Running Oracle Database on Docker on Apple M1 Chip

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This post is for you if you have an Apple M1 laptop and cannot get Oracle Database to run on Docker.

The reason Oracle Database, and lots of other software, doesn’t run on the new Apple Silicon is their new chip uses a different instructions set to what is used by Intel chips. Most of the Database vendors have come out to say they will not be porting their Databases to the M1 chip, as most/all servers out there run on x86 chips, and the cost of porting is just not worth it, as there is zero customers.

Are you using an x86 Chip computer (Windows or Macs with intel chips)? If so, follow these instructions (and ignore this post)

If you have been using Apple for your laptop for some time and have recently upgraded, you are now using the M1 chip, you have probably found some of your software doesn’t run. In my scenario (and with many other people) you can no longer run an Oracle Database 😦

But there does seem to be a possible solution and this has been highlighted by Tom de Vroomen on his blog. A work around is to spin up an x86 container using Colima. Tom has given some instructions on his blog, and what I list below is an extended set of instructions to get fully setup and running with Oracle on Docker on M1 chip.

1-Install Homebrew

You might have Homebrew installed, but if not run the following to install.

/bin/bash -c "$(curl -fsSL"

2-Install colima

You can not install Colima using Homebrew. This might take a minute or two to run.

brew install colima

3-Start colima x86 container

With Colima installed, we can now start an x86 container.

colima start --arch x86_64 --memory 4

The container will be based on x86, which is the important part of what we need. The memory is 4GB, but you can probably drop that a little.

The above command should start within a second or two.

4-Install Oracle Database for Docker

The following command will create an Oracle Database docker image using the image created by Gerald Venzi.

docker run -d -p 1521:1521 -e ORACLE_PASSWORD=<your password> -v oracle-volume:/opt/oracle/oradata gvenzl/oracle-xe

I changed <your password> to SysPassword1.

This will create the docker image and will allow for any changes to the database to be persisted after you shutdown docker. This is what you want to happen.

5-Log-in to Oracle as System

Open the docker client to see if the Oracle Database image is running. If not click on the run button.

When it finishes starting up, open the command line (see icon to the left of the run button), and log in as the SYSTEM user.

sqlplus system/SysPassword1@//localhost/XEPDB1

You are now running Oracle Database on Docker on an M1 chip laptop 🙂

6-Create new user

You shouldn’t use the System user, as that is like using root for everything. You’ll need to create a new user/schema in the database for you to use for your work. Run the following.

create user brendan identified by BTPassword1 default tablespace users
grant connect, resource to brendan;

If these run without any errors you now have your own schema in the Oracle Database on Docker (on M1 chip)

7-Connect using SQL*Plus & SQL Developer

Now let’s connect to the schema using sqlplus.

sqlplus brendan/BTPassword1@//localhost/XEPDB1

That should work for you and you can now proceed using the command line tool.

If you refer to use a GUI tool then go install SQL Developer. Jeff Smith has a blog post about installing SQL Developer on M1 chip. Here is the connection screen with all the connection details entered (using the username and password given/used above)

You can now use the command line as well as SQL Developer to connect to your Oracle Database (on docker on M1).

8-Stop Docker and Colima

After you have finished using the Oracle Database on Docker you will want to shut it down until the next time you want to use it. There are two steps to follow. The first is to stop the Docker image. Just go to the Docker Desktop and click on the Stop button. It might take a few seconds for it to shutdown.

The second thing you need to do is to stop Colima.

colima stop

That’s it all done.

9-What you need to run the next time (and every time after that)

For the second and subsequent time you want to use the Oracle Docker image all you need to do is the following

(a) Start Colima

colima start --arch x86_64 --memory 4

(b) Start Oracle on Docker

Open Docker Desktop and click on the Run button [see Docker Desktop image above]

And to stop everything

(a) Stop the Oracle Database on Docker Desktop

(b) Stop Colima by running ‘colima stop’ in a terminal

Working with External Data on Oracle DB Docker

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With multi-modal databases (such as Oracle and many more) you will typically work with data in different formats and for different purposes. One such data format is with data located external to the database. The data will exist in files on the operating systems on the DB server or on some connected storage device.

