By Tammybednar-Oracle on Jan 23, 2014
In case you were unable to join us today for the Oracle BI-in-a-Box webcast, the replay can be found here.
In case you were unable to join us today for the Oracle BI-in-a-Box webcast, the replay can be found here.
Attend the Webinar on January 23rd @ 12 noon ET, 9:00 am PT
Tammy Bednar, Will Hutchinson, Rob Klaassens, and Mike Mrazek, Oracle Corp.
Since the Oracle Database Appliance (ODA) started supporting
Oracle Virtual Machine (OVM) twelve months ago, we have seen several groups
develop purpose built offerings on top of it, called “Solutions in a Box,”
where they combine an application or middleware on top of the robust, cost
effective ODA platform. The newest
member of this family combines enterprise class business intelligence, data
integration and Oracle’s enterprise class database at a price mid market organizations
can afford. In our prior post, we
described the need IT industry analysts see for mid market organizations
adopting business intelligence. In this
post, we will talk about how Oracle addresses this need. To address this need, Oracle has developed the BI
Solution-in-a-Box. It contains the
Oracle database with partitioning, diagnostics, and tuning, BI Foundation
Suite, and Oracle Database Integrator, all running in two virtual machines on
the Oracle Database Appliance. It is
packaged to let customers license only the cores they need, expand as they
grow, and be easy to buy and support, all supported by a single vendor. Because it is based on standard
Oracle products, one can add other hardware, database or BI products if
desired, like more storage, RAC, Advanced Analytics or an Oracle BI
Application. By providing enterprise class BI in a pre integrated
package, Oracle has brought enterprise class functionality to the mid
market. Enterprise class organizations,
no matter what size, recognize that they stay enterprise class by adopting
solutions that minimize their total cost of ownership. By pre integrating the hardware, firmware,
operating system, virtualization, database, ETL, and BI, Oracle has provided a
package that minimizes the total cost of ownership by eliminating integration
challenges and minimizing the effort needed to stand up a business intelligence
system. In addition, the tools
themselves are regarded as having industry leading total costs of
ownership. All these advantages help
midsize organizations increase their agility while minimizing their labor
costs. Labor costs, according to
Gartner, are at least 75% of the total cost of ownership of a business
intelligence system. In addition, to make this solution easier to buy, Oracle has
pre arranged financing through Oracle Finance Division to make the purchase
either a loan or a lease depending on whether customers would prefer to treat
the expenditure as a capital expense or an operating expense. Oracle will be introducing and discussing the Oracle Database
Appliance and BI Solution in a Box on a Webinar on January 23rd. For more information and to register for the
event, please register to attend the event:
Since the Oracle Database Appliance (ODA) started supporting Oracle Virtual Machine (OVM) twelve months ago, we have seen several groups develop purpose built offerings on top of it, called “Solutions in a Box,” where they combine an application or middleware on top of the robust, cost effective ODA platform. The newest member of this family combines enterprise class business intelligence, data integration and Oracle’s enterprise class database at a price mid market organizations can afford. In our prior post, we described the need IT industry analysts see for mid market organizations adopting business intelligence. In this post, we will talk about how Oracle addresses this need.
To address this need, Oracle has developed the BI Solution-in-a-Box. It contains the Oracle database with partitioning, diagnostics, and tuning, BI Foundation Suite, and Oracle Database Integrator, all running in two virtual machines on the Oracle Database Appliance. It is packaged to let customers license only the cores they need, expand as they grow, and be easy to buy and support, all supported by a single vendor. Because it is based on standard Oracle products, one can add other hardware, database or BI products if desired, like more storage, RAC, Advanced Analytics or an Oracle BI Application.
By providing enterprise class BI in a pre integrated package, Oracle has brought enterprise class functionality to the mid market. Enterprise class organizations, no matter what size, recognize that they stay enterprise class by adopting solutions that minimize their total cost of ownership. By pre integrating the hardware, firmware, operating system, virtualization, database, ETL, and BI, Oracle has provided a package that minimizes the total cost of ownership by eliminating integration challenges and minimizing the effort needed to stand up a business intelligence system. In addition, the tools themselves are regarded as having industry leading total costs of ownership. All these advantages help midsize organizations increase their agility while minimizing their labor costs. Labor costs, according to Gartner, are at least 75% of the total cost of ownership of a business intelligence system.
