Does the SYS user really become inaccessible in Oracle Database running on Amazon Web Services (AWS)?

Is the inaccessibility of the SYS user on Amazon Web Services (AWS) Oracle only on Relational Database Service (RDS) implementations?

I had heard from a fellow DBA colleague that a known problem with Oracle Databases on AWS was that, in certain cases, the SYS user was not available to the DBA. Curious (and slightly alarmed), I did a little research online and discovered more than a few forum posts asking what to do about the apparent inability to execute common DBA tasks as SYS running Oracle Database on AWS. DBAs who were accustomed to being able to run DBMS_CRYPTO or install APEX from the command line were wondering how to get their work done in the cloud. In response, AWS had provided a list of various SYS commands, along with corresponding commands to run through the managed Relational Database Service (RDS) meant as a workaround.

Since all references I found regarding this issue related to Relational Database Service (RDS) implementations, I started to wonder if this was Amazon deciding to manage all SYS-like tasks on behalf of its, ahem, managed service users only. What about fully manually installed Oracle on AWS’ Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) virtual servers? Surely DBAs willing to put in the work of installing Oracle from scratch would be rewarded with SYS privileges?

I consulted Google but found no reference of Oracle installations on AWS’ EC2 lacking SYS, but then again, no positive assurance such installations would absolutely have SYS either!

The night was still young, and my curiosity had gotten the better of me. Fortunately, I came across Arthur Dayton’s incredibly thorough instructions for installing an Oracle 12c database on EC2 and spooled up my own little 12c database, executing runInstaller from an ssh command line. Once it was up and running, I typed “sqlplus / as sysdba” at that same command line. Relieved to be greeted by a SQL prompt, I typed “shutdown immediate”, turned off my EC2 instance (since AWS bills only for active instances!), and went to bed.

What are your concerns around moving your precious data to the cloud?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *