Friday Mar 08, 2013

Schema as a Service for Extreme Consolidation

As we deal with Database as a Service use cases, we often find that consumers do not need dedicated databases of their own. Developers of a home-grown application, for example, might be satisfied with a logical slice of the database. This logical slice, leads us to the concept of Schema as a Service—a new capability offered in the latest release of Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c Release 2 Plug-in Update 1.

Schema as a service is the ultimate and extreme in consolidating multiple schemas in a shared database model. Cloud users can request one or more schemas, with or without seed data, from Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c’s out-of-the-box self service portal. It offers excellent manageability, not only for its fast efficient provisioning, but because administrators only need to manage a small number of databases.


Schema as a Service: Consolidate Multiple Schemas in a Shared Database Cloud Services Model

However, consolidation comes at the expense of isolation, because the operating system and database are not isolated among the database consumers. While enabling Schema as a Service, it’s important to isolate the workloads as much as possible to make sure that one user doesn't run away with all the database resources. Administrators can guarantee this does not happen by using Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c’s CPU monitoring capabilities built in to Oracle Database Resource Manager to maintain service levels.

For security, the more consolidated you get, the more concerns administrators have about data isolation and security. Using Oracle Data Vault can help resolve these issues. It is integrated with Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c, and administrators can use Oracle Data Vault to enable fine grain control based on roles and privileges within the database cloud service.

For reporting purposes, metering and chargeback capabilities can be implemented to help IT organizations gain in-depth visibility into resource consumption and expenses incurred with each schema as a service deployment. This is useful for regulatory compliance requirements as well.

Schema as a Service at a Glance:

  • Consolidate multiple application schemas in a shared database deployment model
  • Each application user (i.e. developers or testers) can provision one or more database schema(s) with a dedicated database cloud service
  • Automated placement can be based on workload characteristics and specifications
  • Service levels are guaranteed through Oracle Database Resource Manager
  • Service governance is done through quotas, retirement policies and chargeback plans
  • Integrated with Oracle Data Vault for security isolation and control
  • De-provision schemas when needs change

Benefits:

  • Save resources through ultimate consolidation of multiple database applications
  • Boost administrator productivity and increase efficiency with automated provisioning
  • Deploy schema as a service implementations consistently using self-service profiles and templates
  • Metering and chargeback helps keep track of resource consumption and usage for accountability and reporting
  • Minimize administrative overhead and compliance challenges by preventing database sprawl

How To:
There are several steps involved when setting up and deploying database schema as a service in Oracle Enterprise Manager’s self service portal. Here is a quick summary of what’s involved. For more details be sure to review the resources below.

1. Setting up Platform as a Service Zones

  • Before deploying your schema as a service, you first need to create a Platform as a Service (PaaS) infrastructure using Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c’s self-service portal. A PaaS Zone comprises multiple hosts, i.e. servers with Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c agent installed.
  • Use the portal to create a PaaS zone and organize it by function type (i.e. based on geography, line of business (sales, development) or application lifecycle. (i.e. dev, test, QA, production)
  • Next expose the PaaS zone to the self-service cloud users in the portal. For example, developers can now have the option to select a development PaaS zone or testers can select a QA zone.
  • Visibility of each zone can be restricted based on the self-service user's credentials.

2. Setting up Database Pools

  • Database pools are a collects of databases used to host schema as a service.
  • To create a new database pool, you can use a portion of resources that are available to the zone. Keep in mind that all members of the database pool need to be the same target type. For example, a single database instance or database cluster; platform, or same database version. This ensures provisioning consistency during deployment.
  • Next configure placement constraints and policies for the database pool. For placing databases within the pool and controlling how resources are utilization, you need to first create a placement constraint and set its policies. This provides protection for the database members within the pool for resource consumption. For example, a production database pool might enforce more conservative constraints whereas a development pool might allow liberal limits.
  • You can set a constraint for each database in the pool by services or by workload associated with the service request based on CPU and memory. You can also enable Oracle Database Resource Manager for the database pool to control your CPU usage and the underlying service levels.

3. Request Settings

  • During this part of the schema as a service set up, future reservations, archive retention and duration of request can all be enabled.

4. Quotas

  • Controlling quotas and setting limits for users based on role level can be assigned in this step of the process. Oracle Enterprise Manager supports quota based on CPU, memory and number of database services.

5. Profiles and Service Templates

  • A service template is standardized definition that is offered to self-service users to create a database or schemas within the deployment. A service template defines the workload characteristics and schema details that can be generated with or without seed data.
  • To create a service template with seed data, you need to create a profile. A profile is an entity that captures source database information for provisioning purposes. Once you create your service template it becomes part of a collection which makes up the service catalog. This catalog is then exposed to cloud users in the self-service portal.
  • Next, you can either export the seed data from the source database or export the schema definitions without the data. Once you decide, a Data Pump Export job will be created.
  • You can now map your newly created profile and service templates to the required zone(s) and database pools.

6. Chargeback

  • The final step in deploying schema as a service is to configure resource metering and chargeback.
  • Setting up metering and chargeback can easily be done in order to track resource usage within the schema as a service implementation.
  • For more information on how to set up chargeback we recommend reading this white paper.

LEARN MORE:

Product Info:
  • Oracle Cloud Management
  • Zero to Cloud Resource Center
  • Demos:
  • Oracle Cloud Management
  • Setting up Database Clouds for Schema as a Service
  • Whitepapers:
  • Delivering Database as a Service using Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c
  • Best Practices for Database Consolidation in Private Clouds
  • Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c: Metering and Chargeback
  • Cloud Management for Oracle Database

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    Friday Mar 01, 2013

    Oracle's TaaS: Spend More Time Testing (and Less on the Other Stuff)

    Recently we asked a group of testers what percentage of their testing time was spent on peripheral activities such as: 
    • procuring hardware  
    • deploying the application under test  
    • deploying a test tool  
    • find/detect/log issues/bugs  and/or 
    • patching an application
    Two thirds of those testers indicated they spent between 40% to 70% of their time on these peripheral activities. 

    When asked what the right solution could be to solve that enormous time consumption, the majority selected testing cloud solutions that combine capabilities for Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Software as a Service. Let's look at each one :

    Infrastructure as a Service ( IaaS ) based testing cloud : This solution is typically based on provisioning of virtual machines on provided infrastructure . This will only resolve the provisioning of applications under test and test tools which is only 10-15% of the total solution.

  • Software as a Service ( SaaS ) based testing cloud : This is Software ( for test automation ) as a service solution. This only addresses the test execution and ( possibly ) issue/bottleneck identification. It does not offer provisioning for applications under test . In many cases, it does not offer monitoring of internal applications.

  • The brand new Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c Testing as a Service (TaaS) solution (.pdf) offers that combination and helps software development and QA organizations to spend more time on actual testing and less on peripheral activities, while significantly enhancing testing efficiency and reducing the duration of testing projects.


    Oracle's TaaS is a platform for delivering automated application testing services. It is a self-service solution designed for private clouds that orchestrates the testing process end-to-end by: 
    • Automating the provisioning of test labs including application under test and test tools. 
    • Executing load and/or functional test scripts against the application. 
    • Providing rich application monitoring and diagnostics data for analysis.
    • Sophisticated chargeback facility for metering and charging the usage of the testing cloud by end-users. 
    It's built with semantic understanding of testing artifacts like testing tools, applications, test scripts, it is not just VMs.

    All this information and more was discussed in a recent webcast we ran in cooperation with the online StickyMinds.com community. We uploaded the replay on Youtube for you to watch at your convenience.



    Happy testing!

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    Friday Feb 01, 2013

    Network Ports Used in Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c

    When planning and configuring your Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c implementation, you will have many infrastructure considerations. One of the most often discussed pieces is the network ports that are used and how to configure load balancers, firewalls and ACLs for communication.

    This blog post will help identify the typical default port and range for each component, how to identify it and how to modify the port usage.

    [Read More]

    Wednesday Dec 12, 2012

    Heterogeneous Datacenter Management with Enterprise Manager 12c

    The following is a Guest Blog, contributed by Bryce Kaiser, Product Manager at Blue Medora

    When I envision a perfect datacenter, it would consist of technologies acquired from a single vendor across the entire server, middleware, application, network, and storage stack - Apps to Disk - that meets your organization’s every IT requirement with absolute best-of-breed solutions in every category.   To quote a familiar motto, your datacenter would consist of "Hardware and Software, Engineered to Work Together".  

