RDA and HCVE...
I haven't look at Oracle's Remote Diagnostic Agent (RDA) tool in a couple of years. Back when we ran our systems on Windows I remember using a clunky version of RDA that looked like it was cobbled together with batch files and VB code.
What is RDA? From the Oracle website: Remote Diagnostic Agent (RDA) is a set of command line diagnostic scripts that are executed by an engine written in the Perl programming language. RDA is used to gather detailed information about an Oracle environment; the data gathered is in turn used to aid in problem diagnosis. The output is also useful for seeing the overall system configuration.
I opened a TAR recently and they asked me to run the latest RDA on one of our Linux machines. The 4.x version of RDA looks like it was released in early December 2007. RDA now includes the Health Check Validation Engine (HCVE) which includes all kinds of OS specific pre-installation checks.
What is HCVE? From the Oracle site: The goal of the Health Check Validation Engine is to develop an autonomous rule engine that assists customers in diagnosing and determining cause and effect configuration issues related to Oracle Products on their installation platform. The generic engine executes health-checks in both customer and Oracle server side environments using very abstract rules provided by the product experts.
After downloading installing and running the latest version of RDA I was pleasantly surprised. It looks like they rebuilt the whole thing from scratch. Now it is a monster Perl script with some XML files that contain the installation rules for each platform.
1) You can generate traditional RDA reports which are a collection of HTML reports. These can be used internally to document configurations. Oracle often requests these to help with resolution of TARs.
2) You can run a HCVE and validate that your OS is set up correctly for Oracle. Again, these are useful for internal validation or for resolution of TARs.
Here are some jumping off points for the RDA tool: