Friday Apr 15, 2016

Why ODA is a perfect solution for Disaster Recovery

While disasters do occur every now and then, many production deployments lack a disaster recovery (DR) system. Oracle Database Appliance makes a great solution for deploying a disaster recovery system (especially for production ODA deployments) for the following reasons.

1. Easy to setup (setup entire DR site in a matter of hours)

2. Matches production platform exactly for your ODA production environment

3. Low total cost of solution

4. Large additional CPU, Memory, and Storage capacity available for additional use

5. Leverage low CPU initial configuration on DR side and scale dynamically only when needed

6. Consistent performance between production and standby environments

7. Easy to maintain DR solution (sort of one-button maintenance)

8. Achieve higher availability during both planned and unplanned downtimes

9. Use DR environment for additional purposes (use extra capacity for deploying DBs and VMs)

10. Test and validate patches using standby first patching

11. Distribute workload and CPU allocation between production and DR using Active Data Guard

12. Keep DR environment up-to-date at the touch of a button (easy to synchronize production and DR environments)

13. Use ODA as DR solution for both ODA and non-ODA production environments

14. Easy to migrate from your non-ODA infrastructure to ODA infrastructure

Refer to Oracle White Paper Deploying Oracle Data Guard with Oracle Database Appliance (http://www.oracle.com/technetwork/database/database-appliance/documentation/deploying-odg-with-oda-1615029.pdf). 

Tuesday Mar 01, 2016

ODA IB Driver Update

With the Appliance Manager 12.1.2.6 release, a new Infini-Band driver has been included.  To apply the fix, you must first update your ODA to the 12.1.2.6 release.

If you swapped out the IB cards for SFP+ cards, this does not apply to you.

****If you ‘moved’ the interconnect from the IB port to the 10GbE port, please contact Oracle Support to provide the steps to move the interconnect back to IB ports.*****

For everyone else that is using the IB port for the interconnect, please run the following command to update the IB drivers.

/opt/oracle/oak/bin/infiniFixSetup.py

This IB update is important to run on the ODA Virtualized deployments, but it can also be run on bare metal as well.

To verify that the IB Driver update has been applied on both Dom0 and Dom1 (odabase),  run the following command.  The output should show 1.

# cat /opt/oracle/oak/conf/ib_fix

1

 

Using the new ‘-local’ parameter to roll the 12.1.2.6 Patch


[Read More]

Prepare for the Oracle Database Appliance 12.1.2.6 Patch

The next ODA Patch 12.1.2.6 is going to provide in-place upgrade of the operating system from OL5.11 to OL6.7.  As many of you may know, it was not an easy upgrade to OL6 as it required your systems to be re-imaged. Our ODA team did not feel this was a good thing to require a re-image of your ODA, so we have engineered the upgrade to be in-place and rolling.

However, before you jump into the air and yell hurrah, this patch requires the ODA to first have the 12.1.2.5 patch applied successfully. So for those of you that have not upgraded your ODA’s in a while or are on a version less than 12.1.2.2.0, please review the README (https://updates.oracle.com/Orion/Services/download?type=readme&aru=19485583) of the 12.1.2.5 patch set as you may need to apply an interim patch before moving to 12.1.2.5.

The 12.1.2.6 patch does not apply updates to the ILOM, BIOS, Controller, Expander, or disk firmware.  So, before you patch your ODA to 12.1.2.6, run the  oakcli command with the 12.1.2.5 version/patch

oakcli show version -detail

All of the components, except the databases, should show Up-To-Date.  The installed versions vary from ODA HW versions...it is the UP-TO-DATE that you are looking for.

Component Name   Installed Version Proposed Patch Version 
Controller_INT 4.230.40-3739   Up-to-date  
Controller_EXT 06.00.02.00 Up-to-date  
Expander 0018   Up-to-date  
SSD_SHARED A29A Up-to-date  
HDD_LOCAL A729  Up-to-date  
ILOM 3.2.4.52 r101649 Up-to-date  
BIOS 30050100 Up-to-date  Up-to-date  
IPMI 1.8.12.4 Up-to-date  
HMP 2.3.4.0.1 Up-to-date  
OAK 12.1.2.5.0 Up-to-date  


After your ODA is patched up-to-date with 12.1.2.5, continue to prepare for the 12.1.2.6 patch using the pre-check tool. It will verify if you have enough free space in /u01, verify RPMs that have been added, and verify RPMs that are expected.

This means that if you have 3rd party agents running on ODA and had to install RPMs from OL5, you will have to re-install the OL6 RPMs to support those agents after the upgrade.

For the pre-check tool, download the ZIP file from here.  Upload it to both of your ODA nodes to a directory, /tmp works just fine.  Unzip the file and run the command

./validateOl6PreChecks --pre

You can check the currently installed RPMs using "rpm -qa" command or you may want to use “rpm –qa –last” to see the latest RPMs that were updated since the last upgrade.

In addition, here are some best practices for patching on ODA .

  •  Check ALL disks / diskgroups and make sure that they are all online and healthy.  For a  good disk level check for ASM, OS and multipath:
   oakcli stordiag [e#_]pd_##  
  • · Make sure the ODA patch level matches on both nodes.
  • Check CRS and connectivity before patching. Make sure CRS, ASM and OAK are running on both nodes.
  • Check OS based storage. Clean up as needed including older installations if you have upgraded previously.
  • -  10GB of free space min. on each node (/u01 and / )
  • Run an oracheck report
  • Review 888888.1 for known issues

o Fix or replace any disks before considering upgrading

o If your ODA version is 2.10 or lower for your source make sure you check compatibility with the new disk - See ODA + HGST based notes)

show version -detail

oakcli validate -d on each node

oakcli orachk

Wednesday Dec 02, 2015

A RACI Chart for Oracle Database Appliance

A responsibility assignment matrix, also known as RACI matrix describes the participation by various roles in completing tasks or deliverables for a project or business process. It is especially useful in clarifying roles and responsibilities in cross-functional/departmental projects and processes. RACI is an acronym derived from the four key responsibilities most typically used: Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, and Informed.

Oracle Engineered Systems such as Oracle Database Appliance and Oracle Exadata are integrated systems that greatly simplify and redefine how systems’ deployments have traditionally been planned, executed and managed. Different organizations use different approaches to assign responsibilities in this new world of system management.

Customers and project managers sometimes ask for or want to build a RACI chart for Oracle Engineered Systems. Someone recently asked for one for Oracle Database Appliance. Each environment is different and assignment of roles and responsibilities is often a contentious topic. On one extreme, a single DBA or System Administrator can deploy and manage the entire system; while on the other traditional teams take their own well defined roles and responsibilities. A sample RACI chart for Oracle Database Appliance may look as follows. However, it is certainly up to you to define the roles and responsibilities as per your requirements in your environment. Build your own RACI chart for your environment and share your thoughts!

Activity

Project Sponsor

System / Database Architect

DB Admin

System Admin

Network Admin

Storage Admin

Appln Admin

Apps Owner

Data Center Ops

Platform Product Selection

I

R

C

C

C

C

C

C

C

System Sizing and Requirement Analysis

I

C

R

C

C

C

I

I

I

Oracle Database Appliance Procurement

I

C

I

I

I

I

I

R

I

Oracle Database Appliance Sizing

I

R

C

C

C

C

C

C

I

Oracle Database Appliance Initial Deployment (BM and VM)

I

C

R

C

C

C

I

I

I

Oracle Database Deployments on Oracle Database Appliance

I

I

R

C

C

C

I

I

I

Virtual Machine Management on Oracle Database Appliance

I

C

C

R

C

C

I

I

I

Oracle Database Appliance Operations and Monitoring

I

I

R

C

C

C

C

I

C

Oracle Database Appliance Management Patching

I

I

R

C

I

I

I

C

I

Oracle Database Appliance Management Problem Resolution (HW)

I

I

C

I

I

I

I

I

R

Oracle Database Appliance Management Problem Resolution (SW)

I

I

R

C

C

C

I

C

I

Oracle Database Appliance Management Problem Resolution (NW)

I

I

C

C

R

I

I

I

C


 

Monday Nov 16, 2015

Checking health of your Oracle Database Appliance using ORAChk

ORAChk (formerly ODAChk) is a handy script tool included on Oracle Database Appliance to facilitate quick checking and validation of configuration, best practices, and patches on the system. ORAChk is integrated with OAKCLI, the Oracle Database Appliance command-line interface, and should be run as the root user.