    In almost all cases, practical realities dictate something far less than the IT Utopia mentioned above.   You may wish to leverage multiple vendors to keep licensing costs down, a single vendor may not have an offering in the IT category you need, or your preferred vendor may quite simply not have the solution that meets your needs.    In other words, your IT needs dictate a heterogeneous IT environment.  Heterogeneity, however, comes with additional complexity. The following are two pretty typical challenges:

    1) No End-to-End Visibility into the Enterprise Wide Application Deployment. Each vendor solution which is added to an infrastructure may bring its own tooling creating different consoles for different vendor applications and platforms.

    2) No Visibility into Performance Bottlenecks. When multiple management tools operate independently, you lose diagnostic capabilities including identifying cross-tier issues with database, hung-requests, slowness, memory leaks and hardware errors/failures causing DB/MW issues.

    As adoption of Oracle Enterprise Manager (EM) has increased, especially since the release of Enterprise Manager 12c, Oracle has seen an increase in the number of customers who want to leverage their investments in EM to manage non-Oracle workloads.  Enterprise Manager provides a single pane of glass view into their entire datacenter.  By creating a highly extensible framework via the Oracle EM Extensibility Development Kit (EDK), Oracle has provided the tooling for business partners such as my company Blue Medora as well as customers to easily fill gaps in the ecosystem and enhance existing solutions.  

    As mentioned in the previous post on the Enterprise Manager Extensibility Exchange, customers have access to an assortment of Oracle and Partner provided solutions through this Exchange, which is accessed at http://www.oracle.com/goto/emextensibility.  Currently, there are over 80 Oracle and partner provided plug-ins across the EM 11g and EM 12c versions.  Blue Medora is one of those contributing partners, for which you will find 3 of our solutions including our flagship plugin for VMware.  

    Let's look at Blue Medora’s VMware plug-in as an example to what I'm trying to convey.  Here is a common situation solved by true visibility into your entire stack:

    Symptoms
    •    My database is bogging down, however the database appears okay internally.  Maybe it’s starved for resources?
    •    My OS tooling is showing everything is “OK”.  Something doesn’t add up.

    Root cause
    •    Through the VMware plugin we can see the problem is actually on the virtualization layer

    Solution
    •    From within Enterprise Manager  -- the same tool you use for all of your database tuning -- we can overlay the data of the database target, host target, and virtual machine target for a true picture of the true root cause.

    Here is the console view:


    Perhaps your monitoring conditions are more specific to your environment.  No worries, Enterprise Manager still has you covered.  With Metric Extensions you have the “Next Generation” of User-Defined Metrics, which easily bring the power of your existing management scripts into a single console while leveraging the proven Enterprise Manager framework.

    Simply put, Oracle Enterprise manager boasts a growing ecosystem that provides the single pane of glass for your entire datacenter from the database and beyond. 

    Bryce can be contacted at info@bluemedora.com

    Tuesday Dec 11, 2012

    Epsilon : An Oracle Customer Profile

    ZDNet published an article today based on the interview of Jeff White, vice president, technology, strategic database services at Epsilon. Jeff discussed Oracle Exadata Database Machine and Oracle Enterprise Manager with the ZDNet writer

    Read the article  Epsilon : An Oracle Customer Profile .

    Jeff White, Epsilon VP, was honored with Oracle’s Data Warehouse Leader of the Year for Innovative Data Warehouse Deployment of Oracle Exadata and Oracle Enterprise Manager earlier this year.

    In one of the videos earlier this year, Jeff mentioned that Epsilon has streamlined IT administration, monitoring, and engineered systems maintenance with Oracle Enterprise Manager. Having gained in operational efficiencies, Epsilon is now providing greater efficiencies to its customers.

    For more information, please go to Oracle Enterprise Manager  web page or  follow us at : 

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    Monday Nov 12, 2012

    Answers to Your Common Oracle Database Lifecycle Management Questions


    We recently ran a live webcast on Strategies for Managing Oracle Database's Lifecycle. There were tons of questions from our audience that we simply could not get to during the hour long presentation. Below are some of those questions along with their answers. Enjoy!

