Tuesday Jan 27, 2015

Top Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c Questions

Guest contributors: Courtney Llamas and David Wolf

What are the steps involved for upgrading from Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c Release 3 to Release 4? Is it an upgrade in place or a new install/migration
Answer: Yes, Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c R3 to R4 is an out-of-place upgrade, which means the installer will install in a new Oracle Home and migrate the application over. You will need the additional space for a new Oracle Home. You can reduce downtime of the upgrade by performing a “Software Only Install”, and then upgrade later. See the upgrade documentation here.

Do the patch and upgrade functionality work on Oracle Database 11g targets or only on Oracle Database 12c targets?
A: Yes, patching and upgrading can be performed on any certified target version. For more details on database patching and lifecycle management visit this page.

Where can I find a full list of new enhancements compared to Release 3?
A: The new features are listed in Oracle Enterprise Manager Cloud Control Introduction Guide.

Is there a list available of new features by management pack?
A: The new features are listed in Oracle Enterprise Manager Cloud Control Introduction Guide. They are listed by plug-in, not management pack. For the license information read this page.

What are the best hardware configuration and setup in order to provide high availability capabilities for database as a service (i.e. Oracle RAC, Oracle Exadata)?
A: The more you rely on Oracle Enterprise Manager, the more you need to think about high availability. The best recommendation is to have a multi-OMS system with a standby for disaster recovery. You can scale up to this as the environment grows, but starting with a multi-OMS system will give you the availability and scalability you need. A standby database with Oracle Data Guard and a software replicated standby OMS would be the next step. Please read this whitepaper Deploying a Highly Available Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c Cloud Control for more information.

Can Snap Clone be used with EMC storage or is Oracle ZFS storage required?
A: Yes. Snap Clone can be used with either EMC VMAX and/or VNX Block Storage, both are supported. More details can be found on this page under the section: Database Cloning and Dynamic Data Refresh.

Does Oracle Enterprise Manager support monitoring of hypervisors?
A: Oracle Enterprise Manager supports monitoring of Oracle VM natively and VMWare via a Blue Medora third party plug in. More details on managing physical and virtual host can be found here.

Is the metering and chargeback functionality part of the base product or does it requires an additional management pack?
A: Metering and Chargeback for Oracle Database is part of the Oracle Cloud Management Pack for Oracle Database. Metering and Charge back for guest virtual machines (VMs) and hosts are included with the base product and does not require a separate license. Read this whitepaper for more on Metering and Chargeback with Oracle Enterprise Manager.

Does Enterprise Data Governance require additional licensing?
A: Use of the Enterprise Data Governance capabilities within Oracle Enterprise Manager requires an Oracle Database Lifecycle Management Pack license.

How is the new AWR Warehouse feature different from the existing AWR report in Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c Release 3?
A: The existing AWR report in Oracle Enterprise Manager pulls AWR data from the source database and relies on the AWR retention setting of that database. This is typically only saved for 8 days. There’s been a big demand for saving this data for 30-60 days and even longer. AWR Warehouse, automates the extract of the source AWR data and loading to a warehouse database so that data can be retained without affecting the performance and storage of the source database. The reports are the same, it just allows you to dig back further in time. Read this article for more details.

Does this new release require more disk space for the AWR Warehouse? More CPU and memory?
A: Not for the OMS. The recommendation is to setup the AWR Repository in a separate database, outside of the Oracle Enterprise Manager repository database. Hosting on the same server would be fine, so long as there is sufficient memory and CPU for both instances. Read this article on AWR Warehouse for more details.

Does AWR Warehouse also support Oracle Database 10g and/or 11g AWR?
A: AWR Warehouse must be installed on Oracle Database 12.1.0.2 or higher or version 11.2.0.4 with the appropriate patch. It also must be an equal or higher database version of the source databases it accommodates. Check out this demo to understand AWR Warehouse. Read the AWR Warehouse documentation.

Is there a list of 3rd party technologies that can be managed by Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c?
A: Check out the Oracle Enterprise Manager Extensibility Exchange for a list of the available 3rd party plug-ins and connectors.

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Monday Jan 26, 2015

Register Now for the Cloud Platform Online Forum

January 28th, 2015 10:00 a.m. PST/1:00 p.m. EST
Register Today

Modern Business. Modern Cloud.
Is Your PaaS Delivering the Agility Your Users Demand?