ORAChk is a handy configuration validation tool. Over time, users may knowingly or unknowingly make changes to Oracle Database Appliance configuration or the environment growth may have led to intentional or unintentional changes. ORAChk is typically used to validate Oracle Database Appliance configuration periodically (say after each upgrade or patching event, or every 3 or 6 months, etc.) and to quickly identify any deviations.

The ORAChk script tool can be accessed as “oakcli orachk” from either Oracle Database Appliance server node. The tool can be run against any of the available database environments currently running on the servers and the output is displayed on the screen as well as captured in an HTML file (and zip file) located within the /opt/oracle/oak/orachk directory for easier viewing (and upload to Oracle Support, if needed).

Among other things, such as verifying that Oracle Database Appliance adheres to the best practices and that any customizations have not have resulted in a configuration deviation from those best practices, ORAChk also checks and validates the operation of the Oracle software stack on both servers in the Oracle Database Appliance cluster.

Some of the checks that are carried out by ORAChk are as follows:

  • Checks against Oracle Database Appliance Best Practices reference set
  • ASM Disk Group attributes and ASM initialization parameters
  • Database standard and undocumented parameters’ settings
  • Kernel parameters and shared memory configuration
  • OS packages installed and patches for Grid Infrastructure and for RDBMS home

The ORAChk output highlights actionable items and upon reviewing ORAChk output, action may be planned for addressing any anomalies to re-align the Oracle Database Appliance configuration as originally intended.

Monday Nov 09, 2015

Agile Development and Oracle Database Appliance

Agile software development is a group of software development methods in which requirements and solutions evolve as self organizing, cross functional teams collaborate to build the product or solution. Oracle Database Appliance provides an ideal platform for Agile Development. The following are some of the Oracle Database Appliance features and functionalities that enable the desired flexibility and adaptability, that may be key to all Agile development environments.

1. Pay-as-you-grow licensing method

Oracle Database Appliance allows for dynamic enabling of CPU cores and software licensing. Thus, you have the ability to identify and measure your requirements before making investments, and then grow the platform capacity at the touch of a button.

2. Oracle Database Appliance Virtualized Platform Implementation

Oracle Database Appliance can be deployed as a Virtualized Platform wherein you can deploy not only databases but also the middle-tiers and web-tiers, all on the same hardware system. Additional, components (virtual machines/ virtual servers) can also be dynamically deployed depending on your requirements while minimizing costs (the database systems operates from only one, specialized VM on each server) and maximizing flexibility and available capacity.  

3. Dynamic and transparent extensibility of storage system

In the default configuration, Oracle Database Appliance has one storage shelf. However, an additional storage shelf can be ordered and dynamically and transparently added to the system without affecting the operational system, thus doubling the storage capacity of the system on demand.

4. Rapid provisioning and cleanup

Oracle Database Appliance allows for truly rapid provisioning of database environments. Using a command-line interface (“oakcli create database”) command, you can provision a stable, pre-tuned, database environment in a matter of minutes. The removal of database is also similarly rapid and easily accomplished. It is also easy to clean up the entire environment and reset it to factory state should you need to redeploy for any reason, reset/restart a project workstream, or move systems among data centers, etc.

5. Multiple software stack versions on one platform

Oracle Database Appliance allows you to configure multiple versions of the Oracle Database on the same hardware platform without having to worry about inter-operability and platform patching. This makes it easy to transition back and forth between multiple versions of the software stack, if needed.

