Friday Jun 06, 2014

Oracle Enterprise Manager Extensibility News - June 2014

Introducing Extensibility Exchange Version 2

On the heals of Enterprise Manager 12c Release 4 this week comes version 2.0 of the Extensibility Exchange.  A new theme allows optimal viewing on a number of different computing devices from large monitor displays to tablets to smartphones.  

One of the first things you'll notice is a scrollable banner with the latest news related to Enterprise Manager and extensibility.  Along with the "slider" and the latest entries from Oracle and the Partner community, new features like a tag cloud and an auto-complete search box provide a better way to find the plug-in, connector or other Enterprise Manager entity you are looking for.  Once you find it, a content details page with specific info related to that particular entity will enable you to access it at the provider's site and also rate and comment on that particular item. You can also send an email from the content details page which is routed to the developer.   And if you want to use version 1 of the Extensibility Exchange instead, you will be able to do so via the "Classic" option. 

Check it out today at http://www.oracle.com/goto/emextensibility.

Recent Additions from Oracle's Partner Community

A number of important 3rd party plug-ins have been contributed by Oracle's partner community, which can be accessed via the Extensibility Exchange or by clicking the links in this blog:

You can also check out the following best practices and labs available via the Exchange:


Wednesday Jun 04, 2014

EM12c Release 4: Database as a Service Enhancements

Oracle Enterprise Manager 12.1.0.4 (or simply put EM12c R4) is the latest update to the product. As previous versions, this release provides tons of enhancements and bug fixes, attributing to improved stability and quality. One of the areas that is most exciting and has seen tremendous growth in the last few years is that of Database as a Service. EM12c R4 provides a significant update to Database as a Service. The key themes are:

  1. Comprehensive Database Service Catalog (includes single instance, RAC, and Data Guard)
  2. Additional Storage Options for Snap Clone (includes support for Database feature CloneDB)
  3. Improved Rapid Start Kits
  4. Extensible Metering and Chargeback
  5. Miscellaneous Enhancements


1. Comprehensive Database Service Catalog

Before we get deep into implementation of a service catalog, lets first understand what it is and what benefits it provides. Per ITIL, a service catalog is an exhaustive list of IT services that an organization provides or offers to its employees or customers. Service catalogs have been widely popular in the space of cloud computing, primarily as the medium to provide standardized and pre-approved service definitions. There is already some good collateral out there that talks about Oracle database service catalogs. The two whitepapers i recommend reading are:

Service Catalogs: Defining Standardized Database Service

High Availability Best Practices for Database Consolidation: The Foundation for Database as a Service [Oracle MAA]

EM12c comes with an out-of-the-box service catalog and self service portal since release 1. For the customers, it provides the following benefits:

  • Present a collection of standardized database service definitions,
  • Define standardized pools of hardware and software for provisioning,
  • Role based access to cater to different class of users,
  • Automated procedures to provision the predefined database definitions,
  • Setup chargeback plans based on service tiers and database configuration sizes, etc

Starting Release 4, the scope of services offered via the service catalog has been expanded to include databases with varying levels of availability - Single Instance (SI) or Real Application Clusters (RAC) databases with multiple data guard based standby databases. Some salient points of the data guard integration:

  • Standby pools can now be defined across different datacenters or within the same datacenter as the primary (this helps in modelling the concept of near and far DR sites)
  • The standby databases can be single instance, RAC, or RAC One Node databases
  • Multiple standby databases can be provisioned, where the maximum limit is determined by the version of database software
  • The standby databases can be in either mount or read only (requires active data guard option) mode
  • All database versions 10g to 12c supported (as certified with EM 12c)
  • All 3 protection modes can be used - Maximum availability, performance, security
  • Log apply can be set to sync or async along with the required apply lag

The different service levels or service tiers are popularly represented using metals - Platinum, Gold, Silver, Bronze, and so on. The Oracle MAA whitepaper (referenced above) calls out the various service tiers as defined by Oracle's best practices, but customers can choose any logical combinations from the table below:

 Primary  Standby [1 or more]
 EM 12cR4
 SI  -
 SI
 SI
 RAC
-
 RAC
SI
 RAC
RAC
 RON
-
 RON
RON
where RON = RAC One Node is supported via custom post-scripts in the service template

A sample service catalog would look like the image below. Here we have defined 4 service levels, which have been deployed across 2 data centers, and have 3 standardized sizes. Again, it is important to note that this is just an example to get the creative juices flowing. I imagine each customer would come up with their own catalog based on the application requirements, their RTO/RPO goals, and the product licenses they own. In the screenwatch titled 'Build Service Catalog using EM12c DBaaS', I walk through the complete steps required to setup this sample service catalog in EM12c.


2. Additional Storage Options for Snap Clone

In my previous blog posts, i have described the snap clone feature in detail. Essentially, it provides a storage agnostic, self service, rapid, and space efficient approach to solving your data cloning problems. The net benefit is that you get incredible amounts of storage savings (on average 90%) all while cloning databases in a matter of minutes. Space and Time, two things enterprises would love to save on. This feature has been designed with the goal of providing data cloning capabilities while protecting your existing investments in server, storage, and software. With this in mind, we have pursued with the dual solution approach of Hardware and Software. In the hardware approach, we connect directly to your storage appliances and perform all low level actions required to rapidly clone your databases. While in the software approach, we use an intermediate software layer to talk to any storage vendor or any storage configuration to perform the same low level actions. Thus delivering the benefits of database thin cloning, without requiring you to drastically changing the infrastructure or IT's operating style.

In release 4, we expand the scope of options supported by snap clone with the addition of database CloneDB. While CloneDB is not a new feature, it was first introduced in 11.2.0.2 patchset, it has over the years become more stable and mature. CloneDB leverages a combination of Direct NFS (or dNFS) feature of the database, RMAN image copies, sparse files, and copy-on-write technology to create thin clones of databases from existing backups in a matter of minutes. It essentially has all the traits that we want to present to our customers via the snap clone feature. For more information on cloneDB, i highly recommend reading the following sources:

Blog by Tim Hall: Direct NFS (DNFS) CloneDB in Oracle Database 11g Release 2

Oracle OpenWorld Presentation by Cern: Efficient Database Cloning using Direct NFS and CloneDB

The advantages of the new CloneDB integration with EM12c Snap Clone are:

  • Space and time savings
  • Ease of setup - no additional software is required other than the Oracle database binary
  • Works on all platforms
  • Reduce the dependence on storage administrators
  • Cloning process fully orchestrated by EM12c, and delivered to developers/DBAs/QA Testers via the self service portal
  • Uses dNFS to delivers better performance, availability, and scalability over kernel NFS
  • Complete lifecycle of the clones managed by EM12c - performance, configuration, etc


3. Improved Rapid Start Kits

DBaaS deployments tend to be complex and its setup requires a series of steps. These steps are typically performed across different users and different UIs. The Rapid Start Kit provides a single command solution to setup Database as a Service (DBaaS) and Pluggable Database as a Service (PDBaaS). One command creates all the Cloud artifacts like Roles, Administrators, Credentials, Database Profiles, PaaS Infrastructure Zone, Database Pools and Service Templates. Once the Rapid Start Kit has been successfully executed, requests can be made to provision databases and PDBs from the self service portal. Rapid start kit can create complex topologies involving multiple zones, pools and service templates. It also supports standby databases and use of RMAN image backups.

The Rapid Start Kit in reality is a simple emcli script which takes a bunch of xml files as input and executes the complete automation in a matter of seconds. On a full rack Exadata, it took only 40 seconds to setup PDBaaS end-to-end. This kit works for both Oracle's engineered systems like Exadata, SuperCluster, etc and also on commodity hardware. One can draw parallel to the Exadata One Command script, which again takes a bunch of inputs from the administrators and then runs a simple script that configures everything from network to provisioning the DB software.

Steps to use the kit:

  • The kit can be found under the SSA plug-in directory on the OMS: EM_BASE/oracle/MW/plugins/oracle.sysman.ssa.oms.plugin_12.1.0.8.0/dbaas/setup
  • It can be run from this default location or from any server which has emcli client installed
  • For most scenarios, you would use the script dbaas/setup/database_cloud_setup.py
  • For Exadata, special integration is provided to reduce the number of inputs even further. The script to use for this scenario would be dbaas/setup/exadata_cloud_setup.py
  • The database_cloud_setup.py script takes two inputs:
    • Cloud boundary xml: This file defines the cloud topology in terms of the zones and pools along with host names, oracle home locations or container database names that would be used as infrastructure for provisioning database services. This file is optional in case of Exadata, as the boundary is well know via the Exadata system target available in EM.
    • Input xml: This file captures inputs for users, roles, profiles, service templates, etc. Essentially, all inputs required to define the DB services and other settings of the self service portal.
  • Once all the xml files have been prepared, invoke the script as follows for PDBaaS:
    emcli @database_cloud_setup.py -pdbaas 
          -cloud_boundary=/tmp/my_boundary.xml 
          -cloud_input=/tmp/pdb_inputs.xml

         The script will prompt for passwords a few times for key users like sysman, cloud admin, SSA admin, etc. Once complete, you can simply log into EM as the self service user and request for databases from the portal.

More information available in the Rapid Start Kit chapter in Cloud Administration Guide


4. Extensible Metering and Chargeback

 Last but not the least, Metering and Chargeback in release 4 has been made extensible in all possible regards. The new extensibility features allow customer, partners, system integrators, etc to :

  • Extend chargeback to any target type managed in EM
  • Promote any metric in EM as a chargeback entity
  • Extend list of charge items via metric or configuration extensions
  • Model abstract entities like no. of backup requests, job executions, support requests, etc

 A slew of emcli verbs have also been added that allows administrators to create, edit, delete, import/export charge plans, and assign cost centers all via the command line.

More information available in the Chargeback API chapter in Cloud Administration Guide.


5. Miscellaneous Enhancements

There are other miscellaneous, yet important, enhancements that are worth a mention. These mostly have been asked by customers like you. These are:

  • Custom naming of DB Services
    • Self service users can provide custom names for DB SID, DB service, schemas, and tablespaces
    • Every custom name is validated for uniqueness in EM
  • 'Create like' of Service Templates
    • Now creating variants of a service template is only a click away. This would be vital when you publish service templates to represent different database sizes or service levels.
  • Profile viewer
    • View the details of a profile like datafile, control files, snapshot ids, export/import files, etc prior to its selection in the service template
  • Cleanup automation - for failed and successful requests
    • Single emcli command to cleanup all remnant artifacts of a failed request
    • Cleanup can be performed on a per request bases or by the entire pool
    • As an extension, you can also delete successful requests
  • Improved delete user workflow
    • Allows administrators to reassign cloud resources to another user or delete all of them
  • Support for multiple tablespaces for schema as a service
    • In addition to multiple schemas, user can also specify multiple tablespaces per request

I hope this was a good introduction to the new Database as a Service enhancements in EM12c R4. I encourage you to explore many of these new and existing features and give us feedback.

Good luck!

References:

Cloud Management Page on OTN

Cloud Administration Guide [Documentation]

-- Adeesh Fulay (@adeeshf)

Tuesday Jun 03, 2014

Oracle Delivers Latest Release of Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c

Richer Service Catalog for Database and Middleware as a Service; Enhanced Database and Middleware Management Help Drive Enterprise-Scale Private Cloud Adoption

News Summary
IT organizations are adopting private clouds as a stepping-stone to business-driven, self-service IT. Successful implementations hinge on the ability to efficiently deploy and manage cloud services at enterprise scale. Having a complete cloud management solution integrated with an enterprise-class technology stack is a fundamental requirement for IT. Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c Release 4 meets that requirement by helping businesses become more agile and responsive, while reducing cost, complexity, and risk.

News Facts

  • Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c Release 4, available today, lets organizations rapidly adopt Oracle-based, enterprise-scale private clouds.
  • New capabilities provide advanced technology stack management, secure database administration, and enterprise service governance, enabling Oracle customers and partners to maximize database and application performance and drive innovation using self-service IT platforms.
  • The enhancements have been driven by customers and the growing Oracle Enterprise Manager Ecosystem, comprised of more than 750 Oracle PartnerNetwork (OPN) Specialized partners. Oracle and its partners and customers have built over 140 plug-ins and connectors for Oracle Enterprise Manager.
  • Watch the video highlights.

Automation for Broader Cloud Services

  • Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c Release 4 allows for a rapid enterprise-wide adoption of database, middleware and infrastructure services in the private cloud, driven by an enhanced API-enabled service catalog.
  • The release features “push button” style provisioning of complete environments such as SOA and Oracle Active Data Guard, and fast data cloning that enables rapid deployment and testing of enterprise applications.
  • Out-of-the-box capabilities to detect data and configuration vulnerabilities provide enhanced cloud service governance along with greater operational control through a flexible and extensible showback mechanism.

Enhanced Database Management

  • A new performance warehouse enables predictive database diagnostics and trend analysis and helps identify database problems before they occur.
  • New enterprise data-governance capabilities enhance security by helping systematically discover and protect sensitive data.
  • Step-by-step orchestration of upgrades with the ability to rollback changes enables faster adoption of Oracle Database 12c.

Expanded Fusion Middleware Management

  • A new consolidated view of Oracle Fusion Middleware 12c deployments with a guided management capability lets administrators apply best management practices to diverse middleware environments and identify performance issues quickly.
  • A Java VM Diagnostics as a Service feature allows governed access to diagnostics data for IT workers across multiple disciplines for accelerated DevOps resolutions of defects and performance optimization.
  • New automated provisioning for SOA lets middleware administrators perform mass SOA provisioning with ease.

Superior Enterprise-Grade Management

  • Private roles and preferred credentials have been added to Oracle Enterprise Manager to provide additional fine-grained security for organizations with complex access control requirements.
  • A new security console provides a single point of control for managing the security of Oracle Enterprise Manager environments.
  • Support for the latest industry standard SNMP v3 protocol, including encryption, enables more secure heterogeneous management.
  • “Smart monitoring” adapts to observed environmental changes and adds self-management capabilities to help Oracle Enterprise Manager run at peak performance, while demanding less IT supervision.

Supporting Quotes

  • “Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory has a strong tradition of technology breakthroughs and leadership. As a member of Oracle’s Customer Advisory Board for Oracle Enterprise Manager, we have consistently provided feedback and guidance in the areas of enterprise-scale cloud, self-diagnosability, and secure administration for the product,” said Tim Frazier, CIO, NIF and Photon Sciences, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. “We intend to take advantage of the Release 4 features that support enterprise-scale availability and fine-grained security capabilities for private cloud deployments.”
  • “IDC's most recent CloudTrack survey shows that most enterprises plan to adopt hybrid cloud architectures over the next three years,” said Mary Johnston Turner, Research Vice President, Enterprise System Management Software, IDC. “These organizations plan to deploy a wide range of workloads into cloud environments including mission critical database and middleware services that require high levels of fault tolerance and disaster recovery. Such capabilities were traditionally custom configured for each application but cloud offers the possibility to incorporate such properties within the service definition, enabling organizations to adopt cloud without compromise. With the latest release of Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c, Oracle is providing customers with an out-of-the-box experience for delivering highly-resilient cloud services for databases and applications.”
  • “Since its inception, Oracle has been leading the way in innovative, scalable and high performance solutions for the enterprise. With this release of Oracle Enterprise Manager, we are extending this leadership by providing enterprise-scale capabilities for planning, delivering, and managing private clouds. We call this ‘zero-to-cloud – accelerated.’ These enhancements help our customers to expedite their adoption of cloud computing and prepares them for the next generation of self-service IT,” said Prakash Ramamurthy, senior vice president of Systems and Cloud Management at Oracle.

Supporting Resources

Stay Connected:
Twitter |
Facebook | YouTube | Linkedin | Newsletter
Download the Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c Mobile app

Friday May 30, 2014

Notifications for Expiring DBSNMP Passwords

Most user accounts these days have a password profile on them that automatically expires the password after a set number of days.   Depending on your company’s security requirements, this may be as little as 30 days or as long as 365 days, although typically it falls between 60-90 days. For a normal user, this can cause a small interruption in your day as you have to go get your password reset by an admin. When this happens to privileged accounts, such as the DBSNMP account that is responsible for monitoring database availability, it can cause bigger problems.

In Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c you may notice the error message “ORA-28002: the password will expire within 5 days” when you connect to a target, or worse you may get “ORA-28001: the password has expired".  If you wait too long, your monitoring will fail because the password is locked out. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could get an alert 10 days before our DBSNMP password expired? Thanks to Oracle Enterprise Manager12c Metric Extensions (ME), you can! See the Oracle Enterprise Manager Cloud Control Administrator’s Guide for more information on Metric Extensions.

