Thursday Aug 22, 2013

Reduce Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c Patch Set Upgrade Downtime

As Product Manager for Oracle Enterprise Manager, one question that is often being asked to me is how much is the upgrade downtime and how it can be reduced? 

One easy way to reduce the downtime while doing patch set upgrades is to perform Software only upgrade and then shutdown the existing OMS for the upgrade. This approach will not completely eliminate the downtime but reduce it to a great extent. 

When I mention patch set upgrade, we cover following upgrade paths:

a) 12.1.0.1 (with Bundle Patches 1) to 12.1.0.2/ 12.1.0.3

b) 12.1.0.2 to 12.1.0.3

Following table compares the steps required for regular installation (OUI) and software only installation.


 As you may notices from the steps listed above, regular OUI upgrade requires stopping OMS before invoking runInstaller and keeping it down until the upgrade is complete. On the other hand Software only upgrade first copies the bits and sets up the environment before stopping OMS, thus reducing the upgrade downtime.

Next comes Agent upgrade. While we recommend Agent Upgrade Console (AUC) to upgrade agents from 12.1.0.1 (with bundle patch1) /12.0.1.02 to 12.0.1.3, sometimes it’s not clear what happens during the Agent upgrade and when is the actual downtime . So here are high level steps describing the complete process: 


The actual downtime while doing the agent upgrade is on step9 where we shut down your old agent. When the agent is in blackout from step 1 to 8 it still collect’s all the monitoring data so there is no loss. 

More Information: It is recommended to go through the below checklist notes before starting your upgrade 

MOS note 1568143.1 - EM 12c R3: Checklist for Upgrading Enterprise Manager Cloud Control from Version 12.1.0.x to 12.1.0.3

MOS Note  1569883.1 EM 12c R3: Checklist for Upgrading Management Agents Version 12.1.0.x to 12.1.0.3

Collateral :

 EM 12.1.0.3 Install and Upgrade collateral page(PPT,Recorded demo,Whitepapers) on OTN:http://www.oracle.com/technetwork/oem/install-upgrade/index.html

Understanding Enterprise Manager 12.1.0.3 Upgrade and Agent Upgrades
http://www.oracle.com/technetwork/oem/install-upgrade/em-12103-upgrade-1967205.pdf

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Wednesday Aug 21, 2013

WEBCAST: Managing Oracle Database 12c


Thursday August 22
10:00 a.m. PST / 1:00 p.m. EST

Discover Oracle’s Next-Generation Database Management Solution

Don’t miss this opportunity to learn first-hand how Oracle Database 12c and Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c bring together the next evolution in self-manageability—so you can plug into the Cloud faster using the power of Oracle Database 12c.

Join us for this live webcast to discover new groundbreaking management capabilities for:

  • Real-time performance diagnostics and application tuning
  • Embedded database self-manageability
  • Managing many pluggable databases as one
  • Delivering reliable database cloud services

Only Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c offers customers maximum performance, enhanced automation, and total control for Oracle Database 12c.

Register Now!

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Tuesday Aug 20, 2013

Short Demo Video : Deliver Database as a Service with Oracle Enterprise Manager

This demo provides an overview of various use cases and benefits of delivering database as a service using Oracle Enterprise Manager.

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Monday Aug 19, 2013

Simplified Agent and Plug-in Deployment

On your site of hundreds or thousands of hosts have you had to patch agents immediately as they get deployed?  For this reason I’ve always been a big fan of cloning an agent that has the required plug-ins and all the recommended core agent and plug-in patches, then using that clone for all new agent deployments. With EM 12c this got even easier as you can now clone the agent using the console “Add Host” method. You still have to rely on the EM users to use the clone. The one problem I have with cloning is that you have to have a reference target for each platform that you support. If you have a consolidated environment and only have Linux x64, this may not be a problem. If you are managing a typical data center with a mixture of platforms, it can become quite the maintenance nightmare just to maintain your golden images. You must update golden image agents whenever you get a new patch (generic or platform specific) for the agent or plug-in, and recreate the clone for each platform. Typically, I find people create a clone for their most common platforms, and forget about the rest. That means, maybe 80% of their agents meet their standard patch requirements and plug-ins upon deployment, but the other 20% have to be patched post-deploy, or worse – never get patched!