The following demonstrates how to move data to an Oracle Database Docker image and access this data using External Tables. (This based on an example from with a few additional commands).

For this example, I’ll be using an Oracle 21c Docker image setup previously. Similarly the same steps can be followed for the 18c XE Docker image, by changing the Contain Id from 21cFull to 18XE.

Step 1 – Connect to OS in the Docker Container & Create Directory

The first step involves connecting the the OS of the container. As the container is setup for default user ‘oracle’, that is who we will connect as, and it is this Linux user who owns all the Oracle installation and associated files and directories

docker exec -it 21cFull /bin/bash

When connected we are in the Home directory for the Oracle user.

The Home directory contains lots of directories which contain all the files necessary for running the Oracle Database.

Next we need to create a directory which will story the files.

mkdir ext_data

As we are logged in as the oracle Linux user, we don’t have to make any permissions changes, as Oracle Database requires read and write access to this directory.

Step 3 – Upload files to Directory on Docker container

Open another terminal window on your computer (desktop/laptop). You should have two such terminal windows open. One you opened for Step 1 above, and this one. This will allow you to easily switch between files on your computer and the files in the Docker container.

Download the two Countries files, to your computer, which are listed on Countries1.txt and Countries2.txt.

Now you need to upload those files to the Docker container.

docker cp Countries1.txt 21cFull:/opt/oracle/ext_data/Countries1.txt
docker cp Countries2.txt 21cFull:/opt/oracle/ext_data/Countries2.txt

Step 4 – Connect to System (DBA) schema, Create User, Create Directory, Grant access to Directory

If you a new to the Database container, you don’t have any general users/schemas created. You should create one, as you shouldn’t use the System (or DBA) user for any development work. To create a new database user connect to System.

sqlplus system/SysPassword1@//localhost/XEPDB1

To use sqlplus command line tool you will need to install Oracle Instant Client and then SQLPlus (which is a separate download from the same directory for your OS)

To create a new user/schema in the database you can run the following (change the username and password to something more sensible).

create user brendan identified by BtPassword1
default tablespace users
temporary tablespace temp;
grant connect, resource to brendan;
alter user brendan
quota unlimited on users;

Now create the Directory object in the database, which points to the directory on the Docker OS we created in the Step 1 above. Grant ‘brendan’ user/schema read and write access to this Directory

CREATE OR REPLACE DIRECTORY ext_tab_data AS '/opt/oracle/ext_data';
grant read, write on directory ext_tab_data to brendan;

Now, connect to the brendan user/schema.

Step 5 – Create external table and test

To connect to brendan user/schema, you can run the following if you are still using SQLPlus

SQL> connect brendan/BtPassword1@//localhost/XEPDB1

or if you exited it, just run this from the command line

sqlplus system/SysPassword1@//localhost/XEPDB1

Create the External Table (same code from

CREATE TABLE countries_ext (
  country_code      VARCHAR2(5),
  country_name      VARCHAR2(50),
  country_language  VARCHAR2(50)
  DEFAULT DIRECTORY ext_tab_data
      country_code      CHAR(5),
      country_name      CHAR(50),
      country_language  CHAR(50)
  LOCATION ('Countries1.txt','Countries2.txt')

It should create for you. If not and you get an error then if will be down to a typo on directory name or the files are not in the directory or something like that.

We can now query the External Table as if it is a Table in the database.

SQL> set linesize 120
SQL> select * from countries_ext order by country_name;
----- ------------------------------------ ------------------------------
ENG   England                              English
FRA   France                               French
GER   Germany                              German
IRE   Ireland                              English
SCO   Scotland                             English
USA   Unites States of America             English
WAL   Wales                                Welsh

7 rows selected.