In addition, to make this solution easier to buy, Oracle has pre arranged financing through Oracle Finance Division to make the purchase either a loan or a lease depending on whether customers would prefer to treat the expenditure as a capital expense or an operating expense.
Oracle will be introducing and discussing the Oracle Database Appliance and BI Solution in a Box on a Webinar on January 23rd. For more information and to register for the event, please register to attend the event:
Tammy Bednar, Will Hutchinson, Rob Klaassens, and Mike Mrazek, Oracle Corp.
Oracle and industry analysts have seen a rapid expansion of business intelligence and data warehouse solutions into midsize and smaller organizations. The need to understand how they are serving their customers, how their suppliers are serving them and the opportunity to drive growth and cost reductions requires insights into data. ERP, Performance Management systems and CRM/CX systems are great way to collect data but do not provide and easy and flexible way to combine data from multiple sources for indepth analysis.
Traditionally, midsize and smaller organizations have relied on spreadsheets or downloads of data to a personal database to meet these needs. However these solutions do not scale and suffer from problems of inconsistent data, errors, manual work and non-repeatable processes for gathering and analyzing data, leading to the inability to respond quickly. In the past, these organizations have not invested in business intelligence because the perception was that a Business Intelligence or Data Warehouse Strategy was too expensive to install and maintain. One would have to buy and configure hardware, a database, BI and ETL tools, and other middleware. The time, effort and cost to support these types of solutions would typically overwhelm most midsize IT staffs. Also, deploying these systems can cost several hundred thousand dollars over five years, after taking into account both out of pocket costs and the time the staff spends on BI, time which if it were available could effectively be spent elsewhere.
Register today to attend and learn how you can replace those Excel spreadsheets and Access databases with the type of analytics big companies have, analytics you thought you could never afford.
It’s coming. The newest addition to the Oracle’s family of Solutions-in-a-Box, BI Solution-in-a-Box. It’s powerful and expandable. Most importantly, it’s surprisingly affordable and easy to manage, even for smaller companies who thought they could never afford enterprise class business intelligence.
Register today to attend and learn how you can replace those Excel spreadsheets and Access databases with the type of analytics big companies have, analytics you thought you could never afford on January 23, 2014 @ 12 pm ET.
Oracle Appliance Manager 2.8 (aka, OAK 2.8) has a number of new, useful, and important features that further enhance ODA product capability and flexibility. In a nutshell, the following are the key new enhancements in OAK 2.8. You can find details of each of these new features in the Oracle Database Appliance Getting Started Guide.
Support for a shared repository for virtual machines and templates – If you are an ODA Virtualized Platform user, then this may be a big enhancement for you. In the earlier versions of Oracle Appliance Manager, the VM repository was stored only on local disks on each ODA server node. That restricted the amount of storage available for the storing and sizing VMs to the free space available on the local 600GB disks, which was 250GB on V1 ODA hardware and 350GB on the X3-2 ODA hardware. However, the newly available shared repository implementation allows for the creation of the VM repository on the shared storage, thereby significantly increasing the storage available for the VM repository.
You can create a shared repository using the “oakcli create repo <repository-name> -dg <disk-group-name> -size <size in GB>” command. You can place the repository in the DATA or the RECO ASM disk group. Placing the repository on the shared storage not only increases the capacity of the repository, it also makes the repository accessible on both server nodes, thereby facilitating VM failover capabilities.
Support for VLANs - With the 10GB network interfaces available on ODA, there is plenty of network bandwidth on the servers. VLAN (Virtual Local Area Network) provides a means to secure network traffic and isolate networks using logical identifiers. Broadcast propagated in one VLAN is thus not transmitted to the other VLANs. This also improves security as by placing devices in different broadcast domains, it is possible to limit access through the use of address filters and access lists. For communication across VLANs the traffic must pass through a layer-3 routing device, which can be configured to control and monitor access among different devices.