While deployed agents and plug-ins can be patched easily using EM Patches & Updates, but what about the agents still getting deployed or upgraded? Wouldn’t it be nice if they got patched as part of the deployment or upgrade? This article will show you two new features in EM 12.1.0.3 (12cR3) that will help you deploy the most current agent and plug-in versions. Whether you have 100s or 1000s of agents to manage, reducing maintenance and keeping the agents up to date is an important task, and being able to deploy or upgrade to a fully patched agent will save you a lot of time and effort.

[Read More]

Wednesday Aug 07, 2013

VIDEO: Managing Oracle Database 12c

Learn about all the new manageability capabilities in Oracle Database 12c. Watch the video.


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Tuesday Aug 06, 2013

Answers to Your Common Questions on Enterprise Manager 12.1.0.3 Agent deployment using Add Host Targets Wizard (Agent Push)

Deploying EM agents through Add Host Targets Wizard (Agent Push) is one of the most used deployment method and oracle recommended method for deploying multiple agents in a single go.  In this blog we will address some frequently asked questions:

Question 1) Can I perform mass agent deployment using command line?

Ans) Yes, starting EM 12.1.0.3 you can now perform mass agent deployment using EM CLI. This functionality will allow you to push multiple agents from command line.  We can divide EM CLI verbs into 2 categories:


A. Perform agent deployment

a) submit_add_host -- Submit an Add Host session
b) list_add_host_platforms -- List the supported Add Host platforms
c) retry_add_host -- Retry a failed Add Host session

d) continue_add_host - Resume a failed Add Host session


B. Tracking Add Host verbs

a) get_add_host_status        -- Display the latest status of a submitted Add Host session.
b) list_add_host_sessions         -- List the submitted Add Host sessions

You can watch short video on how to perform agent deployment using EMCLI from here:
Screenwatch: How to perform mass agent deployment using Add host wizard (Agent Push) through EM CLI (New in EM 12.1.0.3)

Question 2) Can I use my SSH-key credential while deploying agent through Add Host Targets Wizard (Agent Push) ? 

 Answer 2) Starting EM 12.1.0.3 named credentials support SSH public key authentication and password based authentication. So you can use an existing SSH public key authentication without exposing your passwords. There are 2 use cases here.

i.  If you have setup SSH between the OMS and the target hosts and has the ssh keys handy the he has to follow only steps 4 and 5

ii. If you have not setup SSH between the OMS and the target hosts and does not have the ssh keys then he has to follow steps 1 to 5.

1. Navigate to the following location in the OMS home: $<OMS_HOME>/oui/prov/resources/scripts 

For example, /home/software/em/middleware/oms/oui/prov/resources/scripts

2. Run the following script, and pass the OMS user name you used for installing the OMS and the fully qualified name of the target hosts.

sshUserSetup.sh -setup -user <user_name> -hosts <target_hosts>

3. The SSH keys are generated under $OMS_USER_HOME/.ssh/id_rsa and $OMS_USER_HOME/.ssh/id_rsa.pub

4. Upload the keys to EM

5. Select the keys during agent deployment

Question 3) In my company we use Tectia instead of SSH, can I still use Add Host Targets Wizard (Agent Push) to deploy agents? 

Answer 3)  Yes, Add Host Targets Wizard (Agent Push ) supports SSH Vendors are OpenSSH (SSH2), Tectia. If you have any of these setup between your OMS and target machine you don’t have to do anything extra, application is intelligent enough to pick up the configuration and perform the agent deployment.

Question 4) Does Add Host Targets Wizard (Agent Push) support RSH?  

Answer 4) We don’t support RSH as we need secure shell to perform remote execution and remote copy. Even if RSH is setup Agent push application will not honor it.

Question 5)  I am not sure on which port my SSH is running and how to change SSH port for Add Host Targets Wizard (Agent Push)?

