Monday Jul 30, 2012

On-Demand Webcast: Managing Oracle Exadata's Lifecycle—Now Available

Learn from our product experts how to manage Oracle Exadata's lifecycle for extreme performance. This on-demand webcast covers:

  • Oracle Exadata discovery
  • Monitoring and managing Oracle Exadata's components
  • Deploying applications on Oracle Exadata
  • Performance diagnostics and tuning
  • Change management
Register today.

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Tuesday Jul 24, 2012

WEBCAST: Managing Oracle Exadata's Lifecycle for Extreme Performance

Thursday July 26
10:00 a.m. PST / 1:00 p.m. EST

Register Now!

Watch this live webcast and discover how Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c's unique management capabilities allow you to efficiently manage all stages of Oracle Exadata's lifecycle, from testing applications on Exadata to deployment. You'll learn how to:

  • Maximize and predict performance
  • Drive down IT operational costs through automation
  • Ensure service quality with proactive management
Register today and unlock the potential of Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c for your enterprise.

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My Favourite Features of Enterprise Manager Cloud Control 12c - Today’s topic: Incident Management

Enterprise Manager Cloud Control 12c (EM12c) is a huge release, both in terms of its adoption rate (that is, its uptake in the market) and the amount of functionality included in the product. For those of us that have been around for a long time, it’s very reminiscent of the massive functionality leap from Oracle RDBMS version 6 to version 7 – a quantum leap that makes it difficult to even grasp the breadth of the product now.

To try and make the new features a bit more understandable, I’ll be writing a number of blog entries over the coming months to highlight just some of my favourite new features for EM12c. From an administrator’s perspective, one of those standout features (and the subject of today’s entry) has to be incident management.

The goal of incident management is to enable administrators to monitor and resolve service disruptions that may be occurring in their data centre as quickly and efficiently as possible. Instead of managing the numerous discrete individual events that may be raised as the result of any of these service disruptions, we want to manage a smaller number of more meaningful incidents, and to manage them based on business priority across the lifecycle of those incidents.

To do this, Enterprise Manager now provides a centralized incident console called Incident Manager that will enable the administrator to track, diagnose, and resolve incidents, as well as providing features to help rectify the root causes of recurrent incidents. Incident Manager also directly leverages Oracle’s own expertise via My Oracle Support knowledge base articles and documentation to enable administrators to accelerate the process of diagnosing and resolving incidents and problems. Finally, Incident Manager also offers the ability to do lifecycle operations for incidents, so you can assign ownership of an incident to a specific user, acknowledge an incident, set priority for an incident, track an incident’s status, escalate an incident or suppress it so you can defer it to a later time. You can also raise notifications on an incident or open a helpdesk ticket via the helpdesk connectors.


Enterprise Manager continues to be the primary tool for managing and monitoring the Oracle data center, so it manages and monitors Oracle applications as well as the application stack from presentation layer to middleware, databases to hosts and the operating system, as well as non-Oracle technology. When Enterprise Manager detects issues in any of this infrastructure, it raises events. Sample events might be:

1. Metric alerts (for example, CPU utilization or tablespace usage alerts) where a critical threshold you set has been crossed

2. Job events – events are raised by the job system for job statuses that you specify, for example an event is raised to signal the failure of a job.

3. Standards violations – if you are using compliance standards and any of the targets that are being monitored violate any of the compliance standards, then a standards violation event could be raised.

4. Availability events – if a target is down and Enterprise Manager detects that, an availability event that the target is down can be raised

5. Other events – there are other types of events that occur as well

All these events signal particular issues have occurred in the managed data centre. As an administrator, you really want to be able to determine which of these events are significant. From these significant events, you then want to be able to correlate discrete events that are related to the same underlying issue, so you in fact have to manage a smaller number of significant incidents.


An incident could then be defined as an object containing a significant event (such as a target being down, for example) or it could be a combination of events that all relate to the same issue (for example, running out of space could be detected by Enterprise Manager as separate events raised from the database, host and storage target types). For example, you may have a performance incident that amalgamates a number of performance events, another incident related to space, and a different incident based on availability problems.

Sound good? OK, so how do we do this? Well, events are significant occurrences in your IT infrastructure and that Enterprise Manager detects and raises. Each event has a set of attributes– what type of event it is, the severity (fatal, critical and so on), the object or entity on which the event is raised (typically a target but it can also be a job or some other object), the message associated with the event, the timestamp at which it occurred, as well as the functional category (such as availability, security etc.)

Some examples of the different types of events include:

· Target availability: raised when a target is down or has gone into an agent unreachable state.

· Metric alert: raised when a metric crosses its threshold.

· Job status change: raised, for example, when a job fails.

· Compliance standard rule: raised when a compliance standard rule is violated.

