Monday Oct 29, 2012

OS Analytics - Deep Dive Into Your OS

Oracle Enterprise Manager Ops Center provides a feature called "OS Analytics". This feature allows you to get a better understanding of how the Operating System is being utilized. You can research the historical usage as well as real time data. This post will show how you can benefit from OS Analytics and how it works behind the scenes.

The recording of our call to discuss this blog is available here:

Download the presentation here

See also:

Blog about Alert Monitoring and Problem Notification

Blog about Using Operational Profiles to Install Packages and other content

Here is quick summary of what you can do with OS Analytics in Ops Center:

  • View historical charts and real time value of CPU, memory, network and disk utilization
  • Find the top CPU and Memory processes in real time or at a certain historical day
  • Determine proper monitoring thresholds based on historical data
  • View Solaris services status details
  • Drill down into a process details
  • View the busiest zones if applicable

Where to start

To start with OS Analytics, choose the OS asset in the tree and click the Analytics tab.

You can see the CPU utilization, Memory utilization and Network utilization, along with the current real time top 5 processes in each category (click the image to see a larger version):

 In the above screen, you can click each of the top 5 processes to see a more detailed view of that process. Here is an example of one of the processes:

One of the cool things is that you can see the process tree for this process along with some port binding and open file descriptors.

On Solaris machines with zones, you get an extra level of tabs, allowing you to get more information on the different zones:

This is a good way to see the busiest zones. For example, one zone may not take a lot of CPU but it can consume a lot of memory, or perhaps network bandwidth. To see the detailed Analytics for each of the zones, simply click each of the zones in the tree and go to its Analytics tab.

Next, click the "Processes" tab to see real time information of all the processes on the machine:

An interesting column is the "Target" column. If you configured Ops Center to work with Enterprise Manager Cloud Control, then the two products will talk to each other and Ops Center will display the correlated target from Cloud Control in this table. If you are only using Ops Center - this column will remain empty.

Next, if you view a Solaris machine, you will have a "Services" tab:

By default, all services will be displayed, but you can choose to display only certain states, for example, those in maintenance or the degraded ones. You can highlight a service and choose to view the details, where you can see the Dependencies, Dependents and also the location of the service log file (not shown in the picture as you need to scroll down to see the log file).

The "Threshold" tab is particularly helpful - you can view historical trends of different monitored values and based on the graph - determine what the monitoring values should be:

You can ask Ops Center to suggest monitoring levels based on the historical values or you can set your own. The different colors in the graph represent the current set levels: Red for critical, Yellow for warning and Blue for Information, allowing you to quickly see how they're positioned against real data.

It's important to note that when looking at longer periods, Ops Center smooths out the data and uses averages. So when looking at values such as CPU Usage, try shorter time frames which are more detailed, such as one hour or one day.

Applying new monitoring values

When first applying new values to monitored attributes - a popup will come up asking if it's OK to get you out of the current Monitoring Policy. This is OK if you want to either have custom monitoring for a specific machine, or if you want to use this current machine as a "Gold image" and extract a Monitoring Policy from it. You can later apply the new Monitoring Policy to other machines and also set it as a default Monitoring Profile.

Once you're done with applying the different monitoring values, you can review and change them in the "Monitoring" tab. You can also click the "Extract a Monitoring Policy" in the actions pane on the right to save all the new values to a new Monitoring Policy, which can then be found under "Plan Management" -> "Monitoring Policies".

Visiting the past

Under the "History" tab you can "go back in time". This is very helpful when you know that a machine was busy a few hours ago (perhaps in the middle of the night?), but you were not around to take a look at it in real time. Here's a view into yesterday's data on one of the machines:

You can see an interesting CPU spike happening at around 3:30 am along with some memory use. In the bottom table you can see the top 5 CPU and Memory consumers at the requested time. Very quickly you can see that this spike is related to the Solaris 11 IPS repository synchronization process using the "pkgrecv" command.