Answer 5) SSH default port is 22 but if you want to cross check or its running on different port then you can cat /etc/ssh/sshd_config to find out what port ssh is running on. Another way to find the port used by SSH you can run:

netstat -anp | grep -i sshd

Output of this command  will be like- 

tcp      0 0 0.0.0.0:22         0.0.0.0:*         LISTEN         3188/sshd

So in the above output 22 is the ssh port.

Once you know the ssh port used, you can update the SSH_PORT property in $<OMS_HOME>/oui/prov/resources/Paths.properties as below: SSH_PORT=<port number>

Question 6) Cygwin is required for deploying agents on Windows host using Add Host Targets Wizard (Agent Push). Once 12c agent is properly installed, is there a need to maintain a copy of Cygwin on the Windows server?  Can it be deleted?

Answer 6) Cygwin 1.7  is required to just deploy EM 12c agent on remote host and can be remove once agents are deployed. Cygwin is not required for any other EM lifecycle operations. 

Follow the steps to configure cygwin for agent deployment from here: http://docs.oracle.com/cd/E24628_01/install.121/e22624/preinstall_req_cygwin_ssh.htm#CBHCDFCH

Question 7)  What is the purpose of user "cyg_server" getting created, while Installing Cygwin, from 12c Cloud Control side. Is this user used during authentication? What if we provide some other username instead of "cyg_server"?

Answer 7) This user is an internal user created by ssh for privilege delegation and not used for agent install.

Question 8) I don’t want to deploy agents using EM login user: SYSMAN. Can I perform role based agent deployment? 

 Answer 8) Yes you can deploy agent from UI and EM CLI with non-sysman user having CREATE_TARGET privilege. If user tries to access the add host page with a user who does not have this privilege, he will get the below error.

Question 9) What all authentication utilities does Add Host Targets Wizard (Agent Push) support?

Answer 9) We support for all standard pdp utilities, sudo, pbrun, sesu , su. 

Question 10) What are the sudo requirements for deploying agent using Add Host Targets Wizard (Agent Push)?

Answer 10)  If your install user can become root then make sure that the /etc/sudoers file have following permission: 

<install_user> ALL=(root) /usr/bin/id, <agent_home>/*/agentdeployroot.sh

For example, oracle ALL=(root) /usr/bin/id, /home/oracle/agentibd/*/agentdeployroot.sh.

Here, oracle is the installing user, and /home/oracle/agentibd is the Management Agent home, that is, the agent base directory.

Question 11) Why do we need install user to have permission to run  /usr/bin/id command?

Answer 11) We use this command to check if the install user has the privilege to switch to root user using the privilege delegation tool.  If you are have locked account usecase then the user that you will switch to should have the permission to run this command. More details on locked account usecase refer to : http://docs.oracle.com/cd/E24628_01/install.121/e22624/install_agent.htm#CACJEFJI

Question 12)  In EM 12.1.0.3 do we still need to set the visiblepw in the /etc/sudoers file?

Answer 12) From EM 12.1.0.3 its not mandatory to set this parameter in /etc/sudoers file instead user can just  pass –enablePty in the additional parameters and set the global property oracle.sysman.prov.agentpush.enablePty=true in $OMS_HOME/sysman/prov/agentpush/agentpush.properties.

You need to set the above property so that the privilege delegation tools such as pbrun, sesu, and su can use pseudo terminal for remote command execution over SSH.

More Information:

What's New in Enterprise Manager 12.1.0.3 Agent Deployment

http://www.oracle.com/technetwork/oem/install-upgrade/em-12103-agent-deployment-1967206.pdf

EM 12.1.0.3 Add Host Targets Wizard (Agent Push) chapter

http://docs.oracle.com/cd/E24628_01/install.121/e22624/install_agent.htm#CACJEFJI 

Screenwatch: How to perform mass agent deployment using Add host wizard (Agent Push) through EM CLI (New in EM 12.1.0.3)  

https://apex.oracle.com/pls/apex/f?p=44785:24:0:::24:P24_CONTENT_ID,P24_PREV_PAGE:7714,1 

    Secure, Subset and Self-Service Database provisioning in Cloud


    One-step inline data masking and data subsetting is a very innovative solution in Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c that enables enterprises to provision secure and reduced size test systems directly from the production or standby database without the need for a full production database copy. So you are able to create reduced size copies of production database keeping the referential integrity of data set intact saving on storage costs and more importantly also ensure your sensitive database never creeps into any of your development or test systems in compliance with data privacy policies.