    Question: In the webcast the presenter talked about “gold” configuration standards, for those who want to use this technique, could you recommend a best practice to consider or follow? How do I get started?

    Answer:
    Gold configuration standardization is a quick and easy way to improve availability through consistency. Start by choosing a reference database and saving the configuration to the Oracle Enterprise Manager repository using the Save Configuration feature. Next create a comparison template using the Oracle provided template as a starting point and modify the ignored properties to eliminate expected differences in your environment. Finally create a comparison specification using the comparison template you created plus your saved gold configuration and schedule it to run on a regular basis. Don’t forget to fill in the email addresses of those you want to notify upon drift detection. Watch the database configuration management demo to learn more.

    Question: Can Oracle Lifecycle Management Pack for Database help with patching an Oracle Real Application Cluster (RAC) environment?

    Answer:
    Yes, Oracle Enterprise Manager supports both parallel and rolling patch application of Oracle Real Application Clusters. The use of rolling patching is recommended as there is no downtime involved. For more details watch this demo.

    Question: What are some of the things administrators can do to control configuration drift? Why is it important?

    Answer:
    Configuration drift is one of the main causes of instability and downtime of applications. Oracle Enterprise Manager makes it easy to manage and control drift using scheduled configuration comparisons combined with comparison templates.

    Question: Does Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c Release 2 offer an incremental update feature for "gold" images? For instance, if the source binary has a higher PSU level, what is the best approach to update the existing "gold" image in the software library? Do you have to create a new image or can you just update the original one?

    Answer:
    Provisioning Profiles (Gold images) can contain the installation files and database configuration templates. Although it is possible to make some changes to the profile after creation (mainly to configuration), it is normally recommended to simply create a new profile after applying a patch to your reference database.

    Question: The webcast talked about enforcing in-house standards, does Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c offer verification of your databases and systems to those standards? For example, the initial "gold" image has been massively deployed over time, and there may be some changes to it. How can you do regular checks from Enterprise Manager to ensure the in-house standards are being enforced?

    Answer:
    There are really two methods to validate conformity to standards.

    The first method is to use gold standards which you compare other databases to report unwanted differences. This method uses a new comparison template technology which allows users to ignore known differences (i.e. SID, Start time, etc) which results in a report only showing important or non-conformant differences. This method is quick to setup and configure and recommended for those who want to get started validating compliance quickly.

    The second method leverages the new compliance framework which allows the creation of specific and robust validations. These compliance rules are grouped into standards which can be assigned to databases quickly and easily. Compliance rules allow for targeted and more sophisticated validation beyond the basic equals operation available in the comparison method. The compliance framework can be used to implement just about any internal or industry standard. The compliance results will track current and historic compliance scores at the overall and individual database targets. When the issue is resolved, the score is automatically affected. Compliance framework is the recommended long term solution for validating compliance using Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c. Check out this demo on database compliance to learn more.

    Question: If you are using the integration between Oracle Enterprise Manager and My Oracle Support in an "offline" mode, how do you know if you have the latest My Oracle Support metadata?

    Answer:
    In Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c Release 2, you now only need to download one zip file containing all of the metadata xmls files. There is no indication that the metadata has changed but you could run a checksum on the file and compare it to the previously downloaded version to see if it has changed.

    Question: What happens if a patch fails while administrators are applying it to a database or system?

    Answer:
    A large portion of Oracle Enterprise Manager's patch automation is the pre-requisite checks that happen to ensure the highest level of confidence the patch will successfully apply. It is recommended you test the patch in a non-production environment and save the patch plan as a template once successful so you can create new plans using the saved template.

    If you are using the recommended ‘out of place’ patching methodology, there is no urgency because the database is still running as the cloned Oracle home is being patched. Users can address the issue and restart the patch procedure at the point it left off.

    If you are using 'in place' method, you can address the issue and continue where the procedure left off.

    Question: Can Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c R2 compare configurations between more than one target at the same time?

    Answer:
    Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c can compare any number of target configurations at one time. This is the basis of many important use cases including Configuration Drift Management. These comparisons can also be scheduled on a regular basis and emails notification sent should any differences appear. To learn more about configuration search and compare watch this demo.

