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 

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!

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.


Thursday Oct 03, 2013

Comparing Oracle Database Appliance (ODA) with manually built and assembled systems

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!

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 31, 2012

Oracle Database Appliance Setup Poster Updated

The newly updated Setup Poster for Oracle Database Appliance is now available at http://docs.oracle.com/cd/E22693_01/doc.21/e35554.pdf

This updated poster is a comprehensive source of information for anyone planning to deploy Oracle Database Appliance. It includes two main sections (which are conveniently printed on the two sides of a single 11x17 page)

1. Preparing to Deploy Oracle Database Appliance
2. Oracle Database Appliance Setup

The Preparing to Deploy Oracle Database Appliance section provides a concise list of items to plan for and review before beginning deployment. This includes registering Support Identifiers, allocating IP addresses, downloading software and patches, choosing configuration options, as well as important links to useful information.

The Oracle Database Appliance Setup section provides a step by step procedure for deploying and configuring Oracle Database Appliance. This includes initial powering up of Oracle Database Appliance, configuring initial network, downloading software and completing the configuration using Oracle Database Appliance Configurator (GUI)

 

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!

Oracle Database Appliance, an Introduction

Even a couple of years ago, if you were building and deploying an Oracle RAC database system, which is basically a highly available database environment, you would start with careful planning and then  assemble all the components - the servers, the storage, the networking components from various vendors, and you would connect them together. Then you would look into what you needed for the software, whether there were any compatibility and interoperability issues in your chosen stack, whether you needed firmware, operating system, clusterware, or database patches and so forth.  And after all this work, you would look into the best practices for your configuration from these different vendors to make sure that your planned configuration was going to be compliant with those best practices. All of this resulted in weeks, if not months, worth of work and cost significant money and resources. And unfortunately, there was still no real assurance that you may not have missed something. Right?

The Oracle Database Appliance completely solves that problem! It attacks the complexity issue head on. It creates a huge value proposition for customers. HA is no longer complex!

In the past customer shied away from HA because it was complex. It was harder to deploy HA systems. They were costly and it took a long time to fully deploy a true HA configuration. Customers did not have the expertise to deploy HA systems.

Complex = Harder + Costlier + Longer

At the same time the need for HA systems continued to increase rather dramatically. In today’s fast paced world, your customers do not wait for a down system to be repaired and brought up. They move on the next vendor whose system is up. High availability is not a luxury but a necessity today.

Downtime = Lost Revenue + Lost Productivity

In addition, if your systems are down frequently and you start losing customers because of this, consider the loss based on the customer lifetime value! That can be really significant.

With the Oracle Database Appliance, you buy a highly available system and not try to build one. You deploy the entire system easily in 1 day instead of three months. You use it instead of constantly try to keep it up. You manage it effortlessly … and you focus on your business.

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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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