    With Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c Release 3 customers have now started adopting this one-step on-the-fly masking and subsetting solution along with Database-as-a-Service(DBaaS) self-service provisioning capabilities and the outcome is one of the most comprehensive and unique solution to realize self-service provisioning of secured, subset copies of production like databases for all of testing and development needs in a private cloud model.




    In this blog post I will walk through the steps required to achieve this comprehensive solution for test and development systems provisioning in enterprise private cloud.


    1) Prepare source database

    One of the ideal option in case customer has physical standby is to convert physical standby into a snapshot standby for one-step data subsetting and masking operation. A snapshot standby receives and archives but does not apply redo from primary until converted back to physical standby. So once you have created subsetted and secure dump from snapshot standby you can convert snapshot standby back to physical standby using Oracle Enterprise Manager. Refer to Oracle Data Guard guide for considerations in using snapshot standby.  In-line data subsetting and masking can also be performed on production database in case there is no physical standby.

    2) Perform Inline data subsetting and masking workflow

    Here are the steps :

    a) Create Application Data Model(ADM)
    ADM is a knowledge base entity in Oracle Enterprise Manager that captures application metadata, referential relationships, sensitive columns and is used by both test data management and data masking. There are pre-defined drivers to capture data relationships from application metadata tables for Oracle Applications such as Fusion Apps and eBusiness Suite. Security Administrator requires EM_ALL_OPERATOR privilege to create ADM and Data Masking and Subsetting definition.

    b) Create Masking and Subsetting definition

    As a best practice, Security Administrator can create masking formats for all regulated information in the enterprise. There are out-of-box Oracle supplied default masking formats also that can be used from format library. Next step is to create masking definition that includes information regarding table columns and the format for each column. You can choose which columns to mask. Data Masking workflow can be referred here.
    Next step is to create Data subset definition and use the same ADM and database used in creating the masking definition. In this step you can define the table rules,rule parameters, include 'Ancestor and Descendant tables' or 'Ancestor tables only' option this ensuring referential integrity is maintained. At this step Space estimates can also be reviewed and depending on the result, you can modify or add new rules and review back on space estimates value. Pre/Post subset scripts can also be included in definition.

    c) Generate subset using export option

    Using the definition subset can be created by writing the subset data to export file. Specify directory where to save the export dump and schedule the subset job. Once the job is complete, the subset Data pump file of production data with sensitive data masked is ready. The overall flow is described here
    Some key tips -
    - Parallel degree can be used for faster export. Start with twice the number of CPUs and tune from there
    - %U and max file size parameter can be used to ensure optimum use of parallelism
    - Rule parameter in where clause can be used for actual subset generation with different values
    - Column rules can be used to set large-sized columns to null or fix value to reduce database size further

    3) Prepare secure test/reference database

    Once the Data pump export file is generated it can be imported in a test/staging database . For details refer here.This test database can be used as a reference for all development and testing copies and hosted in Self-Service portal for end users to request from service catalog.