    Question: How is data comparison done since changes are taking place in a live production system?

    Answer:
    There are many things to keep in mind when using the data comparison feature (as part of the Change Management ability to compare table data). It was primarily intended to be used for maintaining consistency of important but relatively static data. For example, application seed data and application setup configuration. This data does not change often but is critical when testing an application to ensure results are consistent with production. It is not recommended to use data comparison on highly dynamic data like transactional tables or very large tables.

    Question: Which versions of Oracle Database can be monitored through Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c?

    Answer:
    Oracle Database versions: 9.2.0.8, 10.1.0.5, 10.2.0.4, 10.2.0.5, 11.1.0.7, 11.2.0.1, 11.2.0.2, 11.2.0.3.


    Watch the On-Demand Webcast


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    Monday Oct 29, 2012

    OS Analytics - Deep Dive Into Your OS

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

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

    https://oracleconferencing.webex.com/oracleconferencing/ldr.php?AT=pb&SP=MC&rID=71517797&rKey=4ec9d4a3508564b3

    Download the presentation here

    See also:

    Blog about Alert Monitoring and Problem Notification

    Blog about Using Operational Profiles to Install Packages and other content


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

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

    Where to start

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

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

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


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

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

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


    Applying new monitoring values

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

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


    Visiting the past

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


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

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


    Under the hood

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

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

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

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

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

    # touch /tmp/.collect.stderr  

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

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

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

    Eran Steiner


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    Thursday Oct 25, 2012

    WEBCAST: Strategies for Managing the Oracle Database Lifecycle


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

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

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


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    Wednesday Oct 24, 2012

    Let your Signature Experience drive IT decision making

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

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

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

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

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

    IT Meet the Business; Business Meet IT

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

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

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

    What’s next after we meet?

    Where do you start?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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    Thursday Oct 18, 2012

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

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

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


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

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

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


    Register Today

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

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    Sunday Sep 30, 2012

    Oracle Enterprise Manager users present today at Oracle Users Forum

    Oracle Users Forum starts in a few minutes at Moscone West, Levels 2 & 3. There are more than hundreds of Oracle user sessions during the day. Many Oracle Oracle Enterprise Manager users are presenting today as well.

     In addition, we will have a Twitter Chat today from 11:30 AM to 12:30 PM with IOUG leaders, Enterprise Manager SIG contributors and many speakers. You can participate in the chat using hash tag #em12c on Twitter.com or by going to  tweetchat.com/room/em12c      (Needs Twitter credential for participating).  Feel free to join IOUG and Enterprise team members at the User Group Pavilion on 2nd Floor, Moscone West.

    RSVP by going http://tweetvite.com/event/IOUG  .

    Don't miss the Oracle Open World welcome keynote by Larry Ellison this evening at 5 PM .

    Here is the complete list of Oracle Enterprise Manager sessions during the Oracle Users Forum :

    Time

    Session Title

    Speakers

    Location

    8:00AM - 8:45AM

    UGF4569 - Oracle RAC Migration with Oracle Automatic Storage Management and Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c

    VINOD Emmanuel -Database Engineering, Dell, Inc.
    Wendy Chen - Sr. Systems Engineer, Dell, Inc.

    Moscone West - 2011

    8:00AM - 8:45AM

    UGF10389 -  Monitoring Storage Systems for Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c

    Anand Ranganathan - Product Manager, NetApp

    Moscone West - 2016

    9:00AM - 10:00AM

    UGF2571 - Make Oracle Enterprise Manager Sing and Dance with the Command-Line Interface

    Ray Smith - Senior Database Administrator, Portland General Electric

    Moscone West - 2011

    10:30AM - 11:30AM

    UGF2850 - Optimal Support: Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c Cloud Control, My Oracle Support, and More

    April Sims - DBA, Southern Utah University

    Moscone West - 2011

    12:30PM-2:00PM

    UGF5131 - Migrating from Oracle Enterprise Manager 10g Grid Control to 12c Cloud Control   

    Leighton Nelson - Database Administrator, Mercy

    Moscone West - 2011

    2:15PM-3:15PM

    UGF6511 -  Database Performance Tuning: Get the Best out of Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c Cloud Control

