Thursday Mar 14, 2013

Database as a Service: Glad that you asked these!

Thanks for visiting my earlier blog post on the new Database as a Service (DBaaS) features which got released in Enterprise Manager 12cR2 Plugin Update 1.

Our first public webcast on  DBaaS since the release was held this morning (the recording will be soon available on The webcast was pretty well attended with peak attendance going well over our expectation. I wish we had more time to handle the technical Q&A, but since we didn't, let me use the blogosphere to answer some of the questions that were asked. I am repeating some of the questions that we answered during the webcast, because they warrant details beyond what the duration permitted.

Kevin from the audience asked "What's the difference between a regular provisioning and DbaaS?" Sometimes the apparently obvious ones are the most difficult to answer. The recently released whitepaper covers the regular/traditional provisioning versus DBaaS in detail. Long story cut short, in a traditional provisioning model, IT (usually a DBA) uses scripts and tools to provision databases on behalf of end users. In DBaaS IT's role changes and the DBA simply creates a service delivery platform for end users to provision databases on demand as and when they need them. And that too, with minimal inputs ! Here's how the process unfolds:

  • The DBA pools together a bunch of server resources that can host databases or a bunch of databases that can host schema and creates a Self-Service zone.
  • The DBA creates a gold image and provisioning procedure and expresses that as a service template
  • As a result, the end users do not have to deal with the intricacies of the provisioning process. They input a couple of very simple things like the service template and the zone and everything else happens under the hood. The provisioning process, the physicality of the database, etc are completely abstracted out.
  • And finally, because DbaaS deals with shared resource utilization and self-service automation, a DBaaS is usually complemented by quota, retirement and chargeback. 

The following picture can make it clear.

In terms of licensing, for a traditional administrator driven database provisioning, you need the Database Lifecycle Management Pack.  If you want to enable DBaaS on top of it, simply add the Cloud Management Pack for Database.

I will combine the next two questions. Alfred asked, "Is RAC a requirement?" (the short answer for which is "No") while Jud asked, "Is the schema-level provisioning supported in an environment where the target DBs are running in VMs?" First of all, in our DBaaS solution we support multiple models, as shown below.

In the dedicated database model, the database can run on a pool of servers or a pool of cluster. So both single instance and RAC are supported. Similarly, in the dedicated schema (Schema as a Service) model, it can run on single instance or RAC, which can in turn be hosted on physical servers or VMs. Enterprise Manager treats both physical servers and VMs as hosts and as long as the hosts have the agent installed, they can participate in DBaaS. Bottomline is that as we move from IaaS and offer these higher order services, the underlying infrastructure becomes irrelevant. This should also satisfy Steve, who queried "As the technology matures is there an attempt by Oracle to provide ODA vs EXADATA as the foundation of the dbaas to lower the cost?". The answer is YES. But, why wait?  DBaaS is supported on Exa and ODA platforms TODAY. In fact, HDFC Bank in India is running DBaaS on Exadata. You can read about them in the latest Oracle Magazine.

Another interesting question came from Yuri. He asked, "Is there an option to disable startup/shutdown for the self-service users?" It can be answered in multiple ways. First of all, in Schema as a Service or dedicated schema model, the end user cannot control the database instance state because it houses database services (schemas) owned by others too. So this may be a good model for enterprises trying to limit what end users can do at the database instance level.  However, in a dedicated database model, the Enterprise Manager out-of-box self-service console allows the end user to perform operations like startup and shutdown on the database instance. In general, if you want to create your tailored own self-service console with a limited set of operations exposed in the self-service interface, using the APIs may be the way to go. Enterprise Manager 12c also supports RESTFul APIs for self-service operations and hence a limited set of capabilities may be exposed. Check this technical presentation for the supported APIs.

Gordon's question precisely brings out the value of the Enterprise Manager 12c offering. He asked, "How do the services in the cloud get added to Cloud Control monitoring and alerting?" Ever since Amazon became the poster child of public IaaS, enterprises tried emulating their model within the data centers. What most people ignore or forget is that there is a life of the resources in a cloud beyond the provisioning process. Initial provisioning is just the beginning of that lifecycle. In Amazon's case, the management and monitoring of resources is the headache of Amazon's IT staff and consumers are oblivious to the time and effort it takes for them to manage the resources. In a private cloud scenario, one does not have that luxury. Once the database gets provisioned, it needs to monitored for performance, compliance and configuration drifts by company's own  IT staff. In Enterprise Manager 12c, the agent is deployed on the hosts that constitute the pool making the databases automatically managed without any additional work. It comprehensively manages the entire lifecycle and both adminsitrators and self-service users have tailored views of the databases. Well, this also gives me an opportunity to address a question by a participant who alluded to a 3rd party tool exclusively for database provisioning purposes. First of all, as I mentioned during the webcast, Enterprise Manager 12c is the only tool that handles all the use cases- creation of full databases, schemas and cloning (both full clone and Snap Clone) from a single management interface. The point tools out there handle only fraction of these use cases- some specialize in cloning while others specialize in seed database provisioning. Second, as stated in the previous answer, provisioning is only the initial phase of the lifecycle and a provisioning tool cannot be synonymous with a cloud management tool. Thanks Gordon for helping me make that point!

Sam and Cesar share the honors for the most difficult question that came right at the beginning. "Has it started?  Been on hold for a while." was their reaction at two minutes past ten. This is possibly the most embarrassing one for me because I was caught in traffic. With due apologies for that, I wish my car operated like Enterprise Manager's  Database as a Service!

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Tuesday Mar 12, 2013

Monitoring virtualization targets in Oracle Enterprise Manager 12C

Contributed by Sampanna Salunke, Principal Member of Technical Staff, Enterprise Manager

For monitoring any target instance in Oracle Enterprise Manager 12C, you would typically go to target home page, and click on the target menu to navigate to:

  • Monitoring->All Metrics page to view all the collected metrics
  • Monitoring->Metric and Collection Settings to set thresholds and/or modify collection frequencies of metrics
The thresholds and collection frequencies modified affect only the target instance that you are making changes to.

However, some of virtualization targets need to be monitored and managed differently due to changes made to the way data is collected and thresholds/collection frequencies are applied. Such target types include:

  • Oracle VM Server
  • Oracle VM Guest

As an optimization effort to minimize number of connections made to Oracle VM Manager to collect data for virtualization targets, the performance metrics for Oracle VM Server and Oracle VM Guest targets are “bulk-collected” at the Oracle VM Server Pool level. This means that thresholds and collection frequencies of Oracle VM Server and Oracle VM Guest metrics need to be set on the Oracle Server Pool that they belong to. For example, if a user wants to set thresholds on the “Oracle VM Server Load:CPU Utilization” metric for Oracle VM Server target, the sequence of steps to be performed are:

1. Navigate to the homepage of the Oracle VM Server Pool target that the Oracle VM Server target belongs to

2. Click on the target menu->Monitoring->Metric and Collection Settings

3. Expand the view option to “All Metrics” if required, and find the “Oracle VM Server Load” metric and change the thresholds or collection frequency of "CPU Utilization" as required.

Note that any changes made at the Oracle VM Server Pool for a “bulk collected” metric affect all the targets for which the metric is applicable in the server pool. In this example, since the user modified the “Oracle VM Server Load: CPU Utilization” threshold, the change is applied to all the Oracle VM Server targets in the server pool sg-pool1.

To summarize – the differences between “traditional” monitoring and “bulk-collected” monitoring is that the thresholds and collection frequencies of metrics are modified at the parent target, and the changes made are applied to all the children targets for which the metrics are applicable. However, data and alerts uploaded continue to appear as normal against the child target.

