Oracle Net8 Administrator's Guide
Release 8.0






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Oracle Names

Oracle Names is a distributed naming service developed for Oracle environments to help simplify the setup and administration of global, client/server computing networks.

This chapter describes features and functionality available with the version 8 release of Oracle Names. It also outlines procedures for configuring and controlling Oracle Names using the Oracle Net8 Assistant.

This chapter includes the following sections:

6.1 What Oracle Names Does

Oracle Names establishes and maintains an integrated system of Names Servers which work together like a directory service storing addresses for all the services on a network and making them available to clients wishing to make a connection.

Much like a caller who uses directory assistance to locate a telephone number, clients configured to use Oracle Names will refer their connection requests to a Names Server. The Names Server will attempt to resolve the service name provided by the client to a network address. If the Names Server finds the network address it will then return that information to the client. The client can then use that address to connect to the service.

Figure 6-1 depicts how Oracle Names works to help establish a connection between a client and server.

Figure 6-1 Oracle Names

6.1.1 Why Use Oracle Names?

Oracle Names provides an alternative to file-based or `local' name resolution methods, where service names and addresses must be configured and maintained with each individual client. By maintaining this information in a central administrative location, Oracle Names reduces the work effort associated with adding or relocating services.

6.2 How Oracle Names Works

Names Servers may be configured and started on any node where Net8 is installed. You may use the Oracle Names Control Utility (NAMESCTL), or the Oracle Net8 Assistant to define service names and aliases and their associated values for use with Oracle Names. Alternatively, you may configure a network listener to register its services automatically with a Names Server. As services are started and shut down, the listener will dynamically register and de-register the connect descriptor and service name to a Names Server appropriately.

6.2.1 Continuous Replication vs. Database Storage of Service Names

Oracle Names also supports different modes for storing service registration data. For smaller workgroup environments where all of the services are registered dynamically, administrators may configure Names Servers to replicate data continuously among themselves. When a network listener registers a new service, information about that service will immediately be passed along to other Names Servers in the administrative region.

Alternatively, administrators in large environments will normally want to store their registration data in an Oracle database. If the Names Servers are configured to use an Oracle database as a repository, all service registrations (both static and dynamic) will be written to the database. Each Names Server in a given administrative region will periodically poll the region database for updated registrations. In this way, new registrations are communicated in a timely manner to all of the Names Servers in a given region. At the same time, it relieves Names Servers of the necessity to communicate directly with each other, as well as provides better reliability.

6.2.2 Single Region vs. Multiple Regions

Oracle Names also provides support for one or more administrative regions. An administrative region consists of a collection of Names Servers which share a common service registry. They do this either through continuous replication between all the Names Servers in the region, or by writing to and reading from a common Oracle database (also called the region database).

Most enterprise environments with multiple data centers and many Oracle instances will probably choose to take advantage of multiple administrative regions. This allows each data center to independently define and manage the services in its own environment. At the same time, all service addresses are continuously available to all of the clients in the environment. Names Servers transparently forward name resolution requests from clients in foreign administrative regions to the proper Names Server.

6.2.3 What Data is Stored in a Names Server

Table 6-1 describes the type of data stored in a Names Server.

Table 6-1 Data Stored by Oracle Names
Data   Description  

Other Names Server Names and Addresses  

A Names Server stores the names and addresses of all other Names Servers in the same region. If there is more than one region in a network, the Names Server will store the name and address of at least one Names Server in the root region and each of the immediate sub-regions.  

Service names  

A Names Server stores the names and addresses of database services. A Names Server also stores gateways to non-Oracle databases and Oracle RDB databases.  

Database links  

Once the database address is registered, the name can be used as a global database link. Global database links, by default, use the current username and password and are made available to all users. These global database links may be supplemented by private and public database links created by individual users. For more information about private and public database links, refer to Oracle8 Distributed Database Systems.  


A Names Server stores aliases or alternative service names for any defined database service or database link.  

Oracle Connection Managers  

A Names Server stores the names and listening addresses of all Connection Managers on the network.  

6.3 Using Oracle Names with the Oracle Net8 Assistant

To configure and control a Names Server, use the Oracle Net8 Assistant.

Figure 6-2 depicts the graphical user interface used to manage a Names Server using the Oracle Net8 Assistant.

