Bash tips & tricks [ep. 7]: Cleanup on EXIT with a trap

This is the seventh epidose of a small series.


Pipes, temporary files, lock files, processes spawned in background, rows inserted in a status table that need to be updated… Everything need to be cleaned up if the script exits, even when the exit condition is not triggered inside the script.


The worst practice is, of course, to forget to cleanup the tempfiles, leaving my output and temporary directories full of files *.tmp, *.pipe, *.lck, etc. I will not show the code because the list of bad practices is quite long…

Better than forgiving to cleanup, but still very bad, is to cleanup everything just before triggering the exit command (in the following example, F_check_exit is a function that exits the script if the first argument is non-zero, as defined it in the previous episode):

A better approach, would be to put all the cleanup tasks in a Cleanup()  function and then call this function instead of duplicating all the code everywhere:

But still, I need to make sure that I insert this piece of code everywhere. Not optimal yet.

I may include the Cleanup function inside the F_check_exit function, but then I have two inconvenients:
1 – I need to define the Cleanup function in every script that includes my include file
2 – still there will be exit conditions that are not trapped


The good approach would be to trap the EXIT signal with the Cleanup function:

Much better! But what if my include script has some logic that also creates some temporary files?

I can create a global F_Cleanup function that eventually executes the local Cleanup function, if defined. Let me show this:

Include script:

Main script:

The Cleanup function will be executed only if defined.

No Cleanup function: no worries, but still the F_Cleanup function can do some global cleanup not specific to the main script.

Bash tips & tricks [ep. 6]: Check the exit code

This is the sixth epidose of a small series.


Every command in a script may fail due to external reasons. Bash programming is not functional programming! 🙂

After running a command, make sure that you check the exit code and either raise a warning or exit with an error, depending on how a failure can impact the execution of the script.


The worst example is not to check the exit code at all:

Next one is better, but you may have a lot of additional code to type:

Again, Log_Close, eok, eerror, etc are functions defined using the previous Bash Tips & Tricks in this series.


Define once the check functions that you will use after every command:


Bash tips & tricks [ep. 5]: Write the output to a logfile

This is the fifth epidose of a small series.


Logging the output of the scripts to a file is very important. There are several ways to achieve it, I will just show one of my favorites.


You can log badly either from the script to a log file:

or by redirecting badly the standard output of the script:


My favorite solution is to automatically open a pipe that will receive from the standard output and redirect to the logfile. With this solution, I can programmatically define my logfile name inside the script (based on the script name and input parameters for example) and forget about redirecting the output everytime that I run a command.

(*) the functions edebug, einfo, etc, have to be created using the guidelines I have used in this post: Bash tips & tricks [ep. 4]: Use logging levels

The -Z parameter can be used to intentionally avoid logging.

Again, all this stuff (function definitions and variables) should be put in a global include file.

If I execute it:


Bash tips & tricks [ep. 4]: Use logging levels

This is the fourth epidose of a small series.


Support different logging levels natively in your scripts so that your code will be more stable and maintainable.




Nothing to invent, there are already a few blog posts around about the best practices for log messages. I personally like the one from Michael Wayne Goodman:

I have reused his code in my scripts with very few modifications to fit my needs:

The edumpvar is handy to have the status of several variables at once:

If you couple the verbosity level with input parameters you can have something quite clever (e.g. -s for silent, -V for verbose, -G for debug). I’m putting everything into one single snippet just as example, but as you can imagine, you should seriously put all the fixed variables and functions inside an external file that you will systematically include in your scripts:





It does not take into account the output file. That will be part of the next tip 🙂

Bash tips & tricks [ep. 3]: Colour your terminal!

This is the third epidose of a small series.


The days of monochrome green-on-black screens are over, in a remote shell  terminal you can have something fancier!




Define a series of variables as shortcuts for color escape codes, there are plenty of examples on internet.

Use them whenever you need to highlight the output of a script, and eventually integrate them in a smart prompt (like the one I’ve blogged about sometimes ago).bash_prompt_color

The echo builtin command requires -e in order to make the colours work. When reading files, cat works, less requires -r. vi may work with some hacking, but it’s not worth to spend too much time, IMHO.

Bash tips & tricks [ep. 2]: Have a smart environment for personal accounts

This is the second epidose of a small series.


The main technical account (oracle here) usually has the smart environment, with aliases, scripts avilable at fingertips, correct environment variables and functions.

When working with personal accounts, it may be boring to set the new environment at each login, copy it from a golden copy or reinvent the wheel everytime.




Distribute a standard .bash_profile that calls a central profile script valid for all the users:

Make your common environment as smart as possible. If any commands need to be run differently depending on the user (oracle or not oracle), just use a simple if:

The goal of course is to avoid as many types as you can, and let all your colleagues profit of the smart environment.

Migrating Oracle RAC from SuSE to OEL (or RHEL) live

I have a customer that needs to migrate its Oracle RAC cluster from SuSE to OEL.

I know, I know, there is a paper from Dell and Oracle named:

How Dell Migrated from SUSE Linux to Oracle Linux

That explains how Dell migrated its many RAC clusters from SuSE to OEL. The problem is that they used a different strategy:

– backup the configuration of the nodes
– then for each node, one at time
– stop the node
– reinstall the OS
– restore the configuration and the Oracle binaries
– relink
– restart

What I want to achieve instead is:
add one OEL node to the SuSE cluster as new node
– remove one SuSE node from the now-mixed cluster
– install/restore/relink the RDBMS software (RAC) on the new node
– move the RAC instances to the new node (taking care to NOT run more than the number of licensed nodes/CPUs at any time)
– repeat (for the remaining nodes)

because the customer will also migrate to new hardware.

In order to test this migration path, I’ve set up a SINGLE NODE cluster (if it works for one node, it will for two or more).

I have to setup the new node addition carefully, mainly as I would do with a traditional node addition:

  • Add new ip addresses (public, private, vip) to the DNS/hosts
  • Install the new OEL server
  • Keep the same user and groups (uid, gid, etc)
  • Verify the network connectivity and setup SSH equivalence
  • Check that the multicast connection is ok
  • Add the storage, configure persistent naming (udev) and verify that the disks (major, minor, names) are the very same
  • The network cards also must be the very same

Once the new host ready, the cluvfy stage -pre nodeadd will likely fail due to

  • Kernel release mismatch
  • Package mismatch

Here’s an example of output:

So the problem is not if the check succeed or not (it will not), but what fails.

Solving all the problems not related to the difference SuSE-OEL is crucial, because the will fail with the same errors.  I need to run it using -ignorePrereqs and -ignoreSysPrereqs switches. Let’s see how it works:

Then, as stated by the, I run the and I expect it to work:

Bingo! Let’s check if everything is up and running:

So yes, it works, but remember that it’s not a supported long-term configuration.

In my case I expect to migrate the whole cluster from SLES to OEL in one day.

NOTE: using OEL6 as new target is easy because the interface names do not change. The new OEL7 interface naming changes, if you need to migrate without cluster downtime you need to setup the new OEL7 nodes following this post:

Otherwise, you need to configure a new interface name for the cluster with oifcfg.



Check the actual ulimits for all the running Oracle instances

I’ve read the recent good post from my friend Rene on Pythian’s Blog about how to troubleshoot when user ulimits are different from what specified in limits.conf:

Quick Tip : Oracle User Ulimit Doesn’t Reflect Value on /etc/security/limits.conf

I would like to add my 2 cents:

Once you fix the problem, you may want to check (any maybe monitor) when an instance is running with a wrong value (and maybe encounter the famous Error message: Linux-x86_64 Error: 23: Too many open files in system).

This single line gives you an overview of all your instances at once:

If you find any wrong values, plan a restart before you encounter any error during peak hours!




Smart Bash Prompt for Oracle

If you are an Oracle customer who has several database versions running, you have to deal with scripts that become more and more complex to maintain. Depending on the version or the edition of your database, you may want to run different pieces of code. This forces you to get programmatically more information about your database version and edition (e.g., in order to run a statspack or AWR report if your software is either Enterprise or Standard).
The most common way to get information about the software is connecting to the database and getting it through a couple of selects. But what if you don’t have any running databases?
The ORACLE_HOME inventory has such information, and you can get it with a short shell function:

The snippet searches for a patchset entry in comps.xml to get the patch version rather than the base version (for releases prior to 11gR2 where out-of-place patching occurs). If a patchset cannot be found, it looks for the base version. Depending on the major release, the information about the edition is either in globalvariables.xml (11g, 12c) or in context.xml (10g).
When you call this “ohversion” function, you get both the Oracle version and the edition of your current ORACLE_HOME.
If you’re using the bash as user shell, you may want to take one step forward and  include this information in a much fancier bash prompt than the prompt by default:

2015_06_05_16_22_56_sso0419iAlthough this prompt may seem long, it has several advantages that save you a lot of typing:
• The newline character inside the prompt let’s you start typing commands on an almost empty line so you don’t have to worry about how long your command is.
• The full username@host:path can be copied and pasted quickly for scp commands.
• The time inside the square brackets is helpful to track timings.
• The indication of the current environment (version, edition, SID) lets you know which environment you’re working on.
• The leading number is the exit code of the last command ($?). It’s green when the exit code is zero and red for all other exit codes.
• Hash characters before and after the prompt mitigate the risk of copying and pasting the wrong line by mistake inside your session.

Note: this post originally appeared on IOUG Tips & Best Practices Booklet 9th edition.