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Wednesday Mar 06, 2013

Snap Clone: Instant, self-serviced database-on-demand

Snap Clone: Introduction
Oracle just released Enterprise Manager 12c Release 2 plugin Update 1 in February, 2013. This release has several new cloud management features that, such as Schema as a Service and Snap Clone. While the relevance of Schema as a Service is in the context of new database services, Snap Clone is useful in performing functional testing on pre-existing data.

One big consumer group of cloud is QA Engineers or Testers. They perform User Acceptance Tests (UAT) for various applications. To perform an UAT, they need to create copies of the production database. For intense testing, such as in pre-upgrade scenarios, they need a full updateable copy of the production data. There are other situations, such as in functional testing, they need to perform minimal updates to the data, but at the same time, need multiple functional copies. Enterprise Manager 12c supports both the scenarios. In the former case, it leverages RMAN backups to clone the data. In the latter case, it leverages the “Copy on Write” technology at the storage layer to perform Enterprise Manager 12c Snap Clone (or just Snap Clone). Currently, NAS technologies viz. Netapp and ZFS Storage Appliance are supported for Snap Clone. By using this technology, the entire data does not need to be cloned, but the new database can physically point to the source blocks within the same filer and only needs to allocate new blocks if there are updates to the cloned copy.

Underlying “Copy on Write” technology
To cover the underlying technology, let us look at the Netapp  and Sun ZFS storage technologies. First of all, Netapp supports pooling of storage resources and creating volumes on top of those. These volumes are called Flexvols. NetApp FlexClone technology enables true data cloning - instant replication of the Flexvols without requiring additional storage space at the time of creation.  Each cloned volume is a transparent, virtual copy that can be used for a wide range of operations such as product/system development testing, bug fixing, upgrade checks, data set simulations, etc. FlexClone volumes have all the capabilities of a FlexVol volume, including growing, shrinking, and being the source of a snapshot copy or even another FlexClone volume. Data ONTAP makes it happen by Copy on Write technology. When a volume is cloned, ONTAP does not allocate any new physical space but simply updates the metadata to point to the old blocks of the parent volume. NetApp filers use a Write Anywhere File Layout (WAFL) to manage disk storage. When a file is changed, the snapshot copy still points to the disk blocks where the file existed before it was modified, and only the changes (deltas) are written to new disk blocks. A block in WAFL currently can have a maximum of 255 pointers to it. This means that a single FlexVol volume can be cloned upto 255 times. All the metadata updates are just pointer changes, and the filer takes advantage of locality of reference, NVRAM, and RAID technology to keep everything fast and reliable. I found this documentation on the Netapp site specially useful to understand the concept. The following picture provides a graphical illustration of how this works.

Oracle  ZFS employs a similar copy-on-write methodology that creates clones that point to the source block of data. When one needs to modify the block, data is never overwritten in place. Oracle Solaris ZFS then creates new pointers to the new data and a new master block (uberblock) that points to the modified data tree. Only then does it move to using the new uberblock and tree. In addition to providing data integrity, having new and previous versions of the data on disk allows for services such as snapshots to be implemented very efficiently.

The best way to think of storage snapshots is that it is a point-in-time view of the data. It’s a time machine, letting you look into the past. Because it’s all just pointers, you can actually look at the snapshot as if it was the active filesystem. It’s read-only, because you can’t change the past, but you can actually look at it and read the data. NetApp and SunZFS snapshots just write the new information to a special bit of disk reserved for storing these changes, called the SnapReserve. Then, the pointers that tell the system where to find the data get updated to point to the new data in the SnapReserve.

Space efficiency: Since we are only recording the deltas, you get the disk savings of copy-on-write snapshots (typically a few hundred kilobytes for a 1 terabyte database).

Time efficiency: Because the snapshot is just pointers, to restore data (using SnapRestore), we simply update the pointers to point to the original data again. This is faster than copying all the data back. So taking a snapshot completes in seconds, even for really large volumes (like, terabytes) and so do restores. A typical terabyte database therefore takes only a couple of minutes to clone, backup and restore.

So, what is the additional benefit of Enterprise Manager Snap Clone over storage level cloning?

Snap Clone is complementary to the copy-on-write technologies described above. It leverages the technologies mentioned above;  however it provides additional value in:

  1. Automated registration and association with Test Master database: Registering the storage with Enterprise Manager in context of the Test Master database. For example, it queries the filer to find the storage volumes and then associates those with the volumes that the datafiles are associated with. It provides granular control to the admins to make a database clonable, since there could be databases that DBAs do not want cloned off.
  2. Database as a Service using a self-service paradigm: Provides a self-service user (typically a functional tester) to provision a clone based on the Test Master. The self-service capability has administrator side feature like setting up the pool of servers which will host the databases, creating a zone, creating service templates for provisioning and setting access controls for the users both at the zone level and the service template level.
  3. Time travel: Functional testers often need to go back to an earlier incarnation of a database. Enterprise Manager provides the self service users to take multiple snapshots of the database as backups. The users can then easily restore from an earlier snapshot. Since the snapshot is only a thin copy, the backup and restore are almost instantaneous, typically a couple of minutes. During restore a large part of that is spent in actually starting the database, for example and discovering its state in Enterprise manager and not in the actual restore.
  4. Manageability: Finally, Enterprise Manager provides the complete manageability of these clones. This includes performance management, lifecycle management, etc. For example, when cloning at a storage volume level, sysadmin tools have little idea on the databases and applications that are consuming those volumes. From an inventory management, capacity planning and compliance it is important to track the storage association and lineage of the clones at the database level. Enterprise Manager provides that rich set of manageability features.

So how does this work in Enterprise Manager 12c?

In order to understand the Snap Clone feature of Enterprise Manager and its relevance to DBaaS, it is important to understand the sequence of steps that enable the feature and the DbaaS.

Step 1: Setting up the DbaaS Pool
First of all the Sysadmin has to designate few servers (which become Enterprise Manager hosts when the agent is deployed on them) to constitute the PaaS Infrastructure Zone. Each of these servers should have the connectivity to be able to mount the volumes participating in the Snap Clone process.

The DBA intrinsically knows the exact versions and flavor of databases being used within each LoB along with the operating system version compatibility. As the next level of streamlining he/she can add each unique type of the database configuration to a single place called Pool. For example, single Instance, cluster database …etc.

A database pool contains a set of homogeneous resources that can be used to provision a database instance within a PaaS Infrastructure Zone. For Snap Clone in particular, the administrator needs to pre-provision the same version of Oracle Homes either on standalone hosts or in a RAC cluster, which should be a part of the PaaS Infrastructure Zone.

Step 2: Setting up the Test Master
In the first step the administrator has to set up a Test Master as a clone of the production. Sometimes, the administrator has to create another copy of production at the source itself for masking and subsetting. The solution would vary depending on the customer's specific need and infrastructure. One can use one of RMAN, Dataguard, Golden Gate or even storage technologies such as Netapp Snapmirror, but usually our customers have figured out one way or other to do it. If the customer wishes to use EM for this, they can also use the Database Clone feature to clone the data (this leverages RMAN behind the scenes) or even use data synchronization feature of the Change Manager (part of Database Lifecycle Management Pack) to keep production and Test Master consistent. There is no unique way of accomplishing this; it all depends on the specific use case. There can be cases where the customer may need to mask or subset the data at source for which they can use those EM features as well.

The test master has to be created on ZFS Storage Appliance or Netapp Filer. Currently, the versions supported are:
·    ZFS Storage Appliance models  7410 and 7420
·    Any Netapp storage model where Version ONTAP® or above of Netapp is supported.  The Netapp interoperability matrix is available here

Here’s a sample of database files on a Netapp filer that could constitute the Test Master database.
·    /vol/oradata (datafiles and indexes): [8-16 luns]
·    /vol/oralog (redologs only): [2-4 luns]
·    /vol/orarch  (archived redo logs ):[2-4 luns]
·    /vol/controlfiles (small vol for controlfiles):[2-4 luns]
·    /vol/oratemp (temp tablespace):[4-8 luns]

Step 3: Register the storage and designate the Test Master
Once the Test Master database has been created, one has to
1.    Discover the Test Master database as an EM target
2.    Register the storage with Enterprise Manager. Enterprise Manager uses an agent installed on Linux x86-64 bit to communicate with the filer. For NetApp storage, the connection is over http or https. For Sun ZFS storage, the connection is over ssh.

 Enterprise Manager associates a database with a filer by deriving the volumes  from the data files and then associating the volumes with those seen by the filer. For a database to participate in Snap Clone, it should be wholly located on flexvols or shares with Copy on Write enabled. Enterprise Manager performs the necessary validations for that.

Step 4: Creating the service template using the Profile
Finally, the Test Master needs to be exposed as a source of cloning to functional clones to self-service users. This is done by creating a provisioning profile. Provisioning Profile, in general, is an Enterprise Manager concept that denotes a gold image-whether in the form of a “tarball” archive or an RMAN backup or a Test Master.  The concept of profile makes the process repeatable by several users, such as QA testing different parts of the application.

The profile is exposed to the service catalog via a service template which also includes the provisioning procedure, pre and post scripts for deploying the image.

Finally, comes the user side experience
. Enterprise Manager supports a self-service model where users can provision databases without being gated by DBA. The self-service user can pick a service template (which indirectly via the provisioning profile links to the Test Master) , specify the zone where to deploy and the database gets provisioned.  This new database is actually a "thin clone" of the Test Master and new blocks will get allocated only when the data is updated. The user can also take backup the cloned database, which are essentially read-only snapshots of the database. If the user needs to restore the database the latest incarnation of the database is simply pointed to the snapshot, so that the restore is instantaneous. This literally enables the self-service user to go back in time, in a "time travel" fashion. In addition to provisioning and backup, self-service users can also monitor the databases-check their statuses, look at session statistics, etc.

Before concluding this blog entry, let me point to a bunch of collateral related to DBaaS that we recently published. Check out the new whitepaper, demos, and presentation. We will soon publish a technical whitepaper on performing E-Business Suite testing using Snap Clone. Till then...

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Thursday Feb 28, 2013

Oracle Enterprise Manager Cloud Control 12c Release 2 Plug-in Update 1 ( now available on OTN

Contributed by Martin Pena, Director, Product Management, Oracle Enterprise Manager

The Oracle Enterprise Manager Cloud Control 12c Release 2 ( software binaries, updated with the new plug-ins and updated plug-in versions, are now available for download from Oracle Technology Network (OTN). Note that this is not a patch or patch set release; the new and updated plug-ins have simply been integrated with the binaries to make it easier for users to deploy the plug-ins as part of installing or upgrading Cloud Control. The management agent software binaries have not been changed.

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

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

How  to access  Oracle Enterprise Manager Cloud Control 12c Release 2 Plug-in Update 1 ( :

Follow the option that is relevant for your installation to deploy the latest plug-in releases and updates into your environment:

+  If you have not yet installed Enterprise Manager Cloud Control 12c, download the Cloud Control 12c Release 2 Update 1 ( binaries from Oracle Technology Network (OTN) and install the new version. The plug-ins will be deployed as part of the installation process.

+  If you already have Enterprise Manager Cloud Control 12c Release 1 ( installed [with or without Bundle Patch 1], download Enterprise Manager Cloud Control 12c Release 2 Plug-in Update 1 ( from Oracle Technology Network (OTN) and upgrade to the new version. The plug-ins will be deployed as part of the upgrade process.

+  If you have already installed or upgraded to 12c Release 2 (, you do not need to download the binaries from from Oracle Technology Network (OTN), but can instead deploy the new and updated plug-in versions using Cloud Control's Self Update feature. To deploy all of the plug-ins in simultaneously, use the deploy_plugin_on_server emcli command as shown below:

           emcli deploy_plugin_on_server -plugin="plug-in_id[:version][;plug-in_id[:version]]" [-sys_password=sys_password] [-prereq_check]

For example:

           emcli deploy_plugin_on_server -plugin="oracle.sysman.vt;oracle.sysman.ssa;oracle.sysman.db"

For more information, refer to the Plug-in Manager chapter in the Enterprise Manager Administrator's Guide, available here:

To review more install/upgrade usecases and the FAQ, please refer to the Getting Started chapter in the Basic Installation Guide, available here:

Join live webcast "Oracle Enterprise Manager Cloud Control 12c Release 2 Plug-In Update 1 Installation and Upgrade Overview" learn more and ask questions on Friday, March 01 - 9:00 AM PT

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Wednesday Feb 27, 2013

Oracle Enterprise Manager Cloud Control 12c Release 2 Plug-In Update 1 Installation and Upgrade Overview

Oracle Enterprise Manager Cloud Control 12c Release 2 Plug-In Update 1 Installation and Upgrade Overview

Friday, March 01, 9:00 a.m. PT

Register Now

Join us for this live technical presentation to learn about Oracle Enterprise Manager Cloud Control 12c Release 2 Plug-in Update 1 release and how it impacts you. This webcast is a must-attend event for users who have EM 12.1.0.x in their environment or are planning to deploy EM 12.1.0.x or upgrade to EM 12.1.0.x from older Enterprise Manager versions.

Oracle has recently released new and updated Enterprise Manager Plug-ins which enables optimum utilization of compute resources giving customers more flexibility and control during application development, leading to faster time-to-market for delivering IT services. These plug-in provide enhanced support and extend EM's capabilities for Database as a Service (DBaaS), Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), and introduce new features for Testing as a Service (TaaS).

During this presentation we will review the following topics:

  • Overview of Enterprise Manager Cloud Control 12c Release 2 Plug-in Update 1
    • Does it have new features or bug fixes?
    • How do I get EM 12c Release 2 Plug-in Update 1 binaries?
    • Various Install/Upgrade/Additional OMS Usecases
    • What happens to Agent Binaries?
    • Go over Install/Upgrade FAQ on EM 12c Release 2 Plug-in Update 1
  • Quick overview of new version /revision of plug-ins
  • How to deploy new plug-in in your existing EM 12.1.0.x environment
    • In Offline or Online mode
    • Using emcli to reduce OMS downtime
  • Documentation
  • Q&A

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Monday Feb 25, 2013

New and updated Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c Plug-Ins for Infrastructure as a Servce ( IaaS )

With the recent announcement of Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c Release 2 Plugin Update 1 (, building and managing Infrastructure as a Service ( IaaS ) cloud is simpler than ever. Enterprise Manager for Oracle Virtualization (VT) plug-in now support Oracle VM 3.2.1 which is enhanced for building much more secure and scalable enterprise class infrastructure cloud. Particularly, we were able to see significant performance improvement in handling parallel operations in the area of storage and VM management. Some of the key features supported for Oracle VM 3.2.1 include:

• Virtual Machine Tagging- During deployment, users specify tags (that can be edited later) for the machines they are creating, and search based on the tags.

• Periodic Storage Repository Refresh - Synchronization between data on the repository and that on the Oracle VM Manager can now be automated

• Oracle VM Agent password update support - Oracle VM Agent password can now be updated via the EM UI

• Virtual Server Roles support – Servers can be marked for playing different roles, such as utility role or virtual machine role

• VM start policy – Users can set the policy on where the VM should be started on (e.g., Current Server, Best Server or based on Pool Policy)

• OCFS2 timeout support – Users can set heartbeat timeout for servers in a clustered server pool

More details on Oracle VM 3.2.1 features can be found here

Enterprise Manager for Oracle Cloud (SSA) enables the new capabilities provided by Enterprise manager for Oracle Virtualization plug-in for self service users through self service portal.

Some of the key features and improvements in Enterprise Manager for Oracle Virtualization and Enterprise Manager for Cloud plug-ins for building Infrastructure as a Service cloud include:

• Faster and consistent synchronization with Oracle VM Manager – Any VM status change is reflected in Enterprise Manager must faster than before and more consistently. Both target status and OVM status of VM target instance in EM are consistently updated when VM goes through any status changes

• Improved UI page performance – Many of key UI pages for cloud management load much faster now

• Improved assembly deployment – There are multiple enhancements in this area including better error handling, improved and more robust Storage Repository selection for better distribution on storage usage, and enhanced network placement logic.

• Out of box assembly support - Database assemblies available in Self Update Console can be downloaded and used in Self Service Portal for easy deployment of database in your cloud. Deployment is completely integrated with EM agent deployment so that host and applications like database instance can be discovered and managed when the assembly deployment is complete

Follow the steps below to enable the latest functionality using these plug-ins:

1.    Apply patchset update (PSU) patch 14840279 to EM 12c Release 2 ( OMS $ORACLE_HOME. This is a recommended patch on
2.    Deploy the Oracle Virtualization Plug-in and Oracle Cloud Plug-in on the OMS using the Enterprise Manager 12c console. If you plan to use the database assemblies, also deploy the Oracle Database Plug-in

To deploy the above three plug-ins use the following EM CLI command:

$ emcli login -username=sysman -password=<password>
$ emcli deploy_plugin_on_server -plugin="oracle.sysman.vt;oracle.sysman.ssa;oracle.sysman.db"

3.    Apply the Virtualization Plug-in patch 16235354 on to the Plug-in $ORACLE_HOME. (Make sure PSU mentioned in step 1 is applied before this step.)
4.    Deploy the Oracle Virtualization Plug-in on the Enterprise Manager Agent managing Oracle VM Manager using the Enterprise Manager console. (This is the agent used when registering the OVM Manager to Cloud Control)
5.    Apply patch 16219750 on this same Agent used to manage the Oracle VM Manager target. This can be done via a Patching Plan in the Enterprise Manager Console.
6.    Apply the Virtualization Plug-in patch 16235337 on the Agent. (Make sure patches mentioned in steps 3 and 5 are applied before this step - this can also be applied via a Patching Plan)

Refer to support note 1371536.1 for more details.

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Tuesday Feb 12, 2013

SquareTwo Financial uses Oracle Data Masking for Compliance and Improves Performance by 96%

Watch as leading financial services firm, SquareTwo Financial, talks about maintaining compliance while increasing IT productivity and performance by replacing in-house data masking with Oracle Data Masking solution.

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Download the Oracle Enterprise Manager Cloud Control12c Mobile app

Wednesday Jan 30, 2013

Coles Deploys Oracle Exadata and Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c

Read the latest news about Coles Supermarkets, one of Australia's largest grocery chains with more than 100,000 employees and 2,000 stores country-wide. Learn how Coles completely revamped their data warehouse with Oracle Exadata and Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c . The new system improved Coles's processes and critical reporting by as much as 3 to 4x out-of-the-box with a 4 to 6x faster query performance. The result, higher quality of service for the business and for customers during peak seasonal spikes.


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Thursday Jan 24, 2013

HDFC Bank Deploys Database-as-a-Service with Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c

Listen in as one of India’s largest banks discusses the benefits of using Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c to manage their database-as-a-service deployment.

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Tuesday Jan 15, 2013

Answers to Your Common Database Performance Questions

An Interview with Oracle Database Manageability Expert, Deba Chatterjee

Throughout the year we hear from lots of customers and get many questions about managing Oracle Database. In this blog, I thought I would try and provide some answers to common diagnostics and tuning questions with the help of our product manager and residence expert for Oracle Database Manageability, Deba Chatterjee. Deba has a wealth of database performance tuning experience both inside and outside of Oracle managing large data warehouses. Deba is responsible for Oracle Diagnostics Pack for Database and Oracle Tuning Pack for Database. I recently sat down with Deba and had a chat about database manageability.

Scott McNeil: Deba, we get many people asking questions about database performance—many still don't know about all the deep diagnostics capabilities Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c has to offer for Oracle Database. Capabilities such as; Compare Period ADDM, Real-Time ADDM, Active Session History (ASH) Analytics Real-Time SQL Monitoring, using Metric Extensions, and SQL Tuning Advisor—how do customers get all these capabilities for their database?

Deba Chatterjee: We recently ran a webcast: Maximize Oracle Database Performance with Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c: Top 10 Tips and Tricks that explains how many of these features work. I highly recommend people watch the webcast to get a better understanding of the capabilities you mentioned. But the short answer is: for Compare Period ADDM, Real-Time ADDM, Metric Extensions you need to license Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c Diagnostics Pack for Database. For Real-Time SQL Monitoring, SQL Tuning Advisor, you will need the Oracle Tuning Pack for Database.

Scott McNeil: Another question customers repeatedly ask is around Cloud Control and Database Control. Deba, can you explain the difference between Oracle Enterprise Manager Cloud Control 12c (formerly Grid Control) and Database Control.

Deba Chatterjee: Although they belong to the same family of products there is a fundamental difference between the two. Database Control can be used to manage only a single database with which it has been configured, while Oracle Enterprise Manager Cloud Control 12c allows you to manage all your databases under the same centralized management console. Plus Cloud Control lets you manage not only all your databases but your entire application and technology stack too, whether it's in a private cloud or in a traditional environment.

How do you modify the Metric Value History retention in Enterprise Manager? For example; Enterprise Manager only shows the last 7 days, how do you display longer than 7 days?

Deba Chatterjee: There are various retention times based on the type of metric data:

  • Raw metric data: default retention time is 7 days
  • Hourly aggregated metric data: default retention is 31 days
  • Daily aggregated metric data: default retention is 12 months

Refer to the documentation here, if you want to change the default retention time.

For Compare Period ADDM, how do you relate that in the context of system load?

Deba Chatterjee: In the resource usage tab, you can check the system CPU, Memory, I/O and interconnect (for RAC databases) utilizations across the 2 comparison periods in the same database.

Does Compare Period ADDM take into account the average read and average write in order to identify why the variance is happening in performance?

Deba Chatterjee: Compare Period ADDM uses database time to compare the performance across two periods. It does not compare based on average read or write times.

Does Enterprise Manager have the ability to create customized performance graphs? For example; can you create a graph for CPU usage in the last 24 hours on a given Host?

Deba Chatterjee: This is possible through the information publisher or BI publisher reports. As for the CPU usage, the chart is available out-of-the box in the target page for hosts.

How do you connect to the database itself when it’s hung and won't allow any extra connections? Do you use command line? Can you use ADDM even though the database is hung?

Deba Chatterjee: When the database is hung, you can connect to it using the diagnostic connection mode in Real-Time ADDM. The agent that is used to monitor the database makes the connection. No, command line is used. You have to use Real-Time ADDM for the connection.

Is Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c compatible with older versions of the database?

Deba Chatterjee: You can use Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c to monitor Oracle Database versions:,,,,,,, and

Is SQL Performance Analyzer part of Oracle Database 11g or do you need to use Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c?

Deba Chatterjee: SQL Performance Analyzer is built into the database and provides command line APIs. However, Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c provides the complete orchestration needed to capture the SQL tuning set, run the performance trials, and then to create a performance comparison report.

How do you enable Enterprise Manager to monitor and send alerts to the DBAs for a "Runaway Query?”

Deba Chatterjee: You can use EM to monitor runaway queries and send alerts using Metric Extensions which rely on the data captured in SQL Monitoring. The method was explained in this webcast presentation.

How do you create a report for all the SQL running in an instance during a 30 minute timeframe? Can you export this to a spreadsheet?

Deba Chatterjee: ASH stores sampled (1 seconds in memory or 10 seconds on-disk) SQL. However ASH is meant to capture the high load SQL statements so it won’t have all SQL statements.

Do you recommend enabling automatic gathering of SQL baselines as a preventative measure of SQL regression?

Deba Chatterjee: No. This would be overkill. Identify the queries that frequently change plans and then create SQL plan baselines.

If a server has multiple database instances, what is the best way to effectively do resource allocation?

Deba Chatterjee: There is no silver bullet. Carefully study your database load and decide on use of services, instance caging and resource managers to manage load on servers.

When using SQL Performance Analyzer, do you create the baseline first before the code change is deployed or at peak DB time?

Deba Chatterjee: These are two different problems. While testing for Code change, the baseline should be created before the code is deployed. While testing for an upgrade scenario the baseline needs to be created at a peak DB time.

Is there a metric to monitor ASM disk group utilization at the cluster level?

Deba Chatterjee: Yes. ASM Disk Group Usage metric is what you can use. (See image below)

Can Oracle Enterprise Manager’s alerts be configured to monitor elements in the audit trail such as table creation or table drop?

Deba Chatterjee: Yes, these type of alerts can be configured using Metric Extensions.


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Tuesday Oct 09, 2012

Private Cloud: Putting some method behind the madness

Finally, I decided to join the blogging community. And what could be a better time to start than the week after OpenWorld 2012. 50K+ attendees, demonstrations, speaker sessions and a whole lot of buzz on Oracle Cloud..It was raining clouds in this year's Openworld. I am not here to write about Oracle's cloud strategy in general, but on Enterprise Manager's cloud management capabilities. This year's Openworld was the first after we announced the 12c Cloud Control and we were happy to share the stage with quite a few early adopters. Stay tuned for videos from our customers and partners, I will post them as they get published.

I met a number of platform administrators in Oracle-DBAs, Middleware Admins, SOA Admins...The cloud has affected them all, at least to the point where it beckoned more than just curiosity..Most IT infrastructure are already heavily virtualized (on VMWare and on others including Oracle VM), and some would claim they are already on “cloud” (at least their Sysadmins told them so). But none of them were confident of the benefits because their pain points continued to grow.. Isn't cloud supposed to ease those? Instead, they were chasing hundreds of databases running on hundreds of VMs, often with as much certainty propounded by Heisenberg. What happened to the age-old IT discipline around administration, compliance, configuration management?

VMs are great for what they are. I personally think they have opened the doors to new approaches in which an application stack gets provisioned and updated. In fact, Enterprise Manager 12c is possibly the only tool out there that can provision full-fledged application as VM Assemblies. In this year's Openworld, customers talked on how they provisioned RAC and Siebel assemblies, which as the techies out there know, are not trivial (hearing provisioning time for Siebel down from weeks to hours was gratifying indeed). However, I do have an issue with a "one-size fits all" approach to cloud. In a week's span, I met several personas:

  • Project owners requiring an EC2 like VM instance for their projects

  • Admins needing the same for Sparc-Solaris.

  • DBAs requiring dedicated databases for new projects

  • APEX Developers needing just a ready-to-consume schema as a service

  • Java Developers looking for a runtime platform

  • QA engineers needing a fast clone of their production environment

If you drill down further, you will end up peeling more layers of the details. For example, the requirements for Load testing and Functional testing are very different. For Load testing the test environment should ideally be the same as the production. You shouldn't run production on Exadata and load test on a VM; they will just not be good representations of one another. For Functional testing it does not possibly matter.

DBAs seem to be at the worst affected of the lot. It seems they have been asked to choose between agile provisioning and  faster runtime performance. And in some cases, it is really a Hobson's choice, because their infrastructure provider made no distinction between the OLTP application and the Virtual desktop! Sad indeed.

When one looks at the portfolio of services that we already offer (vanilla IaaS, VM Assembly based PaaS, DBaaS) or have announced (Java PaaS, Instant Cloning, Schema-aaS), one can possibly think that we are trying to be the "renaissance man" ! Well I would have possibly digested that had it not been for the various personas that I described above.

Getting the use cases right is very important for an application such as cloud management. We iterate and iterate over these over and over again and re-validate them in CABs (Customer Advisory Boards). We consider over the major aspects of tenancy: service placement, resource isolation (can a tenant execute an expensive SQL and run away with all the resources), quota and security. We, in Engineering, keep reminding ourselves that we are dealing with enterprise clouds. We owe it to our customer base !

In the coming posts, I will drill down more into each of the services. In the meanwhile, here are some collateral and  demos for starters with EM 12c.

Sudip Datta

The views expressed here are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Oracle.

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Thursday Jul 19, 2012

Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c July Newsletter is Out!

Each month the Enterprise Manager team puts together a full line-up of great articles, content and technical product information around a particular theme. This month is no different. In July, we’re focusing on lifecycle management and all the things you need to know about this important topic. Read the July newsletter to get the latest articles and content on lifecycle management. Read it now!

The July edition covers:
• Achieving Extreme Performance Across Oracle Exadata's Lifecycle

• Top 5 Database Compliance Risks—and How to Avoid Them
• Know the Best Tools to Provision and Patch Oracle Database 11g
• and much more...

So stay tuned as we bring you more feature articles, and more webcasts throughout the month.


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Monday May 21, 2012

Benefits of using Ops Center to deploy and manage Solaris 11

One of the more significant new features in Oracle Enterprise Manager Ops Center 12c is the ability to install Ops Center on Oracle Solaris 11, and to deploy and manage systems running Solaris 11.  The Solaris 11 capabilities are in addition to the analogous features for Solaris 10 and Linux, which can all be handled from the same Ops Center infrastructure.

When the Ops Center Enterprise Controller (EC) is installed on a system running Solaris 11, the EC can create a Solaris 11 Software Update Library containing Oracle Solaris Image Packaging System (IPS) content that is synchronized with the main Oracle repository at The Ops Center managed Solaris 11 repository becomes the package (pkg) publisher for downstream Solaris 11 deployments and updates on all Solaris 11 systems being managed by Ops Center.

Ops Center provides the ability to define Solaris 11 OS and Software Profiles comprised of Oracle Solaris 11 packages, user-supplied custom packages, scripts, and other files.  Such Software Profiles profiles can then be used to install and update software on systems already running Solaris 11 in a structured and consistent way.  Ops Center not only caches the main Oracle Solaris IPS repository, but more importantly it gives admins the ability to define their own preferred collection of packages so that systems can easily be kept in sync with each other, running a well-defined, life-cycle-managed Standard Operating Environment (SOE), instead of just whatever the latest content is at

Ops Center 12c also adds Solaris 11 features for bare-metal OS Provisioning, based on the Solaris 11 Auto Install (AI) facility.  Ops Center configures the Solaris 11 AI in a way that shields admins from needing to write custom AI manifests or custom "first boot" packages.  Solaris 11 deployments using Ops Center follow similar profile-based patterns as for Solaris 10 or Linux, all of which can all be deployed from the same Ops Center infrastructure running on Solaris 11.  The gory details of all these different times of bare-metal OS Provisioning are handled automatically for the user so that he or she does not need to put time and resources into manually creating and maintaining infrastructure for deploying different OS's natively -- Solaris 11 with AI, Solaris 10 JumpStart with JET, or Linux with Kickstart or AutoYast.  All of those OS's are handled by Ops Center under the covers, based on whatever network boot capability the OS requires (PXE/DHCP, WANBOOT, or AI), and all from the same Ops Center infrastructure running on Solaris 11.

Specific to Solaris 11 OS Provisioning (via AI), Ops Center provides its own "first-boot" package+scripts to customize the Solaris 11 deployment, and in particular this approach automatically installs the Ops Center agent.  With the Ops Center Agent in place right from the start, it is easy to handle post-install steps using the Ops Center features for handling Solaris 11 OS and Software Profiles containing additional packages, scripts, and content from the Solaris 11 Software Library, described above.

Tying bare-metal Solaris 11 deployment and post-install customization together is a key way that Ops Center simplifies the overall life-cycle management for Solaris 11 (in addition to Solaris 10 and Linux).   For example, a top-level plan based on "Configure and Install Logical Domains" can create numerous Logical Domains into an Oracle VM Server for SPARC "Server Pool" and provision Solaris 11 into each LDom Guest based on a powerful multi-step "Install Server" plan.  Such a plan can cover the end-to-end steps for installing and updating the OS, running scripts and adjusting monitoring parameters, etc.

Here is an example of the kinds of activities that can be performed in conjunction an OS Deployment, or separately, depending on the need:

Oracle Enterprise Manager Ops Center 12c Deployment Plan

NOTE: In the above example, the last step "Create Guests" can be used to create one or more Solaris Containers within the LDom Guest, rounding out the end-to-end deployment all the way from LDom Guest to Solaris 11 Global Zone to multiple Solaris Containers, if so desired.

One of the nicest aspect of deploying and managing Solaris 11 using Ops Center Plans and Profiles is that the same content can be applied as updates to existing Solaris 11 systems, aligned to the same content as chained off a bare-metal OS Provisioning.  It is up to the user which steps they want to include in a deployment plan -- whether they are updating Software Profiles on systems deployed 6 months ago to match the latest standard, or they are deploying new systems based on that same standard, Ops Center provides the means to insure that the outcome is consistent.

Here is an example of the kinds of activities that can be performed on an existing Solaris 11 OS -- either ad hoc, or immediately after a Solaris 11 OS Provisioning step, so that whether the life-cycle started with a new system, or the intent is to update a system deployed six months ago, the outcome can be the same:

S11 Update Multi-Step Plan

In short, Ops Center running on Solaris 11 can manage Solaris 10 and Linux systems, all from a common infrastructure, and all based on a simplified, consistent, profile- and plan-based way to do the OS and Software deployments and updates.  The net effect is an easy to use way to managing the life-cycle of heterogeneous systems, in a very consistent way through automation and re-use.

Please let us know what you think?  Until next time...

Leon Shaner | Senior IT/Product Architect
Systems Management | Ops Center Engineering @ Oracle

The views expressed on this [blog; Web site] are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Oracle.

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Monday Apr 09, 2012

New Database assemblies are available now to simplify cloud deployment via Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c Self-Update

Deploying application in the cloud is a huge challenge.  Typically customers either deploy various components of the application individually and then manually wire them together.  Some vendors even allow you to deploy a bunch of VMs together but you still have the hard and painful job of connecting the dots. The problem gets even worse if you start to think other deployment constraints – such as which components should be co-located and which not, what should be the network topology of the application (i.e. database and middleware should be in different network segments), which components can scale out and if so how should the scale out happen.

Oracle Virtual Assembly Builder (OVAB) and Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c address this challenge. Using OVAB, application developers and architects  can model the application topology graphically, define all dependencies and deployment constraints, and package the entire application in form of what we call an application assembly. These assembly can then be uploaded to the centralized software library in Enterprise Manager for self-service deployments.

At the launch of Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c last year, we talked about Oracle's plan to offer assemblies for all our products which will allow you to deploy any of our products – including packaged applications – by click of a button. Enterprise Manager has a live link back to Oracle which will notify you of the availability of new assemblies and download them if you are interested.

Last week, we made new Database assemblies available via Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c Self-Update. The release of assemblies will help customers deploy the cloud solution more easily on Oracle VM platform. Customers can create a zone of Oracle VM 3.x servers and deploy these assemblies from the Enterprise Manager 12c Self-Service interface. Following screenshot shows how they look like in the self-update interface of the Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c.

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Thursday Apr 05, 2012

Oracle Enterprise Manager Ops Center 12c is now available for download at Oracle technology Network

Oracle Enterprise Manager Ops Center 12c is available now for download at Oracle Technology Network (OTN ) .

Oracle Logo Enterprise Manager Ops Center Documentation

Oracle Enterprise Manager Ops Center web page at Oracle Technology Network

Join Oracle Launch Webcast : Total Cloud Control for Systems on April 12th at 9 AM PST to learn more about  Oracle Enterprise Manager Ops Center 12c from Oracle Senior Vice President John Fowler, Oracle Vice President of Systems Management Steve Wilson and a panel of Oracle executive.

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Wednesday Apr 04, 2012

Oracle Launches Enterprise Manager Ops Center 12c at OpenWorld Japan

Oracle Senior Vice President John Fowler and Oracle Vice President of Systems Management Steve Wilson unveiled Oracle Enterprise Manager Ops Center 12c at Oracle OpenWorld, Tokyo Japan on April 4th morning. 

Oracle Enterprise Manager combines management of servers, operating systems, virtualization solution for x86 and SPRC servers, firmware, storage, and network fabrics with Oracle Enterprise Manager Ops Center. Available at no additional cost as part of the Ops Center Anywhere Program, Oracle Enterprise Manager Ops Center 12c allows enterprises to accelerate mission-critical cloud deployment, unleash the power of Solaris 11 — the first cloud OS, and simplify Oracle engineered systems management.

Here are some of the resources for you to learn more about the new Oracle Enterprise Manager Ops Center 12c : 

Press Release : Introducing Oracle Enterprise Manager Ops Center 12c

White paper: Oracle Enterprise Manager Ops Center 12c - Making Infrastructure-as-a-Service in the Enterprise a Reality

Oracle Enterprise Manager Ops Center web page at Oracle Technology Network

Join Oracle Launch Webcast : Total Cloud Control for Systems on April 12th at 9 AM PST to learn more about  Oracle Enterprise Manager Ops Center 12c from Oracle Senior Vice President John Fowler, Oracle Vice President of Systems Management Steve Wilson and a panel of Oracle executive.

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Thursday Mar 08, 2012

Looking for an executive overview of Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c ?

IT professionals are excited by the technical advantages of cloud computing, and Line of Business managers look to the cloud as a driver of business growth, efficiency, and productivity. By transforming IT into a business-centric provider of services that users can access from anywhere, Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c helps you build a more agile, efficient, and  innovative enterprise.

You can get an executive overview of the Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c in this recently published executive brief

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Thursday Mar 01, 2012

Sushil Kumar, VP,Product Strategy and Business development,Oracle shares highlights of new Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c update

Yesterday ( Feb. 29, 2012), Oracle announced the Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c Bundle patch 1 and Plug-in updates. The new "Bundle Patch" contains numerous bug fixes, performance improvements and new features to improve Oracle Enterprise Manager Cloud Control 12c customer experience . 

Sushil Kumar, VP, Product Strategy and Business development, Oracle Enterprise Manager, shared the highlights of the new "Bundle Patch" with me earlier today. In this blog, I captured my discussion with Sushil.

The new “Bundle Patch” is a pretty significant update to Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c bits released at Oracle Open World in October, 2012. It contains over 3000 bug fixes and includes some brand new functionality such as Weblogic and Fusion Apps Patching, Exadata out of place patching, etc. We recommend customers, who are considering to go live with EM 12c in production in the next few months, to pick up this mandatory update. 

Even though we are calling this update a "Bundle Patch", an updated Enterprise Manager Base Platform Full Installer is made available for download on Oracle Technology Network (OTN).  Any customer who downloads the 12c bit as of February 29, 2012, will automatically get these updates as a part of the base install. In another words, if you download the EM 12c product by clicking on “for Linux x86 (64 bit) (With Bundle Patch)” link from the OTN Download center (see the screen shot below) and do a fresh install, you will have all the updates required and no additional patches need to be applied to get these updates. 

The revised installation media is only available for Linux right now. The updated installer will be released on other operating systems in the coming weeks/months.

If you have not already discovered a large number of targets, defined admin groups and monitoring templates or defined compliance policies and rules, etc. with previously released Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c bit, then a fresh install with the updated installer is the way to go. The option of “patching” a site running on previously released EM bits exists , but, it may be worth the pain only if you have already put in a lot of time and effort setting up your EM 12c environment based on the previously released bits.

We are working closely with the early adopter customers of Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c to make sure that they can update in a smoothest possible manner. If you were not part of the EM 12c early adopter program, please work with your Oracle support .

The other exciting announcement with the release of EM 12c iPhone app that Scott blogged about yesterday. This is in response to the strong customer demand to make EM accessible from mobile devices. The new app primarily exposes the incident management functionality but we will add more features to it moving forward.

Finally, we want to highlight that the only supported version of Oracle BI Publisher with EM 12c is and it is linked from the EM 12c download page.  Please do not use the latest version of BI publisher with EM 12c since that may render your environment unusable. We do have plans to support in the near future, but, as of now, please download the BI publisher version that is linked off the EM 12c download page on OTN.

Please share your feedback by providing your comments on this blog, using #em12c tag on twitter and other social media channel following the links below.

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Wednesday Feb 29, 2012

Manage Oracle on the Go! Get the New Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c Mobile App for iPhone

Oracle Enterprise Manager Cloud Control 12c Mobile App for incident management with service request integration is now available for the Apple iPhone. With this release Oracle now offers the ability to track, monitor, and manage incidents directly from your smart phone. IT managers and administrators using Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c can view incident and problem details directly in the app, as well as acknowledge, assign, prioritize, escalate and annotate incidents. The app provides seamless connectivity to My Oracle Support allowing users to drill-down into any service request associated with a problem. In addition, the flexible setup screen enables users to connect to multiple Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c environments from within a single pane.

Manage incidents directly from your iPhone
View and track system issues
Provide quick status updates

Download the Oracle Enterprise Manager Cloud Control 12c Mobile app

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Tuesday Feb 28, 2012

Cerner Delivers Proactive Database-as-a-Service

Watch and learn how Cerner, one of the leading healthcare technology solution providers, efficiently manages hundreds of databases for its clients using Oracle Enterprise Manager and Database-as-a-Service.

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Monday Feb 27, 2012

Why Database as a Service: Think Scalability and Agility

For those interested in delivering Database as a Service (DBaaS) for your IT, or just looking for more insight into this powerful capability—check out the latest Oracle Enterprise 12c InDepth Newsletter. This edition features a great article on why you should consider DBaaS in your IT strategy. Here's a hint, think scalability and agility!

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Thursday Feb 23, 2012

Q&A: Leng Tan, VP of Development, Discusses the New Oracle Database Lifecycle Management Solution

In this month's Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c InDepth Newsletter, Leng Tan, VP of Development for Database Manageability, discusses some of the issues facing IT today. In the interview, Leng talks about the ways administrators can address and overcome these challenges using Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c Database Lifecycle Management solution. Be sure to read the article to learn more!

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Wednesday Feb 22, 2012

Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c Newsletter: February 2012 Edition Now Available

Get the latest issue of the Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c Indepth Newsletter. Read it Now!

The February edition covers:

  • Oracle Database Lifecycle Management
  • Enterprise Management Online Forum
  • Database as a Service
  • and much more...


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Tuesday Feb 21, 2012

Oracle Exadata Management — Diary of an Exadata DBA

I recently had the chance to sit down with Deba Chatterjee, Senior Product Manager, Database Manageability to talk about Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c and how it's making Oracle Exadata management easier for DBAs. He had a great analogy that I wanted to share. "To describe how Enterprise Manager is making Exadata management simple and less complex, is by using an approach we call, 'Exadata Aware Database Performance Analysis'. The best way to illustrate how this works, is to use real-world scenarios," Deba added. Here is one of those scenarios—an excerpt from the diary of an Exadata DBA.

November 15th, Late Evening

Database performance has suddenly dropped becoming very poor. The same reports that were running fine a couple of hours ago are now taking forever to complete. The boss just left me a message that the CRM analytics director was pretty upset and wants to know why we have a performance problem.

I checked the queries and the execution plans both look the same with lots of smart scans and cell offloading. Suddenly, the response time has gone south and I cannot figure out why?

My first step was to look at the database performance page in Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c, which now comes with built-in Oracle Exadata support. Hey, what do I have here in the I/O tab? The Exadata system health button is red, that's not good. What's happening? I clicked the button and it took me to the Exadata health triage page, this is where I can see if I have potential issues such as;

  • Load imbalance
  • ASM related problems
  • Cell software or hardware failures
  • Cell configuration issues
  • Network related failures

The red Oracle Exadata system health button indicates potential issues impacting database performance.

Next, I noticed that the network status was red, it must be a network issue, right? I quickly checked the administration screen in the Infiniband Target Home page, and saw we had a degraded port in the Port Details status section. I disabled the bad port and allowed the network traffic to automatically fail over to its peer. I'll have to look into this later, for now I just wanted to get the system up and running.

View of the degraded port in Infiniband Switch Schematic.

I quickly re-checked the Exadata system health status again, it showed all green—looks like everything was working, problem solved. I called my boss back to give him the good news that the database performance was back up. I sure am glad all these things are integrated; otherwise I would have been here all night trying to figure this out.

Oracle Database Management resources:

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Thursday Feb 16, 2012

Managing Oracle Database 11g—Questions and Answers from the Oracle Enterprise Management Online Forum

We received tons of questions from our recent Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c Online Forum, we wanted to continue to provide answers to the most popular ones. In this installment, we'll cover questions from the DBA and developer track.

Q. What kind of testing do you recommend for upgrading from Oracle Database 11gR1 to 11gR2?
A. Oracle Real Application Testing using Database Replay and SQL Performance Analyzer's capabilities are recommended for any Oracle Database upgrade. Check out these resources for more details: Oracle Real Application Testing datasheet and OTN for details on upgrading your database.

Q. Can I manage Oracle Exadata and traditional Oracle Databases from the same console?
A. Yes, you can manage Oracle Exadata and single instance and/or RAC databases from the same Oracle Enterprise Manager Cloud Control console, as well as WebLogic and many other targets. Check out this demo to see how.

Q. I thought Active Session History (ASH) was intended for real-time?
A. ASH can be use for both real-time and historical analysis. It is a black box that records session activities and helps to analyze across several performance dimensions. Click here to see a quick demo.

Q. What is the difference between Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c and Oracle Database Control?
A. Database Control is a subset which runs off a single database. Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c is a central repository which allows administrators to manage and monitor from a single console.

Q. How does Real-Time Automatic Database Diagnostics Monitor (ADDM) work – the database is hung right?
A. Real-Time ADDM, included in the Oracle Diagnostic Pack for Oracle Database, uses 2 different modes of connection to the database. A normal connection and a diagnostic mode that is a lock less, latch less connection which allows only few actions. Using the diagnostic mode connection Real-Time ADDM performs a hang analysis and determines any blockers in the systems. Check out this demo to see how Real-Time ADDM works.

Q. Can we achieve all the new functionality in Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c using terminal?
A. No. Features like ASH Analytics, Real-Time ADDM and Compare Period ADDM are only available using Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c's console.

Q. Is Real-Time ADDM available only in Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c?
A. Yes, Real-Time ADDM is a new feature in Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c.

Q. Can you explain the difference between Oracle Database 11g Monitor in Memory Access Mode vs. Real-Time ADDM direct access to SGA?
A. Real-Time ADDM does not use Memory attach mode. We use a proprietary connection method which connects using a lock less, latch less connection bypassing the SQL Access layer.

Q. Is there any limit on the number of days on which ASH can be used for analysis?
A. The in memory ASH data is typically available for 1 hour or till the point the memory buffer is flushed to disk. You can find out ASH retention by using: select min(sample_time), max(sample_time) from sys.WRH$_ACTIVE_SESSION_HISTORY;

From more Oracle Database Management product information check out these resources:

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Tuesday Feb 14, 2012

Oracle VP, Leng Tan, talks about Oracle Database Management using Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c

Listen in as Oracle Vice President, Leng Tan, talks about the new Oracle Database Management capabilities in Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c.

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Thursday Feb 09, 2012

NEW STUDY: Oracle Database 11g Delivers Significant Savings over Microsoft SQL Server

ORC International: Oracle Database 11g is 49% Easier to Manage and 46% Less Complex

Oracle Database 11g Release 2 continues to outperform Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Release 2 by a substantial margin, according to a new ORC International study. In the report, "Database Manageability and Productivity Cost Comparison Study Oracle Database 11g Release 2 vs. Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Release 2," Oracle once again demonstrates its leadership in overall database self-manageability with significant productivity and complexity savings.

The study found that Oracle Database 11g Release 2 took half the amount of time and effort to complete four routine database administrator (DBA) tasks compared to Microsoft. The study measured typical tasks such as initial database setup, routine daily administrative tasks, and backup and recovery, as well as performance and tuning tasks.

In one particular scenario, the study illustrated how a DBA could perform database diagnostics and tuning tasks 143 times faster using Oracle Database 11g over Microsoft SQL Server 2008. The report concluded that Oracle allowed IT organizations and DBAs to

  • Perform administrative tasks 49% faster than Microsoft SQL Server 2008
  • Save time with 46% fewer steps for the same set of standard routine functions versus Microsoft
  • Increase productivity and save businesses up to US$58,800 per year per DBA by using Oracle Database 11g over Microsoft SQL Server 2008

This report, along with similar competitive studies ORC International conducted including one against IBM DB2 9.7, reaffirms Oracle Database 11g as an industry leader with its unique self-managing automation and performance capabilities. Oracle Database 11g, along with Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c Database Management Packs, continue to help DBAs become more productive at getting their jobs done faster and with less effort.

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Tuesday Feb 07, 2012

Solaris and SPARC virtualization management features of Oracle Enterprise Manager Ops Center including "Live Migration"

This blog provides a short history of how Oracle technology in the Solaris and SPARC world has progressed to where we are with the SPARC-T4 Server family and Oracle VM Server for SPARC (formerly Logical Domains).  The entry continues with observations of why these technologies are relevant to business and IT stakeholders, today.  And finally, how Oracle Enterprise Manager Ops Center is piquing customer interest in moving forward with Logical Domains, followed by a short demonstration of LDom Migration in action.
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Tuesday Jan 31, 2012

What's new in Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c Agents

After the Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c was announced, you may have seen a lot of collateral, documents and demos on various new functionality introduced with this major release. In my first blog, I thought of sharing what's new in agent land for Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c?

The enterprise manager agent has been entirely rewritten to meet the following goals:

  • plug-in life cycle support

  • first failure diagnostics built-in

  • robustness

  • scales to 10,000 targets

  • improved manageability

In this first blog of a blog series, we will focus on how Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c meets these goals. Subsequent blogs will go into further details about each of the areas above.

By and far the biggest change is the plug-in model. Plug-ins offer the following advantages over the previous target modeling supported by the agent:

  • independent life cycle from the agent

  • can be installed/updated without bouncing the agent

  • simple registration of user supplied libraries as needed

  • scheduled based or on-demand discovery of targets

A plug-in consists of two pieces; the discovery component and the monitoring the component. Plug-in upgrades currently require the agent to be restarted for the new plug-in version to take affect although the install of the new plug-in can be performed while the agent is still running. There is one exception to this – the first time a plug-in is deployed and installed the agent is not required to be stopped.

The discovery component of the plug-in works with the new discovery framework .Discovery can now be performed by on-demand and scheduled with the typical schedule occurring daily. As the discovery process finds additional targets to monitor, the administrator is prompted if they wish to monitor those targets. Once the decision is made, the management server ensures that the agent has the proper monitoring plug-in and then proceeds to add those targets to the agent.

The monitor component of the plug-in contains the metric definitions, the non-static properties, the default collection schedule and any additional scripts/libraries required by the plug-in to monitor. Also new in 12c are metric extensions which allows user/administrators to add additional metrics to a target with user supplied scripts.

Diagnosis of issues is always a difficult process, but the new agent, being written from the ground up has put in a significant amount of diagnostic tools. Even in the face of all that additional processing, the new code base consumes less CPU on average than the previous versions and is capable of scaling to large number of targets. To date, we've successfully measured target counts of approximately 5000 targets being monitored with near linear scaling. We therefore believe that 10,000 targets is realistic.

Below is a graph comparing the average CPU consumption of the 12c version of the agent (in green) against the 11g version (in red) for database targets.

The rewrite of the agent also includes an improved EM agent home page as well as a much enhanced agent side metric browser. There are numerous enhancements to enable the agent to continue functioning in the face of 'failures', such as three strikes suspension based policies for collections, as well as more control services available to the administrator.

My next next blog will focus on some of the diagnostic tools that are available for both administrators and Oracle personnel.

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Tuesday Jan 10, 2012

Oracle Enterprise Manager Ops Center plug-in for Enterprise Manager Cloud Control 12c is now available

Systems monitoring plug-in to connect Oracle Enterprise Manager Cloud Control 12c Release 1 ( and Oracle Enterprise Manager Ops Center 11g Release 1, Update 3 ( is now available in Oracle Enterprise Manager Cloud Control 12c self update software catalog (see screenshot below).

This Oracle Enterprise Manager Ops Center 11g plug-in for Enterprise Manager Cloud Control 12c increases the efficiency of datacenter operations by sharing event and target attribute information between the business service owners and the infrastructure operations staff.  This enables business service owners to be fully aware of hardware, virtualization, and operating system event information while troubleshooting application issues.  They can see hardware component level details from the user interface they are comfortable working from within EM Cloud Control 12c. 

At the same time, the operations staff can see which Oracle applications are running on which infrastructure asset within Ops Center before taking maintenance actions and disrupting business.  

More information on this plug-in can be found in the following user guide:

The Oracle Enterprise Manager Ops Center 11g plug-in for Enterprise Manager Grid Control 10g and 11g is located within the Ops Center 11g product media.  No additional download is required.  More information can be found in the following user guide:

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