6. Ability to restructure platform and rapidly redeploy

Oracle Database Appliance gives you multiple options for initial deployment. For example, you can choose the RDBMS versions to deploy, the level of disk mirroring, the location of backups, database character sets, database block sizes, and so forth. Although in many cases, these requirements do not change half way through the product, in some cases they do. In a traditional environment it may be very difficult to adapt to such changes, but on Oracle Database Appliance, many such changes can be more easily incorporated.

Thursday May 21, 2015

Appliance Manager 12.1.2.3 is now available

In keeping with the ODA quarterly patching strategy, Appliance Manager 12.1.2.3 is now available. Updates in this patch include new oakcli commands:
  • show dbstorage – view the amount of storage used
  • show fs – view file system details and the disk groups usages
  • *show ib – view IB details
  • *show iraid - view internal RAID and local disk information
  • **show raidsyncstatus - view the status of the RAID rebuild after a failedlocal disk is replaced

The patches can be downloaded from MOS.

For complete information on applying this patch to your ODA, please view the README!

Starting with this release, the older versions of the ODA Documentation is now archived.  You can find the latest and previous versions http://docs.oracle.com/en/engineered-systems/#oracle-database-appliance.

Note:  *Only for ODA X5-2 hardware generation.   **Only for ODA  V1, X3-2, and X4-2 hardware generations

Thursday Apr 23, 2015

Downloading the ODA EM PLUG-IN using Self Update

To download the ODA EM Plug-In using EM Self Update, here are the steps:

Click on Setup --> Extensibility --> Self Update

Click on Check Updates

This does require that you can connect to My Oracle Support (MOS).  Make sure to set your MOS credentials in EM as well.

An Update job will start.  Once the job has completed, then click on PLUG-IN Updates. Search on 'appliance' and you will see the Oracle Database Appliance.

You will need to click on the  to download the plug-in.

After ODA Plug-In has been successfully downloaded, navigate to the EM Plug-In page by selecting Setup --> Extensibility --> Plug-Ins.

Scroll down to Engineered Systems and expand it.  You will then see the Oracle Database Appliance Plug-In.  It is now ready to deploy on your OMS and Agents.

Tuesday Apr 14, 2015

Oracle Database Appliance Plug-In for Enterprise Manager

With the Oracle Database Appliance plug-in, you can monitor Oracle Database Appliance targets using Oracle Enterprise Manager Cloud Control 12c. The plug-in provides configuration and monitoring information about any Oracle Database Appliance target running Appliance Manager 12.1.2.2 or higher. Features include:

  • Monitoring of the Oracle Database Appliance as an Enterprise Manager target
  • Monitoring a dynamic group of Oracle Database Appliance systems using tags
  • Oracle Database Appliance components (DB, ILOM, HOST, Virtual Machines, Hypervisor, ASM, and Oracle Appliance Manager) are grouped and can be monitored under a target

The Oracle Database Appliance (ODA) Plug-In for Enterprise Manager is now available. It can be updated via the Self Update feature of Enterprise Manager, which updates components whenever new or updated features become available. The ODA Plug-In is now available via the Enterprise Manager Store, an external site that is periodically checked by Enterprise Manager Cloud Control to obtain information about updates ready for download.

The documentation can be found in the Oracle Enterprise Manager Cloud Control Documentation 12c Release 4 Plug-Ins library.

Update your Enterprise Manager today and check out the ODA Plug-In!

Monday Oct 13, 2014

Oracle Database Appliance 12.1.2 release new features to support a Test/Dev environment in minutes!

Oracle Database Appliance release 12.1.2 supports database and VM snapshots to create storage-efficient and fast instances of the database and guest VMs.  This capability is now enabled with each Oracle Database Appliance running with the latest Appliance Manager 12.1.2 update.

Each new Oracle Database version 12.1.0.2 or 11.2.0.4 will be created in Oracle’s clustered file system, ACFS. ACFS is a highly performant and highly available cluster file system that is built on top of Oracle ASM.  It is fully integrated with the Grid Infrastructure and is database-IO aware. 