All done!

Oracle 21c XE Database and Docker setup

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You know when you are waiting for the 39 bus for ages, and then two of them turn up at the same time. It’s a bit like this with Oracle 21c XE Database Docker image being released a few days after the 18XE Docker image!

Again we have Gerald Venzi to thank for putting these together and making them available.

Are you running an Apple M1 chip Laptop? If so, follow these instructions (and ignore the rest of this post)

If you want to install Oracle 21c XE yourself then go to the download page and within a few minutes you are ready to go. Remember 21c XE is a fully featured version of their main Enterprise Database, with a few limitations, basically on size of deployment. You’d be surprised how many organisations who’s data would easily fit within these limitations/restrictions. The resource limits of Oracle Database 21 XE include:

  • 2 CPU threads
  • 2 GB of RAM
  • 12GB of user data (Compression is included so you can store way way more than 12G)
  • 3 pluggable Databases

Remember the 39 bus scenario I mentioned above. A couple of weeks ago the Oracle 18c XE Docker image was released. This is a full installation of the database and all you need to do is to download it and run it. Nothing else is required. Check out my previous post on this.

To download, install and run Oracle 21c XE Docker image, just run the following commands.

docker pull gvenzl/oracle-xe:21-full

docker run -d -p 1521:1521 -e ORACLE_PASSWORD=SysPassword1 -v oracle-volume:/opt/oracle/XE21CFULL/oradata gvenzl/oracle-xe:21-full

docker rename da37a77bb436 21cFull

sqlplus system/SysPassword1@//localhost/XEPDB1

It’s a good idea to create a new schema for your work. Here is an example to create a schema called ‘demo’. First log into system using sqlplus, as shown above, and then run these commands.

create user demo identified by demo quota unlimited on users;
grant connect, resource to demo;

To check that schema was created you can connect to it using sqlplus.

connect demo/demo@//localhost/XEPDB1

Then to stop the image from running and to restart it, just run the following

docker stop 21cFull
docker start 21cFull

Check out my previous post on Oracle 18c XE setup for a few more commands.

SQL Developer Connection Setup

An alternative way to connect to the Database is to use SQL Developer. The following image shows and example of connecting to a schema called DEMO, which I created above. See the connection details in this image. They are the same as what is shown above when connecting using sqlplus.

Oracle 18c XE Docker setup

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During August (2021) Gerald Venzi of Oracle released a new set of Docker images and these included Oracle 18c XE Database. Check out Gerald’s blog post about this for a lot more details on these images. Great work Gerald, and it’s way simpler to set this up compared to previous.

The following is really just a reminder to myself of the commands needed to install and run one of the 18c XE docker images.

Gerald has provided 3 different versions of 18c XE Database. Check out his blog post for more details of what is included/excluded in each image.

I decided to go with the FULL docker image (oracle-xe-full), just because I use most of the DB features and like to play around with the rest. If you just want a Database then go with the medium or small sized docker images

Docker Image Name Description
oracle-xe-full Contains full Oracle 18c XE Database installation. Containing all the bells and whistles. This is the largest docker image.
oralce-xeThis medium sized image has some things stripped out from the installation. Contains most of the functionality from the full image, but some of the edge case functionality has been removed.
oracle-xe-slimThis is the smallest image and has a lot of extra features remove. Probably only suitable if you want a basic Database.

Before you run the following commands you will need to install Docker.

