Tuesday, April 25, 2017

DBTutorial #1 - Setting Up Oracle Database 11G R2 on a Windows Machine

Learning databases begins with doing practical hands on a functional database application software. Database is used across all dimensions of software development and will always remain integral part of any application. In the upcoming series of tutorials that I am writing, we will focus on learning databases from beginner’s point of view. Currently in software industry, Oracle Database is the most widespread used software for deploying database for range of enterprise applications as per client’s needs.   Pre-requisite for learning Oracle Database is basic knowledge about database concepts and SQL queries.

Oracle Database installation is a simple process with easy to understand GUI installer provided with Oracle. In this tutorial, we will talk about setting up Oracle 11G R2 database on a windows machine (Windows 10). The oracle database can be installed on any Virtual machine as well like CentOS using VMWare about which we will cover in next set of tutorial as the steps will be a bit different as comparison to GUI setup of Oracle database. Also please note that this installation is for basic desktop class database setup to maintain simplicity. We will work on in-depth details in upcoming tutorials.

Download the Oracle 11G R2 database installation files from Oracle website. Follow the installation as per the steps described in the screenshots (Click on any screenshot to view larger screen resolution version).
  • Step 1 - Mount the database setup and click on setup

  • Step 2  -  Let Oracle Universal Installer perform required system diagnosis.

  • Step 3 - Oracle setup will launch

  • Step 4 - Enter your email id if you want to receive updates from Oracle. 

  • Step 5 - Select create and configure a database option and click next

  • Step 6 - Select Desktop class option as we want to set up a beginner level database for learning purpose. Server class option is mostly used when installing on Windows Server Operating system for deploying production level database catering to large number of users. 

  • Step 7 - Provide basic parameters like installation location, user id, passwords. Leave the Database edition and character set to default. Note down important parameters like global database name/password details in a separate notepad file for future references. 

  • Step 8 - Oracle universal installer will perform some prerequisite checks and provide summary of setup so far. Click Finish to begin the installation. 

  • Step 9 - Setup will start and will take 10-20 minutes depending upon your machine's hardware capacity. Sit back & relax till the installation finishes.

  • Step 10 - Allow access to JDK if windows firewall prompts a security alert. 

  • Step 11 - The setup will complete and Database configuration assistant will prompt summary of installation. You can use Password Management option to set/change passwords of default users. We will skip this for this point of time.

  • Step 12 - Oracle Database setup is now complete. Close the installer. 

  • Step 13 - Now it's time to check if Oracle Database is up and running or not on our system. We have two ways to do so - one from CMD and another from local host GUI oracle db manager. For CUI, open command prompt and type following command - C:\> set ORACLE_SID=orcl.
  • The oracle SID (System ID) is used to identify the database installed on a system. When we use this command, we instruct our system to work on a particular database. 

  • Step 14 - After setting ORACLE_SID, use following command to connect to SQL*Plus that will allow you to perform basic database administration tasks. 
c:\> sqlplus userid/password as sysdba

Once you are connected to SQL*Plus, use following command to retrieve the name of the database instance you are currently working on.

SQL > select name from v$database;

  • Step 15 - You can also access GUI console for managing your database. The local host URL will be generated at the end of the installation. Simply enter your user id and password. Select your role and connect to database.

  • Step 16 - Upon logging in, you will get the GUI console to administer your database. 

So after performing all these steps, we have confirmed that our database is finally setup and is up and running perfectly. 

In next set of tutorial we will continue further... Thanks for reading guys. 

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

The Corporate Retreat - A Weekend Getaway - JIM Corbett National Park

It was 5.30 PM in the evening. The usual time to wind up your day, pack your bags, flash your access card at the ODC gate, take the lift, board the bus and get lost in oblivion till you reach home.
However, this evening was different. This day was for breaking the usual routine. Yes, you guessed it right. It's team-building trip for the SITA project. People were all excited; the happiness of an office group tour was showing up on everyone's face. The state of bliss has already set up.

What a start of financial year 2017-2018. SITA IS & TCOE teams are heading to Jim Corbett national park for its team-building trip. Everyone was enthusiastic that evening. We finished our work, grabbed our new office T-shirts and started for the JIM Corbett around 11.30 pm after a brief by the HR team.

Boarding the bus late midnight with your team members, playing UNO cards, Bluff cards, Antakshari en route was an amazing experience. Nobody was going to sleep this night. Travelling late night always add a special appeal to any journey and with everyone together, this was going to be altogether an astonishing experience.

We took a break at 3 AM in Gajraula for some late-night tea and snacks. We clicked few pics, exchanged conversations with teammates and started our journey ahead. We finally reached our resort in the morning. The drive through midnight to the dawn was an amazing experience.