Don't miss the opportunity to join Oracle and IDC in a series of deep discussions on Cloud Platform as a Service. This online event kicks off on Wednesday January 28th at 10:00 a.m. PST. Take advantage of 20+ sessions, 10+ demos and 100+ tips and techniques to plan your PaaS adoption effectively. Topics encompass private, public and hybrid cloud. You will also learn how to plan your transition from traditional IT delivery to cloud delivery using Oracle technologies you use every day. Register at bit.ly/PaaSForum

Oracle Enterprise Manager discussions during this event include tips and techniques on workload consolidation using database as a service and application platform as a service; transforming traditional IT delivery using self-service; effectively collaborating with business users with showback/chargeback, and more. Our speaker Sudip Datta, Vice President of Product Management will also provide a glimpse into the future of PaaS management.

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Sunday Jan 18, 2015

Enterprise Manager Ops Center - Ops Center EC/PC sizing

Counting Access Points Vs Assets

When designing a customer's Ops Center environment, one of the first questions I get asked is how many servers can an Enterprise Controller (EC) or a Proxy Controller (PC) support.  Customers think of sizing, as being the number of servers,  LDOMs, etc. and these are lumped together into a total number of assets. In the real world, the answer to the "How many assets can my Enterprise Controller /Proxy Controller support?" question is, "It Depends".  How you place your Proxy Controllers in your network and what you manage from each Proxy Controller can impact the total number of assets that can be supported from an Enterprise Controller.

The amount of load placed on an Enterprise Controller or Proxy Controller is not directly determined by the number of assets it manages, but by the number of Access Points (AP) it is supporting. A simple view of Access Points is that they are a connection. But it is a little more complex in that they are also a reflection of the way Ops Center internally models its data structures. The actual load on any given Enterprise Controller or Proxy Controller closely links to the number of Access Points it is managing. The number of Access Points seen by the Enterprise Controller can differ depending on whether an asset is connected via a single or multiple Proxy Controllers. Therefore, the Access Point count on the Enterprise Controller will be higher than the actual number of managed assets, if assets are managed by multiple Proxy Controllers. When the documentation is referring to Enterprise Controller /Proxy Controller capacity and uses the term "Asset", it is actually counting "Access Points".

Let's look at a couple examples of this to make it clearer:

Physical Server ILOM

In this example, a single physical server has multiple data collection methods. A Proxy Controller can gather LOM data by accessing the service processor and by using the agent running inside the operating system.


If the same Proxy Controller is used to access a single asset, the two data feeds are consolidated into a single Access Point. The Enterprise Controllers total load will be a single Access Point.


If different Proxy Controllers are used to access a single asset,  each Proxy Controller will record it as a separate Access Point. The Enterprise Controllers total load will be the sum of both Proxy Controllers and will be a total of 2 Access Points.

LDOMs

Another example would be an LDOM guest where we obtain data from the Control Domain agent and the agent running inside the LDOM guest OS.

Once again, if  both data feeds are via a single Proxy Controller they only count as 1 Access Point on both the Proxy Controller and the Enterprise Controller.

Where as, if each data feed is via a separate Proxy Controller they each count as 1 Access Point on each Proxy Controller and the total Access Point count on the Enterprise Controller will be 2.

With the release of Enterprise Manager Ops Center - 12.2.2, we have updated and renamed the Enterprise Manager Ops Center Sizing and Performance Guide (https://docs.oracle.com/cd/E40871_01/doc.122/e57052/toc.htm). This revised document is easier to understand and has been updated to reflect current releases of Ops Center. Note: Since the term "Access Point" was not considered to be commonly understood, the term "Asset" has been used in the documentation. 

To make the counting of Access Points easier, we have added a program to the OCDoctor toolbox. This program "AssetCount.sh" is new in OCDoctor version 4.45 and can be found on any EC/PC or system that has an agent deployed. The path to the OCDoctor toolbox is /var/opt/sun/xvm/OCDoctor/toolbox.

# /var/opt/sun/xvm/OCDoctor/toolbox/AssetCount.sh

        AssetCount.sh [-v] { standard | machine | agent | all }

        standard - show Asset count
        machine - show machine output with Assets names
        agent - show information about agents, agentless Assets, Service Processors
        all - show all the information together

        -v : verbose output, present additional notes around the counting algorithm

        (Version 1.0 2015/01/08) 
  #

Let's just look at the standard output (we are running this on the Enterprise Controller). The output shows:

  • The total Access Point count for the EC (72)
  • The number of Access Points for each type of asset, for each Proxy Controller ( Note: the total Access Point count for each Proxy Controller is labeled as Assets )
root@ec1:~# /var/opt/sun/xvm/OCDoctor/toolbox/AssetCount.sh standard

EC 72

Proxy Assets Zones Ldoms OVMGuests Servers Storages Switches ExadataCells MSeriesChassis MSeriesDomain
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
pc4   32     5     25    0         2       0        0        0            0              0
pc1   28     0     26    0         2       0        0        0            0              0
pc0   12     2     4     0         6       0        0        0            0              0

Use option '-v' to see additional notes on the counting algorithm.

#

You can also use the "machine" option to list out which asset is attached to which proxy.

# /var/opt/sun/xvm/OCDoctor/toolbox/AssetCount.sh machine

EC 72

Proxy 32 pc4
Zones 5 S11zone101 S11zone102 S11zone100 S11zone103 S11zone104
Ldoms 25 stdldom21 stdldom34 stdldom36 stdldom22 stdldom45 stdldom47 stdldom25 stdldom43 stdldom49 stdldom30 stdldom23 stdldom29 stdldom42 stdldom20 stdldom32 stdldom46 stdldom44 stdldom26 stdldom31 stdldom27 stdldom48 stdldom40 stdldom35 stdldom41 stdldom28
OVMGuests 0
Servers 2 10.187.70.169 pc4
...
Proxy 28 pc1
Zones 0
Ldoms 26 stdldom21 stdldom34 stdldom36 stdldom22 stdldom45 stdldom47 stdldom25 stdldom43 stdldom49 stdldom30 stdldom23 stdldom29 stdldom42 stdldom33 stdldom20 stdldom32 stdldom46 stdldom44 stdldom26 stdldom31 stdldom27 stdldom48 stdldom40 stdldom35 stdldom41 stdldom28
OVMGuests 0
Servers 2 10.187.70.171 pc1
...
# 

You can see this would be incredibly verbose on a large environment ( I have truncated it here). You can clearly see that the LDOMs (stdldomXX) are being reported by both "pc1" (via Control Domain) and "pc4" (via OS agent). Note: the differing LDOM count on "pc1" and "pc4"  as "stdldom33" has no OS or agent on it, so it only reports against "pc1".

You can also use the "agent" option to display agent/agentless/LOM totals for each Proxy Controller.

# /var/opt/sun/xvm/OCDoctor/toolbox/AssetCount.sh agent

EC 72

Proxy Agents Agentless SPs
--------------------------
pc4   25     2         0
pc1   1      1         0
pc0   5      5         5

Use option '-v' to see additional notes on the counting algorithm.

#

In addition, OCDoctor.sh --troubleshoot will also be checking for the number of configured Access Points and comparing this number against the recommend Access Point count. It will print a warning at approximately 90% of the recommended capacity and a warning if you exceed the recommended capacity.

Armed with the information above, you should be able to better design your Ops Center deployments and to monitor the growing load on the Enterprise Controller/Proxy Controllers as you add more assets.

Regards,

Rodney

Friday Jan 16, 2015

Webcast: Zero to Manageability in One Hour—Build a Solid Foundation for Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c

Wednesday, January 21, 2015
1:00 p.m. EST | 10:00 a.m. PST

The goal in every Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c rollout is to take it from zero to manageability in the shortest possible time. This presentation will show you how to accomplish this feat. Oracle experts will demonstrate how to properly architect and deploy Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c, including designing a highly available and scalable environment. Through this demonstration a list of essential techniques and tips compiled from Oracle Enterprise Manager Development’s Strategic Customer Programs team will also be shared. Topics such as; users, roles, groups, templates, and incidents will be discussed, plus key architectural decisions.

By attending this webinar, you will learn how to:

  • Organize targets, notifications and users properly
  • Configure for best practices after the install is complete
  • Properly plan and architect an Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c environment

Featured Speaker: Courtney Llamas, Principal Member of Technical Staff, Oracle

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Thursday Jan 15, 2015

IOUG eBrief: News for the Oracle Enterprise Manager User Community

IOUG eBrief: January Edition Now Available

Check out January's issue of the IOUG eBrief featuring all the latest news and highlights from IOUG and the Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c Special Interest Group (SIG).

Read the newsletter

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Tuesday Jan 13, 2015

New Enterprise Manager Release Delivers Adaptive Private PaaS

We are pleased to announce an update to Oracle Enterprise Manager Cloud Control 12c Release 4. The update is now available on OTN.

So what exactly is adaptive private PaaS?

Recent releases of Enterprise Manager have expanded capabilities around Platform as a Service (PaaS) delivery in your private cloud. In particular, the EM Cloud Management Packs have focused on two critical areas for Oracle customers: Database as a Service (DBaaS) and Middleware as a Service (MWaaS).

In this release, these PaaS capabilities have become more adaptive to complex, rapidly growing environments. Let's look at 3 areas where database and middleware users and managers will benefit.

Controlling Expanding Database as a Service Environments

Rapid adoption of database as a service can lead to even faster growth in the number of database instances and the number of database versions and configurations. This can severely impact your management costs and could even cripple your database as a service initiative. The new release enhances our solution to this problem:
  • Configuration standardization with integrated advisory, to detect differences across databases and eliminate configuration drift
  • Database fleet patching using minimum downtime techniques, to bring database configurations back into compliance
  • Rules for custom placement, to intelligently find a suitable target for database placement, based on current load, current population and placement constraints

A database as a service approach can improve service to database users while simultaneously reducing database management costs. 

Developing More Rapidly, with Increased Security

Agile application development and testing requires convenient access to up-to-date test data. The Enterprise Manager Snap Clone feature gives DBAs, developers and QA engineers direct access to self-service cloning, so they can create fully functional copies of production databases within minutes. This release introduces several exciting new Snap Clone capabilities:
  • Continuous data refresh from the source database. As your production system gets updated, you can continuously refresh your test data.
  • Integrated data masking, subsetting and patching. Use the Enterprise Manager Data Masking and Subsetting Pack together with Snap Clone to keep your test databases lean and free of sensitive information, and keep them up to date with the latest PSUs and patch sets.
  • Restore a database to a previous point in time with a convenient calendar view.
  • Snap Clone support on EMC VMAX and VNX Block Storage. This adds to Snap Clone's native support for Oracle ZFS Storage Appliance and NetApp Storage Appliance in addition to generic support of other storage systems.
Software developers can also take advantage of new test-to-production (and reverse) cloning of SOA, OSB and WebCenter environments with application artifacts automation.

Flexible APaaS Service Catalogs

If you're providing middleware (e.g. an application platform) as a service to application developers, you now have additional ways to adapt these services to developers' needs.
  • More APaaS catalog options. In addition to Java apps and WebLogic Server, you can offer SOA, OSB and WebCenter in your self-service portal for easy, template-based provisioning.
  • Updated REST API support for new service catalog options, for easy integration with 3rd party orchestration tools and service desks.
  • Sharing of service instances among self-service users, for an efficient, consolidated platform on which to provision middleware services.
For a more comprehensive list of updates, please visit Database as a Service and Middleware as a Service on OTN. In addition, we will post several articles about the new DBaaS and MWaaS capabilities on this blog over the next few weeks.

Monday Jan 12, 2015

Enterprise Manager Ops Center - The Power of Groups

To Group or not to Group

Any customer with more than a handful of servers will struggle to take advantage of Ops Center's full features, unless they embrace the use of groups. The ability to group a number of like servers into a logical target, that can then be operated on, means you can do a single action instead of running the same action hundreds of times, once for each server in the group. Grouping also allows you to view and manage your environment in line with your current organizational units and business practices.

What can be done with Groups

Groups avoid the need to select individual servers and can be used as a target for:

  • Update profiles (Patching) - Update patches/packages and files and apply pre/post actions
  • Operational plans - Run a script, update config files etc
  • Perform actions - Reboot/halt/refresh/power-off/power-on actions to all assets in the group
  • Monitoring profiles - Apply customized monitoring profiles
  • Reporting -  Run a single report that includes multiple servers

Groups can also:

  • Display membership - The Membership Graph or the asset tree view both show the servers that make up a group
  • Display incidents/alerts - Groups work as a roll-up point for incidents on any server in the group
  • Display Top CPU/Memory/Network consumers - The "Asset summary" of a group shows top consumers of CPU/Memory/Network resources
  • Restrict the assets that a given user has access to in Ops Center

Types of Groups

Groups are totally logical constructs. An asset (Server, OS, Zone, LDOM) can be a member of as many groups as you like. Deleting a group, does not delete the assets it contains. While most often groups will contain assets of all the same type (eg: System LOMs), as this will give you a group where an action like "power off" makes sense to all the members of the group, it is also possible to create a group that is made up of differing asset types eg: all the assets (OS/LOM/Zones) that are part of a physical server. This type of group would normally be used to restrict the permissions of users so that they could only view/manage the servers for which they are responsible.  A key fact to remember when thinking about groups is that an asset that is a member of one group is not precluded from being a member of other groups.

Ops Center Predefined Groups

As a starting point, Ops Center provides a number of predefined groups found under the [ Navigation ==> Assets ] menu.

While most of the groupings are what you would expect, there are a few that require a little more explanation.

Standard Views 

[ All Assets ] - Not really a group as everything turns up here

[ Engineered Systems ] - A grouping of all discovered Engineered Systems (SPARC SuperCluster). Note that each Engineered System is also its own sub-group

[ Operating Systems ] -  Grouping based on OS type, release and version

[ Servers ] - Grouping based on physical servers

  • SPARC
    • M-Series -  M[3/4/5/8/0]000, M6 and M10 servers
    • Other SPARC - servers that are not sun4u or sun4v architecture or non Oracle/Sun servers
    • U-Class - servers that have sun4u architecture CPU's (V240/V490/SF6800 etc.)
    • V-Class - servers that have sun4v architecture CPU's (T1000/T2000/T5XX0/T3/T4/T5 etc.) - not V-series servers as you might first think
  • x86
    • Other x86 - Non Oracle/Sun servers 
    • x64 - 64 bit servers
    • x86 32-bit - 32 bit servers

[ Chassis ] - 6000/8000 blade based chassis and their server blades 

[ Network Switches ] - Managed InfiniBand and network switches. Ops Center only manages a limited number of switch models and these will normally be found as part of an Engineered System (Exadata/Exalogic/SPARC Super Cluster).

[ Racks ]  - Both Engineered System racks and manually declared racks. It is not commonly known that you can declare all the racks in your data center in Ops Center and place all your servers in their respective racks, giving you a useful data center view.

All the predefined groups are useful but as you can see, they are based on broad brush physical characteristics of a server and its OS. There is no allowance for how you actually use your servers. For that you will need to build your own "User Defined Groups".

User Defined Groups

User Defined Groups are an extremely powerful addition to Ops Center and allow you to model your application, organizational units and business constraints into Ops Center's management interface. Basically, it makes Ops Center capable of working much more in alignment with the way your business operates. Before we go onto how to create "User Defined Groups", let's go over, in a little more detail, what you could use them for:

  • Applications - create a group of all your web servers to report on patch levels, apply patches, update application configurations, restart applications, list top resource consumers.
  • Prod/Dev/Test - create a group based on production status, so you can  apply differing monitoring/alerting profiles, produce management reports and restrict admin access.
  • Admin By - create a group of all the servers that an admin(s) is responsible for, so they can quickly respond to alerts or you can limit the functions they are authorized to perform.
  • Patching - create a group based on the servers that are in the 1st round of patching, so you can easily and consistently patch, do before and after patching reports and maintain consistent patch levels across key applications.

These are just a few of the many things for which groups can be used. Setting up groups will greatly decrease your day to day workload and increase the manageability of your environment. Without the use of grouping, it is unlikely that you will be able to scale your Ops Center environment efficiently beyond about 30 servers.

Creating a User Defined Group 

First select the "Create Group" action [ Navigation ==> All Assets ==> Create Group ]

Static Groups 

Static groups are just as the name suggests, you define a group and place static members in it.

The default action of the "Configure Group" wizard is to create a Static Group. As long  as the "Configure group rules" checkbox is unchecked this will be a static group.

Give the group a name (mandatory), a description (Optional), and one or more group tags (Optional) and click "Next" and "Finish" to complete the wizard and launch the job that creates the group.

Tagging is another powerful feature that will be the topic of another blog, but in summary, it is a way of storing an arbitrary tag (value pair) with an asset or group, which means you can store any important information with the asset, such as Asset Number, Production status, etc.

Now, one by one, navigate to your servers and manually add the server to the group you have created.


Select your individual servers page and select the "Add Asset to Group" action.

Select the Group you want to add to (our example group is "Static Group") and the click then [Add Assets to Group] button.

Dynamic (Smart) Groups 

Dynamic (smart) groups are once again much as the label says. An asset(server/OS etc) will become part of the group based on it matching one or many criteria. The criteria is evaluated every time the group is accessed. So if you deploy a new server, create a zone or update any other matched attribute, it will change the group membership. The next time you access the group its membership will be automatically updated to include the current view of the environment. There is a large number of attributes that can be used to make criteria and the criteria can be combined to make complex grouping rules. There is more than enough to discuss on building these rules for another blog, but today, let's just go with a single example to give you the feel for the capabilities of dynamic grouping.

We will launch the "Create Group" wizard, as we did for the static group, but this time we will give it a more descriptive name and description. Last but not least, we will check the "Configure group rules" check-box, which will make the group we create a dynamic group.


