Friday Nov 01, 2013

Drink Milk or Got a Pet? Watch what IDEXX Laboratories and Oracle do for you

IDEXX Laboratories is the global market leader in diagnostics and IT for animal health [with 50,000 veterinary practices worldwide], and water and milk quality. Watch this video where Brett Curtis, Senior System Administrator from IDEXX, discusses their business applications and laboratory information management systems. IDEXX uses Oracle WebLogic Server, SOA Suite, Coherence, Enterprise Manager and more. Enterprise Manager is used to manage their entire stack and has enabled IDEXX to achieve an astounding 90% reduction in time to find root cause of problems in their application infrastructure.

Wednesday Oct 30, 2013

WebLogic How-to Videos: Install, Upgrade, & Patch

Here is another great YouTube video by our product manager Monica Riccelli. She talks about installers now being standardized in Oracle for greater consistency -- no more WebLogic native installers. Also, JDK is no longer a part of the WebLogic install. The various installers she discusses include OUI, ZIP, OEPE, Coherence and more. Monica then takes us through a step by step install process.


After the install process is complete the video takes us through the configuration wizard. The ZIP installer is then discussed and its effectiveness, such as it being the smallest downloadable option, easy, and very popular with our customers and limitations (such as for development only and not to be used in production) highlighted. Monica then takes us through the configuration wizard, its usage, and when to use WLST scripts. The video then discusses NodeManager and its usage and discusses how to reconfigure a WebLogic domain on upgrade – through our GUI tools or through command line interface. Lastly, it highlights Opatch – a patch application tool used by our customers and standardized across all Oracle products. Really detailed video. Check it out! 

Friday Oct 25, 2013

Reminder: WebLogic Global, Virtual Developer Day November 5

Just a quick reminder about the FREE virtual developer day focused on WebLogic (and Coherence) coming on November 5th.

This day, with content tailored for developers, will guide you through tooling updates and best practices around creating applications with WebLogic and Coherence as target platforms. We'll also explore advances in how you can manage your build, deploy and ongoing management processes to streamline your application's life cycle. And of course, we'll conclude with some hands-on labs that ensure this isn't all a bunch of made-up stuff - get your hands dirty in the code!

November 5, 2013
9am PT/12pm ET
REGISTER NOW


We're offering two tracks for your attendance, though of course you're free to attend any session you wish. The first will be for pure developers with sessions around developing for WebLogic with HTML5, processing live events with Coherence, and looking at development tooling. The second is for developers who are involved in the building and management processes as part of the application life cycle. These sessions focus on using Maven for builds, using Chef and Puppet for configuration and more.

We look forward to seeing you there - don't forget to invite a friend!

Thursday Oct 17, 2013

So what is Active GridLink for RAC?

I had referred to Active GridLink for RAC in my blog yesterday and since then got several questions on this topic. So I decided to re-visit Active GridLink. With the release of version 11g, Oracle WebLogic Server started to provide strong support for the Real Application Clusters (RAC) features in Oracle Database 11g, minimizing database access time while allowing transparent access to rich pooling management functions that maximizes both connection performance and availability. WebLogic is the only application server in the marketplace which has been fully integrated and certified with Oracle Database RAC 11g without losing any rich functionality. Active GridLink provides Fast Connection Failover (FCF), Runtime Connection Load-Balancing (RCLB), and RAC instance graceful shutdown. With the key foundation for providing deeper integration with Oracle RAC, this single data source implementation in Oracle WebLogic Server supports the full and unrestricted use of database services as the connection target for a data source.


For more details and to understand how our customer NEC leverages this capability, read the whitepapers on this topic.

Get in depth ‘how-to’ details from this youtube video from our resident expert, Frances Zhao.

Wednesday Oct 16, 2013

Oracle WebLogic Server and Oracle Database: A Robust Infrastructure for your Applications

It has been said that a chain is as strong as its weakest link. Well, this is also true for your application infrastructure. Not only are the various components that constitute your infrastructure, like database and application server critical, the integration between these things [whether coming out of the box from your vendor or done in-house] is paramount. Imagine your database being down and your application server not knowing about it and as a result your application waiting indefinitely for a database response – not a great situation if high availability is critical to your application. Or one of your database nodes is very busy, but your application server doesn’t have the intelligence to decipher that – it keeps pinging the busy node when it can in fact get a response from another idle node much faster. This is what Oracle WebLogic and Database integration provides: Intelligent integration out of the box. Tight integration between Oracle WebLogic and Database makes your infrastructure robust enough that not only does each of your infrastructure component provide you with improved RASP [reliability availability, scalability, and performance] but these components work together to offer improved performance & availability, better resource sharing, inherent scalability, ease of configuration and automated management for your entire infrastructure. Oracle WebLogic Server is the only application server with this degree of integration to Oracle Database.