You can create and manage VLANs using OAKCLI commands. For example, use the "oakcli create vlan <vlan name> -vlanid <vlan tag id> -if <interface name> -node <0|1>" command to create a VLAN on ODA. Similarly, "oakcli show vlan", "oakcli delete vlan" commands are available to see VLAN configuration, delete a VLAN configuration, etc.
Database setup is now optional at the time of initial deployment – In the earlier versions of Oracle Appliance Manager, during the initial deployment, you had to create an initial database as part of the deployment. Sometimes, at the time of initial deployment users were not quite ready to create the database and needed to plan for its size, naming, and other configuration settings etc. With OAK 2.8, you now have the option to forgo the creation of this initial database.
Instead, you may choose to create the database after the initial deployment using the “oakcli create database …” command. Note that you may use the default parameter file (/opt/oracle/oak/install/dbconf/default.dbconf) that specifies the block size, database language, characterset, etc. or create a new db configuration parameter file using the “oakcli create db_config_params …) command before issuing the “oakcli create database…” command.
Hardware monitoring using OAKCLI – OAKCLI becomes even more powerful. From OAK 2.8 onwards, you can now monitor all hardware components (except storage, currently) of ODA using the OAKCLI command-line interface. This includes monitoring of servers, processors, memory, network interfaces, cooling units, and power units, etc.
To monitor a component, simply issue the “oakcli show <component-name>” command. Where component name may be “server”, “processor”, “memory”, “power”, “cooling”, or “network”.
Flexibility to have additional customizations – In the earlier version of Oracle Appliance Manager, standard UID/GID and usernames were used for Oracle and Grid users. If you need to adhere to certain local standards for usernames and ID numbers that you may have in place within your organization, then using the advanced deployment option of Appliance Manager you can now specify non-default UID/GID and usernames for Oracle and Grid owner users.
The advanced deployment option is invoked simply by issuing the “oakcli deploy –advance” command.
There are three key tools that you can use to manage the Oracle Database Appliance. Together, these tools are adequate to completely manage, maintain, and operate Oracle Database Appliance including the hardware platform, the operating system, and the databases running on the system.
Oracle Integrated Lights Out Manager (a.k.a., Oracle ILOM)
Oracle ILOM provides a “just like being there” experience and allows you to completely manage your system remotely (including powering it up and shutting it down) over a dedicated network interface. You can start the Remote Console over a web interface to connect to an Oracle Database Appliance server node, check status of hardware components, manage faults (if any), monitor system temperature and ambience, re-image server, and so forth. Point your web browser to the IP address you have configured for the server’s ILOM network interface, and there you are. You typically configure Oracle ILOM interface on Oracle Database Appliance server nodes at the time of initial deployment using the Configurator (when you issue the "oakcli deploy" command). Alternatively, you can configure ILOM before the deployment using the server’s BIOS utility (pressing the F2 key during system boot), or using the “ipmitool” utility from the server operating system command line. You can also configure Oracle ILOM on Oracle Database Appliance after the initial deployment of the system using any of the latter two methods (BIOS or ipmitool).
Oracle Enterprise Manager Database Control (OEM)
Oracle Enterprise Manager Database Control is a no-cost tool to manage Oracle databases and it can be automatically configured at the time of initial deployment of Oracle Database Appliance. Database Control provides a web user interface to manage, maintain, and operate the Oracle database. This includes administering users, data structures, database and instances, user sessions, backup and recovery, analyzing performance, tuning SQL, instance, and database, and so forth. Alternatively, if you use Oracle Enterprise Manager Grid Control or Oracle Enterprise Manager Cloud Control in your organization, you can use it to manage databases running on Oracle Database Appliance. An Oracle Database Appliance plug-in may also become available for Oracle Enterprise Manager Cloud Control in the future.
Oracle Appliance Manager (oakcli)
Oracle Appliance Manager command-line interface (oakcli) provides unique abilities to manage, maintain, and operate the Oracle Database Appliance platform. This includes setup and deployment of the system, running diagnostics on servers and storage, patching server, storage, and network, and creating multiple Oracle homes and database environments, and so forth. Starting with Oracle Appliance Manager 2.8, you can also monitor the hardware (servers, CPUs, power, cooling, and so forth) using oakcli. You can invoke Oracle Appliance Manager command-line interface using the /opt/oracle/oak/bin/oakcli command from an Oracle Database Appliance server node.