Figure 6-2 Oracle Net8 Assistant Names Server Component

6.4 Configuring a Names Server

To configure a Names Server using the Oracle Net8 Assistant, proceed as follows:

  1. From the Oracle Net8 Assistant, double-click on the Oracle Names Server folder in the directory tree.
  2. Select "Create" from the Edit menu or click on the "+" button to start a new Names Server. The Oracle Names Server Wizard will appear to guide you through the configuration process.

Preferences will be saved in the Oracle Names configuration file (NAMES.ORA). For a complete list of parameters that are available in your Oracle Names configuration file, refer to "Oracle Names Parameters (NAMES.ORA)" in Appendix B, "Configuration Parameters".

6.5 Starting a Names Server

To start a Names Server using the Oracle Net8 Assistant, proceed as follows:

  1. Start Oracle Net8 Assistant.
  2. Double-click on the Oracle Names Server folder in the directory tree.
  3. Select "Create" from the Edit menu or click on the "+" button to start a new Names Server.
  4. Select Manage Server from the pull down menu.
  5. Select the Control tab panel.
  6. Press the Start radio button from the Server Operations field.
  7. Press Apply.

Figure 6-3 depicts the Control tab panel from the Manage Server pull down option.

Figure 6-3 Oracle Net8 Assistant Control Tab Panel From the Manage Server Pull Down Option

6.6 Loading Service Names Information Into a Names Server

To load information from a local naming configuration file into a Names Server, proceed as follows:

  1. From the Oracle Net8 Assistant, click on the Oracle Names Server folder.
  2. Select a Names Server object in the parent region.
  3. Select Manage Data from the pull down menu.
  4. Select the Service Names tab panel.
  5. Enter the pathname for your current master local naming configuration file in the Load Service Names from TNSNAMES.ORA File section.
  6. Press Execute.

6.7 Creating a Database to Store Names Server Information

If you decide to store your Names Server information in a database, you will need to create the database for the region. To do this, proceed as follows:

  1. Use Server Manager and log into the Oracle database that you plan to use as the repository of the region's information, using the account that the Names Server will use to connect to the database. Note you will need to have the right to create tables when you log in.
  2. Run the "namesini.sql" script provided with Oracle Names version 8. This script creates the tables needed by Oracle Names to store information.
  3. Configure the Names Server with the default name and listening address by selecting "Create" from the Edit menu or clicking on the "+" button to start a new Names Server.
  4. Add or edit region database information by selecting Configure Server from the pull down menu.
  5. Start the Names Server. Creating a Database in a Delegated Region

If you wish to create a database to store Names Server information in a delegated region, proceed as follows:

  1. Create the database as you would if you were creating it in a single or root region.
  2. Indicate a list of domains for which the Names Server is authoritative. You can do this by proceeding as follows:
    1. From the Oracle Net8 Assistant, click on the Oracle Names Servers folder.
    2. Select Configure Server from the pull down menu.
    3. Select the Domains tab panel.
    4. Enter information about the domains for which the Names Server is authoritative.
  3. Indicate the name and address of one Names Server in the root region to the Names Server in the delegated region. You can do this by proceeding as follows:
    1. From the Oracle Names Servers component of the Oracle Net8 Assistant, select Manage Data from the pull down menu.
    2. Select the Topology tab panel.
    3. Click on the Domain Hint radio button.
    4. Enter the name and address of one known instance of a Names Server in the root region in the Topology field area.
    5. Press Execute.
  4. Define the new region as a delegated sub-region. You can do this by proceeding as follows:
    1. From the Oracle Net8 Assistant, click on the Oracle Names Server folder.
    2. Select a Names Server object in the parent region.
    3. Select Manage Data from the pull down menu.
    4. Select the Topology tab panel.
    5. Click on the Delegate Domain radio button.
    6. Enter the name and address of one known instance of a Names Server in the delegated region in the Topology field area.
    7. Press Execute.

6.8 Organizing and Naming Network Components

When you use Oracle Names, objects such as databases in a networked environment will need to be named in a way as to ensure that they are unique within the network. There are two basic models for naming objects in a network:

6.8.1 Single Domain Model

The use of the single domain naming model is useful if your network is small, and there is no duplication of names. Figure 6-4 depicts a typical flat naming structure using a single domain name .WORLD.