[Read More]

Thursday May 15, 2014

Whitepaper: Best Practices for Managing Siebel Configurations

Contributing Author: Eunjoo Lee, Principal Product Manager, Oracle

The Oracle Enterprise Manager Applications Management team is pleased to announce the release of their latest whitepaper (available here) and associated screenwatch (available here) on configuration management for Siebel.

The task of managing configuration parameters in a dynamic, multi-target environment can be extremely challenging. A large, production scale environment can have dozens of unique targets, and each target can have several hundred different configuration parameters.

Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c, with the Siebel Plug-in, provides advanced, out-of-the-box tools to manage the complexity of Siebel configuration management. Oracle Enterprise Manager has advanced configuration capture, change detection, and comparison reporting capabilities that can dramatically reduce the amount of time that System Administrators spend on configuration management.

The purpose of the whitepaper and screenwatch is to provide customers with details on Oracle’s Best Practices for managing Siebel Configurations. It addresses several key areas including;

  • Understanding comparison templates in Oracle Enterprise Manager
  • Creating configuration templates for Siebel servers, components groups, and components
  • Using configuration templates to compare Siebel servers
  • Analysis of configuration comparison results
  • Using configuration templates for Siebel patch analysis

The benefits of using configuration templates to manage Siebel applications are substantial, and include:

  • Easily compare configuration parameters for targets within a Siebel Enterprise, or between two different Siebel Enterprises
  • Easily compare configuration parameters for a Siebel target against a gold standard or baseline.
  • Define comparison reports once and re-run multiple times

We hope this white paper and screenwatch help to provide you with a good starting point to manage your Siebel Application configurations more efficiently and pro-actively.


Stay Connected:
Twitter |
Facebook | YouTube | Linkedin | Newsletter
Download the Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c Mobile app

Monday May 12, 2014

Quickly Diagnose the Root Cause of Stuck Threads using Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c JVM Diagnostics

Note: Clicking on any image will open the same image in full size in a new window

One of the hidden gems in Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c is JVM Diagnostics. If you purchased the Weblogic Management Pack license then you already own it. JVMD allows administrators to diagnose performance problems in production Java applications. By eliminating the need to reproduce these “production only” problems in QA, it reduces the time required to resolve them. It does not require complex instrumentation or restarting of the application to get in-depth application details. Application administrators will be able to identify Java problems or database issues that are causing application downtime without any detailed knowledge of the application internals. It is also very well suited to diagnosing issues with “Stuck Threads” which will be the focus of this blog.

What is a [STUCK] Thread

In a Weblogic server, all incoming requests are handled by a thread pool which is controlled by a work manager. Worker threads that are taken out of the pool and not returned after a specified time period are marked as [STUCK] by the work manager. This time period is 10 minutes by default but it is configurable on a per work manager basis using the "StuckThreadMaxTime" parameter (default is set to 600 seconds).

Note that it is possible that some of your threads are doing legitimate work for over 10 min with no issues. If you have such threads then you should consider placing them in a another work manager with proper setting for the "StuckThreadMaxTime" parameter

Why JVMD is Well Suited to Diagnosing [STUCK] Threads

Traditionally, developers will use a stack trace generated by jstack or kill -3 and try to determine the cause of a stuck thread. However, in my experience a majority of the time this stack is not even the culprit. The problem often lies in another tier of the application or even in another thread of the same application. JVMD has the ability to provide additional context such as the name of the request and which tier it called out to Eg: RDBMS servers, LDAP servers, Web servers, RMI servers, etc. Using fine grained thread states (i.e. DB, Network, IO, CPU, RMI, Lock, etc) and the ability to see additional details about the thread, JVMD users can quickly pinpoint the root cause of the problem. Since JVMD is always on, it can also debug these issues that happened in the past and can proactively notify you about stuck threads Eg: Get an email at 1am when you had stuck threads. And lastly, sometimes developers have no access to the target host due to lack of credentials needed to run command line applications.

On several occasions, the thread may be stuck but is doing legitimate work. In such scenarios JVMD allows you to scan back and forth through a large number of samples to see what work is being processed by the thread. In addition, you can take a look at other threads that were serviced the same request to see if they behaved similarly or not. This will allow you to quickly determine whether there is really a problem or not.

Real-Time [STUCK] Thread Analysis

With JVMD there are two real use cases for stuck thread analysis. If you get notified about a stuck thread in real-time (via email, etc) then you can perform a real-time stuck thread analysis. Alternatively, if you are investigating a thread that was stuck in the past but is not present any more, then you can perform a historical stuck thread analysis. In either case the first thing to do is to navigate to the JVM (or JVM pool) where the thread is stuck. We do this by clicking on Targets -> Middleware as shown

From here we can filter the list of targets by target type or by target name. Your most recent filter request will be remembered the next time you visit the page. Select the Target Type of JVM to see all of the JVM targets.

Pick the JVM for the Weblogic server which is having the stuck thread issues and click on it. This will take you to the target home page. Click the button at the top that says “Live Thread Analysis”. Type the word "stuck" into the thread name search box and click on the arrow to filter the table. Now you should see all the stuck threads. In this case we can see a thread that is stuck in the “Network Wait” state. It is stuck on line 358 in function writeBuffer() of OutputRecord.java which is in package com.sun.ssl.internal.ssl which makes it clear that this stuck thread has made an SSL call and the remote server has not responded in a reasonable amount of time so the client thread is stuck.

