Sunday Feb 24, 2013

Oracle Enterprise Manager Introduces Key Enhancements for Deploying and Managing Clouds

It has been a little more than a year, since we released our first cloud management features as a part of Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c. As customers started adopting our solution for a broad spectrum of workloads including production, QA, and development needs, we gained invaluable experience into the various use cases and requirements. Based on that experience, Oracle has released new and updated Management Plug-ins that precisely address the above requirements, ultimately leading to faster time-to-market for IT services delivery. In addition to providing enhanced cloud management support, the plug-ins extend Enterprise Manager's capabilities for Database as a Service (DBaaS) and Infrastructure as a Service (Iaas), as well as introduce new features for Testing as a Service (TaaS). See "New Plug-in Features" below for additional details.

NEW PLUG-IN FEATURES:

+ Database as a Service (DBaaS):

    A sophisticated Database as a Service solution needs to cater to a variety of use cases:
•    A developer or a project owner requiring a new database service  with or without seed data
•    QA requiring a full database refresh for intense load testing
•    QA requiring to create multiple clones for functional testing on subset of data

The current release of Oracle Enterprise Manager Cloud Control 12c offers new capabilities and support for managing database cloud services in all the above cases. It comes with out-of-box capabilities such as schema-as-a-service for extreme database consolidation and database cloning through Snap Clone or RMAN Backups. These capabilities provide an optimum utilization of development and database resources, giving customers more flexibility and control in managing the database lifecycle.

While some applications need dedicated databases, small home-grown applications can often share the database instance with other applications. Schema as a Service allows DBAs to consolidate multiple applications in the same database and offer logical slices of database to the end-users such as developers, thereby preventing database sprawl. They can enforce certain performance guarantee to these services by leveraging database Resource Manager, which prevents a particular user over-consuming the underlying compute resources.  End-users can therefore request schema services from the self-service application without stepping on one another. Schema as a Service significantly reduces the administrative and maintenance overhead since only a limited number of such databases need to be managed and patched.

Cloning databases got significantly easier with the new plug-in. A new feature called “Snap Clone” really makes it snappy (terabytes of data can be cloned in a matter of minutes). The feature helps clone a database by leveraging the underlying “Copy on Write” technology offered by storage technologies, such as Netapp and ZFS Storage Appliance. DBAs can set up a “test master” database by refreshing a production database and mark the “test master” as the source of functional clones. Self-service users can create multiple copies  of the test-master in minutes without consuming additional space beyond what’s needed to make localized updates. This can be really beneficial for applications where the testing is primarily read-only and is limited to a subset of the data. Users can also take backups (snapshots) of their database and “time travel” across snapshots to restore the database to an earlier incarnation in a matter of minutes.

For more involved testing, such as testing production loads with lots of updates, Oracle Enterprise Manager also supports a full clone using the RMAN technology.

The following picture highlights the various use cases of DBaaS that Oracle Enterprise Manager addresses. While each of these have specific applicability, Oracle Enterprise Manager handles all these use cases comprehensively.


+ Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS): Oracle Enterprise Manager Cloud Control 12c has added support for building and managing Infrastructure as a Service clouds based on the latest Oracle VM 3.2.1 release. The updated kernel and enhanced storage management features in Oracle VM 3.2.1 make it an ideal foundation for building a secure, scalable, enterprise-class infrastructure cloud. The newly released Oracle Enterprise Manager Management Plug-ins for Oracle Virtualization and Oracle Cloud provide comprehensive support for setting up the cloud infrastructure, deploying Oracle virtual assemblies and Oracle VM templates, and monitoring and managing the health of the cloud.

+ Testing as a Service (TaaS): Any enterprise application needs extensive testing before changes are rolled into production. Testing is a time-consuming process, can take weeks owing to delays in provisioning the full application stack to run the test on. QA is often left waiting on IT to provide the infrastructure and platform and sometimes this wait itself can account for 50% of the total testing cycle. Currently, no integrated solution exists that handle the provisioning and testing phases of the overall testing process leading to significant process delays and poor efficiency.

Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c introduces Testing as a Service, a new cloud platform for delivering automated application testing services. A self-service solution designed for private clouds, TaaS orchestrates the testing process end-to-end by automating provisioning of complete test labs (applications, test tools and assets comprising scripts and scenarios), execution of load and functional tests and rich application monitoring and diagnostics. It also includes a sophisticated chargeback facility and the ability to perform deeper diagnostics in context of testing.

TaaS makes it possible to significantly reduce testing time and costs without compromising quality, and enables organizations to be more agile in delivering critical business applications. One can find more details on TaaS here.

