Tuesday Aug 21, 2012

Virtualization @ Oracle (Part 9: Ops Center as a Management Tool for Virtualization )

After overviews of all the different Oracle virtualization technologies available to customers, in our closing article we come to an interesting guide for simplifying life. One GUI to manage them all ...

Not quite really all of them though, because Oracle VM Virtual Box and VDI - described in the previous two episodes - have their own management tools. So it’s about centralized management for Oracle server virtualization technologies.

Ops Center as a Management Tool for Virtualization

For datacenter management Oracle offers Oracle Enterprise Manager, aka 'OEM'. OEM is actually a product suite: OEM 12c Cloud Control and OEM 12c Ops Center are the two products within the suite which are relevant to management of physical and virtual environments.

To many people, the term 'Oracle Enterprise Manager' is synonymous with the OEM Cloud Control product, or its predecessor OEM Grid Control. However, since 2010 there has also existed OEM Ops Center. Cloud Control and Ops Center are still two different products with separate installations. If preferred, they can be coupled together for data exchange. Looking forward, you will likely have just the one product to install; Oracle Enterprise Manger which should offer the combined feature set of both.

So what is Ops Center?

Ops Center offers complete infrastructure management with a focus on Oracle hardware (servers, switches, storage appliances) and Oracle operating systems, plus non-Oracle Linux variants that are supported on Oracle servers.

“Focus on” means not “limited to”, but this is a different story.

Using Ops Center, it's possible to manage the complete life cycle of a system:

  • Install / check the firmware revisions
  • Configure built-in RAID controllers and BIOS settings for x86 systems
  • Install an operating system
  • Install software applications
  • Keep the installation updated via patch or update management.

Virtualization Management

Instead of installing Solaris or Linux as the base operating system on the server, you can (for example) install Oracle VM Server for x86 on the bare metal system using Ops Center. From there, you can then deploy virtual guests. Ops Center is used to deploy the hypervisor, then allows integration with Oracle VM Manager so that both hypervisor and virtual guests can be managed from the same console.

Another example. If the server is running Solaris, use Ops Center to deploy and manage Solaris Zones on top of it. With the appropriate underlying hardware you can also deploy and manage Oracle VM Server for SPARC (aka LDOMs).

Ops Center has an effective and easy to use interface. It provides an intuitive graphical overview of the physical and virtual environments you are running, and makes them easy to manage and maintain.

Sample screenshot:

On the left hand side of this first screenshot, I have selected the object ('test-paas-zone-03') that I’m interested in doing something with:

You see a nice grouping:

't6320-paas-045-sc' on the top is the handle I select for managing and monitoring the hardware on which my software stack is running.

The underlying hardware is, as the name suggests, a T-Series server. T-Series servers do have a built-in hypervisor. This is represented by the next icon: 't6320-paas-045' . This was the object I selected during setup of the environment.

Relating to this system, the initial Ops Center job I ran from the GUI was effectively telling Ops Center to 'Build me a Control Domain on this hypervisor'.

Afterwards other jobs for defining and installing guest LDOMs were run. Logical domains 'Test-paas-ldom-03' and 'test-paas-ldom-04' were created. Both have an anchor point for resource management and possible live migration (the icons 'test-paas-03' and 'test-paas-04').

And one of my guest LDOMs, test-paas-ldom-04, is running a non global zone: test-paas-zone-03. Yes – this was also built with the Ops Center GUI.

Selecting the test-paas-zone-03 zone object , I can inspect the zone's configuration details in the next screenshot. On the right hand side are the possible actions I may perform on this zone .

“Edit Configuration” gives me the chance to change resource definitions for this zone:

Server Pools

One may argue that in general, when using Solaris command-line you have more flexibility, for example while setting up your Control domains.

However, using Ops Center offers an additional benefit. You can group servers of compatible architecture together, assign them shared storage where virtualized guests may run, define the type of virtualization technology to be used (Oracle VM server for SPARC, Oracle VM Server for x86, Oracle Solaris Zones – SPARC, Oracle Solaris Zones – x86) and then define a server pool.

For the server pool itself you define characteristics such as:

  • Placement Policy: how to determine on which physical server (for example) a new virtual guest is to be deployed
  • Auto Balancing Policy: do you like Ops Center to watch if the server pool is for example equally utilized or is there an optimization via migration of a guest possible? Do you want Ops Center to perform this migration job without further invention or do you want to be alerted?
  • Automatic Recovery: do you like Ops Center to power off a failing physical server and migrate the virtual guests to other physical servers which are part of the pool?