It was a refreshing experience in the Acorn Hideaway Resort. Away from life’s daily chores, everyone was in nature’s laps. Fresh air, green surrounding and the entire aura was mesmerising.
The resort became one big home for the SITA TCOE & IS family. As soon as people reached the resort, everyone headed to their rooms & got refreshed. Some moved towards the swimming pool and enjoyed while taking a dip in chilly water in early morning. For others, it was breakfast time. For some, it was time for Table tennis, snooker, badminton and a bit of Photography.

After having breakfast, it was time for the team building activities and games. Many people interacted with each other for the first time. For starters, team-building activities meant to incorporate cooperation, effort and dedication among a team with equal amount of fun. Relating the team building activities with the work we actually do back in our office, we find many common things between them. The overall idea behind a team-building event is about fostering a feeling of team spirit among everyone. The sense of togetherness that we developed in this team building will stay for long among all of us.

The big bash DJ party that was the most awaited part of the trip started in the evening. It was amazing to see how all the people rocked the dance floor. For audiophiles & hi-fi enthusiasts, the music was loud, clear and crisp. Everyone was musically high and for those moments, all were carefree from the concerns of life.

After enjoying the music followed by delicious dinner, we started immersing in the beauty of the resort. Sitting beside the swimming pool outside your cottage, with full moon in the sky and chatting up with your colleagues at 2 am in the night is one experience, no one will ever forget.

Next morning after catching some sleep, we all were ready to start back for our home. Nobody wanted to go back after spending eventful time here but we started back with hopes of going to another team-building event soon in the future. We started around 11 am and reached our homes in the evening. The team-building trip was so much fun. The team-building event and the memories that it gave us will be always close to our hearts and will cherished forever.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Travelogue : A Drive to the Pink City - The Jaipur Journal

It was quite some time since I had not done a long drive. With winters engulfing North India, I thought Jaipur is the best place to visit in winter months. So I quickly planned out a 3 day trip along with my friend for a drive to the pink city to explore the bygone era & opulence of one of the most culturally vibrant destinations in the world.

We shortlisted following places to visit during our trip

-> Rajmandir Cinema
-> City Palace
-> Jantar Mantar
-> Pink City
-> Hawa Mahal
-> Albert Hall Museum
-> Birla Mandir
-> Chowki Dhani
-> Amer Fort
-> Nahargarh
-> Jal Mahal
-> A Stroll/Drive around the City

So we started from Delhi around 7 AM in the morning and reached Jaipur with a couple of breaks en route around 1 PM. The early morning traffic on NH8 was bearable. There is road construction going on few stretches of the highway. NH8 from Delhi to Jaipur is not really an amazing road to drive as compared to the butter smooth Delhi-Chandigarh NH1!

As soon as you cross the second toll of Gurgaon, you will start seeing lots of banners of Highway King Dhaba that is one of the popular food joints of the NH8 like we have SukhDev in Murthal.

We reached Jaipur and first headed to our hotel - Portico Sarovar. The hotel is located at a good location with less traffic and pollution. There are few restaurants around the hotel as well if you don't want to have food at Hotel.

The Hotel - Portico Sarovar itself has two restaurants including a rooftop restaurant with respectable food. We decided to relax on the first day at Hotel and enjoyed the lunch and dinner at Portico Sarovar only. In the evening we went to probably India's most popular Cinema hall - The Rajmandir Cinema hall. There were so many international tourists enjoying the beautifully crafted cinema hall. We watched Dear Zindagi and enjoyed cinema hall more than the movie. Anyways It was a happening experience.

So for the first day, we started our sightseeing plan and headed to City palace. The City Palace was built by Raja Sawai Jai Singh II. The maharaja of Jaipur used to sit at this location. City palace is still a royal residence with part of its area open for the general public while other parts are privately occupied and no entry is allowed there. In the City palace, you will find various other structures that are worth visiting including a museum displaying the belongings of Maharajas of Jaipur in the past.

There are three entrance gates for the City palace which are beautifully built.
Mubarak Mahal in the city palace is the museum that I talked in the first part of the post displaying textiles and other belongings of the royal family in the past.

Chandra Niwas is probably the biggest structure present in the city palace. The ground floor of Chandra Niwas is allowed for visitors where a museum is located that displays carpets, manuscripts and other items that belonged to the royal family. Rest of the part is privately occupied.
There is a place Pritam Niwas Chowk in city palace which is dedicated to Hindu gods.

Diwan-i-Aam is another important part of City palace. It is mainly a hall for large number of people. Diwan-E-Khas is a chamber is richly decorated, with the ceiling painted in rich red and gold colors. It is a attraction in the Mubarak Mahal courtyard. It is also an art gallery exhibiting paintings, ancient texts, embroidered rugs, Kashmir shawls and carpets. City Palace campus also constitutes Maharani Palace which was the residence of royal queens, Bhaggi Khanaa - another small museuem and Govind Dev Ji temple.