I thought I ought to have this note to outline the differences between typical old-style system building approach and the engineered system approach used for Oracle Database Appliance. Oracle Database Appliance is a unique, modern product that is revolutionary and disruptive. It is an Oracle engineered system that serves as a highly available database and application server. Its benefits are unique and unparalleled. However, as with any new, disruptive product, users may not readily recognize all the benefits. Often new customers ask for the benefits of choosing Oracle Database Appliance versus building your own system. The matrix below tries to summarize the benefits.
Oracle Database Appliance
Manually assembled systems
Single vendor – Customer only needs to contact Oracle for any and all problems with the system. Oracle is able to rapidly diagnose the problem, match it with a fingerprint of the issue, and provide immediate solution.
Multiple vendors – Servers, storage, networking gear, and software components may be sourced from different vendors, that causes finger pointing and makes it hard to obtain support quickly and effectively
No integration required – Oracle Database Appliance is a pre-integrated, pre-tested, pre-tuned configuration. It requires no integration, other than simply plugging in some cables.
Extensive integration required – The components sourced from multiple vendors must be compatible and interoperate successfully.
Instant deployment – Deployment of Oracle Database Appliance in a customer environment is as easy as plugging in the cables, powering on the system and issuing a command.
Long drawn error prone deployment process – Deployment of a manually built system requires setting up and validating each component, going through multiple steps to configure operating system, networking, storage, database, and so forth. A missed-step can be costly.
Best practices are included – Oracle Database Appliance is built from the grounds up with Oracle’s best practices in mind. These best practices cover operating system, networking, storage, database, and performance and availability best practices.
Best practices implementation requires considerable extra effort - Best practices must be identified and implemented for each component. This may not be an easy task by any measure.
Patching is quick and predictable – With a known hardware and software configuration, Oracle is able to provide pre-tested, complete patch bundles that cover the entire firmware and software stack. Further, Oracle is able to structure and tune the patching process so that it executed flawlessly in an optimal amount of time with predictable results.
Patching is time consuming, risky and unpredictable – Customers often patch one component at a time, thereby increasing the frequency of patching. Patching process is unpredictable and therefore risky. Vendors have no way of testing the exact configuration that a customer may be using.
Problem diagnostics are immediate – Oracle knows exactly which information and logs are required for instant diagnosis of problems as well as how to collect it. Oracle makes it trivial for customers to collect the information. Quick diagnosis results in rapid problem resolution.
Problem diagnostics is complex and long drawn – Multiple experts may be needed to diagnose problems. Often it may not be readily apparent what information is relevant and required for a corresponding problem. Longer diagnosis results in delayed problem resolution.
Performance is predictable – An engineered system makes deploying workloads a science not an art. The system capacity and capability can be quantified exactly and workloads can be deployed using simple mathematics.
Performance may not always be predictable – Making workloads perform on manually assembled systems remains an art. Due to the various components and stack layers from different vendors, typically configured using an imprecise math, it is usually not possible to define capacity and capability correctly.
Service requests can be opened automatically – In case of a problem, such as hardware failure, a service request can be opened automatically by the system using Oracle Auto Service Request. A solution may be available even before the customer recognizes the problem.
Service request initiation and management is complex – In case of a problem first the correct vendor needs to be identified. The service request needs to be manually managed and diagnostics data needs to be identified, manually collected, and sent to the vendor. Manual analysis of diagnostics further delays solution that may need to be tested before it is deployed.
Storage is integrated and managed as a whole – Storage is pre-integrated with the servers and the system is managed end-to-end as a whole, including monitoring, management, diagnostics, and repair of storage.
Storage is separate and managed separately – Storage is managed, monitored, diagnosed and repaired separately, typically provided by a different vendor and managed by storage administrators
Pay-as-you-go licensing saves costs substantially – Significant CPU power available but only CPUs used need to be licensed while the remaining CPU power is available for instant deployment if and when needed
Must pay for all CPUs on the system upfront – All CPUs present in the servers must be licensed upfront whether fully used or not. Additional CPU addition typically requires costly hardware upgrades
Versatile system with support for both native and virtualized environments – The same system and software supports both native and virtualized implementations, switching from one to the other is easy
Typically vendor specialized hardware sold for native or virtualized implementations – Implementation of native and virtualized environments could be fundamentally different.