Figure 6-4 Single Domain Naming Model

In this environment, database service names will automatically be appended with a ".WORLD" extension (for example, PROD.WORLD, FLIGHTS.WORLD, and so forth).

6.8.2 Hierarchical Naming Model

Hierarchical naming models divide names into a hierarchical structure to allow for future growth or greater naming autonomy. This type of naming model will allow more than one database with the same simple name in different domains. Figure 6-5 depicts a hierarchical structure of domains including the (ROOT) domain, ACME domain, US.ACME, EUROPE.ACME, and ROW.ACME (Rest of World) domains.

Figure 6-5 Hierarchical Naming Model

Notice in Figure 6-5 both WEATHER and HISTORY are repeated, but the global names remain unique (that is, HISTORY.ROW.ACME and HISTORY.EUROPE.ACME). Domains

A domain is a logical group of machines and network services. Within each domain all names must be unique, but across domains simple unqualified names can be repeated.

Network domains are similar to file directories used by many operating systems in that they are hierarchical. Unlike file systems however, network domains may or may not correspond to any physical arrangement of databases or other objects in a network. They are simply names spaces developed to prevent name space conflicts.

Note: Although they appear similar, the domains of an Oracle network are completely independent of Domain Name Service (DNS) name spaces. For convenience, you may choose to mirror the DNS conventions in your Oracle network. Default Domains

The default domain is the domain within which most of the client's name requests are conducted. This is usually the domain in which the client resides, though it could also be another domain from which the client often requests services. A client can request a network service within its default domain using the service's simple, unqualified name, that is, without specifying a domain name. If a user requests a name without a "." character in it, the default domain name is automatically appended to the database service or database link name requested.

Figure 6-6 depicts a client with a default domain of EUROPE.ACME.COM. When it makes a request for the service name "WINE", the default domain name EUROPE.ACME.COM is appended to the requested name so that the name becomes WINE.EUROPE.ACME.COM.

Figure 6-6 Default Domains

For more information on domain names, refer to Oracle8 Server Concepts. Multiple Domains

Multiple domains are related hierarchically to a root domain (the highest-level domain in the hierarchy) in a series of parent-child relationships. For example, under the root might be several domains, one of which is called COM. Under the COM domain might be several more domains, one of which is ACME. Under the ACME domain might be several domains, such as US, EUROPE, and so forth. Using Consistent Domain Names

In previous releases of SQL*Net and Oracle Names, a network with only one domain, would by default be called ".world". This is no longer a requirement with Net8 and Oracle Names version 8. You may, however, want to keep the same convention to be backward compatible, as well as to avoid having to rename all your databases.

6.8.3 Using Regions to Decentralize Administrative Responsibilities

Most networks have one central point of administration, that is, one administrative region. A region is an administrative name space that defines a population of Names Servers. It is used to divide administrative responsibilities.

If you are using Oracle Names and your network is large or widely distributed geographically, you may choose to have several points of network administration. For example, if your network includes both the United States and Europe, you might want to have administrative decisions about the network made locally.

To delegate administrative regions, you must use a hierarchical naming model with each administrative region controlling one or more different domains. How Multiple Region Networks Are Organized

Networks with multiple administrative regions must have one root administrative region and one or more delegated administrative regions.

Root Administrative Regions

The domain at the top of a hierarchy is known as the root domain. Similarly, the administrative region that encompasses the root domain is known as the root administrative region. The root defines the reference point within which the naming model and the administrative model function. The root administrative region provides a common thread among all delegated administrative regions in a hierarchical naming structure. The root administrative region requires:

Delegated Administrative Regions

Administrative regions can be "delegated" from the top of the hierarchy down to other domains in the naming model. For example, a naming model with ten domains can have between one and ten administrative regions.

All administrative regions other than the root are hierarchically delegated directly or indirectly from it. Figure 6-7 depicts a network with six domains and three administrative regions: the ROOT, and two delegated regions (DR1, DR2).

Figure 6-7 Delegated Administrative Regions

Delegated Administrative Regions Below Root

All administrative regions below the root are considered delegated administrative regions. Each delegated region must know:


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