Hopefully this gives you some valuable insight into the virtualization management features available to you from within Ops Center. And there is much more to discover in this tool.

Cloud Support

As the full product name 'Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c Ops Center' implies, cloud features are offered at the infrastructure level.

Ops Center allows users to build the managed assets into Virtual Data Centers, or vDCs.

A vDC provides a full stack of coordinated resources for cloud computing, including systems, network infrastructure, storage, virtualization hosts and a self-contained user and permission model. Ops Center users can leverage this functionality in two ways: by logging directly into the Ops Center UI, or by using the programmatic API and command line tools for Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). These features enable Ops Center to greatly speed the deployment and management process for cloud-based infrastructure.

Additional benefits

Besides the various benefits a graphical management tool offers, please be aware of the another important advantage Oracle provides to its customers;

Customers who maintain an Oracle Premier Support for Systems or Oracle Premier Support for Operating Systems agreement can download and use Oracle Enterprise Manager Ops Center to manage their covered Oracle systems at no additional cost with support included. This Ops Center Everywhere program has been in place since November 2011.

Further Reading

This series of 9 is now completed with the above article and had the following entries:

  • December 2011: Introduction to Virtualization (Matthias Pfützner)
  • January 2012: Oracle VM Server for SPARC (Matthias Pfützner)
  • February 2012: Oracle VM Server for x86 (Matthias Pfützner)
  • March 2012: Oracle Solaris Zones and Linux Containers (Detlef Drewanz)
  • April 2012: Resource Management (Detlef Drewanz)
  • May 2012: Network Virtualization and Network Resource Management (Detlef Drewanz)
  • June 2012: Oracle VM VirtualBox (Detlef Drewanz)
  • July 2012: Oracle Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) (Matthias Pfützner)
  • August 2012: Ops Center as Management Tool for Virtualization (Elke Freymann)

If you have questions, feel free to contact me at Elke Freyman, or contact the maintainer of this series, Uwe Strahlendorf.

Read more:

<<< Part 8: Oracle Virtual Desktop Infrastructure - OVDI

eSTEP Newsletter August 2012 now available

Dear Partners,

We would like to inform you that the August '12 issue of our Newsletter is now available.
The issue contains information to the following topics:

Notes from Corporate
Oracle buys Xsigo; Oracle Releases New Java Updates - Java SE 7 Update 6, JavaFX 2.2 and JavaFX Scene Builder 1.0; Oracle OpenWorld 2012 aqnd JavaOne 2012 Offer Attendees Unparallelled Access to Educational Content and Sessions on Latest Industry Topics and Trends,

Technical Corner
Virtualization Story - the last chapter!;Introducing Oracle Exalogic Elastic Cloud 2.0;  SPARC Migration Website;  Independent Analyst White Paper - SPARC Servers; An effective choice for Efficiency in the Data Center; Blog - What makes ZFS so Cool; SPARC Servers: An Effective Choice for Efficiency in the Datacenter (White paper); Oracle is #1 in Business Analytics; JavaOne 2012 conference; Oracle and Involver (another takeover by Oracle)

Learning & Events
Webcast Series: Accelerate Business-Critical Database Deployments with Oracle Optimized Solutions; Simplify IT and Unleash Innovation; Webcasts with EMC and Cisco; Screen-cast Series: A Better approach to Enterprise Desktop Virtualization; Cloud Builder Event Series; EM12c Customer Webcasts; plus schedule of arriving Techcasts & summary of three last events delivered;

How to
How to import large Application Projects into Oracle Solaris Studio; Advanced Administration with the Service Management Facility in Oracle Solaris 11; Best Practices for securely Deploying the SPARC SuperCluster T4; Oracle VM Template for Oracle Secure Global Desktop; Finding the Path from RHEL to Oracle Solaris 11; Determining Block Size of created files in ZFS; How to Deploy Oracle RAC on Oracle Solaris 11 Zone Clusters; How to manage ZFS Data Encryption; How to use Oracle VM VirtualBox templates

Extra summer section
Oracle Racing; Steve Job's Career Lessons

You find the Newsletter on our portal under eSTEP News ---> Latest Newsletter. You will need to provide your email address and the pin below to get access. Link to the portal is shown below.

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