Here is another example of stuck threads, this time in the “DB Wait” state. Notice how the tool tip over the SQL ID field shows the SQL being executed. Click on it to view longer SQL statements. Also try clicking on the DB Wait link which takes you directly to this specific database session in the Oracle Database Diagnostics section of EM for further analysis. The columns displayed are controlled by “View” drop-down menu. Here we added the “User” column to show the logged in user who executed the request.

Historical [STUCK] Thread Analysis

In order to start historical stuck thread analysis you need to navigate to the JVM target home page in the same way as discussed in the real-time section. From the target home page clicking on the “JVM Performance Diagnostics” button at the top of the page. On the performance diagnostics page you can filter the data to make it more relevant to your task. The first filter to apply is of time. If you know the exact time you can use the “Edit Date and Time” button to specify it as shown. Otherwise use the handy shortcut links for Day, 1 Hours, 1 Hour or 15 Minutes as needed.

The next thing to filter is the Thread Name. Expand the filter options region if necessary and add the Thread Name filter to be “[STUCK]*” so you only see threads whose name starts with [STUCK]

Below the filter region the “General” tab will show you the Thread States, Top Requests, Top Methods, Top SQLs, Top DB Wait Events and Top Databases – only for the filtered data i.e. for only threads that are stuck. Try clicking on method names to see the call stack for the method. The charts are all interactive and fetch additional data about the item clicked.

If you want to find a specific thread move from the “General” tab over to the “Threads” tab. This is fine grained data with each sample and state transition visible. You can click on any sample to view it in the sample analyzer which should look familiar to you if you saw the threads in real-time. Details about SQLs, Wait states, etc are all available here also along with the complete call stack which can also be exported to a CSV file.

In conclusion, we can see the JVMD provides a rich set of additional details which are only a mouse click away that help you to diagnose the root causes of your stuck threads.

NOTE: Many of the screen shots taken here are using testing & debug code, which deliberately tries to create stuck threads. This does not and should not reflect on the nature of any Oracle products being shipped to customers.


Thursday Apr 24, 2014

The case for Snap Clone over point tools

Today, I stumbled over a competitor blog, conspicuous by its factual incorrectness on Enterprise Manager Snap Clone. However, I must compliment the author of the blog, because inadvertently, he has raised a point that we have been highlighting all along. The author, with reference to Dataguard and storage technologies, argues against the cobbling of technologies together and adding another technology stack to the mix without any automated management

Precisely the point! In the wide realm of technologies, there are necessities and there are accessories aka nice-to-haves. The necessities are technologies that are needed anyway, such as a high fidelity, high performance storage from a reputed vendor or a good DR solution for a mission critical database environment. Similarly, for any Oracle DBA worth his/her salt, Enterprise Manager 12c is a necessity, a part of the daily life. The Enterprise Manager agent, keeping vigil on every host, is therefore not an overhead, but the representative (the "agent" in true sense) of the DBA. Deep diagnostics, performance management, large scale configuration management, patching and compliance management make Enterprise Manager the darling of any Oracle DBA. All surveys suggest that any DBA spends considerable amount of time in Enterprise Manager for performing things beyond just data cloning, so why invest in an accessory for the cloning of Oracle test databases and unnecessarily proliferate the number of point tools (and possibly several instances of them) that you need to manage and maintain, not to ignore the past history that cites that very few such point tools solved customers' CAPEX and OPEX problems over the long run. It is like using spreadsheet for expenses and ERP for all other financial tasks.This is not to suggest that these point tools do not have good, innovative features. Over my tenure in the industry, I have come across several such tools with nice features, but often the hidden costs outweigh the benefits. Our position in this aspect has been consistent, whether it is on a competitor’s tool or our own. Few years back, we integrated My Oracle Support into Enterprise Manager with the same consistent goal that Enterprise Manager will serve as the single pane of glass for the Oracle ecosystem. Same has been our position on any product that we acquire.

Snap Clone's support for Dataguard and native storage stems from popular customer demand to leverage technologies they already invested in, and not create standalone islands of automation. Moreover, several customers have voiced in favor of the performance and scalability advantages that they would get by leveraging the native storage APIs. How else would you support one of the world's largest banks, a Snap Clone customer, who performs 60,000 (sixty thousand) data refreshes per year! In any case, that should not imply that we bind ourselves to any of those technologies. We do support cloning on various storage systems based on ZFS filesystem. Similarly, the Test Master refresh can be achieved with one among RMAN, Dataguard, Golden Gate or storage replication and optionally orchestrated with EM Job System.

Enterprise Manager 12c has taken a great step in delivering features via plugins that can be revisioned independent of the framework. An unwanted side effect is that the awareness often lags what is actually supported in the latest version of the product. For example, the filesystem support was introduced last Fall. And of course Enterprise Manager 12c Snap Clone supports RAC. My esteemed colleague and DBA par excellence, in her blog has highlighted some of these to dispel some of the prevalent awareness issues. Snap Clone's usage among the E-Business Suite and Developer community does not need any special accreditation. It is heavily used by the world's largest E-Business Suite Developer community-the Oracle E-Business Suite Engineering organization itself! It is true that Snap Clone does not support  restoration to any arbitrary point in time, but then our customers and prospects have not voiced a need for it. In reality, most customers want to perform intermediate data transformation such as masking and subsetting as they clone from production to test, and Enterprise Manager 12c already boasts of sophisticated data masking technologies, again via the same interface. It also includes testing features like Real Application Testing (RAT) that can complement and follow the test database creation. Future releases of Enterprise Manager will support a tighter integration among these features.