The "time machine" doesn't stop here - you can also view historical data to determine which of the zones was the busiest at a given time:

Under the hood

The data collected is stored on each of the agents under /var/opt/sun/xvm/analytics/historical/

  • An "" file exists for the main OS. Inside you will find many small text files, named after the Epoch time stamp in which they were taken
  • If you have any zones, there will be a file called "" containing the same small files for all the zones, as well as a folder with the name of the zone along with "" in it
  • If this is the Enterprise Controller or the Proxy Controller, you will have folders called "proxy" and "sat" in which you will find the "" for that controller

The actual script collecting the data can be viewed for debugging purposes as well:

  • On Linux, the location is: /opt/sun/xvmoc/private/os_analytics/collect
  • On Solaris, the location is /opt/SUNWxvmoc/private/os_analytics/collect

If you would like to redirect all the standard error into a file for debugging, touch the following file and the output will go into it:

# touch /tmp/.collect.stderr  

The temporary data is collected under /var/opt/sun/xvm/analytics/.collectdb until it is zipped.

If you would like to review the properties for the Analytics, you can view those per each agent in /opt/sun/n1gc/lib/ Find the section "Analytics configurable properties for OS and VSC" to view the Analytics specific values.

I hope you find this helpful! Please post questions in the comments below.

Eran Steiner

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Thursday Oct 25, 2012

WEBCAST: Strategies for Managing the Oracle Database Lifecycle

Thursday November 1
10:00 a.m. PST / 1:00 p.m. EST

Join us for a live Webcast and see how Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c makes database lifecycle management easier. You’ll learn how to:

  • Simplify database configurations thanks to extensive automation for discovery and change detection
  • Improve IT service levels with Oracle’s next-generation database patching and provisioning automation
  • Ensure consistency and compliance with comprehensive database change management
Register today.

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Wednesday Oct 24, 2012

Let your Signature Experience drive IT decision making

Today’s CIO job description: ‘’Align IT infrastructure and solutions with business goals and objectives ; AND while doing so reduce costs; BUT ALSO, be innovative, ensure the architectures are adaptable and agile as we need to act today on the changes that we may request tomorrow.”

Sound like an unachievable request? The fact is, reality dictates that CIO’s are put under this type of pressure to deliver more with less.

In a past career phase I spent a few years as an IT Relationship Manager for a large Insurance company. This is a role that we see all too infrequently in many of our customers, and it’s a shame. The purpose of this role was to build a bridge, a relationship between IT and the business. Key to achieving that goal was to ensure the same language was being spoken and more importantly that objectives were commonly understood - hence service and projects were delivered to time, to budget and actually solved the business problems.

In reality IT and the business are already married, but the relationship is most often defined as ‘supplier’ of IT rather than a ‘trusted partner’. To deliver business value they need to understand how to work together effectively to attain this next level of partnership. The Business cannot compete if they do not get a new product to market ahead of the competition, or for example act in a timely manner to address a new industry problem such as a legislative change. An even better example is when the Application or Service fails and the Business takes a hit by bad publicity, being trending topics on social media and losing direct revenue from online channels.

For this reason alone Business and IT need the alignment of their priorities and deliverables now more than ever! Take a look at Forrester’s recent study that found ‘many IT respondents considering themselves to be trusted partners of the business but their efforts are impaired by the inadequacy of tools and organizations’.

IT Meet the Business; Business Meet IT

So what is going on? We talk about aligning the business with IT but the reality is it’s difficult to do. Like any relationship each side has different goals and needs and language can be a barrier; business vs. technology jargon! What if we could translate the needs of both sides into actionable information, backed by data both sides understand, presented in a meaningful way? Well now we can with the Business-Driven Application Management capabilities in Oracle Enterprise Manager 12cR2!

