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An Oracle blog about Oracle Enterprise Manager and Oracle Management Cloud

Database Automation Using Self-Service Database Provisioning

 If you and your DBA team are looking for ways to expedite software development and dramatically improve the time to deployment of databases, this webinar is for you. I just completed another session with another one of Oracle’s top experts on Oracle Enterprise Manager, Mike Meyers, Oracle Master Principal Security and Management Platform Specialist.

Mike has a wealth of experience, both running a development team and using Enterprise Manager to manage a database fleet. In talking to him during our preparations, I asked about his experience with Enterprise Manager. I think his team included 100’s of developers, developing software for a cloud provider. Their fast-paced development was for apps running against the Oracle Database. So, when I asked him; 'What was your experience using DB Lifecycle Management Pack, and the Cloud Management Pack?' His answer was short and clear, 'It’s a no-brainer. Having database automation and self-provisioning was required to keep up with our workflow and still deliver a quality product.'

We started with a quick view of Oracle Enterprise Manager as a whole. Most DBAs managing a reasonable size estate of databases are using Enterprise Manager Diagnostics and Tuning packs. Why? It helps you react to unplanned problems and solve them much faster. What makes these packs so valuable to so many? My answer is it's twofold. The functions are;

  • Automated
  • Integrated

For example, in the same console, you use automation to help diagnose issues, then to complete your workflow, you use automation in context to tune, meaning you tune the SQL you diagnosed as the problem. It’s all seamless and fast using one pack to find and the next to fix issues.

Lifecycle Automation
In this session, we were talking about planned database operations. This time we looked at how to use Enterprise Manager (EM) automation and integration for provisioning and to set up a self-service DBaaS portal.

Most DBAs think in these terms. How can I script this workflow or process to eliminate manual effort? DBAs write scripts because they want to scale, they want to deliver repeatable processes, faster. The better DBAs get in their responsibilities, the more they automate. And it seems this is how they end up seeing the value of the Database Lifecycle Management Pack and the Cloud Management Pack. These packs are all about automating most processes in database operations management, including patching, updates, provisioning, cloning, tear down, allocating, and managing resources for the entire array of database options as shown in the bottom of the picture above. The Cloud Management Pack builds a portal on this automation to create DBaaS, a self-service portal for developers to take control of their own provisioning at the click of a button. We explain this by contrasting it with the typical DBA driven process for database provisioning.

DBA Driven Process

In many organizations I’ve heard from, this is what the typical provisioning process looks like. Note and imagine it is a large amount of time that goes by between a request and actually having the database available for a QA Engineer for example, or development teams. For some companies, this can be weeks and even months from start to finish. We call this the DBA driven process. It’s based on the manual activities of walking through each request, one at a time, and the DBA reacting to the request when it arrives.


Database Engineer Driven Process

In a well-designed workflow, the DBA is an engineer, making strategic and proactive plans to get ahead of the QA Engineer’s request. This is done by designing and building out a consolidated flexible cloud environment with the one-click automation provided to QA to provision and tear-down on command. This eliminates days and weeks of wait time and manual reactive effort for the DBA as well as others in the workflow.

DBAs become more strategic and valuable to the organization by helping deployments to go much faster and predictably while putting far less effort into reactive tactical steps they’ve automated and more time implementing strategic initiatives.

Designing Database as a Service (DBaaS) with Enterprise Manager
This model makes the most sense for companies running a development organization or where QA is required to do a significant amount of full to functional testing.

At the highest level, DBaaS with EM can be seen in 3 layers. The service layer, exposed to the QA or developer. The cloud abstraction layer which enables scaling resources up and down on-demand, which enables the service. And to get the most utility out of your resources, there is the base layer, where you build it into one managed, consolidated set of resources supporting the cloud layer.  All of this is enabled with built-in functions within Enterprise Manager (EM).

How-To: Simplify the Service

The user just wants to provision, on-demand, and get the gold, silver, or bronze level of database deployment they need. The Database Engineer must set up a repeatable, efficient environment. Strategically, that means understanding themes around what level of service is needed? Gold? Silver? Or Bronze? And then how to deliver with those features in the most efficient and effective way, including using VMs, Containers, and Engineered Systems, RAC, multitenant and many other database optoins.

Snap Clones

There are other unique advantages of using EM like this. For example, we talked about Snap Clones, which are much faster to deploy and use far less storage.

coming soon Demonstration

 

 

 

Mike is almost more fluid explaining DBaaS from the console, actually demonstrating. In a short few minutes, we can screen watch as Mike takes us through setting up environments as a DB Engineer, to how easy it is to request and use the DBaaS portal.

Business Value

DBAs and administrators come to our sessions for the technology, but we’ve found seeing how companies are using this is helpful. Comcast is a great customer, they were well represented at Oracle Openworld, including talking about this case study. Just quickly, Comcast is a prominent Oracle shop, many databases, and it got to where their development team was waiting sometimes as much as several months to get databases deployed. Comcast worked with Oracle to get a better understanding of their environment [yes, using Enterprise Manager] and standardized on a far fewer number of database configurations. With that, they automated patching, and provisioning and set up the DBaaS portal. The results? Completing provisioning requests went from sometimes 2-3 months to minutes. That was the big win. On top of that, they were able to use automation to stay current on patch levels and not a small benefit, they standardized on configurations to ensure compliance to regulations and improved their security posture. They are very happy, and we’re glad to see their success.

ROI of Implementation

To implement something like this, a discussion around the return is bound to come up quickly. Oracle commissioned an analyst firm to research EM customers to find the actual dollar benefit of implementing EM. This well written report does that, breaking down into the dollar value as well as highlighting the costs involved. One point I’ll make, the biggest improvement was for you, the DBA. About 66% of the value is coming from DBAs improving their productivity with the automation they set up.

Webcast recording

If you like this post, you will appreciate the webinar series Deep Dive on Enterprise Manager. These webcasts have been popular, and rewarding to be a part of. Attendance has been strong, and interactions on Q&A have been active, in-depth, technical topics, evidence to the value of having experts online answering your questions during the webinar.

Want a Free Workshop?

Here is something hot off the press. You can now give the latest features of Enterprise Manager a try in your own workshop. Find out details in this blog post.

These are the resources we made available in his presentation.

 

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