Snap Clone is delivered as a part of the Database as a Service feature set that has been pioneering, industry-leading and getting adopted at a great pace. Little wonder that we have already received a copious amount of Openworld paper submissions on the topic. In this emerging trend of DBaaS adoption, we find no reason to fragment the tasks such as fresh database creation, pluggable database provisioning and cloning across silo'ed point tools (not to mention broader PaaS capabilities which may be needed for complete application testing). Each use case could be different but needs a single service delivery platform. EM12c is that platform for Oracle. Period. So, think twice before 'adding another technology to the mix'. You do not need to.

Tuesday Apr 22, 2014

After the Conference: Enterprise Manager at Collaborate14

Attendees at the Collaborate14 User Conference held in Las Vegas earlier this month were offered fantastic opportunities to hone their expertise in Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c (EM) while building a network with increasing numbers of IT professionals focusing their passions around EM.  These pros seek to take advantage of EM’s ability in a quest to reduce downtime, improve staff productivity, reduce capital expenditures and increase IT agility while lowering the cost of managing IT.

There was certainly a lot from which to choose, as I reported in my prior blog.   After getting back from the conference and attending several of those sessions, it seemed as if EM was everywhere!  Well over fifty Collaborate14 lectures, workshops, expert sessions and quick-tip sessions featuring EM exclusively or significantly were delivered.  Most of the sessions were given by partners and customers, all of whom desire to share their significant EM expertise with others. 

On pre-conference Monday, the three hands-on workshops (Cloud Odyssey, Oracle Database  Lifecycle Management and Application Management for Oracle EBS) were fun and deeply educational, proving you had to be there in order to appreciate fully.  And the conference sessions were well attended both in person and online, covering the waterfront in terms of effectively managing the enterprise.

Just some of the focus areas:

  • Techniques and best practices to monitor and manage the IT environment effectively through the use of the EM framework and through EMCLI
  • Deep-dives into Oracle Database 12c in diagnosing, tuning and managing the lifecycle of Oracle Database 12c
  • How to provide and manage Oracle in the cloud, specifically in the area of Database as a Service (DBaaS) and quick provisioning of the storage it goes with
  • Advanced management of Oracle Applications

I would be remiss to not mention the new Special Interest Groups (SIGs) formed or being formed around Enterprise Manager.  In addition to the networking opportunities and the one-to-one best practice sharing that naturally occurs when like-minded folks get together, SIGs work to enhance critical skills and foster professional growth.  Make sure you sign up for them so you don’t miss out on the events being planned.  At the conference:

  • IOUG’s rapidly growing Enterprise Manager SIG drew at least fifty at their “Birds of a Feather” meeting.  Request to join this SIG here.  More info about this SIG and how to join it is at the IOUG Enterprise Manager SIG Community site.
  • The IOUG Cloud Computing SIG, considered a companion to EM since it prominently features it, had a good crowd.  Find out more at the IOUG Cloud Computing SIG.
  • An inaugural OAUG Enterprise Manager for Oracle Applications SIG formation meeting had significant attendance and interest.  Look for more about this SIG and how to participate in it in a future post. 

Wire-to-wire it was well worth it, and next year it will be even more so.  Until that time, expect to hear a lot from the regional user groups and the SIGs about EM.

Monday Apr 21, 2014

Leveraging Target Properties to Enhance Enterprise Manager Capabilities

Do you still maintain a spreadsheet with Database or Server contact or business unit ownership?  In Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c (EM) Target Properties allow you to store descriptive target information, such as Contact or Location, which can then be used in dynamic/administration group definition, reports, incident rules and notifications.   This blog will show you how you can better leverage the features of EM to store your configuration data and utilize it to the fullest extent. 

The out-of-the-box target properties include: 

  • Contact
  • Cost Center
  • Customer Support Identifier
  • Department
  • Life Cycle Status (Development, Test, Staging, Mission Critical, Production)
  • Line of Business
  • Location
  • Operating System – populated by collected configuration data
  • Platform Target Type – populated by collected configuration data
  • Target Version – populated by collected configuration data

[Read More]

Wednesday Apr 16, 2014

RMAN Backups using Cloud Control

Friends, a technical article was recently published on the Oracle Technical Network:

Back Up a Thousand Databases Using Enterprise Manager Cloud Control 12c

This detailed technical article explains the set up and scheduling of full and incremental RMAN Database backups for  thousands of databases using Enterprise Manager 12c, and how this is done more easily and efficiently than the older, more time-consuming, manual method of performing Unix shell scripting, RMAN scripting, and CRON jobs for each database to be backed up.

And with the Database Group Backup feature new to Enterprise Manager 12c, it can be even faster to set up RMAN backups for multiple databases - even if there are thousands - that are part of an Enterprise Manager Database Group (one kind of target group).


The article also highlights the advantages of using Pluggable Databases (PDBs) in Oracle Database 12c and backing them up using RMAN. RMAN cannot backup individual schemas, and it has always been difficult to perform point-in-time-recovery (PITR) at an individual schema level, since schemas can easily be distributed across multiple tablespaces. The advantage in using PDBs in a Container Database is that you can easily set up RMAN backups at the Container Database level, and yet perform PITR at the PDB level. This is a clear technical advantage of the Multi-tenant architecture of Oracle Database 12c.

The set up and scheduling of RMAN database backups forms a part of the Base Database Management features of Enterprise Manager that enables numerous customers to get familiar with the day-to-day use of Enterprise Manager 12c. The full list of Base Database Management features can be found in the Enterprise Manager Licensing Information guide here.

In fact I had personally introduced Enterprise Manager to one of India’s largest financial services organizations in India in 2007 for the purpose of their RMAN backups, they started using it for the first time, and today we are proud to say that they are an Enterprise Manager reference customer who have presented in OOW for the last 2 years. The following slide is from their recent OOW presentation.