Step 1: Download the 18c XE image

docker pull gvenzl/oracle-xe

Step 2: Check the image exist in your Docker env

docker images

Step 3: Run the image

docker run -d -p 1521:1521 -e ORACLE_PASSWORD=SysPassword1 -v oracle-volume:/opt/oracle/oradata gvenzl/oracle-xe

This command remaps the 1521 port to local 1521, changed/set the password and gives volume details to all any changes to the database and image to be persisted i.e. when you restart the image your previous work will be there

Step 4: Rename image [you can skip this step if you want. I just wanted a different name]

docker ps
docker rename d95a3db95747 18XE 

NB: Use the code/reference for your docker image. It will be different to mine (d95a3db95747)

Step 5: Connect to the Database as DBA/Admin schema

You can use SQL*Plus or some other client side tool to connect to the database

sqlplus system/SysPassword1@//localhost/XEPDB1

A simple query to check we are connected to the database.

select username from dba_users;

Step 6: Create your own (developer) Schema

create user demo identified by demo quota unlimited on users;
grant connect, resource to demo;

Exit SQL*Plus and log back into the Database using the DEMO schema you just created.

connect demo/demo@//localhost/XEPDB1

Step 7: Create a Table and enter some Records

create table test (col1 NUMBER, col2 VARCHAR2(10));
insert into test values (1, 'Brendan');

Step 8: Test the Docker image persists the data

Stop the docker image

docker stop 18XE

Check it is no-longer running

docker ps

Nothing will be displayed

Step 9: Start the 18XE Docker image and Check data was persisted

docker start 18XE
docker ps

You should see the docker image is running

sqlplus demo/demo@//localhost/XEPDB1
select table_name from user_tables;
select * from test;

These last two commands should show the table and the record in the table. This means the data was persisted.

All done you now have a working Docker image of Oracle 18XE running.

Just remember to stop the image when you don’t need it on your computer. These will save you some resource usage.

A selection of Hadoop Docker Images

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When it comes to big data platforms one of the biggest challenges is getting a test environment setup where you can try out the various components. There are a few approaches to doing this this. The first is to setup your own virtual machine or some other container with the software. But this can be challenging to get just a handful of big data applications/software to work on one machine.

But there is an alternative approach. You can use one of the preconfigured environments from the likes of AWS, Google, Azure, Oracle, etc. But in most cases these come with a cost. Maybe not in the beginning but after a little us you will need to start handing over some dollars. But these require you to have access to the cloud i.e. wifi, to run these. Again not always possible!

So what if you want to have a local big data and Hadoop environment on your own PC or laptop or in your home or office test lab? There ware a lot of Virtual Machines available. But most of these have a sizeable hardware requirement. Particularly for memory, with many requiring 16+G of RAM ! Although in more recent times this might not be a problem but for many it still is. Your machines do not have that amount or your machine doesn’t allow you to upgrade.

What can you do?

Have you considered using Docker? There are many different Hadoop Docker images available and these are not as resource or hardware hungry, unlike the Virtual Machines.

Here is a list of some that I’ve tried out and you might find them useful.

Cloudera QuickStart image

You may have tried their VM, now go dry the Cloudera QuickStart docker image.

Read about it here.

Check our Docker Hub for lots and lots of images.

Docker Hub is not the only place to get Hadoop Docker images. There are lots on GitHub
Just do a quick Google search to find the many, many, many images.

These Docker Hadoop images are a great way for you to try out these Big Data platforms and environments with the minimum of resources.


Setting up Oracle Database on Docker

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A couple of days ago it was announced that several Oracle images were available on the Docker Store.

This is by far the easiest Oracle Database install I have every done !

You simply have no excuse now for not installing and using an Oracle Database. Just go and do it now!

The following steps outlines what I did you get an Oracle 12.1c Database.

1. Download and Install Docker

There isn’t much to say here. Just go to the Docker website, select the version docker for your OS, and just install it.

You will probably need to create an account with Docker.


After Docker is installed it will automatically start and and will be placed in your system tray etc so that it will automatically start each time you restart your laptop/PC.

2. Adjust the memory allocation

From the system tray open the Docker application. In the Advanced section allocate a bit more memory. This will just make things run a bit smoother. Be a bit careful on how much to allocate.


In the General section check the tick-box for automatically backing up Docker VMs. This is assuming you have back-ups setup, for example with Time Machine or something similar.

