Friday, May 29, 2009

DBA Lock Down

So, what is the sys password really needed for anyway? Not having the SYS password really going to keep a DBA out from logging into as SYSDBA or getting the job done? Well, probably not, especially if this access isn't locked down at the host level. Also, if a DBA is logged in to the host as oracle, there is probably a way to login as sysdba, either as sys or granting the access to the DBA login. Another question, DBAs do you really want to login as SYS? If it is a habit to go the host as oracle, then do a login as sysdba, isn't this just setting you up for trouble? Hopefully there is some sort of auditing in place to capture when the database is accessed as sysdba, but logging into a system with a least privilege user is always a good idea. It not only prevents accidentally doing something on the system without consciously knowing you are going to make a change and need special access, but also gives you the separation of duties from normal day monitoring to performing changes.
There are not too many times that I have needed to log in as sysdba. One example has been at creation and configuration of a new instance. Of course since it is a new instance, there is no data or users to mess up with any changes, a fairly safe way to login. Also, it was needed to restore a database and clone another. Even thinking about that it There are scripts that can be setup to stop and start as well as specific permissions granted, and then logging in as SYS seems not to be needed.
So, what is the big deal about logging in as SYS? Well, besides having all of the permissions to do anything in the database, I guess I have normally viewed it as a best practice and might even protect me from myself. But maybe I have been the only one to shutdown a wrong database. I have also found it easy to complete my job without the permissions and the few times that it is needed, there is a way to grab the password and complete the task.
Hide that password, lock it away, forget you even know about SYS, and use only the permissions needed.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Time to apply what was learned...

Even though Collaborate 09 - IOUG Forum has come to a close this year, and in going back home I am thinking of all what can be applied back in the "real world". The amount of learning and information that is packed into such a short amount of time is incrediable. Everything from OEM tricks and tips on installing and configuring to RAC and 11g new features. Support for the current Oracle 10g database has been extended, but with all of the new features of 11g upgrades should be in the planning. Orlando was really the place to be this past week if you use any of the Oracle stack, learning about the individual pieces as well as how they all work together is really a big advantage of having this conference. Getting to know members of the IOUG and learning what they one to hear about and if the sessions that they attended were useful was also great conversations in the evenings. I did really enjoy hearing about all of the different presentations and what was good and not so good. It is amazing that you can pick up a tip to improve your backup strategy, learn how a company is using streams and then the best way to secure you database, all before noon each day. I was also able to step out of my normal database realm and learn about what Oracle is doing the content management and record management area. Then there were also sessions on SAP and Peoplesoft. So, starting planning if you are sorry you missed all of the great learning, Las Vegas, April 2010.