Oracle 11gR2 XE – “Database Configuration failed.”

Recently I had problems with installing Oracle 11gR2 Express Edition on CentOS 6.4.

The installation of the RPM package worked but the database configuration crash with the following error:

# service oracle-xe configure
"Database Configuration failed.  Look into /u01/app/oracle/product/11.2.0/xe/config/log for details"

The log file wasn’t very helpful because it showed no explicit hint – but I found a lot of entries with the following error code:

ORA-01034: ORACLE not available

This can be originated from amongst others:

  • Swap memory – If you used the swap trick before installation of the database (to avoid the dubious swap requirements) and rebootet before configurating the database you’ll have to re-enable the swap file. With the following commands a 1.5 GB file is created and formatted/used as swap memory – using this you can circumvent the Oracle database installation:
    # dd if=/dev/zero of=/tmp/swap.bin bs=1024k count=1536
    # mkswap /tmp/swap.bin
    # swapon /tmp/swap.bin
  • Name resolution – During the database configuration the hostname/IP address of the system needs to be resolvable. If DNS or your local hosts file /etc/hosts is erroneous the configuration will fail.
    # vi /etc/hosts
    ... localhost.localdomain localhost hostname.domain hostname
  • Disk space for /u01 – it is senseful to serve at leat 2 GB of free space to the filesystem which holds /u01. During the database configuration additional space is needed.
    # df -h /u01
    Filesystem            Size  Used Avail Use% Mounted on
                          2.5G  1.7G  682M  72% /u01

After modifying the /etc/hosts file the configuration was executing fine on my system.

# service oracle-xe configure
Installation Completed Successfully.
Oracle 11gR2 XE APEX

Oracle 11gR2 XE APEX

During another setup where I wanted to install the Oracle database beside other services on a system, the database couldn’t be configured at all.

The installation and configuration worked but SQLPlus couldn’t create a database connection at any circumstances:

# source /u01/app/oracle/product/11.2.0/xe/bin/
# sqlplus SYSTEM/...
Error: ORA-01033 ORACLE initialization or shutdown in progress

# sqlplus "/ as sysdba"
Error: ORA-01033 ORACLE initialization or shutdown in progress

I created a second system in the same configuration and did the whole configuration step by step equally to the first system. The only thing I changed was the order for the Oracle database – I installed the database first before installing the other services. I can’t get behind the reason for the failure on the first syste.m

So – if you plan to install an Oracle database additionally on a system, install it first – this saves a lot of time if you have to reinstall..

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