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Separate app and db accounts or one Oracle account?

We plan to implement Oracle E-Business Suite and will be using 10g for the database platform. We are trying to decide between two options, one being separate app/db accounts for each environment, which means many passwords to manage, and the opposite being one Oracle account that manages all environments. Is there a preferred setup?

We are in a project to implement Oracle E-Business Suite and will be using 10g for the database platform. We have run into two mindsets as to the account structure/design between two different consultants, both of whom have been apps DBAs for some time, one being separate app/db accounts for each environment, which means many passwords to manage, and the opposite being one Oracle account that manages all environments. The one-account scenario seems easier in the long run for maintenance purposes, and we'll likely only have one or two people managing Oracle, both apps and db. We will have four to five environments to start but would expect those to grow as well as seeing our apps population grow. Is there a preferred setup or is it individual preference? Our previous infrastructure had no Oracle apps -- just databases -- and we've operated under the one-owner account there.
If you were using Oracle 8i or earlier, the preferred approach would be separate accounts. Oracle 9i introduced the Virtual Private Database (VPD) which lets you put different users' data into the same table, but each user queries that table and can only see their data. Oracle 10g introduced some enhancements and stability to VPD. Since you are using Oracle 10g, I would be leaning towards implementing VPD all in one account unless I had other requirements that would dictate otherwise.
This was last published in July 2006

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