Enterprise Manager’s Business-Driven Application Management capabilities provide the information that IT needs to understand the impact of its decisions on business criteria. No longer does IT need to be focused solely on speeds and feeds, performance and throughput – now IT can understand IT’s impact on business KPIs like inventory turns, order-to-cash cycle, pipeline-to-forecast, and similar. Similarly, now the line of business can understand which IT services are most critical for the KPIs they care about.

There are a good deal of resources on Oracle Technology Network that describe the functionality of these products, so I won’t’ rehash them here. What I want to talk about is what you do with these products.

What’s next after we meet?

Where do you start?

Step 1: Identify the Signature Experience. This is THE business process (or set of processes) that is core to the business, the one that drives the economic engine, the process that a customer recognises the company brand for, reputation, the customer experience, the process that a CEO would state as his number one priority. The crème de la crème of your business! Once you have nailed this it gets easy as Enterprise Manager 12c makes it easy.

Step 2: Map the Signature Experience to underlying IT. Taking the signature experience, map out the touch points of the components that play a part in ensuring this business transaction is successful end to end, think of it like mapping out a critical path; the applications, middleware, databases and hardware. Use the wealth of Enterprise Manager features such as Systems, Services, Business Application Targets and Business Transaction Management (BTM) to assist you. Adding Real User Experience Insight (RUEI) into the mix will make the end to end customer satisfaction story transparent. Work with the business and define meaningful key performance indicators (KPI’s) and thresholds to enable you to report and action upon.

Step 3: Observe the data over time. You now have meaningful insight into every step enabling your signature experience and you understand the implication of that experience on your underlying IT. Watch if for a few months, see what happens and reconvene with your business stakeholders and set clear and measurable targets which can re-define service levels.

Step 4: Change the information about which you and the business communicate. It’s amazing what happens when you and the business speak the same language. You’ll be able to make more informed business and IT decisions. From here IT can identify where/how budget is spent whether on the level of support, performance, capacity, HA, DR, certification etc. IT SLA’s no longer need be focused on metrics such as %availability but structured around business process requirements.

The power of this way of thinking doesn’t end here. IT staff get to see and understand how their own role contributes to the business making them accountable for the business service. Take a step further and appraise your staff on the business competencies that are linked to the service availability.

For the business, the language barrier is removed by producing targeted reports on the signature experience core to the business and therefore key to the CEO. Chargeback or show back becomes easier to justify as the ‘cost of day per outage’ can be more easily calculated; the business will be able to translate the cost to the business to the cost/value of the underlying IT that supports it.

Used this way, Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c is a key enabler to a harmonious relationship between the end customer the business and IT to deliver ultimate service and satisfaction.

Just engage with the business upfront, make the signature experience visible and let Enterprise Manager 12c do the rest.

In the next blog entry we will cover some of the Enterprise Manager features mentioned to enable you to implement this new way of working.

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Thursday Oct 18, 2012

Early Adopters of Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c Report Agility and Productivity Benefits

Earlier this month at the Oracle Open World 2012, we celebrated the first anniversary of Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c . Early adopters of  Oracle Enterprise manager 12c have benefited from its federated self-service access to complete application stacks, automated provisioning, elastic scalability, metering, and charge-back capabilities.

Crimson Consulting Group recently interviewed multiple early adopters of Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c and captured their finding in a white Paper "Real-World Benefits of Private Cloud: Early Adopters of Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c Report Agility and Productivity Gains".  Here is summary of the finding :-

On October 25th at 10 AM pacific time, Kirk Bangstad from the Crimson Consulting group will join us in a live webcast and share what learnt from the early adopters of Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c. Don't miss this chance to hear how private clouds could impact your business and ask questions from our experts.

Webcast: Real-World Benefits of Private Cloud
Early Adopters of Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c Report Agility and Productivity Benefits

Date: Thursday, October 25, 2012
Time: 10:00 AM PDT | 1:00 PM EDT

Register Today

All attendees will receive the White Paper: Real-World Benefits of Private Cloud: Early Adopters of Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c Report Agility and Productivity Gains.

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