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Oracle Net Configurations: Find the Weak Link

Properly developing and deploying an Oracle application requires a strong knowledge of network configuration and setup. This article discusses Oracle Net Services, the suite of products that enables a connection between your application and the Oracle database, and how best to configure and troubleshoot it.

erformance and connection are the main issues developers and testers face when deploying Oracle applications. Most of the connection issues can be traced to how the Oracle Net Services and its related components are configured. According to the Oracle Manual, Oracle Net Services is "a suite of networking components that provide enterprise-wide connectivity solutions in distributed, heterogeneous computing environments." Seemingly benign changes to the network configuration at this layer can bring systems to a halt—and debugging at that point is a laborious, time-consuming task.

Oracle Net Services is comprised of Oracle Net, listener, Oracle Connection Manager, Oracle Net Configuration Assistant, and Oracle Net Manager. Oracle Net is the "communication software that enables a network session from a client application to an Oracle database server." Put another way, Oracle Net is a "relay" layer that sits on top of network protocols and resides at both the client and server ends. Its function is to perform the following critical network tasks:

  • Relay calls from the client to the Oracle server and back
  • Perform character translations between the client characterset and the database characterset

This article details the role and importance of Oracle Net, and offers solutions for some of its common configuration and troubleshooting issues. It starts with an introduction of the mechanisms by which a database application interacts with the Oracle Net layer. Then it examines the server stack, the client stack, the various topologies, and the network configuration files that make up Oracle Net. The article concludes with a look at the two-task layer and the globalization issues.

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