Friday Mar 21, 2014

Oracle Open World 2014 Call for Proposals is Now Open!

Every Oracle Database Appliance customer has a great story to tell. Share yours! 

If you're an Oracle technology expert, conference attendees want to hear it straight from you. So don't wait and submit your proposal today. 

Proposals must be submitted by April 15.

Conference location: San Francisco, California, USA
Dates: Sunday, September 28 to Thursday, October 2, 2014
Website: Oracle OpenWorld (http://www.oracle.com/openworld/index.html)
Key 2014 Dates
Call for Proposals—Open Tuesday, March 18
Call for Proposals—Closed Tuesday, April 15, 11:59 p.m. PDT

Final notifications for accepted and declined submissions sent Mid-June

Visit http://www.oracle.com/openworld/call-for-papers/index.html today! 

Wednesday Feb 26, 2014

Oracle Appliance Manager Version 2.9 (OAK 2.9)

Oracle Appliance Manager patch bundle 2.9 (OAK 2.9) was released on February 18th, 2014 and is available for download as patch 17630388.

As always there are features, enhancements, and some bug fixes included with this release.


Some notable enhancements are as follows:

1  Import of http based templates directly on Oracle Database Appliance
2. Send Key support to user VMs via xenstore to facilitate configuration of user VMs from Oracle Appliance Manager
3. Shared storage (JBODs) monitoring on X3-2 and X4-2 systems using OAKCLI
4. Out-of-place update of Grid Infrastructure from 11.2.0.3.x to 11.2.0.4.0
5. Oracle Database Patch Set Update (PSU) 11.2.0.4.1 and 11.2.0.3.9 available
6. Improved VM stack - better module level logging (TINT ID), better exception handling in oakd 
7. Mutithreading of XML rpc agent and oakd adapter to allow parallel VM commands

Refer to Oracle Database Appliance Getting Started Guide for more information about these features and enhancements.

Tuesday Feb 04, 2014

Now deploy complete multi-tier application stacks on Oracle Database Appliance!

The Solution-in-a-box: Best practices for deploying JD Edwards EnterpriseOne on Oracle Database Appliance white paper is now published. A first in a series of "solution-in-a-box" white papers! The white paper is available at  http://www.oracle.com/technetwork/database/database-appliance/oda-jde-soln-in-a-box-technical-2120907.pdf

This white paper illustrates the process of deploying a complete multi-tier application architecture stack on the Oracle Database Appliance Virtualized Platform. This includes deployment of the database, application and web tiers on a single Oracle Database Appliance system. The operation and management of the entire stack is facilitated by Oracle Appliance Manager command-line interface (oakcli). Take advantage of virtualization with extreme simplicity.

This vertical integration of technology stacks on Oracle Database Appliance is a very substantial, powerful capability that produces a quantum jump in the already strong value proposition of Oracle Database Appliance. Imagine the consolidation factor you can achieve by implementing the solution-in-a-box model for your applications!

Beat that!

Friday Jan 24, 2014

Why Virtualized Platform is the best deployment option for Oracle Database Appliance

Recently a user asked, what are the considerations for using the Virtualized Platform configuration or the Bare Metals configuration on Oracle Database Appliance? Certainly, the Virtualized Platform configuration seems to provide everything that the Bare Metals configuration does plus more.

Listed below are some of the considerations for why you may want to prefer to use the Oracle Database Appliance Virtualized Platform option.

1. A single hardware environment for deploying both database and applications

2. Database runs in a Virtual Machine (ODA_BASE) with direct access to storage (for native performance)

3. Control licensed CPUs by configuring ODA_BASE domain with the required number of CPU cores (and memory)

4. CPU cores (and memory) not assigned to the ODA_BASE domain are not wasted and are available for use by other, non-database Virtual Machiness

5. Oracle provided pre-configured VM application templates enable rapid deployment for both the database and applications

7. Use VLAN to provide separate networks to different Virtual Machines

8. Use shared repository to grow storage for VM repository

9. No VM expertise needed; Oracle Appliance Manager (oakcli) makes it easy to setup and manage the virtualized environment

Monday Jan 06, 2014

Some nice new features in Oracle Appliance Manager 2.8 (OAK 2.8)

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.