With a new single command, a database snapshot is created in minutes ready to be used for testing.

oakcli create snapshotdb –db <snap-shot-db-sid> -from <existing-db-sid>

Oracle Database 12.1.2 release also includes the support of:

  • Database version: 12.1.0.2, 11.2.0.4, 11.2.0.3, 11.2.0.2
  • Choice of CDB and non-CDB database for new 12.1.0.2 databases
  • VM Snapshots
  • VDisk Support

The ODA OTN Page has updated FAQ, Data Sheet, and whitepaper.


The Oracle Database Appliance Documentation has a new book - Administrations and Reference Guide and updated Getting Started Guide.

Download the latest Oracle Database Appliance 12.1.2 patch release from My Oracle Support (MOS)!

Monday Jun 16, 2014

Deploy Oracle Enterprise Manager Cloud Control 12c Solution-in-a-Box on Oracle Database Appliance

The new Oracle White Paper title Solution-in-a-box: Deploying Highly Available Monitoring Infrastructure using Oracle Enterprise Manager Cloud Control 12c and Oracle Database Appliance is now available.

This white paper outlines the process of setting up the complete stack of Oracle Enterprise Manager Cloud Control 12c on Oracle Database Appliance Virtualized Platform. Now you can deploy a highly available Enterprise Manager Cloud Control 12c configuration including Oracle Management Repository (OMR) database servers and Oracle Management Service (OMS) servers almost instantaneously. The setup uses virtual machines all in a single Oracle Database Appliance environment. If you are considering "trying out" or evaluating Oracle Database Appliance, Enterprise Manager Cloud Control may be an great choice for your first system to build on Oracle Database Appliance and in the process learn all about it and see it prove its value.

Oracle Database Appliance already provides standard, pre-tuned templates to setup fully optimized OMR databases quickly. A new pre-built, ready to deploy VM Template is provided to facilitate rapid deployment of Oracle Enterprise Manager Cloud Control 12c.

The white paper can be accessed through My Oracle Support Note 1673246.1 or through Oracle Tehnnology Network using the following link:

http://www.oracle.com/technetwork/database/database-appliance/documentation/oda-oemcloudcontrol-2209378.pdf 

Thursday May 29, 2014

Try the Oracle Database Appliance Manager Configurator - For Fun!

If you would like to get a first hand glimpse of how easy it is to configure an ODA, even if you don’t have access to one, it’s possible to download the Appliance Manager Configurator from the Oracle Technology Network, and run it standalone on your PC or Linux/Unix  workstation.

The configurator is packaged in a zip file that contains the complete Java environment to run standalone.

Once the package is downloaded and unzipped it’s simply a matter of launching it using the config command or shell depending on your runtime environment.

Oracle Appliance Manager Configurator is a Java-based tool that enables you to input your deployment plan and validate your network settings before an actual deployment, or you can just preview and experiment with it.

  1. Simply download and run the configurator on a local client system which can be a Windows, Linux, or UNIX system. (For Windows launch the batch file config.bat for Linux/Unix environments, run  ./ config.sh).
  2. You will be presented with the very same dialogs and options used to configure a production ODA but on your workstation. At the end of a configurator session, you may save your deployment plan in a configuration file. If you were actually ready to deploy, you could copy this configuration file to a real ODA where the online Oracle Appliance Manager Configurator would use the contents to deploy your plan in production.
  3. You may also print the file’s content and use the printout as a checklist for setting up your production external network configuration. Be sure to use the actual production network addresses you intend to use it as this will only work correctly if your client system is connected to same network that will be used for the ODA. (This step is not necessary if you are just previewing the Configurator).

This is a great way to get an introductory look at the simple and intuitive Database Appliance configuration interface and the steps to configure a system.

Tuesday May 20, 2014

Expanding the Storage Capabilities of the Oracle Database Appliance

The Oracle Database Appliance X4-2 comes with a total of 18 TBs of raw shared storage and depending on availability requirements can be configured in a mirrored configuration yielding 9 TBs of usable storage or configured in a tripled-mirrored maximum availability configuration for a total of 6 TBs of usable storage. In most cases this is a sufficient amount of storage but if users require additional storage, there are two options for storage expansion depending on their requirements.