Host both application and database in a single system (system in a box) – Supports hosting of entire application stack in a single system; virtualized platform makes it possible to segregate different tiers of application stack into different virtual machines that are easy to size and tune
Application is typically hosted on separate hardware (one system many boxes) – Application, web, and database tiers are typically hosted on separate hardware and storage; it is not easy to resize these environments unless hardware is replaced
It is amazing!
Oracle Database Maximum Availability Architecture (MAA) is Oracle’s blueprint for maximizing database uptime and availability for important business system and mission critical architecture. Oracle Real Application Clusters (RAC) and Oracle Data Guard and Oracle Database Best Practices are some of the key components of this architecture. Oracle RAC provides high availability in the event of intra-site failures (failures that occur within the primary database environment, such as node failures, network failure, etc.) while Oracle Data Guard provides high availability in the event of site level failures, storage sub-system failures, and planned downtime. Within Oracle MAA, Oracle’s Database Best Practices ensure a consistent and optimal implementation of a database environment.
Traditionally, implementing Oracle Database MAA has been a complex and time consuming initiative, sometimes requiring weeks to months of efforts to fully implement. However, you can readily deploy Oracle Database Maximum Availability Architecture using Oracle Database Appliance (ODA). Oracle Database Appliance can provide the pre-built Oracle RAC highly available environment for each site and includes database best practices embedded in the pre-configured system.
Check out the white paper titled “Deploying Oracle Data Guard with Oracle Database Appliance” as it provides a reference sample implementation of Oracle Data Guard across Oracle Database Appliance environments.
Good news! The second generation Oracle Database Appliance to be known as "Oracle Database Appliance X3-2" was released on March 5th, 2013. Oracle Database Appliance X3-2 is built using the Sun Server X3-2 servers (the same servers that are used as compute nodes in Exadata environments) and is a substantially more powerful system with a small price differential from the earlier model. Storage Shelf consists of a 2 rack-u unit and an identical expansion storage shelf is also available. You now have 18TB of raw storage which is expandable to 36TB of raw storage (all ASM managed) within a single Database Appliance architecture and configuration. The maximum CPU power increases from 24 cores before to 36 cores, while the new system now has 512 GB of memory (2x256 GB), a quantum jump from the 192 GB (2x96GB) before. The local available disk storage capacity increases from 500GB to 600GB.
Oracle Database Appliance X3-2 when used as a Virtualized Platform (support for virtualization on Oracle Database Appliance was announced in February 2013) can be an extremely powerful system with very substantial further improvement in the already compelling value proposition of Oracle Database Appliance. On Oracle Database Appliance X3-2 you can consolidate multiple database environments. With the Virtualized Platform deployment, you can consolidate entire multi-tier environments within a single Oracle Databse Appliance X3-2 system. The older model continues to be available until May 31st, 2013. You can find more details on the newly announced Oracle Database Appliance X3-2 at http://www.oracle.com/us/products/database/database-appliance/overview/index.html
A new white paper titled "Evaluating and Comparing Oracle Database Appliance Performance" was recently released. This white paper outlines a quick and simple process to evaluate the performance of Oracle Database Appliance for both OLTP and DSS workloads and compare it to the same workloads when run in your local environment. The testing for this paper was conducted using Swingbench's Order Entry (OLTP) and Sales History (DSS) workloads. Users can review already the documented results and conduct a reverse-POC (proof-of-concept) in their legacy environment by running Swingbench and then simply compare relative performance.
For the testing conducted during the course of writing this white paper, Oracle Database Appliance was able to support up to 10,000 Swingbench users for the OLTP workload (while maintaining sub-second response times) and provided throughput of more than 2400 MB/Second for the DSS workload. Both are significant numbers. The white paper provides the results of various core configurations tests (related to the pay-as-you-grow feature) in a matrix form.