One thing I forgot to include in the article (and yes, it is a long article) was on reporting of the RMAN backups. A few readers asked me that question after the article’s publication, both inside and outside Oracle.

I told them that if they were using an RMAN catalog, the catalog would have this information and could easily be queried. If they were not using a catalog, then this backup information would be stored in the control file, and they would have to query each database’s control file (using V$ views) to get the backup report. BI Publisher, installed as an add-on to Enterprise Manager, could be used for this purpose. However note that if BI Publisher is used to query information from a source other than the Enterprise Manager repository database, a license is payable for each database it accesses.

Read the full article at “Back Up a Thousand Databases Using Enterprise Manager Cloud Control 12c”, and enjoy the world of Oracle Enterprise Manager.

Regards,

Porus Homi Havewala (OCM 11g/10g).

Stay Connected:
Twitter | Facebook | YouTube | Linkedin | Newsletter
Download the Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c Mobile app


Tuesday Apr 08, 2014

Consolidated Database Replay: Playing Nice Together

Here is a great article from resident Oracle ACE, Arup Nanda, who details insight into predicting the impact of consolidating separate database workloads into one. The article outlines a typical consolidation scenario and explains how Oracle Real Application Testing's Consolidated Database Replay capabilities can help measure the impact of the workload consolidation. A must read for those considering a consolidation project in the near future. Read the article.


Database work load patterns of two applications.


Stay Connected:
Twitter |
Facebook | YouTube | Linkedin | Newsletter
Download the Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c Mobile app

Friday Apr 04, 2014

Webcast: Database Cloning in Minutes using Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c Database as a Service Snap Clone

April 10 — 7:00 a.m. PT | 10:00 a.m. ET | 4:00 p.m. CET
April 24 — 10:00 a.m. PT | 1:00 p.m. ET
May 8 — 7:00 a.m. PT | 10:00 a.m. ET | 4:00 p.m. CET
May 22 — 10:00 a.m. PT | 1:00 p.m. ET

Since the demands from the business for IT services is non-stop, creating copies of production databases in order to develop, test and deploy new applications can be labor intensive and time consuming. Users may also need to preserve private copies of the database, so that they can go back to a point prior to when a change was made in order to diagnose potential issues. Using Snap Clone, users can create multiple snapshots of the database and “time travel” across these snapshots to access data from any point in time.

Join us for an in-depth technical webcast and learn how Oracle Cloud Management Pack for Oracle Database's capability called Snap Clone, can fundamentally improve the efficiency and agility of administrators and QA Engineers while saving CAPEX on storage. Benefits include:

  • Agile provisioning (~ 2 minutes to provision a 1 TB database)
  • Over 90% storage savings
  • Reduced administrative overhead from integrated lifecycle management

Register Now!


Stay Connected:
Twitter |
Facebook | YouTube | Linkedin | Newsletter
Download the Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c Mobile app

Wednesday Apr 02, 2014

Cloud Odyssey in London

The Cloud Odyssey event happened in London recently. Here is the Storify from the event. Enjoy!

Stay Connected:
Twitter |
Facebook | YouTube | Linkedin | Newsletter
Download the Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c Mobile app

Tuesday Apr 01, 2014

Managing Pluggable Database as a Service: Questions and Answers

Since the launch of Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c Release 3, we have received tons of questions around managing Oracle Multitenant, an Oracle Database 12c Enterprise Edition option, and pluggable databases (PDBs)—more specifically; questions about pluggable database as a service (PDBaaS). In this blog, we provide answers to some of the common questions from people.

Question: What qualifies a database to be pluggable?
Answer: A pluggable database must be a current Oracle Database 12c database, configured for multitenant through a new enterprise edition option called Oracle Multitenant. It delivers a new architecture that allows a multitenant container database (CDB) to hold many pluggable databases (PDBs). An Oracle Database in the old architecture (a “non-CDB”) may be upgraded to the multitenant architecture via a simple process known as “adopting the non-CDB as a PDB”. A PDB is a self-contained, fully functional Oracle Database, and includes its own system, sysaux and user tablespaces. You can learn more about Oracle Multitenant and pluggable database in this whitepaper.

Can the pluggable databases be plugged and unplugged across multiple platforms such as Solaris, AIX, and Linux?
The pluggable database must be endian compatible. Cross endian operations require OGG, Data pump or restore from backup.

In terms of database consolidation, what are the differences between using VMs, dedicated schemas and pluggable databases?
To describe the advantages of using pluggable database vs. other consolidation methods, it can be best illustrated in a simply comparison table.


Comparison of Database as a Service Consolidation Models

Pluggable database combines the best of all the other models and offers excellent consolidation, isolation, manageability and is suitable for any application that is certified to run on Oracle Database 12c. With the other models, we see certain shortcomings. For example, server virtualization offers good isolation but creates compliance and administrative headaches. Schema based consolidation offers ease of management and patching, but limited isolation.

How do you track configuration drift with a pluggable database? I certainly understand drift in the container database, but in what ways would a pluggable database drift from its standard baseline?
This pertains to Configuration Drift Tracking via Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c. One can compare any two Enterprise Manager targets or a complete system such as an Oracle Exadata Database Machine. When you compare at the PDB level, they can differ in the tablespace names, the storage settings of tablespace with same name, or users, etc. Using Oracle Enterprise Manager to track drift, it is particularly useful in comparing difference in your development, testing, and production environments. It is even useful for comparing your standby systems to set standards for compliance requirements.