With Oracle WebLogic Server 11g, we introduced Active GridLink for Real Application Clusters (RAC). In conjunction with Oracle Database, this powerful software technology simplifies management, increases availability, and ensures fast connection failover with runtime connection, load balancing and affinity capabilities. With the release of Oracle Database 12c this summer, even tighter integration between Oracle WebLogic Server 12c (12.1.2) and Oracle Database 12c has been achieved and this further optimizes the integration for a global cloud environment.


Read about these capabilities in detail in the Oracle WebLogic-Database Integration Whitepaper. Get in depth ‘how-to’ details from this YouTube video on the topic from our resident expert, Monica Roccelli.

Monday Oct 14, 2013

Whitepaper: The Department of Defense (DoD) and Open Source Software

With tight budgets organizations throughout the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) see the appeal of the open source model. Open source software (OSS) includes operating systems, applications, and programs in which the source code is published and made available to the public, enabling anyone to copy, modify and redistribute that code without paying royalties or fees. Open source “products” typically evolve through community cooperation among individual programmers as well as very large companies. An open source license permits anybody in the community to study, change and distribute the software for free and for any purpose.

At first glance it might seem that DoD organizations can avoid buying commercial software products simply by starting with open source software and developing their own applications. As this white paper shows, total cost of ownership (TCO) for open source software often exceeds that of commercial software. While minimizing capital expenses by acquiring “free” open source software is appealing, the up-front cost of any software endeavor represents only a small fraction of the total outlay over the lifecycle of ownership and usage. And while cost effectiveness is important, it must be carefully weighed against mission-effectiveness.

This paper seeks to answer two questions:

1. What are the tangible and intangible costs that the government should bear under an open source licensing model?

2. What are the tradeoffs and risks associated with open source licensing models in relation to commercially available software?

Download this whitepaper today to ensure you are considering the various cost drivers of owning and operating an application environment.

Friday Oct 11, 2013

Virtual Developer Day for WebLogic: November 5th

We're excited to announce an upcoming FREE virtual developer day focused on WebLogic (and Coherence).

This day, focused on developers, will guide you through tooling updates and best practices around creating applications with WebLogic and Coherence as target platforms. We'll also explore advances in how you can manage your build, deploy and ongoing management processes to streamline your application's life cycle. And of course, we'll conclude with some hands-on labs that ensure this isn't all a bunch of made-up stuff - get your hands dirty in the code!

November 5, 2013
9am PT/12pm ET
REGISTER NOW


We're offering two tracks for your attendance, though of course you're free to attend any session you wish. The first will be for pure developers with sessions around developing for WebLogic with HTML5, processing live events with Coherence, and looking at development tooling. The second is for developers who are involved in the building and management processes as part of the application life cycle. These sessions focus on using Maven for builds, using Chef and Puppet for configuration and more.

We look forward to seeing you there, and don't forget to invite a friend!

Thursday Oct 03, 2013

Avocent's VP of Engineering: Leveraging WebLogic & More for DCIM Offering

Just prior to OpenWorld I wrote about our customer Emerson's Avocent division, the cutting edge work they are doing with their DCIM offering, and Steve Blackwell's sessions at OOW [Read the blog here]. We got lucky and were able to catch Steve live at OpenWorld for an OTN interview in which he offers further details on their Trellis platform, how it leverages Oracle WebLogic Suite, Oracle Coherence, Oracle Complex Event Processing, Oracle Service Bus and other Oracle technologies to offer a state-of-the-art platform for their customers.

Friday Sep 20, 2013

Another not-to-miss OpenWorld Session: WebLogic on Oracle Database Appliance

Oracle WebLogic Server on Oracle Database Appliance offers a complete solution for building and deploying enterprise Java EE applications in a fully integrated system of software, servers, storage, and networking that delivers highly available database and WebLogic services.
In this session, we will discuss how WebLogic is deployed on Database Appliance virtual environment and what the benefits of deploying to this platform are.

Session Id: CON8980

Time: Monday, Sept 23rd 2013, 12:15 p.m. - 1:15 p.m.

Location: Marriott Marquis, Room: Golden Gate A

Speakers: Simon Haslam (Veriton), Frances Zhao-Perez (Oracle)

Read Simon's blog for more information on this session.

More on the topic from OTN.