Tuesday Dec 03, 2013

Managing Oracle Database Appliance

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.


Wednesday Sep 25, 2013

Implementing Oracle Maximum Availability Architecture (MAA) using Oracle Database Appliance (ODA)

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.

Wednesday Mar 06, 2013

Oracle Database Appliance X3-2 Generally Available Now

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

Tuesday Feb 12, 2013

Oracle Database Appliance Performance White Paper Released

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

Wednesday Oct 10, 2012

Is Oracle Database Appliance (ODA) A Best Kept Secret?

There is something about Oracle Database Appliance that underscores the tremendous value customers see in the product. Repeat purchases. When you buy “one” of something and come back to buy another, it confirms that the product met your expectations, you found good value in it, and perhaps you will continue to use it. But when you buy “one” and come back to buy many more on your very next purchase, it tells something else. It tells that you truly believe that you have found the best value out there. That you are convinced! That you are sold on the great idea and have discovered a product that far exceeds your expectations and delivers tremendous value! Many Oracle Database Appliance customers are such larger-volume-repeat-buyers. It is no surprise, that the product has a deeper penetration in many accounts where a customer made an initial purchase.

The value proposition of Oracle Database Appliance is undeniably strong and extremely compelling. This is especially true for customers who are simply upgrading or “refreshing” their hardware (and reusing software licenses). For them, the ability to acquire world class, highly available database hardware along with leading edge management software and all of the automation is absolutely a steal. One customer DBA recently said, “Oracle Database Appliance is the best investment our company has ever made”. Such extreme statements do not come out of thin air. You have to experience it to believe it.

Oracle Database Appliance is a low cost product. Not many sales managers may be knocking on your doors to sell it. But the great value it delivers to small and mid-size businesses and database implementations should not be underestimated. 

Monday Aug 06, 2012

Oracle Database Appliance Value Proposition for Small and Mid-size Businesses

Today most customers want their databases and systems to be always available (always on!). No one, whether it is a customer, an employee, a partner, or anyone else, wants to deal with a down system. The “seven second rule” that summarizes customers’ patience threshold is all well known in the internet driven world. In today’s fast paced world with a plethora of information and product sources available at one’s fingertips, the general level of consumer patience is greatly reduced. High availability and good performance is ever more important. But many a times, customers leave their HA and performance needs unfulfilled. Why? Because they think,

1. For middle sized businesses reliable HA hardware is expensive

2. There are significant upfront costs in setting up HA systems

3. HA systems are just hard to implement

4. There is substantial on-going management cost associated with HA systems, etc. 

If a small or medium sized business used the “traditional approach” to assembling and building HA systems, then it may indeed be true that it is simply out of reach for many of these customers to deploy real HA systems.

The Oracle Database Appliance addresses this problem for these small and medium sized businesses. Not only is the Oracle Database Appliance hardware more cost effective, it is extremely easy to deploy (the deployment process takes about 1 hour total). The pay as you grow licensing model for software really directly addresses the high up-front cost issue. You can buy the highly available, robust Oracle Database Appliance at a fraction of the cost you would incur if you put a system of such capabilities together yourself. Not only that, you only pay for what you need in terms of software licensing. And you still enjoy the capability to scale WHEN you need more capacity, without the need to dump old hardware and migrate to a new hardware! I think, there cannot be a greater value proposition than this.

The other major challenge that customers have in deploying HA systems is that they may not currently have the skills within their staff to implement high availability solutions. Again, Oracle Database Appliance addresses this problem directly. With the Database Appliance the need for local HA expertise is significantly diminished. The processes associated with the entire life cycle of the product from deployment to patching to diagnostics data collection and maintenance are all streamlined and substantially automated. Customers can deploy, operate, and manage their Database Appliance environments without deep technical skills. Further, dealing with mundane things is not necessary either and the staff can focus on more important, strategic work!