What is a zone? Is it physical? Regional?
The Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c Cloud resource model involves pooling the same target types where it’s combining similar hosts, databases, hardware or other similar resources in to a zone. Zones can therefore be defined by the boundary of the Cloud and exposed through Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c’s self-service portal. In terms of the pluggable database as a service model, you can create Oracle Multitenant container databases and group them to form a database pool that users can then draw from. When the self-service user provisions a pluggable database, they need to simply specify the Zone where they want to deploy. Internally, Oracle Enterprise Manager uses load or configuration driven algorithms to place the PDB in the right CDB.

What will be the DBA and SYSADMIN role in the pluggable DBaaS environment?
With pluggable databases you have common users and local users as well as common roles and associated privileges and local roles and associated privileges. You can isolate user/role/privilege to the PDB by defining only local user/role/privilege. To leverage the manage many as one, you would define common user/role/privilege to act on all PDBs or a subset of PDBs where the common user has create session privileges within the PDB. You would define DBA roles and SYSADMIN roles based on common and/or local user roles.

What if you need custom configurations on a pluggable database? Once the database is deployed via self-service how do you make changes?
Some parameters are modifiable at the PDB level. You would check v$parameter ISPDB_MODIFIABLE value to determine what can be changed. Some customization can be done at the CDB level; however, they would affect all PDBs for that CDB. Oracle Enterprise Manager’s self-service provides a TNS Connect string to connect to the PDB with the right privilege and execute “ALTER SYSTEM” for the parameters that are permissible to change.

If I'm an application developer and I request a database with a certain pre-defined service level, what level of permissions should I expect with that database? Am I getting DBA or SYSDBA privileges with that request?
It depends on what was negotiated as part of the service definition and associated user/role/privileges defined for that service.

Are the pluggable database as a service capabilities for Oracle Database 12c included in Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c? Do we need a plug-in? Do we need to license Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c Database Management Packs?
You need the Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c database and cloud plug-ins. License-wise; the self-service provisioning from Oracle Enterprise Manager is licensed as part of Cloud Management Pack for Database. The Oracle Multitenant option must be licensed if two or more PDBs are plugged into a single CDB.
Watch this short demo called “Using Pluggable Database as a Service (PDBaaS) Self-Service Portal” for a better understanding of deploying PDBaaS using Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c.

Which Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c Management Packs are required to be able to provide DBaaS?
You need the Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c Cloud Management Pack for Database and Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c Lifecycle Management Pack for Database to do database as a service. Both of which must be licensed.

If you have shared memory and background processes in the container database, how do you allocate server resources to a particular pluggable database? Can you assign specific amount of CPU cycles, RAM and IOPS for a given pluggable database?
SQL execution is scoped to the PDB as identified by the con_id created during session create. In Oracle Database 12c, Resource Manager (RM) has been extended to include support for Oracle Multitenant. Policies may be defined at the PDB level in terms of the simple-yet-powerful concepts of “caps” and “shares” to determine the allocation of resources between PDBs. In this way, resource manager can control allocation of CPU, sessions and parallel execution servers. Additionally, on Oracle Exadata, Resource Manager can also manage IO and network. Memory management currently is implicitly managed through SGA LRU algorithms and CPU share management.

What is the largest number of pluggable databases you can deploy on Oracle Exadata?
Currently the PDB limit per CDB is 252 PDBs. In Oracle Real Application Clusters environments such as Oracle Exadata, the density of PDB consolidation greatly increases as you may have multiple CDBs per physical server and 252 PDBs per CDB. The maximum limit would be bound by compute resource constraints/limits. And as mentioned in the question on Zone, Oracle Enterprise Manager gives an ability to combine multiple CDBs into a Pool and handle transparent placement. The Oracle Enterprise Manager self-service user therefore won’t be exposed to the underlying limit.

Can I use pluggable database as a service if the target database is 9i or 10g?
You would need to migrate the Oracle Database 9i, 10g and 11g databases to Oracle Database 12c non-CDB and convert them into pluggable databases. The architectural changes within Oracle Database 12c are not backward compatible.

Can Active Data Guard be configured for selective pluggable databases from a container database? I do not want all pluggable databases to have a standby.
In the current release, Oracle Active Data Guard operates at the container level, however, PDB annotations are tagged in the redo stream, so PDB operations on the primary are reflected on the standby.

Does RMAN support pluggable databases?
Scheduled backups are at the CDB layer and include all PDBs. Ad-hoc backups can be executed on individual PDBs. Individual PDBs can be restored from backup.

For complete details of managing pluggable database as a service, be sure to watch this webcast: Delivering Pluggable Database as a Service

Stay Connected:
Twitter |
Facebook | YouTube | Linkedin | Newsletter
Download the Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c Mobile app

Monday Mar 31, 2014

Munhowen to Reduce Maintenance Costs and TCO by More Than 50 Percent

Munhowen, a leading Luxembourg beverage distributor, decided to replace its existing IT environment. By selecting Oracle technology, including Oracle Real Application Clusters, Oracle Enterprise Manager, Oracle Linux and Oracle ZFS Storage Appliances, the company was able to enhance system performance and reduce maintenance costs associated with sustaining an optimal hardware environment.

Jean-Pierre Rasquin, CIO, Munhowen, explains: “Implementing Oracle Real Application Clusters, Oracle Enterprise Manager, and Oracle ZFS Storage Appliance helped us to significantly increase our IT environment’s availability, scalability, and manageability—providing superior support, tailored to our business needs, while helping us to reduce maintenance costs.” Read the press release.

Stay Connected:
Twitter |
Facebook | YouTube | Linkedin | Newsletter
Download the Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c Mobile app
About

Latest information and perspectives on Oracle Enterprise Manager.

Related Blogs




Search

Archives
« July 2014
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
  
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
31
  
       
Today