    Mike Ault - Oracle Guru, TEXAS MEMORY SYSTEMS INC
    Tariq Farooq - CEO/Founder, BrainSurface

    Moscone West - 2011

    3:30PM-4:30PM

    UGF4556 - Will It Blend? Verifying Capacity in Server and Database Consolidations

    Jeremiah Wilton - Database Technology, Blue Gecko / DatAvail

    Moscone West - 2018

    3:30PM-4:30PM

    UGF10400 - Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c: Monitoring, Metric Extensions, and Configuration Best Practices

    Kellyn Pot'Vin - Sr. Technical Consultant, Enkitec

    Moscone West - 2011

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    Tuesday Sep 25, 2012

    Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c Anniversary at Open World General Session and Twitter Chat using #em12c on October 2nd

    As most of you will remember, Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c was announced last year at Open World. We are celebrating first anniversary of Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c next week at Open world.

    During the last year, Oracle customers have seen the benefits of federated self-service access to complete application stacks, elastic scalability, automated metering, and charge-back from capabilities of Oracle Enterprise manager 12c. In this session you will learn how customers are leveraging Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c to build and operate their enterprise cloud. You will also hear about Oracle’s IT management strategy and some new capabilities inside the Oracle Enterprise Manager product family.

    In this anniversary general session of Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c, you will also watch an interactive role play ( similar to what some of you may have seen at "Zero to Cloud" sessions at the Oracle Cloud Builder Summit ) depicting a fictional company in the throes of deploying a private cloud. Watch as the CIO and his key cloud architects battle with misconceptions about enterprise cloud computing and watch how Oracle Enterprise Manager helps them address the key challenges of planning, deploying and managing an enterprise private cloud.

    The session will be led by Sushil Kumar, Vice President, Product Strategy and Business Development, Oracle Enterprise Manager. Jeff Budge, Director, Global Oracle Technology Practice, CSC Consulting, Inc. will join Sushil for the general session as well.

    Following the general session, Sushil Kumar ( Twitter user name @sxkumar ) will join us for a Twitter Chat on Tuesday at 1:00 PM to 2:00 PM.  Sushil will answer any follow-up questions from the general session or any question related to Oracle Enterprise Manager and Oracle Private Cloud .

    You can participate in the chat using hash tag #em12c on Twitter.com or by going to  tweetchat.com/room/em12c (Needs Twitter credential for participating).  You could pre-submit your questions for Sushil using any of the social media channels mentioned below.

    RSVP for tweet chat by going to http://tweetvite.com/event/em12c

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    Thursday Sep 20, 2012

    IOUG and Oracle Enterprise Manager User Community Twitter Chat and Sessions at OpenWorld

    Like last many years, we will have annual Oracle Users Forum on Sunday, September 30th, 2012 at Moscone West, Levels 2 & 3 . It will be open to all registered attendees of Oracle Open World and conferences running from September 29 to October 5, 2012 .

    This will be a great  opportunity to meet with colleagues, peers, and subject matter experts to share best practices, tips, and techniques around Oracle technologies. You could sit in on a special interest group (SIG) meeting or session and learn how to get more out of Oracle technologies and applications.

    IOUG and Oracle Enterprise Manager team invites you to join a Twitter Chat on Sunday, Sep. 30th from 11:30 AM to 12:30 PM.  IOUG leaders, Enterprise Manager SIG contributors and many Oracle Users Forum speakers will answer questions related to their experience with Oracle Enterprise Manager and the activities and resources available for  Enterprise Manager SIG members.

    You can participate in the chat using hash tag #em12c on Twitter.com or by going to  tweetchat.com/room/em12c      (Needs Twitter credential for participating).  Feel free to join IOUG and Enterprise team members at the User Group Pavilion on 2nd Floor, Moscone West.

    RSVP by going http://tweetvite.com/event/IOUG  .

    Here is the complete list of Oracle Enterprise Manager sessions during the Oracle Users Forum :

    Time

    Session Title

    Speakers

    Location

    8:00AM - 8:45AM

    UGF4569 - Oracle RAC Migration with Oracle Automatic Storage Management and Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c

    VINOD Emmanuel -Database Engineering, Dell, Inc.
    Wendy Chen - Sr. Systems Engineer, Dell, Inc.