3. Download & Edit the Oracle Docker environment File

On the Oracle Database download Docker webpage, click on the the Get Content button.


You will have to enter some details like your name, company, job title and phone number, then click on the check-box, before clicking on the Get Content button. All of this is necessary for the Oracle License agreement.

The next screen lists the Docker Services and Partner Services that you have signed up for.


Click on the Setup button to go to the webpage that contains some of the setup instructions.


The first thing you need to do is to copy the sample Environment File. Create a new file on your laptop/desktop and paste the environment file contents into the file. There are a few edits you need to make to this file. The following is the edited/modified Environment file that I created and used. The changes are for DB_SID, DB_PASSWD and DB_DOMAIN.

## Copyright(c) Oracle Corporation 1998,2016. All rights reserved.##
##                                                                ##
##                   Docker OL7 db12c dat file                    ##
##                                                                ##

## Specify the basic DB parameters

## db sid (name)
## default : ORCL
## cannot be longer than 8 characters


## db passwd
## default : Oracle


## db domain
## default : localdomain


## db bundle
## default : basic
## valid : basic / high / extreme
## (high and extreme are only available for enterprise edition)


## end

I called this file ‘docker_ora_db.txt

4. Download and Configure Oracle Database for Docker

The following command will download and configure the docker image

$ docker run -d --env-file ./docker_ora_db.txt -p 1527:1521 -p 5507:5500 -it --name dockerDB121 --shm-size="8g" store/oracle/database-enterprise:

This command will create a container called ‘dockerDB121’. The 121 at the end indicate the version number of the Oracle Database. If you end up with a number of containers containing different versions of the Oracle Database then you need some way of distinguishing them.

Take note of the port mapping in the above command, as you will need this information later.

When you run this command, the docker image will be downloaded from the docker website, will be unzipped and the container setup and ready to run.


5. Log-in and Finish the configuration

Although the docker container has been setup, there is still a database configuration to complete. The following images shows that the new containers is there.


To complete the Database setup, you will need to log into the Docker container.

docker exec -it dockerDB121 /bin/bash

Then run the Oracle Database setup and startup script (as the root user).

/bin/bash /home/oracle/setup/


This script can take a few minutes to run. On my laptop it took about 2 minutes.

When this is finished the terminal session will open as this script goes into a look.

To run any other commands in the container you will need to open another terminal session and connect to the Docker container. So go open one now.

6. Log into the Database in Docker

In a new terminal window, connect to the Docker container and then switch to the oracle user.

su - oracle

Check that the Oracle Database processes are running (ps -ef) and then connect as SYSDBA.

sqlplus / as sysdba

Let’s check out the Database.

SQL> select name,DB_UNIQUE_NAME from v$database;

--------- ------------------------------

SQL> SELECT, v.open_mode, NVL(v.restricted, 'n/a') "RESTRICTED", d.status
     FROM v$pdbs v, dba_pdbs d
     WHERE v.guid = d.guid
     ORDER BY v.create_scn;

------------------------------ ---------- --- ---------

And the tnsnames.ora file contains the following:

    (ADDRESS = (PROTOCOL = TCP)(HOST = = 1521))
       (SERVICE_NAME = ORCL.localdomain)     )   )

     (ADDRESS = (PROTOCOL = TCP)(HOST = = 1521))
       (SERVICE_NAME = PDB1.localdomain)     )   )

You are now up an running with an Docker container running an Oracle 12.1 Databases.

7. Configure SQL Developer (on Client) to

access the Oracle Database on Docker

You can not use your client tools to connect to the Oracle Database in a Docker Container. Here is a connection setup in SQL Developer.


Remember that port number mapping I mentioned in step 4 above. See in this SQL Developer connection that the port number is 1527.

Thats it. How easy is that. You now have a fully configured Oracle 12.1c Enterprise Edition Database to play with, to have fun and to explore all the wonderful features of the Oracle Database.