 

OpenWorld Session: Intelligent Integration - WebLogic & Active GridLink for RAC

Oracle WebLogic Active GridLink for RAC is the market-leading mid-tier integration solution leveraging additional Oracle RAC advancements. Oracle and NEC have jointly invested on verifying and testing the Active GridLink for RAC solution implemented within Oracle WebLogic Server which provides high-availability, scalability and high performance solution for helping customer building mission critical applications. In this session, we will discuss the detailed Active GridLink capabilities and the testing results done by NEC. We then will introduce the new functionality on Oracle Database 12c integration.

Please come to meet our experts from Oracle and NEC discussing the latest and greatest technologies; and learn how this will benefit your business!

Session ID: CON8977

Time: Wed, Sept 25, 1:15-2:15pm
Location: Marriott Marquis, Room Golden Gate A

Speakers: Naoto Kashiwagi (NEC), Frances Zhao-Perez (Oracle), Yosuke Arai (Oracle) 

Read the join whitepaper written by NEC and Oracle on this topic.

Monday Sep 16, 2013

Ensuring high level of performance with WebLogic JDBC

In this post you will find some common best practices aimed at ensuring high levels of performance with WebLogic JDBC.  However, rather than just throwing some tips, I will detail why each recommendation is beneficial to JDBC and Weblogic Server performance.

  • Use Oracle JDBC thin driver (Type 4) rather than OCI driver (Type 2)

The Oracle JDBC thin driver is lightweight (easy to install and administrate), platform-independent (entirely written in Java), and provides slightly higher performance than the JDBC OCI (Oracle Call Interface) driver.  The thin driver does not require any additional software on the client side.  Oracle JDBC FAQ stipulates that the performance benefit with the thin driver is not consistent and that the OCI driver can even deliver better performances in some scenarios.

  • Use PreparedStatements objects rather than Statement 
With PreparedStatements, compiled SQL statements will be kept in cache and only be executed once against the database.  As a result, unnecessary parsing and round-trips to the database will be avoided when the same statement is used later within the same connection.  The statement cache size defines the total number of prepared statement that can be made with a single connection from the Datasource.

  • Close all JDBC resources in a finally Block

This include ResultSet, Connection, Statement and Prepared Statement objects and to avoid potential memory leaks.  The connection.close() won't necessarily automatically clean up all the other objects because the implementation of close() may differ between JDBC drivers.  Also, JDBC objects not properly closed could lead to this error:

java.sql.SQLException: ORA-01000: maximum open cursors exceeded.

If you don't explicitly close Statements and ResultSets right away, cursors may accumulate and exceed the maximum number allowed in your DB before the Connection is closed. 

  • Set Shrink frequency to 0 in production environments

By disabling Shrink frequency you will not allow waits before shrinking a connection pool that has incrementally increased to meet demand.  The Shrink Frequency parameter is used to specify the number of seconds to wait before shrinking a connection pool, given that ShrinkingEnabled is kept at its default value, or set to true.  Weblogic shrinks a connection pool by reducing the number of connections to the greater of either the minimum capacity or the number of connection in use and thus frees up some resources.  In development we can afford to keep the no-longer-used connection active rather than immediately returning them to the pool.  

  • Consider skipping the SQL-query test when Test Connections on Reserve is enabled

When Test Connections on Reserve is enabled (see Advanced Connection Pool Configuration in the console), the Weblogic Server checks a database connection prior to returning the connection to a client to avoid passing an invalid connection in the application.  Since this operation could impact the performance, it's recommended to use Seconds to Trust an Idle Pool Connection (set to 10 seconds by default) that defines how long WebLogic Server will trust the connection and therefore skip the connection test after a connection has been proven valid.

  • Enable Pinned-to-Thread
Disabled by default, this option can improve performance by enabling threads to keep a pooled database connection even after the application closes the logical connection.  This eliminates potential contention between threads getting a database connection.  However, this parameter should be used with great care because the connection pool maximum capacity is ignored when pinned-to-thread is enabled.  A connection no longer used will not return to the pool but will stay linked to the thread, and no shrinking can apply to that pool.
  • Ensure that Maximum Thread Constraint property doesn't exceed the number of database connection

This property (See Environment Work Manager in the console) will set a maximum number of possible concurrent requests. If it exceeds the number of database connection then some threads might end up waiting until existing database connection are made available.


Visit Tuning Data Source Connection Pools and Tuning Data Sources for additional parameters tuning in JDBC data sources and connection pools to improve system performance with Weblogic Server 12.1.2, and Performance Tuning Your JDBC Application for application-specific design and configuration. 

Friday Sep 06, 2013

Announcing new MAA paper - Oracle Traffic Director Disaster Recovery!

The MAA paper covering Disaster Recovery for Oracle Traffic Director is available on OTN:
http://www.oracle.com/technetwork/database/availability/maa-oracletrafficdirector-dr-2008165.pdf

Please check it out!

This paper describes the disaster recovery solution for Oracle Traffic Director based on Oracle MAA architecture principles.

Oracle Traffic Director is a fast, reliable, and scalable layer-7 software load balancer that you can deploy as the reliable entry point for all TCP, HTTP and HTTPS traffic to application servers and web servers in your network.

http://www.oracle.com/us/products/middleware/application-server/oracle-traffic-director-ds-1389582.pdf

Thursday Sep 05, 2013

Part 3 - 12c Database and WLS - Multi Tenant Database (CDB/PDB)

I introduced WLS support for 12c database at https://blogs.oracle.com/WebLogicServer/entry/part_1_12c_database_and and the Application Continuity feature at https://blogs.oracle.com/WebLogicServer/entry/part_2_12c_database_and  . 

One of the biggest new features in the 12c database is officially called the Oracle Multitenant option. I'm going to point out what I think are some of the highlights here and eventually get down into some WLS sample code.  See http://docs.oracle.com/cd/E16655_01/server.121/e17636/part_cdb.htm#BGBIDDFD for the Oracle Database Administration documentation for this feature.  Technical folks, administrators and programmers, will call this feature "CDB/PDB" after the Container Database and Pluggable Databases that are used to implement it.  As the names imply, you have a CDB to contain a collection of PDB's.  If you are an administrator, you can appreciate the ability to create, manage, monitor, backup, patch, tune, etc. one entity instead of a bunch of them.  As a programmer, its great that you can connect to your PDB and it looks and behaves just like a non-PDB.  All that you need to know is the host, port, and service name just like the non-PDB.  Of course, the service name needs to be unique in your environment so that you get to the right PDB in the right CDB.

As you might expect, there needs to be a container at the top to hold all of the PDB's - it's called the CDB$ROOT.  There also needs to be some users in charge of the PDB's.  These users are called "common users" and the names must begin with "C##".  A common user is created in the root (it fails within a PDB) and exist in all PDB's. "Local users" are created within individual PDB's and behave like users in non-PDB's.  When you are doing administration from tools like sqlplus or sqldeveloper, you connect to the database in the root and can switch to a PDB by using something like  "alter session set container = PDB1" and then "alter session set container = CDB$ROOT" to get back to the root.  There are new views to keep track of the CDB/PDB information - use "select pdb from cdb_services where pdb is not null" to see what PDB's exist.  Some operations can only be done at the root level.  For example, Database Resident Connection Pooling (DRCP), another new 12c feature, can only be started at the root.  A PDB is managed pretty much like a non-PDB with startup and shutdown.  Each PDB has an administrative database service that you can't configure (Enterprise Manager needs something consistent to manage the PDB) and you can create additional database services with your own choice of attributes. You can use  the dba_services table within a PDB to see just the services for that PDB.

So how do you use this?  The easy way to use this is for improving density and scalability on the data tier.  You can move multiple standalone databases into a single container database with individual PDB's corresponding to each standalone database.  On the WebLogic Server side, you can still have a data source defined for each of these PDB's, just as you have today. 

Feeling more ambitious?  You can share a single data source across multiple PDB's.  To do that, you need to get a connection and switch to the PDB that you want to work on by executing the SQL statement "ALTER SESSION SET CONTAINER = pdbname".  You might be wondering if any state is leaked from one PDB to another by doing this.  Under the covers, the Oracle database server tells the Oracle driver that the PDB has been switched so driver connection state can be cleaned up.  Then the driver tells the WLS data source that the PDB has been switched so that the WLS connection state can be cleaned up. Although general use of a PDB is transparent to WLS so that  it can be used with versions starting with WLS release 10.3.6, PDB SET CONTAINER isn't supported until WLS release 12.1.2.

Switching PDB's is not a cheap operation so you should minimize doing this.  To minimize the overhead, you really want to keep track of what PDB is associated with each connection.  WLS data source has a mechanism for associating labels with connections that's ideal for this purpose.  See http://docs.oracle.com/middleware/1212/wls/JDBCA/ds_labeling.htm#BCGFADIH  for the connection labeling documentation.

Take a look at the sample code at this source code link (the .txt file is actually a .java file).  It's written up as a servlet (don't get caught up in those details). It assumes that there is a 12c container database with PDB1 and PDB2 that has been configured as a generic data source with a JNDI name "ds0".  When it first gets the data source, a labeling callback is created and registered (we only want to do this once).    The program gets connections on each PDB.  The first time it gets a connection on a PDB, it needs to do a switch; the next time, it can reuse the same connection.   The labeling getConnection API is used; it takes a Properties object and the label name is "TENANT".  Looking at the callback, if the label properties match then 0 is returned, otherwise a non-zero value is returned (some debugging information is printed so it's possible to watch the matching process).  The key work is in the configure method, which is called when the tenant label doesn't match.  In that case, the SET CONTAINER is done using the tenant label value and the label properties are reset.

