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Querying Oracle using PowerShell

September 1, 2009

Yesterday, I wrote up a quick bit of code to query out our SQL Servers.  Initially, I wanted a speedy way to hit, parse, and report back log4net logs in our “server status” scripts.

Well, never one to leave something alone, I started tinkering with Oracle support.  In our enterprise, most of our key systems sit on Oracle and there are SEVERAL opportunities for quick data retrieval routines that could help out in daily work.

Plus, doing an Oracle query in PowerShell beats five minute process of cranking up Oracle SQL Developer for a simple, single query. 🙂

CODE: The full source of this is available here on codepaste.net.

param (
    [string]$server = “.”,
    [string]$instance = $(throw “a database name is required”),

[System.Reflection.Assembly]::LoadWithPartialName(“System.Data.OracleClient”) | out-null
$connection = new-object system.data.oracleclient.oracleconnection( `
    “Data Source=(DESCRIPTION=(ADDRESS=(PROTOCOL=TCP)(HOST=$server)(PORT=1521)) `
    (CONNECT_DATA=(SERVICE_NAME=$instance)));User Id=USER_ID;Password=PASSWORD;”);

$set = new-object system.data.dataset   

$adapter = new-object system.data.oracleclient.oracledataadapter ($query, $connection)

$table = new-object system.data.datatable
$table = $set.Tables[0]

#return table

I chose to use the OracleClient library for simplicity sake.  I could have used ODP.Net; however, that’d make my scripts FAR less portable.  Since OracleClient isn’t loaded by default in PowerShell, this script loads it.  In addition, I chose to use the TNS-less connection string as I don’t typically keep a ‘tnsnames.ora’ file on my computer.  This further adds to the portability of the script.

Past that and the change from SqlClient to OracleClient, the rest of the code is the same from the prior example.

Dealing With Empty Strings and Nulls

One thing that I did run across that differed between Oracle and Microsoft SQL revolved around how empty strings were dealt with when parsing using PowerShell.


oq “SELECT * FROM Schools”


  —-        ———————–

100 School

102 School

112 School      user3@domain.net

140 School      user1@domain.net


Now, what if I wanted to just see the schools missing a principal_email_address?  I’d just rewrite my SQL query, right?  Yeah, probably, but for the sake of argument and perhaps some scripting.

oq “SELECT * FROM Schools” | ? { $_.principal_email_address -eq “”}

No results.

What? Why not?  I see two in my last query.  Unfortunately, dealing with “nulls” and empty strings can get a bit tricky when pulling from database data.  With Microsoft SQL, a text-based column (varchar, ntext, etc) seems to handle -eq “” just fine, but Oracle is less than pleased.  @ShayLevy suggested -eq [string]::Empty but that didn’t pull through either. 

From a prior experiment, I also tried -eq $null and was greeted with something very different—it returned all results. Meh.

Randomly, I tried -like $null and it worked. Well, that’s interesting.  So the value isn’t empty in Oracle, but it is “like” a null.  After a bit more digging, I discovered that the real value is –eq [DBNull]::Value.

oq “SELECT * FROM Schools” | ? { $_.principal_email_address -eq [DBNull]::Value }


  —-        ———————–

100 School
102 School

It makes sense… but more testing is required to see which is more reliable for a wide variety of data types.  I like the concept of “like null” to simulate “string empty or null”.  Further testing required. 🙂


  1. foureight84
    September 13, 2009 at 11:51 pm

    do you know if it is possible to do this without the odp .net installed? i have tried doing this using the oracle instant client but no luck. i want to deploy the script without the need for users to install odp .net.

    • September 14, 2009 at 9:31 am

      I’d assume so, just package the libraries with your script, temporarily load them, run the script, and unload them. I haven’t tried anything like that though so…

      • foureight84
        September 14, 2009 at 1:02 pm

        Hmm that’s the weird part. I loaded all of the necessary dll’s from Oracle Instant Connect, but when I tried to run it, I get an exception error.

      • September 14, 2009 at 1:09 pm

        What exception? Could you post it?

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