Storage Expansion Shelf

The first option is to add the Storage Expansion Shelf that effectively doubles the raw storage and usable storage. The additional storage shelf is directly cabled to the storage controllers and zero-admin is required for the storage to be added to the Oracle Database Appliance.  After you have cabled and turned it on, The Appliance Manager software configures and re-balances the data across both storage shelves which effectively scales in a linear fashion providing approximately twice the I/O throughput as all spindles are used for the data re-balance.

This is a great option when additional high performance locally attached shared storage is needed, especially for virtual environments where user defined virtual machines need storage space.

Networked Attached Storage

Customers can use Oracle compatible NFS-attached storage with Oracle Database Appliance.

An excellent option is to use Oracle’s ZFS Storage Appliance. There are several features of the Oracle Sun ZFS Storage Appliance that make it the ideal choice for expanding the storage capabilities of the Oracle Database Appliance. These features include intuitive management tools, real-time performance analysis, data compression, multiprotocol integration, de-duplication, cloning and Hybrid Columnar Compression, (HCC).

NFS storage is also a great option to create external database disk backups. Network attached storage for database backups allows isolation of backups from the internal storage, and opens a range of possibilities for management of the backups including replication to a remote site, snapshots for additional copies of backups, compression of backups by the ZFS Appliance, and sharing of the backups with another database server. For a good discussion of network storage backups, (See - Backup and Recovery Strategies for the Oracle Database Appliance).

Tuesday May 06, 2014

Why Does ODA Use Enterprise Edition?

All of Oracle’s Engineered Systems, including ODA, engineer their solutions for optimal Availability, Performance, Security and Scalability. When we compare Enterprise Edition with Standard Edition we see some significant features in Enterprise Edition that provide maximum Availability, Performance, Security and Scalability to provide ODA with an optimal Enterprise Database Solution.


AVILIBILITY:
In the area of Availability, Enterprise Edition has many unique features that enhance availability not found in Standard Edition including:

RAC One Node

Data Guard—Redo Apply

Data Guard—SQL Apply

Data Guard—Snapshot Standby

Active Data Guard

Rolling Upgrades—Patch Set, Database, and Operating System

Online index rebuild

Online index-organized table organization

Online table redefinition

Duplexed backup sets

Block change tracking for fast incremental backup

Unused block compression in backups

Block-level media recovery

Lost Write Protection

Automatic Block Repair

Parallel backup and recovery

Tablespace point-in-time recovery

Trial recovery

Fast-start fault recovery

Flashback Table

Flashback Database

Flashback Transaction

Flashback Transaction Query

Flashback Data Archive (Total Recall)


PERFORMANCE:
When we look at Performance, Enterprise Edition has the Parallel Query feature not found in Standard Edition. In benchmarking on ODA, with real customer workloads, we have seen better performance when compared to Standard Edition. For many workloads this means a requirement for fewer cores to execute the same workloads while maintaining the same service levels.

When we couple this performance advantage with ‘on-demand’ software licensing, (an exclusive ODA feature), it can result in a significant reduction in the overall cost of Enterprise Edition licensed cores.

SECURITY:
Security is an imperative for all enterprise customers and especially important to financial, public sector, healthcare and retail customers.
ODA using Enterprise Edition is able to offer security features not supported in the Standard Edition:

  • Oracle Advanced Security
  • Oracle Label Security
  • Virtual Private Database
  • Fine-grained auditing
  • Oracle Database Vault
  • Enterprise User Security

SCALABILITY:
To protect our customer’s investment in the ODA Engineered System, and extend its useful life, Enterprise Edition offers features that extend system Scalability that do not exist in Standard Edition including:

  • Quality of Service Management Performance                                       
  • Client Side Query Cache                
  • Query Results Cache     
  • PL/SQL Function Result Cache
  • In-Memory Database Cache      
  • Database Smart Flash Cache

About

The Oracle Database Appliance saves time and money by simplifying deployment, maintenance, and support of high-availability database solutions. This blog is dedicated to sharing updates about the Oracle Database Appliance from your product team.

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