Oracle Enterprise Manager’s cloud management features are also enabled through a set of powerful RESTful APIs, which are summarized in this presentation. These APIs can be consumed from custom or 3rd party orchestration frameworks. In the new release, one can also orchestrate these APIs using an Oracle Enterprise manager provided framework called Blueprints. Using Blueprints, one can orchestrate the provisioning of a multi-layered application (such as the one shown below). One can download the documentation and sample code for the blueprints from here.




+ New Management Plug-Ins:  The following new and updated plug-Ins are now available as part of this release. In addition to providing new and enhanced functionality as mentioned above, the plug-ins incorporate numerous bug fixes.


Plug-In Name / Version
*Enterprise Manager for Oracle Database (DB) 12.1.0.3 (new)
*Enterprise Manager for Oracle Virtualization (VT) 12.1.0.4 (new)
*Enterprise Manager Storage Management Framework (SMF) 12.1.0.1 (new)
*Enterprise Manager for Oracle Cloud (SSA) 12.1.0.5 (new)


Read More:

* New book: Building and Managing a Cloud Using Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c (Oracle Press)

*Cloud Management page on OTN

*Enterprise Manager 12c: Cloud Management Pack for DB Datasheet

*Enterprise Manager 12c: The Nerve Center of Oracle Cloud Technical White Paper

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Friday Feb 15, 2013

Oracle Enterprise Manager Cloud Control 12c Release 2 Plug-in Update 1 (12.1.0.2)

This year 2013 valentines day, we announced the GA of several brand new Plug-ins versions for Enterprise Manger Cloud Control 12c.

We also released Oracle Enterprise Manager Cloud Control 12c Release 2 Plug-in Update 1 (12.1.0.2) for multiple platforms. Release 2 Plug-in Update 1, contains the original bits of 12c EM Cloud Control Release 2 (that was originally released in Oct 2012), packaged with the latest versions of several Plug-ins (including some brand new plugins).

Following shows the list of new plug-ins versions available along the Oracle Enterprise Manager Cloud Control 12c Release 2 Plug-in Update 1 (12.1.0.2). The new plug-ins have dependency on 12.1.0.2, and customer needs to be on minimum 12.1.0.2 version of the product before deploying new plug-in versions. The new plug-ins include tons of new features, support for new managed targets, along with stability and performance bug fixes.

ListPlugins

The brand new version of DB plugin ( DB 12.1.0.3), comes packed with stability and brand new features of diagnosability, High Availability, Manageability, RAC and Grid Infrastructure, Security etc. Above plug-in list includes Enterprise manager Storage Management Framework, a brand new plug-in that enables Snap Clone functionality by leveraging the snapshot and Copy on write features of underlying Storage. The new plug ins are packed with features like Testing as a service, Snap Clone, Schema as a service, RMAN based Data Prov just to name a few.

Note: The "Oracle Big Data Appliance" & "Oracle Engineered System Healthcheck" Plug-ins were released sometime back (and have been available to EM customers on Self Update).


Installation/Upgrade paths:

  • EM Customers can do a fresh installation using "Oracle Enterprise Manager Cloud Control 12c Release 2 Plug-in Update 1 (12.1.0.2)", and will get the latest version of the product, along with all the latest plug-ins out of the box.
  • EM Customers who are on Release1 (12.1.0.1), or on older releases 11g and 10.2.0.5, can choose to use Oracle Enterprise Manager Cloud Control 12c Release 2 Plug-in Update 1, to move/upgrade directly to the latest Release 2, and all plug-ins will be automatically upgraded to the latest versions of all Plug-ins deployed.
  • EM Customers who have previously already moved on to EM Cloud Control Release 2 (12.1.0.2), can choose to utilize Self Update to download/import and deploy the new Plug-in versions, using the self update feature in the product.

Enterprise Manager Certification Matrix available on My Oracle Support.

Thursday Feb 14, 2013

New additions to Oracle Enterprise Manager Extensibility Exchange

I wanted to share several interesting tid-bits related to “The Exchange” which is accessible at http://www.oracle.com/goto/emextensibility:

