Making the alert log just a little more readable

One of the most valuable sources of information about what the Oracle database has done and is currently doing is the alert log. It's something that every Oracle Database professional should be familiar with. So what can you do to improve you chances of not missing important pieces of info? The obvious answer is that you should use a tool like Enterprise Manager. This is particularly true if you are looking after hundreds of databases.

But what if you are only looking after one or two or just testing something out? Well the most common solution is to simply tail the alert log file.

The only issue is that it's not the most exciting thing to view, this of course could be said for any terminal based text file. But there are things you can do to make it easier to parse visually and improve your chances of catching an unexpected issue.

The approach I take is to push the alert log file through python and use the various libraries to brighten it up. It's very easy to go from this (tail -f)

Screenshot of ScreenFloat (20-03-2018, 08-25-26)

To this

Screenshot of ScreenFloat (20-03-2018, 08-25-58)

The reason this works is that python provides a rich set of libraries which can add a little bit of colour and formatting to the alert file.

You can find the code to achieve this in the gist below



Just a quick note on installing this. You'll need either python 2.7 or 3 available on your server.

I'd also recommend installing pip and then the following libraries

pip install humanize psutil colorama python-dateutil

After you've done that it's just a case of running the script. If you have $ORACLE_BASE and $ORACLE_SID set the library will try and make a guess at the location of the alert file. i.e

python alertlogparser.py

But if that doesn't work or you get an error you can also explicitly specify the location of the alert log with something like


python alertlogparser.py -a $ORACLE_BASE/diag/rdbms/orcl/orcl/trace/alert_orcl.log


This script isn't supposed to be an end product just a simple example of what can be achieved to make things a little easier. And whilst I print information like CPU load and Memory there's nothing to stop you from modifying the script to display the number of warnings or errors found in the alert log and update it things change. Or if you really want to go wild implement something similar but a lot more sophisticated using python and curses

The age of "Terminal" is far from over….
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