    Moscone West - 2011

    8:00AM - 8:45AM

    UGF10389 -  Monitoring Storage Systems for Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c

    Anand Ranganathan - Product Manager, NetApp

    Moscone West - 2016

    9:00AM - 10:00AM

    UGF2571 - Make Oracle Enterprise Manager Sing and Dance with the Command-Line Interface

    Ray Smith - Senior Database Administrator, Portland General Electric

    Moscone West - 2011

    10:30AM - 11:30AM

    UGF2850 - Optimal Support: Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c Cloud Control, My Oracle Support, and More

    April Sims - DBA, Southern Utah University

    Moscone West - 2011

    11:30AM - 12:30PM

    IOUG and Oracle Enterprise Manager Joint Tweet Chat 

    Join IOUG Leaders, IOUG's Enterprise Manager SIG Contributors and Speakers on Twitter and ask questions related to practitioner's experience with Oracle Enterprise Manager and the new IOUG 's Enterprise Manager SIG.

    To attend and participate in the chat, please use hash tag #em12c on twitter.com or your favorite Twitter client. You can also go to tweetchat.com/room/em12c to watch the conversation or login with your twitter credentials to ask questions.

    User Group Pavilion

    2nd Floor,

    Moscone West

    12:30PM-2:00PM

    UGF5131 - Migrating from Oracle Enterprise Manager 10g Grid Control to 12c Cloud Control   

    Leighton Nelson - Database Administrator, Mercy

    Moscone West - 2011

    2:15PM-3:15PM

    UGF6511 -  Database Performance Tuning: Get the Best out of Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c Cloud Control

    Mike Ault - Oracle Guru, TEXAS MEMORY SYSTEMS INC
    Tariq Farooq - CEO/Founder, BrainSurface

    Moscone West - 2011

    3:30PM-4:30PM

    UGF4556 - Will It Blend? Verifying Capacity in Server and Database Consolidations

    Jeremiah Wilton - Database Technology, Blue Gecko / DatAvail

    Moscone West - 2018

    3:30PM-4:30PM

    UGF10400 - Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c: Monitoring, Metric Extensions, and Configuration Best Practices

    Kellyn Pot'Vin - Sr. Technical Consultant, Enkitec

    Moscone West - 2011

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    Wednesday Sep 19, 2012

    Best Practices for Building a Virtualized SPARC Computing Environment

    Oracle recently published Best Practices for Building a Virtualized SPARC Computing Environment, a white paper that provides guidance on the complete hardware and software stack for deploying and managing your physical and virtual SPARC infrastructure. The solution is based on Oracle SPARC T4 servers, Oracle Solaris 11 with Oracle VM for SPARC 2.2, Sun ZFS storage appliances, Sun 10GbE 72 port switches and Oracle Enterprise Manager Ops Center 12c. The paper emphasizes the value and importance of planning the resources (compute, network and storage) that will comprise the virtualized environment to achieve the desired capacity, performance and availability characteristics.

    Please join us for Oracle Enterprise Manager Ops Center Customer Community call on Thursday, October 25 at 8AM PT, 11AM ET.  to learn more about the best practices for building a Virtualized SPARC Computing Environment and ask any questions you may have.

    The document also details numerous operational best practices that will help you deliver on those characteristics with unique capabilities provided by Enterprise Manager Ops Center including policy-based guest placement, pool resource balancing and automated guest recovery in the event of server failure. Plenty of references to supplementary documentation are included to help point you to additional resources. Whether you’re building the first stages of your private cloud or a general-purpose virtualized SPARC computing environment, these documented best practices will help ensure success.

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    Sunday Sep 09, 2012

    Extending Database-as-a-Service to Provision Databases with Application Data

    Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c Database as a Service (DBaaS) empowers Self Service/SSA Users to rapidly spawn databases on demand in cloud. The configuration and structure of provisioned databases depends on respective service template selected by Self Service user while requesting for database. In EM12c, the DBaaS Self Service/SSA Administrator has the option of hosting various service templates in service catalog and based on underlying DBCA templates.

    Many times provisioned databases require production scale data either for UAT, testing or development purpose and managing DBCA templates with data can be unwieldy. So, we need to populate the database using post deployment script option and without any additional work for the SSA Users. The SSA Administrator can automate this task in few easy steps. For details on how to setup DBaaS Self Service Portal refer to the DBaaS Cookbook

    In this article, I will list steps required to enable EM 12c DBaaS to provision databases with application data in two distinct ways using: 1) Data pump 2) Transportable tablespaces (TTS). The steps listed below are just examples of how to extend EM 12c DBaaS and you can even have your own method plugged in part of post deployment script option.

    Using Data Pump to populate databases

    These are the steps to be followed to implement extending DBaaS using Data Pump methodolgy:

    1. Production DBA should run data pump export on the production database and make the dump file available to all the servers participating in the database zone [sample shown in Fig.1]

      -- Full export
      expdp FULL=y DUMPFILE=data_pump_dir:dpfull1%U.dmp, data_pump_dir:dpfull2%U.dmp PARALLEL=4 LOGFILE=data_pump_dir:dpexpfull.log JOB_NAME=dpexpfull

      Figure-1:  Full export of database using data pump


    2. Create a post deployment SQL script [sample shown in Fig. 2] and this script can either be uploaded into the software library by SSA Administrator or made available on a shared location accessible from servers where databases are likely to be provisioned

      -- Full import
      declare
          h1   NUMBER;
      begin
      -- Creating the directory object where source database dump is backed up.
          execute immediate 'create directory DEST_LOC as''/scratch/nagrawal/OracleHomes/oradata/INITCHNG/datafile''';
      -- Running import
          h1 := dbms_datapump.open (operation => 'IMPORT', job_mode => 'FULL', job_name => 'DB_IMPORT10');
          dbms_datapump.set_parallel(handle => h1, degree => 1);
          dbms_datapump.add_file(handle => h1, filename => 'IMP_GRIDDB_FULL.LOG', directory => 'DATA_PUMP_DIR', filetype => 3);
          dbms_datapump.add_file(handle => h1, filename => 'EXP_GRIDDB_FULL_%U.DMP', directory => 'DEST_LOC', filetype => 1);
          dbms_datapump.start_job(handle => h1);
          dbms_datapump.detach(handle => h1);
      end;
      /

      Figure-2: Importing using data pump pl/sql procedures


    3. Using DBCA, create a template for the production database – include all the init.ora parameters, tablespaces, datafiles & their sizes
    4. SSA Administrator should customize “Create Database Deployment Procedure” and provide DBCA template created in the previous step.
    5. In “Additional Configuration Options” step of Customize “Create Database Deployment Procedure” flow, provide the name of the SQL script in the Custom Script section and lock the input (shown in Fig. 3). Continue saving the deployment procedure.


      Figure-3: Using Custom script option for calling Import SQL

    6. Now, an SSA user can login to Self Service Portal and use the flow to provision a database that will also  populate the data using the post deployment step.

    Using Transportable tablespaces to populate databases

    Copy of all user/application tablespaces will enable this method of populating databases. These are the required steps to extend DBaaS using transportable tablespaces:

    1. Production DBA needs to create a backup of tablespaces. Datafiles may need conversion [such as from Big Endian to Little Endian or vice versa] based on the platform of production and destination where DBaaS created the test database. Here is sample backup script shows how to find out if any conversion is required, describes the steps required to convert datafiles and backup tablespace.
    2. SSA Administrator should copy the database (tablespaces) backup datafiles and export dumps to the backup location accessible from the hosts participating in the database zone(s).
    3. Create a post deployment SQL script and this script can either be uploaded into the software library by SSA Administrator or made available on a shared location accessible from servers where databases are likely to be provisioned. Here is sample post deployment SQL script using transportable tablespaces.
    4. Using DBCA, create a template for the production database – all the init.ora parameters should be included. NOTE: DO NOT choose to bring tablespace data into this template as they will be created
    5. SSA Administrator should customize “Create Database Deployment Procedure” and provide DBCA template created in the previous step.
    6. In the “Additional Configuration Options” step of the flow, provide the name of the SQL script in the Custom Script section and lock the input. Continue saving the deployment procedure.
    7. Now, an SSA user can login to Self Service Portal and use the flow to provision a database that will also populate the data using the post deployment step.

    More Information:

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