Wednesday May 27, 2015

Exalogic and Leap Second (June 30, 2015)

A leap second is a one-second adjustment that is occasionally applied to Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) in order to keep it close to the mean solar time. A leap second will be inserted at the end of June 30, 2015 at 23:59:60 UTC.

A few older kernels supported on Exalogic cannot handle the leap second, resulting in crashes or other indeterminate behavior. Patches are available to address this issue - details in MOS Doc 2008413.1.

Thursday May 21, 2015

Traffic Director 11.1.1.9 is now available

Traffic Director 11.1.1.9 is now available for Exalogic and SuperCluster. Oracle Engineered Systems customers can now uptake Traffic Director 11.1.1.9 either as a new installation or simply installing on top of an existing Traffic Director 11.1.1.x release.

In addition to addressing several critical bug fixes, this service pack release also delivers the following key features:

1. Modern security protocols such as TLS /1.2 - relevant for every deployment. 

2. Native support for OEL 6.x and Solaris 11.2 platform.

3. Configure OTD to serve a HTML page - within the load balancer - during your application patching window !  Without this capability, several customers had to provision a web server - such as OHS - to address this use case.

4. Key UI refinements - View Origin server (WebLogic) online/offline status within the UI, Simplicity while viewing Load Balancer log files etc. 

5. Better deployment story for SuperCluster / Exalogic (Solaris) - High Availability Support on IB interfaces (even within Zones) on Solaris 11.2. This capability now allows customers to provision OTD in a HA fashion even within a Solaris Container.

For additional information, please refer to the Traffic Director OTN page

Wednesday May 13, 2015

Resizing vCPU and Memory Resources Allocated to Exalogic Guest vServers

Support has been added to resize vCPU and Memory resources allocated to existing Exalogic Guest vServers. Previously, resizing vCPU/memory allocated to Guest vServers required each vServer to be templatized and recreated. The new resizing functionality enables vCPU and Memory resources allocated to existing vServers to be modified through the EM Ops Center Browser UI.

Details in MOS Doc 1998888.1

Wednesday May 06, 2015

Sneak Peek at What's Next for Oracle Exalogic Elastic Cloud

Last week the Oracle Exalogic Elastic Cloud product management team hosted 19 companies who run on Exalogic in Santa Clara, California to get a sneak preview of the upcoming release of the Exalogic Elastic Cloud Software (EECS).

A total of 26 people from seven countries attended the Exalogic Beta, and all were unanimously impressed by what they saw and experienced. The PM team provided three days of hands-on-labs, in which participants learned about the powerful new features being incorporated into this release, coming later this calendar year.

All of the hands-on labs were completed on time with 100% success. Nineteen customers (19 IaaS tenants) created almost 100 VMs successfully as part of the JCS and IaaS operations and application deployment labs, and all of the IaaS VM CRUD operations were performed by 19 customers in parallel with 100% success.

“The hands-on labs are what proved that your strategy is "real" and is being executed," reported one attendee, while another remarked, "The biggest benefit we can see is the new Exalogic management user interface which will be available in the Oracle Enterprise Manager application. The fact that we will be able to change the shape (RAM, CPUs, network configuration) of the virtual servers without having to recreate them is priceless!”

Four partner companies and 15 customer companies attended the beta, providing valuable insight and feedback to engineering and product management, and are now eagerly awaiting the new release. "We like the new option to run and manage virtual server backups. We are very impressed with the new API code and the OEM UI development," said one participant, while another customer added, "we believe that the Oracle teams paid attention to us customers and they will take our comments and suggestions seriously, so they are included in coming releases."

A few other customer comments heard during the three-day event:

  • Definitely on the right track
  • Private Cloud “on par” with Public Cloud is great
  • Very attractive to put “the playgrounds” (DEV/TEST) in the Cloud
  • Acceptance/pre-production as close to production as possible to on-premise
  • Has great base and potential to grow for years to come

All in all, it was a great experience for Oracle Exalogic product development, and our valued guests.

Follow this blog to stay in the loop on EECS news and developments over the coming months!

Wednesday Apr 29, 2015

Oracle Exalogic Elastic Cloud Software (EECS) for Oracle SuperCluster

This blog post is brought to you by Sachin Pikle of the Exalogic Product Management team.

We usually get a lot of questions on Oracle Exalogic Elastic Cloud Software (EECS) for Oracle SuperCluster – what is it, where can we use it, how do we install it, etc. Just recently someone asked me, “We have procured a new SuperCluster T5-8 rack. We also have EECS licenses. Now what do we do next? How do we get EECS up and running on this rack? “. In general, there seems to be some mystery surrounding EECS for SuperCluster. This post will help address questions like these.

Oracle Engineered Systems are designed and optimized to run specific workloads. Oracle SuperCluster is our SPARC-based Engineered System that combines the power of Oracle Exadata for running the database tier, and Oracle Exalogic for running the application tier in a single rack. SuperCluster integrates with optional EECS to run business applications and middleware components better and faster.

So what is EECS for SuperCluster? Simply put, EECS for SuperCluster has two distinct parts:

1. EECS Optimizations built in to Oracle Fusion Middleware products like WebLogic, Coherence and Tuxedo, designed to make your applications run a lot faster and better on SuperCluster


2. Oracle Traffic Director (OTD), a highly available software load-balancer over InfiniBand network fabric. OTD front-ends all requests coming in to the SuperCluster Rack and balances the load across multiple application instances running within the rack, keeping the traffic over high-speed InfiniBand fabric at all times

So where can I use Exalogic Software on SuperCluster? There are two primary use cases:

1. Improve performance and reliability of your business applications using EECS Optimizations. These optimizations, license-restricted to EECS only, are actually built in our upper stack Fusion Middleware products like WebLogic, Coherence, Tuxedo, etc. They are very easy to use. There is no EECS software to install. No code changes needed. All you need is the EECS license, and a few configuration changes, some of them as simple as turning on a switch from an admin console or inside a configuration file. And you will see up to 10 times better performance and reliability for Java and Fusion Middleware-based applications – Oracle apps, ISV Apps and custom Apps.

2. Load balancing over InfiniBand fabric using Oracle Traffic Director (OTD). OTD is our software load balancer and gives you the ability to load balance requests across multiple application instances running inside a SuperCluster rack. Your EECS license entitles you to download, install and use OTD software on SuperCluster. OTD is fully integrated with WebLogic. It is the best load balancer to front end multiple WebLogic managed servers. It can detect WebLogic server instances going down and can automatically route requests to remaining healthy servers. OTD can also be used as a reverse proxy.

To summarize, EECS on SuperCluster is

  • Easy to use

o EECS Optimizations built in Fusion Middleware products, no EECS installation needed

o These are license-only entitlements. So all you need is the EECS license

o Can be used with simple configuration changes, as simple as turning on a switch

  • Offers unmatched benefits

o Up to 10 times better application performance & reliability

o Oracle Traffic Director – Built-in high speed software load balancer on IB, at no extra cost

o Supports sub-capacity licensing

Friday Apr 24, 2015

Exalogic April 2015 PSU

April 2015 PSU's for Exalogic have been released.

Please refer to following MOS Docs for detailed information about them.

- Exalogic Patch Set Update (PSU) Release 2.0.6.2.1 (Linux - Physical) for April 2015 (Doc ID 1995223.1)

- Exalogic Patch Set Update (PSU) Release 2.0.6.2.1 (Solaris - Physical) for April 2015 (Doc ID 1995235.1)

- Exalogic Patch Set Update (PSU) Release 2.0.6.2.1 (Linux - Virtual) for April 2015 (Doc ID 1995236.1)

- Exalogic Infrastructure April 2015 PSU – Fixed Bugs List (Doc ID 1995246.1)

The Master Note for all Exalogic PSU's is Doc ID 1314535.1


Friday Apr 17, 2015

Customers Share Business Benefits of using Oracle Exalogic Elastic Cloud

Many satisfied Oracle Exalogic Elastic Cloud customers are enthusiastically sharing their success stories, and we are proud to pass them on. Here are a few of the more recent testimonials on how Exalogic is helping to solve business problems. Key highlights are mentioned below; more details are included in each of the stories.

Videos

Cognizant is managing their explosive growth with Exalogic, Exadata, Peoplesoft, Enterprise Manager, and ACS for a 65% reduction in processing time for their top 40 critical batch processes.

Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission becomes a real-time utility with 10x faster access to business insight, choosing Exalogic, Exadata, Exalytics, BI, ACS, and Platinum Services to save $1.2M, 75% less power, and gain 50% better performance.

Advania deployed Oracle Exalogic Elastic Cloud software on Supercluster, together with Exadata and Oracle Database to boost performance 80%, and gain 5x consolidation.

Case studies and snapshots

Agilent boosts E-Commerce revenue! To revitalize its e-commerce presence, Agilent decided to revamp the site’s .Net infrastructure using a full stack of Oracle technologies, including Exalogic, ATG Web Commerce, Endeca, identity management, and traffic director in a virtualized environment. In so doing, they boosted productivity by 88%.

The City and County of San Francisco reduced payroll processing time by 7 hours with Exalogic and Exadata. Their solution also included Peoplesoft, WebLogic, Active Data Guard, RAC, and Oracle Platinum Services.

SPC Brasil chose Oracle Exadata Database Machine and Oracle Exalogic Elastic Cloud for high performance, increased security and ease of use. They are also running Oracle Audit Vault, with Oracle Data Masking. Get the story in English or Portuguese!

Press release

POSCO deployed Oracle Product Hub with Exadata and Exalogic to simplify its IT infrastructure and boost operational efficiency, flexibility and speed, and to provide greater customer value.

Do you have a success story to share? Let us know!

Tuesday Apr 07, 2015

Exalogic Learning Streams

Online video tutorials and presentations that highlight various operational aspects of Exalogic, as well as application specific information (such as WebLogic Server, E-Business Suite and PeopleSoft) are available in the Exalogic Learning Streams of the Oracle Education site. Streams give you unlimited access to videos delivered by Oracle experts, 24/7.

Please use the feedback mechanism of this blog to provide input on Exalogic specific topics that you would like to see covered using this delivery method in the future.

Tuesday Mar 31, 2015

Exalogic Elastic Cloud STIGfix v1.0

This blog post is brought to you by Drew Darrow of the Exalogic A-Team, Oracle Product Development.

With the release of the Exalogic Lifecycle (ELLC) Toolkit 14.2, Oracle introduced STIGfix, a tool that can be used to harden guest vServers and physical compute nodes on an Exalogic machine running at minimum EECS 2.0.6.0.0 Virtual or 2.0.0.0.0 Physical.   STIGfix is installed and available for use when you install ELLC 14.2 in your environment.

STIGs are security configuration standards defined by the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) an agency within the United States Department of Defense.  More information on STIGs can be found here http://iase.disa.mil/stigs/

Before using STIGfix you must ensure that 'root' is not the only user as once run, direct SSH access to the vServer or compute node as 'root' user will be restricted. Configuring which STIGs are applied to your environment is simple and done by editing the stigfix.json file, which specifies the STIGs the tool will apply or skip.  After running the STIGfix tool, rollback scripts are generated in the backup directory to rollback any STIG you applied that were not intended or had an adverse effect on your application.

Additional considerations :

  • STIGfix can only be run on Exalogic guest vServers or Exalogic Physical Compute nodes, It must never be run on dom0's or control vServers

  • After STIG-hardening your guest vServers you can no longer use ExaBR to backup STIG-hardened guest vServers.  ExaBR only supports STIG-hardened Oracle Linux compute nodes.  The ExaBR Guide has been updated to reflect these changes

  • STIGfix is not supported on EECS 2.0.6.1.2 running the Oracle Enterprise Linux 6 base image

Detailed instructions for use of STIGfix can be found in the STIGfix user guide available at http://docs.oracle.com/cd/E18476_01/doc.220/e53111/toc.htm

Monday Mar 16, 2015

ExaChk 12.1.0.2.3 now available

This blog post is brought to you by Denny Yim and Bharath Reddy of the Exalogic team.

We are pleased to announce the general availability of ExaChk 12.1.0.2.3. This release adds support for Oracle Exalogic Elastic Cloud Software (EECS) 2.0.6.2.0 and has scores of new checks along with updates to many existing ones. The highlights for this release are listed below.

New Features
•    In-rack Spine Switch Support
•    Custom Storage Checks Profile
•    Shortened Storage Checks Run Time by More Than 50%
•    Added Checks for Ghost Security Vulnerability
•    Added ILOM Open Issues Check
•    Added Partition Key Format Check Post Switch Firmware Upgrade to 2.1.x
•    Added Check for Stale Session on Master Subnet Manager


ExaChk Resources on My Oracle Support
•    Exachk Main Note 1449226.1 - Exachk 12.1.0.2.3 Zip distribution available from here
•    Exachk Diagnostic Information Note 1463157.1
•    Exachk Known Issues Note 1478378.1

Version Number Change - ExaChk for Exalogic has skipped version 12.1.0.2.2 to avoid confusion with a specific Exadata release.

Tuesday Mar 10, 2015

Harvard Business Review – IT/Business Users: Overcoming Relationship Challenges to Partner for Success

This blog post is brought to you by Bryan O-Blanquet of the Exalogic Marketing team.

Quickly delivering innovative applications to employees and customers alike is a top priority in the digital economy. But such agility requires big changes in how IT relates to the rest of the business. A new report from the Harvard Business Review that surveyed 274 business and IT professionals concludes that contrary to the popular perception that everything is moving to outsourcing and the cloud, a majority of business managers still prefer to work with their internal IT departments.

Mobile devices, social media and the cloud are disruptive technologies that have transformed information consumption and delivery, affecting how companies innovate and compete.  What separate winning companies from those who struggle to leverage the new disruptors is the agility of how well their IT organizations can respond at the speed of opportunity.  Well, how are organizations doing?  

Responsiveness Drives Revenue
Despite clamoring for stronger IT partnerships, many respondents complained that many IT organizations aren’t structured to support shorter application cycles – identifying a “significant gap” between business needs and IT’s ability to execute timely application cycles. Nearly half said new launches or upgrades happen only once a year or less.  Nonetheless, surprisingly, 56% also said that if their IT departments had more resources, they would still prefer to work with them over outside vendors.  


Top Challenge to Getting Apps to Market?
The most surprising finding is that nearly half the respondents agree that the lack of internal IT partnerships is a top roadblock to digital innovation.  However, the good news is that there’s a growing consensus that IT and business leaders need to collaborate if they’re going to thrive with the new digital disruptive technologies.

•    64% said senior leadership is a vital prerequisite in achieving software innovation and digital success.
•    55 % said it was very-to-extremely important to have operational units influencing innovation in enterprise applications.
•    44 % said IT and business units should share the responsibility equally.


The most important conclusion in the report is that to align business and IT, organizations must eliminate the complexities that distract IT and hinder progress. This requires new approaches to architecture along with organizational changes.

To respond quickly with speed and agility to new business opportunities, a critical first step is for IT to get data to flow across multiple systems and platforms that are today too often a mess of disconnected legacy systems. Systems need to be simpler to procure and operate. It’s no wonder that integrated systems are growing at 35% according to IDC. Integrated systems, which include server, storage, networking, and management software, eliminate much of the cost and complexities that come with traditional systems.

IT must translate business requirements and terms into an agile platform that leverages data, cloud, mobile and social. This requires a substantial reinvention of  IT processes, new platforms, and strong partnerships between business leaders and IT management.

Read the Harvard Business Review report - Rethinking the IT/Business Partnership to Drive Digital Innovation

Friday Mar 06, 2015

Solaris 11.2 (EECS 2.0.6.2.0) EoIB Administration

This blog post is brought to you by Leo Yuen of the Exalogic A-Team of Oracle Product Development.

With the release of EECS 2.0.6.2.0, customers can now run Solaris 11.2 on any model of Exalogic.  For existing Solaris customers, applying January 2015 PSU will upgrade their compute nodes to Solaris 11.2.  Among all the cool new features that come with Oracle’s latest enterprise-grade operating system, the dladm command has been updated with additional subcommands to manage Ethernet over InfiniBand (EoIB).

  • The "dladm show-ib" subcommand has been enhanced to display all InfiniBand switches information and the partition keys that a compute node belongs.

  • The "dladm create-eoib" subcommand is used to create eoib datalink object to match with the VNIC created on the switch.

The Exalogic Machine Owner’s Guide has been updated to reflect the above changes. Please refer to this document for instructions on how to setup VLAN-tagged VNICs and sample outputs of the new commands.

Monday Mar 02, 2015

Exalogic Run Book

This blog post is brought to you by Albert Leigh of the Exalogic Product Management team.

The Exalogic Runbook is a compilation of system administration procedures and operational workflows for Exalogic administrators and operators.  This document provides operational guidelines and information about what needs to be done after an Exalogic rack has been successfully installed and configured.  It is intended for Exalogic virtualized environments. The Runbook is available on My Oracle Support as Document ID 1930293.1 (Operations Runbook For Exalogic Elastic Cloud Software 2.0.6.x.x).

There are 9 chapters in the Exalogic Runbook that cover these important administration topics -

Chapter 1 - Introduction to Exalogic
        Exalogic Elastic Cloud Software and Hardware versions
        System Components
        Exalogic Network

Chapter 2 - System Information
        References the Deployment Summary
        Physical and Virtual Components
        System and Cloud Management URLs

Chapter 3 - System Access
        Physical Components
            Compute Nodes
            Storage Nodes
            InfiniBand Switches
            Cisco Switch
            Power Distribution Units (PDUs)
        Virtual Components
            Control Stack
            Guest vServers

Chapter 4 - System Administration Procedures
        Startup and Shutdown procedures
        Management and Monitoring
        Restrictions and Guidelines
        Security

Chapter 5 - Getting Started with Cloud Administration
        Post Installation Tasks
        Lifecycle management of Guest vServers
        Customization and vServer Template

Chapter 6 - Maintenance Procedures
        Instrumentation
        Lifecycle Management Tools
        Health Check
        Patching
        Troubleshooting and Action Plan
        Service Requests

Chapter 7 - Backup and Recovery Procedures

Chapter 8 - Disaster Recovery Procedures

Chapter 9 - Online Resources

Monday Feb 16, 2015

7-Eleven's Digital Guest Experience

7-Eleven embarked on an innovation campaign to connect with customers through a digital guest experience - learn how the Digital Guest Experience is used in 8,500+ stores for 8+ million customers every day, 24x7, by deploying private cloud, PaaS and SaaS on Oracle Exalogic.

Related 7-Eleven blog posts - 

7-Eleven 10-minute application provisioning

7-Eleven mobile app powered by SOA Suite

Monday Feb 09, 2015

PeopleSoft on Exalogic

This blog post is brought to you by Oracle Product Manager Latha Krishnaswamy.

Peoplesoft is another popular ERP application that benefits from running the application tier on Exalogic engineered system. Here is a short list of various references to MOS Docs and whitepapers that users and administrators of Peoplesoft software will find invaluable in an Exalogic environment.

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