  • VMware vSphere Plug-in – Blue Medora announced (click here for the Press Release) its Feature Pack 1 (FP1) release which includes a revamped user interface, automatic detection and out-of-the box expert recommendations.  For a limited time it is being offered free of charge, details available here.
  • Microsoft SCOM 2012 Connector – The Event Connector for Microsoft System Center Operations Manager 2012 (SCOM 2012) is now available.  This connector enables sharing of Enterprise Manager events with Microsoft SCOM 2012.
  • HP Service Manager 9 Connector – The Helpdesk Connector for HP Service Manager 9 is now available.  This connector integrates Enterprise Manager’s incident management features with HP Service Manager’s helpdesk capabilities to provide a seamless workflow for incident management and resolution.
  • Oracle Cloud Services Plug-in – Provides Enterprise Manager the functionality to monitor cloud services, such as the Oracle Java Cloud Service 
  • Application Management Suite for PeopleSoft Plug-in – Monitor Peoplesoft application pro-actively and resolve problems quickly.  
  • NetApp Storage Plug-in - Monitor availability, performance and configuration for NetApp storage controllers used in enterprise cloud environments and Oracle databases.
  • Amazon Web Services (AWS) Plug-in – Monitor Amazon Elastic Block Store (EBS), Elastic Computing Cloud (EC2), and Relational Database Service (RDS). 

Customers can go to the Extensibility Exchange for more details, including information on how to access these plug-ins and connectors.

And for all of the System Integrators and other delivery partners out there, please consider checking out the Oracle ParnterCast video.  You’ll find the Exchange is not just about plug-ins and connectors that you might want to consider creating.  It’s for highlighting some of the other things system integrators and Enterprise Manager implementers do as well.  

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Friday Feb 08, 2013

Gartner Positions Oracle in Leaders Quadrant for Data Masking

Gartner recently announced that Oracle Data Masking Pack, part of Oracle Enterprise Manager’s quality management and Oracle Database Security defense-in-depth solution, has been named a leader in the first Magic Quadrant for Data Masking Technology report.

Oracle Data Masking strengths highlighted in the report include:

  • High performance data masking in Oracle Databases
  • Integration into Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c resulting in easy adoption
  • Availability of pre-built templates for popular packaged systems such as, Oracle E-Business Suite
  • Database security expertise and strong DBMS security portfolio

About Oracle Data Masking
Oracle Data Masking ensures privacy by transforming sensitive data before it is transferred to test, QA, and other non-production environments, addressing regulatory compliance for both Oracle and non-Oracle Databases.


Oracle Data Masking Pack: Production data is cloned and masked before being copied to Test.

Key Features:

  • Application data discovery
  • Centralized extensible format library
  • Comprehensive mask techniques
  • High performance masking with role-based security
  • Optimized for Oracle and non-Oracle databases
  • Integrated with Oracle testing products
  • Integrated with data subsetting

Oracle Data Masking completely replaces sensitive information such as; names, account numbers, SSNs, financial results, purchasing transactions, etc. in your development, test and QA systems with data that cannot be “reverse engineered” to reveal its original source. This allows production data to be safely used for development, testing, or sharing with out-source or off-shore partners for other non-production purposes. The Pack provides extensive search capabilities to scan enterprise databases for sensitive data discovery based on established data patterns and models.

The solution allows masking of all the related data elements automatically while preserving referential relationships combining the sensitive data columns and associated relationships in an Application Data Model. Oracle Data Masking can detect data dependencies, such as foreign key constraints and replaces sensitive information transparently. This ensures that the referential integrity necessary for applications to work and function properly will continue be in place, even on development systems.

Benefits:

  • Administrators will save time and eliminate risk by replacing individual scripts and routines written by DBAs with centrally managed and deployed libraries of masking processes.
  • Provides secure, scalable and automated solution to create test environments from production data using bulk masking.The solution enables faster time-to-market by speeding up the development process while helping organizations comply with privacy regulations and confidentiality policies.
  • Enables rapid DBA productivity through the use of application masking templates.
  • Supports custom data masks that are defined once and can be used every time that set of data needs to be masked.
  • Data security is integrated within the application management lifecycle, meaning that DBAs can provide realistic-masked production data to developers or testing groups for accurate application testing while reducing their storage costs by not having to provision an entire production environment for each developer or project.
  • Oracle Data Masking Pack is built into and installed with Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c.

Data Masking for Security and Compliance
Oracle Data Masking offers a comprehensive and customizable library of masking formats, templates and policies that can be used to replace sensitive information with realistic simulated values—all with just a few mouse clicks. The sensitive data never has to leave the Oracle Database or the production environment. This maintains data security and compliance through privacy and confidentiality polices on shared production data. The solution helps protect against unauthorized access to data that is being shared with off-shore developers, partners or 3rd party vendors.


Oracle Data Masking Pack: Centralized Extensible Format Library.

In addition, Oracle Data Masking allows organizations to enforce compliance with regulatory requirements such as; Sarbanes-Oxley, Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards, Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, as well as numerous other laws and regulations that restrict the use of actual customer data.

Oracle Data Masking continues to gain strong adoption, check out the latest customers to see how they are benefiting from the solution:

LEARN MORE:

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