· Metric evaluation: raised when there is an error with the evaluation of a metric.

· Other events such as SLA Alert, High Availability and Compliance Standard Score violation can also be raised, and of course, users can cause an event to be raised.

Associated with these event types are event severities. The first of these, “Fatal”, is a new severity level in Enterprise Manager specifically associated with the target availability event type for when the target is down. Critical and warning events have the same meaning as they had in previous releases, and then we have the Advisory level. Typically, this is associated with non-service-impacting events such as compliance standard violation events. The informational level is an event severity used to indicate simply that an event has occurred, but there is no need to do anything about it.

As we discussed previously, an actual incident will contain one or more events. Let’s look at the details of an incident with one event. For example, Figure 1 shows us an availability event:

Figure 1: Incident with one event

The event signals that the database DB1 is down and includes a timestamp of when the event was raised. Because this is a target availability event and the database is down, the severity is marked as Fatal. An incident can be created for that event, so the incident contains only one event. In order to manage and track the resolution of the incident, the incident has other attributes such as owner (the Enterprise Manager user that is working on the incident), status, incident severity (which is based on the event severity), priority and a comment field.

Many incidents will instead contain multiple events, where those events are related and pointed to the same underlying cause. In the example shown in Figure 2, we have two metric alert events on a host target -- a memory utilization metric alert event and a CPU utilization metric alert event because the host is starting to suffer from heavy load. We have a warning severity memory utilization metric alert event, and a short time later a critical severity CPU utilization metric alert event.

Figure 2: Incident with multiple events

An incident can be created containing both events in order to manage and track the resolution of the incident. In the current release, the administrator needs to manually combine events into an incident in the Enterprise Manager console (the automatic grouping of related events into an incident is a future enhancement). Again, we have additional attributes associated with the incident like we had in the previous example. Enterprise Manager automatically assigns the incident severity, based on the worst case event severity of all the events contained in the incident. Since the worst event severity is Critical, the incident severity is also set to Critical. Finally, the incident has a summary which is a short description of what the incident is about. The individual events are indicating the machine load is high so you can set the summary to that. Alternatively, you can set the incident summary to be the same as the event messages.

If you are using one of the helpdesk connectors to interface to a helpdesk system, an incident might also result in a helpdesk ticket which can allow the helpdesk analyst to work on the ticket. Within Enterprise Manager, we’ll be able to track both the ticket number and the status of that particular ticket.


A problem is the underlying root cause of an incident. In Enterprise Manager terms, a problem is specifically related to either an Automatic Diagnostic Repository (ADR) incident or Oracle software incident. Enterprise Manager will automatically create a problem whenever it detects an ADR incident has been raised. An ADR incident can be thought of as a critical Oracle software problem where the resolution of the software problem typically involves contacting Oracle Support, opening a service request and possibly receiving a patch for that problem.

Whenever an ADR incident is raised, we generate one incident in Enterprise Manager for that ADR incident, and we also automatically generate a problem as well. All the ADR incidents that have the same problem signature (that is, the same root cause) will be linked into a single problem object. The administrator can manage the problem in Incident Manager in the same way as you would manage an incident, so you can assign an owner to the problem, track the resolution and so on. In addition, there are in-context links to Support Workbench functionality which allows the administrator to package the diagnostic material, open a service request and view the status of diagnostic activity such as the SR number and ultimately bug number (if one is generated) within the user interface.

Figure 3 shows a diagrammatic example of how incidents and problems are related. Two ADR incidents have occurred, in this example two ORA-600 errors have occurred in my database. Both of these incidents are of critical severity. Enterprise Manager automatically creates a problem containing those incidents. Within the Incident Manager interface you can link to the Support Workbench to open a service request which you can then track from Incident Manager.

Figure 3: Incidents and problems

So now you have an understanding of the terminology and relationships between these terms, what’s next? Well, the next thing to understand is just how you deal with these incidents. That will be the topic of my next blog, so stay tuned for more!

Contributed by Pete Sharman , Principal Product Manager, Oracle Enterprise Manager

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Monday Jul 23, 2012

Oracle Enterprise Manager Ops Center 12c Update 1 - Additional Information and Best Practices

Oracle Enterprise Manager Ops Center 12c Update 1 was released earlier this month. Eran Steiner , Technical Architect, Oracle Enterprise Manager, adds some additional information and best practices about upgrading to Ops Center 12c Update 1 in this blog.

Eran hosted a call to provide an overview of Oracle Enterprise Manager Ops Center 12c Update 1 and answer any questions.The recording of this call is available here and the presentation can be downloaded here.

[Read More]

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.


Subscribe here to receive the Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c Newsletter.

