suggest to start reading blogs, especially those of Rob Van Wijk, Frank Zou and some AskTom threads, especially for those cool SQLs. It really helps to get mesmerized (and motivated) to keep on learning. Well, that is from my personal experience. I am kind of a person who needs motivation from time-to-time to keep my interest in things I am trying to learn. When I (really) started learning Oracle, I started reading AskTom threads and then started digging in documentation. I am not sure if I had started with (overwhelming, in my opinion) documentation, I would have managed to appreciate Oracle as much as I do now.
BTW Chet,
I read your post about installing Oracle on OEL on VirtualBox and that has (again) give me some motivation to try. I am in the same boat as yours, trying to achieve that since last November. I started with UBUNTU but that became too much for me. So now planning to do it with OEL. For poor chaps like myself who are so used to Windows, I guess Oracle should provide an option for automated installtion on linux as on windows....:)

oraclenerd said...


Good point. Someone else told me I wasn't a DBA until the recovery... ;)

Oracle® Database Backup and Recovery User's Guide

Oracle® Database Backup and Recovery Reference

oraclenerd said...

@boneist (seriously, i giggle every time I say or write that...i'm such a juvenile),

AskTom - but of course. I started reading the answered questions there as well.

How could I forget the forums?

OTN Forums Home

--Database - General
--SQL and PL/SQL

oraclenerd said...


I don't even get a mention? WTF? ;)

I agree. I then reading blogs really helped me to turn a corner. The technical stuff I could figure out (eventually), it was the approach to the technical that was most beneficial.

re: Oracle on OEL
Unless you are very comfortable using Linux (any flavor), I would wholeheartedly suggest just using OEL. The details on the link provided are pretty much all you need. Just don't forget to turn off the firewall (or open up the port), which I did not do...once. Not a big deal since I just wanted to get it running. I won't be a Sys Admin or DBA anytime soon.

If you have any questions, drop me a line and I can try to help...or at least point you in the right direction. chet at oraclenerd (dot com)


Narendra said...


I was thinking of putting your name in the company of likes of Jonathan Lewis, Richard Foote etc....:)
Anyways, really looking forward to your help with this VirtualBox, OEL and Oracle installtion...

oraclenerd said...


That's quite a compliment. Thank you. I wouldn't go that far though...yet. Give me about 10 more years. ;)