Rules can be as simple as "hostname" starts with "prod" or as complex as having multiple rules each with multiple criteria matches. This is why I will be going into more details on building these rule sets in another blog in the next few weeks.


For this example, I have chosen a moderate level of complexity. We have a single rule, but we will only match on any asset that has all 4 of the attributes set.

  • OS Version contains 11 ( I also could have used Version equals 5.11)
  • Has an IP address is on subnet 192.168.20.0/24
  • Is a Non Global Zone
  • Is managed by Ops Center (It would be unusual to not be in a managed state, but a Proxy Controller in a NGZ is an example of a non managed asset. )

Click [Next] to see the preview screen and to check that we matched the assets we want.

You can see that we have matched on 4 Solaris 11 zones. Now let's see how that looks in the BUI [Navigation==>Assets ==>All User Defined Groups (pull-down)].

You see we have our static group and our dynamic group we have just created.

OK, let's create a second group, but this time for managed Non Global zones of the 10.187.56.0/24 network.

Create a new name and description.

Configure our rule, but this time look for Non Global Zones on the 10.187.56.0 network.

Preview shows no matching hosts, which in this case is correct, as I have not deployed a zone on that network yet. Finish the wizard and now let's look in the BUI to see what we have.

Checking the [All User Defined Groups] pull-down, we now see our static group and 2 different S11 NGZ groups, one with 4 members and one with no members.  (I was not quite consistent with the group naming, but I could fix that using the [Modify Group action].)

Now if I go off and deploy a few new zones, we can then see what our smart groups look like. I have deployed 2 zones on the 10.187.56.0 subnet and one more zone on the 192.168.20.0 subnet.

As you can see, the new zones automatically appear in the correct groups.

Dynamic (Smart) Groups - Criteria

There are far too many attributes to go through here ( a few are listed below) and I will be writing a further blog to show you how to use some of the more useful ones.

https://blogs.oracle.com/oem/resource/RL-Groups/Criteria-2.png

Semantic Tags

But I will call out one special criteria (attribute) that is probably the most useful one of all - the Semantic tag. A Semantic tag is an arbitrary tag or a tag/value pair that can be added to any asset to basically store descriptive information about that asset. You can add a tag to an asset by simply clicking the [Edit Tag] action.

Examples of Semantic Tags (Key):

 Tag Name
Description
 PRODUCTION  Describes the production status
 SALES  Describes the business unit that owns the server

Examples of Semantic Tags/Value pairs (Key and Value):

Tag Name  Value Description
 PRODUCTION_STATUS  DEV/UAT/PROD The value describes the production status DEV/UAT/PROD
 Admin_By
 admin1@oarcle.com The value describes the name/group of the administrator of the system (could even be their email)
 Business_Unit  SALES/ENGINEERING/ACCOUNTS The value describes the business unit that owns the server
 Application  DataBase/Web/ApplicationServer The value describes the application running on the asset

As you can see, you can create a Semantic Tag to store any information about your server that you require. These tags and tag/value pair scan be used as attributes to create Dynamic groups.

Configure a group using a "Semantic Tag Key & Value".

And the group based on the tag/value pair is ready to use.

Nesting Groups

One final feature of groups is that you can nest them (have a group that contains 1 or more other groups).

Create a group as before. This time click the check-box for "Configure subgroups".

Then you must drag the subgroups you want to include to the "Selected Group" icon.

Repeat this procedure until you have all your required groups selected.

Now click [Next], [Next] and [Finish], then check what our new group looks like.


You can see the S11-Zones group contains both S11 NGZ groups.

And by highlighting the S11-Zones group, we can see its membership and incident information for all included assets.

Summary

I hope this has given you a good understanding of groups and how they can make your use of Ops Center more productive.

Regards,

Rodney

Friday Jan 09, 2015

Innovating to Optimize: Creating Room in the IT budget for Initiatives that Boost Business

Read the latest Economist Intelligence Unit whitepaper called Innovating to Optimize: Creating Room in the IT budget for Initiatives that Boost Business. The paper outlines new ways executives can use technology to improve IT operational processes in order to drive innovation and optimize their business. The Economist interviews industry experts and thought leaders, revealing candid insights and new emerging trends.