The paper also covers some minor tweaks to the standard configuration that can enable even greater workload performance. I invite you to take a look at http://www.oracle.com/technetwork/server-storage/engineered-systems/database-appliance/documentation/oda-eval-comparing-performance-1895230.pdf
The availability of normal redundancy configuration option for Automatic Storage Management (ASM) on Oracle Database Appliance starting with OAK version 2.4 allows for additional usable space on Oracle Database Appliance (about 6 TB with Normal Redundancy versus about 4 TB with High Redundancy). This is great news for many customers. Some environments, such as test and development systems, may benefit significantly as a result of this new option. However, the availability of Normal Redundancy option obviously should not be taken to mean that choosing Normal Redundancy may the best approach for all database environments. High redundancy would still provide a better and more resilient option (and may be a preferred choice) for mission critical production systems. It is therefore an option and not the default configuration choice. Many customers may choose to use Normal Redundancy for test, development, and other non-critical environments and High Redundancy for production and other important systems.
In general, ASM supports three types of redundancy (mirroring*) options.
High Redundancy - In this configuration, for each primary extent, there are two mirrored extents. For Oracle Database Appliance this means, during normal operations there would be three extents (one primary and two secondary) containing the same data, thus providing “high” level of protection. Since ASM distributes the partnering extents in a way that prevents all extents to be unable due to a component failure in the IO path, this configuration can sustain at least two simultaneous disk failures on Oracle Database Appliance (which should be rare but is possible).
Normal Redundancy - In this configuration, for each primary extent, there is one mirrored (secondary) extent. This configuration protects against at least one disk failure. Note that in the event a disk fails in this configuration, although there is typically no outage or data loss, the system operates in a vulnerable state, should a second disk fail while the old failed disk replacement has not completed. Many Oracle Database Appliance customers thus prefer the High Redundancy configuration to mitigate the lack of additional protection during this time.
External Redundancy - In this configuration there are only primary extents and no mirrored extents. This option is typically used in traditional non-appliance environments when the storage sub-system may have existing redundancy such as hardware mirroring or other types of third-party mirroring in place. Oracle Database Appliance does not support External Redundancy.
*ASM redundancy is different from traditional disk mirroring in that ASM mirroring is a logical-physical approach than a pure physical approach. ASM does not mirror entire disks. It mirrors logical storage entities called ‘extents’ that are allocated on physical disks. Thus, all “mirrored” extents of a set of primary extents on a given disk do not need to be on a single mirrored disk but they could be distributed across multiple disks. This approach to mirroring provides significant benefits and flexibility. ASM uses intelligent, Oracle Database Appliance architecture aware, extent placement algorithms to maximize system availability in the event of disk failure(s).
Building a high-availability database platform presents
unique challenges. Combining servers, storage, networking, OS, firmware, and
database is complicated and raises important concerns: Will coordination
between multiple SME’s delay deployment? Will it be reliable? Will it scale?
Will routine maintenance consume precious IT-staff time? Ultimately, will it
Enter the Oracle Database Appliance, a complete package of software, server, storage, and networking that’s engineered for simplicity. It saves time and money by simplifying deployment, maintenance, and support of database workloads. Plus, it’s based on Intel Xeon processors to ensure a high level of performance and scalability.
Take a look at this video to compare Heather and Ted’s approach to building a server for their Oracle database!
If you missed the “Compare Database Platforms: Build vs. Buy” webcast or want to listen again to find out how Jeff Schulte - Vice President at Yodlee uses Oracle Database Appliance.
The Oracle Database Appliance 2.4 Patch was released last week and provides you an option of ASM normal redundancy (double mirroring) during the initial deployment of the Database Appliance. The default deployment of the Oracle Database Appliance is high redundancy for the +DATA and +RECO disk groups. While there is 12TB of raw shared storage available, the Database Backup Location and Disk Group Redundancy govern how much usable storage is presented after the initial deployment is completed.
The Database Backup Location options are Local or External. When the Local Backup Option is selected, this means that 60% of the available shared storage will be allocated for the Fast Recovery Area that contains database backups and archive logs. The External Backup Option will allocate 20% of the available shared storage to the Fast Recovery Area.
So, let’s look at an example of High Redundancy and External Backups.
What about Normal Redundancy with External Backups?
As a best practice, we would recommend using Normal Redundancy for your test and/or development Oracle Database Appliances and High Redundancy for production.
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.