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Execute operating system commands in Oracle

Oracle Database Tips by Donald Burleson

Question: How can I execute operating system commands in Oracle?

This below, from Dr. Hall's great book "Oracle Job Scheduling", Dr. Hall explains options.  Also see about how dbms_scheduler replaces cron for OS shell scripts

There are three ways to issue a OS command from Oracle:

  •  Java
  • dbms_scheduler
  • PL/SQL

Here is an example of chmod from dbms_scheduler:

   dbms_scheduler.create_job (job_name    => 'myjob',
                              job_type    => 'executable',
                              job_action  => '/bin/sh',
                              number_of_arguments => 2,
                              auto_drop   => true);
   dbms_scheduler.set_job_argument_value ('myjob', 1, '-c');
   dbms_scheduler.set_job_argument_value ('myjob', 2, 'chmod a+r your_files');
   dbms_scheduler.run_job ('myjob');

 You can also use PL/SQL to issue a chmod command:

create or replace procedure
   RunCHMOD( filename VARCHAR2, permission binary_integer ) is

             library libc
             name "chmod"
             language C
             calling standard C
                  filename string,
             permission long

SQL> exec RunCHMOD('/home/oracle/gplan.sql','744');

Note that you can also execute OS commands from PL/SQL with the "host" command":

  cmd varchar2(100):='C:\docs\runme.sql';
   host (cmd );

Not all jobs that can be scheduled are written as stored procedures.  Sometimes it is necessary to schedule jobs to run operating system commands or batch scripts.  Typically, these types of jobs have been scheduled using an operating system scheduler, such as CRON, since it is not possible to call operating system command or executable scripts natively from PL/SQL.  Splitting job scheduling between two schedulers can get confusing, so many database administrators resign themselves to only using the operating system scheduler.

The scheduler in Oracle10g and beyond can be used to schedule operating system commands and scripts natively, giving the option of avoiding the operating system scheduler.  This is great if using Oracle10g, but what can be done if using Oracle 8i and 9i?  One method is to use Java stored procedures to do the work.

First, the Java stored procedure that will actually do the work needs to be created.


-- *************************************************
-- Parameters:
--    1) Host command or executable file to execute.
-- *****************************************************************
public class Host {
  public static void executeCommand(String command) {
    try {
      String[] finalCommand;
      if (isWindows()) {
        finalCommand = new String[4];
        finalCommand[0] = "C:\\winnt\\system32\\cmd.exe";
        finalCommand[1] = "/y";
        finalCommand[2] = "/c";
        finalCommand[3] = command;
      else {
        finalCommand = new String[3];
        finalCommand[0] = "/bin/sh";
        finalCommand[1] = "-c";
        finalCommand[2] = command;

The procedure is loaded in the same way as a PL/SQL stored procedure.


In order to call the Java stored procedure, a PL/SQL call specification must be published.  This is essentially a PL/SQL wrapper with the correct parameter list which allows the Java code to be called as if it were a PL/SQL procedure or function.

<      host_command.sql

-- *************************************************
-- *************************************************
-- Parameters:
--    1) Host command or executable file to execute.
-- ***********************************************************
CREATE OR REPLACE PROCEDURE host_command (p_command  IN  VARCHAR2)
NAME 'Host.executeCommand (java.lang.String)';
By default, the JServer has very little access to the operating system of the database server.  To make sure there are no problems accessing the file system and operating system commands, the appropriate permissions using the grant_permission  procedure of the dbms_java   package must be given to the user.
PROCEDURE grant_permission (
  grantee            IN  VARCHAR2,
  permission_type    IN  VARCHAR2,
  permission_name    IN  VARCHAR2,
  permission_action  IN  VARCHAR2)
Assuming that job_user is the schema that owns the Host Java stored procedure, the following permissions need to be granted:
  DBMS_JAVA.grant_permission ('JOB_USER', '',
                             '<>', 'read ,write, execute, delete');
  DBMS_JAVA.grant_permission ('JOB_USER', 'SYS:java.lang.RuntimePermission',
                             'writeFileDescriptor', '');
  DBMS_JAVA.grant_permission ('JOB_USER', 'SYS:java.lang.RuntimePermission',
                             'readFileDescriptor', '');

The effects of these permissions are only seen when the grantee reconnects.  The host_command procedure can be tested as follows:

  host_command (p_command => 'touch /u01/app/oracle/test_file');

With the host_command procedure in place, the OS commands can now be scheduled using the dbms_job  package the same way any normal PL/SQL procedure is used.


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