Our next place of visit was Jantar Mantar. It is at walking distance from City Palace. Jantar Mantar is a 19th Century monument which has various structures holding astronomical significance. It was built by Raja Sawai Jai Singh. Various instruments are present in Jantar Mantar which are relevant to astronomy. Some important instruments include Chakra Yantra which shows the position of the sun and time, Dakshin Bhitti Yantra which for calculating sizes of celestial bodies, Rashi yantra for astrological signs etc. I could not understand each instrument there.

Clicked few pics and then started for Hawa Mahal which is also known as Palace of Winds. It's historical significance states that it was built for Royal women who can watch the celebrations of various festivals in the City without being visible to common people. It has five floors. The cool breeze passes through the small windows and it is a nice experience if the weather is pleasant especially in winters.

Next, we headed towards Albert Hall Museum. This museum is outside the Pink City. It is the largest museum of Jaipur having a rich collection of antique valuables like paintings, carpets, ivory, stone, metal sculptures, currencies and works in crystal/glasses etc. If you have an interest in all these things then you can spend your entire day at Albert hall Museum. It was named after a British king Albert Edward.

After covering Albert Hall Museum, we went to Birla Mandir. It is beautifully built on Moti Dungari hill. The temple is also known as Laxmi Narayan Temple.
A lot of international tourists were also present at Birla Temple. Spending some time inside the temple and experiencing its beautiful sculptures on the exteriors was an amazing experience.

After darshan at Birla Mandir, we drove around the pink city, had some lunch, went to various markets of old Jaipur for some shopping and went back to hotel for rest.

Some of the famous markets of Jaipur are -

1. Johari Bazaar - Is most popular for wedding related shopping

2. Bapu Bazaar - Variety of Rajasthani clothes - suites & sarees.

3. Nehru Bazaar, Tripolia & Kishanpol bazaar - For handlooms, textiles, perfumes, handicrafts, bangles, carpets, blankets etc.

For the Dinner - Chowki Dhani was the choice. Anyone visiting Jaipur must try this place at night for the dinner and an amazing experience to remember.

It captures typical Rajasthani tradition and culture throughout the village. The food is good, various Rajasthani performances take place in the night and the overall excitement of having Rajasthani food in their own style is amazing. Our return drive from Chowki Dhani to the hotel was amazing too with empty Jaipur roads. First time got the chance to tap the accelerator enough to put the tacho in redline!

Following are the things you will be able to do at Chowki Dhani Village -

1.) Camel/Elephant/Bullock Cart/Horse and Boat Ride
2.) Some temples and structures of historical significance
3.) Puppet Show/Rajasthani Cultural Dance and Music Performances
4.) Fire Act performance, Astrologers, Parrot tarot reader, etc
5.) A museum displaying culture and tradition of various states in India.
6.) Kalagram - A place to buy handicrafts, clothes, textiles etc

And of course the delicious dining at Sangri Dining hall which serves you food in typical Rajasthani style. It has long waiting periods at weekends. Gorbandh open dining hall is also another better place to have Rajasthani food. It has buffet system. Eat as much as you want. I really liked the Rajasthani food.

Our next day started with first visiting the Amer Fort. Now this place quite large built along the Aravali Hills and one hardly can cover it in detail in short time. We had to cover it as much as possible. One can view serpentine staircases on both sides of the fort from the road. Amer Fort is practically not in Jaipur but a small satellite town before Jaipur known as Amer.

If I know correctly, this was the palace of Raja Man Singh. Like City Palace, Amer Fort has also various structures known as Diwan-i-Aam, Diwan-i-Khas, a place called Sheesh Mahal, A Temple etc.

Its main entrance gate is known Ganesh Dwar. Amer fort is one of the most popular tourist attractions of Jaipur drawing millions of people every month to this place.

After winding up our stroll at Amer Fort, we reached Nahargarh Fort which is on the edge of Aravalli Hills. You can see the beautiful aerial view of Jaipur City from Nahargarh Fort. Jaigarh Fort is also nearby but due to lack of time, we skipped it. Some of the Bollywood movies have its shots filmed at this location as well. It now constitutes a wax museum as well with 25 statues of various personalities.

We went to Jal Mahal on our way to return to the hotel. It is built in Man Sagar lake of Jaipur City. The roads around Jal mahal are fantastic. There are camel rides available nearby along with street food and ice cream vendors around the Jal Mahal lane. Some renovation was going on and the boat ride was not available at the time we went there. Jal mahal is also famous for the migratory birds visiting at some time of the year. Entry to Jal Mahal anyways is not allowed for visitors.

So after Jal Mahal, we drove a little around the time, visited Pink Square mall for some snacks and reached our hotel. We had our dinner at Hotel's rooftop restaurant. With amazing weather, fresh air, good food, and a company of friends, the experience will be memorable for a lifetime.

It was amazing exploring the luxury and heritage of Jaipur. An experience that tempts me to head back to Jaipur, again!

We drove back to Delhi next morning and started with daily chores of life once again. Hope to have another awesome holiday soon.

Thanks, guys!