    4) Self-Service Portal Setup

    Following two options are available to cloud-enable this secure reference database for self-service provisioning of future copies of this database via Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c Database-as-a-Service (DBaaS) solution :

    a) Snap Clone option that leverages storage level copy-on-write technologies for cloning and is suited best for functional testing requirements and for short lived databases.With this option you can clone terabytes of data in few minutes and storage saving is enormous with this option. you need to review the supported storage options for this method. As of time of writing the post Netapp and ZFS is supported though there are plans to support more storage options in near future.

    b)  RMAN based cloning from backup is one of the favorite option for DBAs. The restore process is completely automated with EM 12c DBaaS and this option is best suited for performance and load testing, development requirements and for databases used for significant updates.
    Once you decide on the option, steps to follow are documented in one of my recent blog post around Planning Database as a Service Implementation Project

    Refer to Private Cloud Setup and Administration guide here for details on DBaaS Setup and Snap Clone, RMAN Profile options. The secure database prepared in previous step will be used as reference target by SSA Administrator while creating database provisioning profile using RMAN backup or Snapshot option. Please also ensure you have reviewed this MOS Note for DBaaS related patches -
    "Enterprise Manager Cloud Control 12c Recommended Plug-Ins and Patches for Database as a Service (DBaaS) (Doc ID 1549855.1)"




    5) Self-Service database provisioning in Cloud

    End users can now request for secure subset copies of production database via Self-service portal for all kind of functional QA, load and performance testing, development requirements. All the databases provisioned from this approach are also enabled by default with EM 12c powered monitoring and diagnostics, lifecycle and cloud management capabilities.




    Solution References

    1) Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c Packs
    Oracle Test Data Management Pack
    Oracle Data Masking Pack
    Oracle Database Lifecycle Management Pack
    Oracle Database Cloud Management Pack

    2) Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c Platform and Plug-ins
    Enterprise Manager Cloud Control 12c Release 3 Base Platform (12.1.0.3)
    Enterprise Manager for Oracle Database (DB) plug-in 12.1.0.4
    Enterprise Manager for Oracle Virtualization (VT) plug-in 12.1.0.5
    Enterprise Manager Storage Management Framework (SMF) plug-in 12.1.0.2
    Enterprise Manager for Oracle Cloud (SSA) plug-in 12.1.0.6


    Additional information

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    Friday Aug 02, 2013

    Managing Oracle Database 12c

    Oracle recently announced new management capabilities for Oracle Database 12c, providing customers with even more enhancements to improve productivity and manageability. The new Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c features are supported out-of-the-box with Oracle Database 12c. So whether you want to take advantage of the new Data Redaction capabilities at the security layer, or whether you want to take a look at some of the heat map capabilities in our Information Lifecycle Management or leverage the new performance management features, such as, Database Operations Monitoring or Enhanced Real-Time ADDM, you can use Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c to manage them all.

    These new capabilities can be integrated with your standard monitoring and management that you already have in your environment without having to undertake any additional tools or any additional training. Simply install or upgrade to Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c and Oracle Database 12c and together these two products will let you plug into the Cloud.

    Here is a quick summary of all the new Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c capabilities for Oracle Database 12c:

    • Complete lifecycle management of multitenant databases: Support for the entire lifecycle operations of multitenant databases that comprise migration, creation, cloning, patching and tracking for compliance
    • Consolidated database replay: Allows customers to test and plan their consolidation using Oracle’s multitenant container and pluggable database technology
    • At-source data masking: Allows customers to maximize compliance and security by masking data in-flight as it is being copied from production
    • Enhanced diagnostics: Improvements to Automatic Database Diagnostic Monitor (ADDM) for real-time and proactive problem detection, especially designed for catching short, transient performance issues
    • Real-time business operations monitoring: Monitors composite business operations such as; batch jobs and ETL operations, providing real-time reports on all SQLs and PL/SQLs executed inside the job
    • Performance hub: Newly redesigned performance home page that provides administrators with a single, at-a-glance view of all performance data and advisors
    • New Oracle Enterprise Manager Database Express 12c: An out-of-the-box, lightweight, easy-to-use web-based management solution for managing individual databases
    • Schema as a Service: This ultimate consolidation of databases lets administrators host multiple application schemas within a single database and offer database as a service to hundreds of application users without creating database sprawl
    • Snap Clone: Instant database cloning allows administrators to create fully functional copies of databases using the copy-on-write capabilities of the underlying storage layer

    To learn more about all the latest capabilities, be sure to register for our upcoming webcast: Managing Oracle Database 12c with Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c.

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