Download the whitepaper

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Wednesday Jan 07, 2015

Webcast: Oracle Database 12c Performance Analysis

IOUG Webcast: Long Term and Cross-Database Performance Analysis for Oracle Databases Using Automatic Workload Repository Warehouse

Thursday, January 15, 2015
1:00 p.m. EST | 11:00 a.m. PST

The Automatic Workload Repository (AWR) feature in Oracle Database has been the standard used by DBAs to diagnose database performance problems.

In this session, you will learn about the new AWR Warehouse capability, which enables DBAs with capacity planning and performance analysis for Oracle Databases without the constraint of the retention period and without any overhead on critical databases.

Learn how AWR Warehouse can tell why performance was slow this month compared to the same period last year or give administrators an annual report of problems in your mission-critical databases.

Featured Speaker: Jagan Athreya, Senior Director of Product Management, Oracle

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Monday Jan 05, 2015

Enterprise Manager Ops Center - OS provisioning across secondary network interfaces

Description

One of Enterprise Manager Ops Center's core functionalities is to be able to provision the OS to bare metal servers. If the network you are provisioning across is connected to one of the onboard ports (on the first onboard network chip), all is well and provisioning will work as expected. This would be the case for 95% plus of all customers, but if you are trying to provision across a network that is connected to a port on a card in an expansion slot (or a second onboard network chip), your provisioning job will fail due to the incorrect MAC address being set in the JET/AI/Kickstart server. If you are one of the people who has hit this issue, please read on. If you are provisioning over an onboard NIC port, stop reading now and happy OS provisioning.

The Cause

When Ops Center discovers the ILOM (ALOM/XSCF and all the other various LOMs) of a server, there are only certain pieces of information that can be collected from the LOM while the OS is running. We maintain a policy of creating as little impact as possible during discovery, so we do not force you to shutdown the OS during discovery. 

Information we can collect:

  • the number of network interfaces
  • the MAC address of the first network interface (port)

Information we can NOT collect:

  • the MAC address of all the other network interfaces (ports)

Since the LOM only provides the first MAC address, Ops Center must calculate the MAC addresses of the remaining network interfaces. Ops Center will get the MAC addresses for the onboard NICs correct but its calculated MAC addresses will be wrong for any NICs not on the first onboard network chip.

If we have an example system that has 4 onboard network ports (on the motherboard) and an expansion network card in the PCI-E/X slot with an additional 4 network ports, Ops Center's view of that server, based on the information from the LOM, would not match the physical server.


Interfaces Name Ops Center's Mac Address - Calculated ( from LOM) Actual Mac Adress Correct
Number of Network interfaces 8 8 YES
Mac Address for interface 0 (onboard) net0 00:21:28:17:72:b2 00:21:28:17:72:b2 YES
Mac Address for interface 1 (onboard) net1 00:21:28:17:72:b3 00:21:28:17:72:b3 YES
Mac Address for interface 2 (onboard net2 00:21:28:17:72:b4 00:21:28:17:72:b4 YES
Mac Address for interface 3 (onboard net3 00:21:28:17:72:b5 00:21:28:17:72:b5 YES
Mac Address for interface 4 (PCI-E/X card) net4 00:21:28:17:72:b6 00:14:4f:6b:fd:28 NO
Mac Address for interface 5 (PCI-E/X card) net5 00:21:28:17:72:b7 00:14:4f:6b:fd:29 NO
Mac Address for interface 6 (PCI-E/X card) net6 00:21:28:17:72:b8 00:14:4f:6b:fd:30 NO
Mac Address for interface 7 (PCI-E/X card) net7 00:21:28:17:72:b9 00:14:4f:6b:fd:31 NO

 You can confirm that the Mac addresses for an expansion network card has been calculated, by looking at the Network tab in the BUI for the LOM object.

You can see the displayed MAC addresses for GB_4 and GB_5 are just a simple increment of 1 from that of GB_3 which should not be the case as GB_4 and GB_5 are on a PCI-E/X expansion card. While most Oracle(Sun) servers have 4 on-board network interfaces of the same type, some servers may have 2 x 1GBit interfaces and 2 x 10Gbit interfaces. In this case, only the first on-board network interfaces will display the correct MAC addresses.

It should be noted that if you have discovered the LOM and discovered the running operation system, Ops Center will have been able to identify the correct MAC addresses for all the network interfaces as it combines the information gathered from the LOM and the Operating System to display the full picture (correct values). Unfortunately, you can not rely on these when re-provisioning, as part of the OSP job will delete the OS object (we are re-provisioning it after all) and the cached values for the MAC address may expire before the JET/AI/Kickstart server is configured.