Climbing back out of the code, the Oracle Multitenant option can be a big win on the database server side immediately with no change on the WLS side except maybe for the URL in the JDBC descriptor.  Longer term, I believe applications will want higher density on the mid-tier and start to collapse the number of data sources. Along the same lines of improving density but not for multiple tenants, you can also move your SALES and CRM databases into PDB's within a container, and merge the two data sources into a single data source using the methods described above.  It will be interesting to see how customers leverage the power of this new feature.

Friday Aug 30, 2013

Introducing Elastic JMS

In WebLogic 12.1.2, we enhanced the way that you can configure JMS servers, stores, and subdeployments so that the JMS subsystem can automatically scale with the Managed Servers in a cluster. We call this Elastic JMS. My friend Maciej Gruszka calls it Magic JMS!

 Here are some details:

JMS Servers: In releases before WebLogic Server 12.1.2, each JMS Server was individually configured and targeted at a single Managed Server. It didn’t matter whether or not that Managed Server was part of a cluster. Starting in WebLogic Server 12.1.2, you can target a JMS Server at a cluster. Under the covers, WebLogic spins up a JMS Server on each managed server in the cluster. If you add or remove servers from the cluster, JMS Servers are added or removed automatically.

WebLogic Persistent Stores: Like JMS Servers, in releases before WebLogic Server 12.1.2, each WebLogic Persistent Store (file store or JDBC store) was individually configured and targeted to a single Managed Server, clustered or not. In WebLogic Server 12.1.2, you can target a WebLogic Persistent Store at a cluster. Under the covers, WebLogic creates a store instance on each Managed Server in the cluster. Each instance of a file store uses the same path to either a shared file system or to a local file. Each instance of a JDBC store uses the same JDBC data source, but gets its own underlying tables.

Subdeployments: A subdeployment defines the list of JMS Servers that will host a queue or topic. In releases before WebLogic Server 12.1.2, when you defined a subdeployment for a distributed queue or topic, you listed each JMS Server in the cluster. When you scaled up the cluster by adding a Managed Server and a corresponding JMS Server, you also needed to update the subdeployment with the new JMS Server. Starting in WebLogic Server 12.1.2, subdeployments are much simpler. You can list a single JMS Server that is targeted at the cluster. When you scale up the cluster, the distributed queue is automatically extended to the new JMS Server instance without any changes to the subdeployment.

Pulling it all together: By using cluster targeted JMS Servers and Persistent Stores, you get some nice benefits:

  • Simplified configuration – Even initial JMS configuration is much simpler than it was in the past: no need for individually configured JMS Servers and related items.
  • Elastic scalability – As you scale the cluster, the JMS services automatically scale with it. 
  • Support for Dynamic Clusters – Because Dynamic Clusters require homogenous targeting of services, the new configuration options make it possible to run JMS on Dynamic Clusters. 

  • Check out the documentation at http://docs.oracle.com/middleware/1212/wls/JMSAD/dynamic_messaging.htm or see my video at for more details.

    WebLogic Active GridLink for RAC: Check out NEC results!

    Oracle WebLogic Active GridLink for RAC is the market-leading mid-tier integration solution leveraging additional Oracle RAC advancements. Oracle and NEC have jointly invested on verifying and testing the Active GridLink for RAC solution which provides a high-availability, scalability and high performance solution for helping customer building mission critical applications. In addition, WebLogic Server is the only application server which has been fully integrated and certified with Oracle Database without losing any capabilities in Java EE implementation with respect to security, transaction, connection pooling , management, and more.

    NEC has constructed high availability systems with WebLogic Server and Oracle Real Application Cluster. It investigated advantages and features of the GridLink data source focusing on high availability and flexibility that GridLink data source achieves in integrating with Oracle RAC. The purpose of these tests is to get high serviceability by diverting system integration know-how of JDBC data source already storing, in addition to using these functions. The following are functions which the GridLink data sources were tested for.

    1. Runtime Connection Load Balancing(RCLB)

    2. Web Session Affinity

    3. Fast Connection Failover (FCF)

    4. Performance Improvement by Dynamic Changes in RAC Topology

    Join us in this OpenWorld session as we discuss the detailed Active GridLink capabilities and the testing results obtained by NEC. We will also discuss the new functionality introduced with Oracle Database 12c.

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