What is more is that due to a standard configuration and pre-tested software and hardware, the processes associated with the deployment, management, maintenance, and diagnostics are extremely reliable and predictable. This virtually eliminates the risks typically associated with building HA systems. Now SMBs can deploy HA systems to compete in today’s world, do so at a fraction of the normal cost, and be confident that their investment can generate immediate returns.

 

Thursday May 24, 2012

Oracle Database Appliance Unplugged @ Northern California Oracle Users Group

The Oracle Database Appliance is Simple, Reliable, & Affordable.  Still skeptical about the 'reliability'?

Join Sohan DeMel, Vice President, Product Strategy and Business Development, at the Northern California Oracle Users Group to demonstrate the fault-tolerance of the Oracle Database Appliance.

 A recent addition to Oracle’s Engineered System category, the Oracle Database Appliance offers customers a fully integrated system of software, servers, storage and networking in a single box that delivers high availability database services for a wide range of applications. Oracle Database Appliance has fault-tolerance built-in: The hardware is fully redundant. Oracle RAC protects against server failure and database instance failure. Oracle ASM triple mirroring maintains data redundancy. Storage multi-pathing and network bonding are built-in. In this demo-based presentation, members of the audience will be invited on-stage to literally unplug the Oracle Database Appliance – pull-out power cords, pull-out network cords, pull-out server trays, and pull out disks, all while the database is processing SwingBench transactions on the big screen.

When: May 31, 2012

Where: The NoCOUG Spring Conference

Go to the NoCoug.org web site for more information and to RSVP to this very exciting presentation and conference!


Monday Apr 30, 2012

What is Oracle Database Appliance?

Oracle Database Appliance is an “always on” database system. It does not have to go down if a component fails. Component failures are accounted for and the configuration is built with redundancy and single point of failures in mind. Further, it is a very simple system to deploy and operate.

If you are familiar with Oracle technologies, then technically, the best way to look at the Oracle Database Appliance may be to think of it as a two node Oracle Linux RAC cluster in a single box with shared storage and networking all included in the box. It is built and configured with redundancy to achieve continuous availability in the event of component failures. It addresses all single points of failures within the system.

ü Pre-built

ü Pre-configured

ü Pre-tested

ü Pre-validated

ü Pre-tuned

The current software stack (as of April, 2012) consists of Oracle Linux 5.8 (with the UEK kernel), Oracle Grid Infrastructure 11.2.0.3, and Oracle Database 11.2.0.3. On your Oracle Database Appliance, you can run Oracle RAC databases, Oracle Single Instance databases, or Oracle RAC One (active – passive) databases, or a combination of these.

Oracle Database Appliance is extremely simple to deploy. When you receive your appliance unit, you simply put the appliance in a computer rack, (or you can place it on a table, or in a closet), then you plug in the power and network connections to the Database Appliance and power on the Oracle Database Appliance. You then input the information for your configuration (system names, database names, database size, etc.) and for all practical purposes you just issue a single command to complete the deployment of your Oracle Database Appliance. That command is “oakcli deploy” that you issue from Linux system prompt. More on that will be covered later. The command initiates the entire process of setting up the OS, installing Oracle software, creating the initial database, and optionally setting up a cloud file system volume (a shared file system), configuring Oracle Auto Service Request, etc. as you watch the progress on your screen.

The multiple weeks’ worth of effort previously required in configuring an HA database is no longer necessary! The actual deployment process in fact takes less than one hour. And at the end of that one hour you have a fully functional cluster and a fully usable database available for your application to use.

Customers typically complete their deployments on the day they open the box and put the appliance in the rack. What is really interesting is the side benefit of this ease of use which results in lower chances of errors in configuration. The risks and uncertainties involved in setting up the HA system have virtually disappeared. And that means a lot for users. Now they can go ahead and buy an Oracle Database Appliance knowing that they can have a fully functional highly available database system on the day that it arrives!

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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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