The Impact

If you were to provision across net0, net1, net2, or net3 all would work well, but if you selected net4 or above for provisioning, the job would fail due to a timeout in the "Monitor OS Installation" task as the Jet/AI/Kickstart server would have been configured with the wrong MAC address and so it would have not responded to the OSP request. Please note that a misidentified MAC address is not the only possible cause of a timeout in the "Monitor OS Installation" task. This error only indicates that some step of the OS provisioning has failed and can be caused by a number of different issues.

The Solution

There are 2 ways of provisioning to secondary network interfaces

1) Use the MAC address method (simplest method - only available in 12.2.0+)

In Ops Center 12.2.0, we introduced an option to specify the MAC address to provision across directly in the BUI. When running the "Install Server" Action/Wizard, the "Boot Interface Resource Assignments" page has a check-box [Identify Network Interface by MAC Address]. Selecting this check-box will change the wizard from using netX interface names that rely on the discovered MAC address, to letting you manually enter the MAC address. This entered MAC address is used to setup the JET/AI/Kickstart server and is used to interrogate the OBP of the server to workout the netX interface that is required for wanboot.

It is as easy as that and your provisioning job will progress as normal.

2) Overload the MAC address before provisioning (the way we did it before we had method #1)

Assuming you have already discovered and managed the systems LOM, you can overload (update) the discovered/calulated network interface MAC addresses.

In the BUI, select "Assets" ==> "All Assets" ==> "Add Assets"

then choose "Manually declared server to be a target of OS provisioning"

While this could declare multiple servers using an XML file, in this example, we will just be doing a single server. This wizard normally lets us declare a server network interfaces but as some of the MAC addresses we will be declaring are already part of an existing discovered server LOM, Ops Center will identify the overlaping MAC address and merge this data with the existing server. The matching interfaces will stay the same but the new MAC addresses will overload (replace) the incorrect addresses.

Select Declare a single server, then click the [Green Plus] icon

Enter the port name [GB_X] and the actual MAC address.

Repeat this for all the interfaces, up to and including the one you want to provision across. 

Do not skip any interfaces as the interface numbering is based on the order the entries are stored in the database.

When you have entered all required interfaces, you then have to fill in the server details.

Once completed, click the [Declare Asset] button and wait for the job to complete. Normally, this will just take a few seconds. 

You can check in the BUI that the updated MAC addresses have been applied.

Now, just run your provisioning job as per normal and the correct MAC address will be configured in the JET/AI/Kickstart server.

As you can see, if you have updated your Enterprise Controller to Ops Center 12.2.0 or higher, option #1 is the simpler method.

All the best with your OS provisioning,

Rodney 

Friday Dec 19, 2014

Business Brief: Optimize Your Database Performance - Spend Less Time Keeping the Lights on and More Time Innovating

How are you keeping up with the challenges and demands from the business? Are you able to innovate or just keeping the lights on?

Read the latest business brief on Oracle Database Performance Management to get better insight into the challenges facing IT and find out ways to overcome them.

Read the business brief.

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Thursday Dec 18, 2014

IDEXX Uses Oracle Enterprise Manager for Monitoring and Provisioning

Check out the latest SearchOracle article featuring Brett Curtis, System Administrator from IDEXX Laboratories. Read how Brett outlines how IDEXX is benefiting from using Oracle Enterprise Manager to not only monitor both middleware and database systems, but use it for provisioning as well.

Read the article.

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Tuesday Nov 25, 2014

Monitoring NFS mounted file systems using EM12c

A customer recently asked me how they could monitor and alert against all the NFS mounted file systems across their datacenter. Here is a quick guide to do the same.

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Monday Nov 24, 2014

Download Urls for Self Update Entities in Offline Mode

Many enterprises run their EM 12c environments in the offline mode (no direct internet connection). These customers have the additional task of downloading the plug-ins, connectors, agents, etc on a machine with access to internet, and then upload them to EM. The current solution makes the task of fetching the download url rather cumbersome, so in this blog i discuss a quick hack to list all download urls for plug-ins and agents.

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Thursday Nov 13, 2014

Will the REAL Snap Clone functionality please stand up?

Possibly one of the least known pieces of functionality that is provided as part of the Enterprise Manager Cloud Control 12c product suite is the Snap Clone product. In simple terms, Snap Clone is a storage agnostic self service approach to rapidly creating space efficient clones of large databases (and by large, we're talking terabytes or more).  I blogged on that a few months back, but a few months can be an eternity in software development terms, so here's an update that covers not just the functionality in the product but also addresses some of the misleading statements some of our competitors have been making about it of recent times.
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