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Wednesday Jul 18, 2012

Applying Oracle Enterprise Manager Cloud Control 12c Bundle Patch 1: Tips and Tricks

Over last few months, the Oracle Enterprise Manager team has released Enterprise Manager 12c Bundle Patch1 (a.k.a. BP1) for Oracle Enterprise Manager Cloud Control 12c (EM 12c) on all the supported platforms (Customer announcement). BP1 is a mandatory patch because all future patches will assume the presence of this patch. BP1 includes several critical fixes. Therefore this patch touches almost all the components of Enterprise Manager and applying it on existing environment is a multi step process that can be tricky. From our recent experience of applying BP1 on an internal production demo site with over a thousand targets, we would like to share following tips and tricks. 

1. Applying incremental Bundle Patch or using full install?
Unless you have an EM 12c running in production environments where you can’t afford to lose the existing management repository, it is highly recommended to re-install EM using the patched EM Base Platform Full Installer (With BP1), instead of applying BP1. For instance, if you have a test or a “sandbox” environment even with substantial number of targets, it might be easier to reinstall EM environment instead of manually applying patches (including agent patches) and upgrading plug-ins. Note that reinstalling EM will require reinstallation of target agents as well. Therefore you’ll need to do careful consideration before choosing this option.

2.    Plan it well

  • Given that the BP1 process involves agent side changes like patching and plug-in upgrades, you might want to consider splitting the agent side changes into phases, especially in large sized environment. In such cases, it is critical to review the Compatibility Matrix and ensure that at no stage during the BP1 upgrade process, your environment is in an unsupported configuration.
  • Never break the sequence of steps given in the BP1 application guide or you may risk your entire environment. For example -- as an admin, after upgrading the plug-ins on OMS, you may be tempted to upgrade plug-ins of agents as well even before patching the agent. As the documentation says -- resist the temptation to avoid issues while patching agents later.
  • Keep sufficient free space for backup. It might be helpful to take keep multiple backups. See the next tip.

3.    EM 12c Backup is critical

  • Never underestimate the importance of environment backup during the BP1. It is must to backup your environment before any steps that involve change in repository data. e.g.  OMS patching, plug-in upgrade on OMS, etc.
  • Additionally it is recommended to take backup after every significant step to minimize rework in case of any failure. For instance in our environment a total of four backups were taken at following stages.
    • Before applying BP1 on OMS
    • After applying BP1 on OMS, JDeveloper, WSM
    • Before upgrading plug-ins on OMS
    • After upgrading first few plug-ins on OMS

4.    Upgrade plug-ins in bulk using emcli  
BP1 comes with the release of plug-ins and it is highly recommended to upgrade plug-ins together with the application of BP1. In a typical environment you may need to upgrade more than 15 plug-ins. For some plug-ins, the upgrade process requires a restart of OMS(s) and therefore can take a good deal of time (almost fifteen minutes for single plug-in upgrade). Hence upgrading plug-ins one by one via the UI can be time consuming process requiring manual intervention after every few minutes.
Use EM command line ‘deploy_plugin_on_server’ to deploy multiple plug-ins in one go in an automated manner. Since multiple plug-ins are upgraded in single downtime window for OMS, it is a far more efficient process. In our environment, using command line we could upgrade eight plug-ins in under 30 minutes which otherwise would have taken more than two hours. Make sure to run the emcli in a pre-requisite check mode before doing the actual deployment such as shown in the screenshot below.

Also note that if your OMS is on Linux platform, you’ll need to apply one-off patch 13638422 after applying BP1 on the OMS to get the ‘deploy_plugin_on_server’ emcli verb. For BP1 on other platforms (e.g. Windows) this patch is included in BP1 itself.

5.    From Linux OMS don’t push agents on other platforms without necessary patches
A very common use case is the deployment of agents on non-Linux platform from a Linux OMS with BP1. Since you have Windows/Solaris agent software (with BP1) available via self update, you might tend to assume that, all you need to do is simply push the Windows/Solaris agents from BP1 Linux OMS but that’s not the right way to do. You have to apply few patches on OMS and plug-ins before pushing the agent, follow the instructions from the Oracle® Enterprise Manager Bundle Patch 1 Application Guide.

6.    Read the right documentation
Last but surely not the least, it is vital that you go through the Oracle® Enterprise Manager Bundle Patch 1 Application Guide, before you begin with the BP1 process. This guide provides step by step instructions for applying BP1 including pre-requisite checks, recommendations, and troubleshooting steps.
In addition to the documentation, we suggest to refer the following key resources published by Oracle.

These few simple tips can make your experience with BP1 a lot smoother. In future entries, we’ll discuss the best practices for major updates for Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c as and when those are available.

Thursday Jul 12, 2012

Online Launch Event on July 25 : Introducing Oracle ExaLogic Elastic Cloud Software 2.0

I would like to bring your attention to the online launch event on July 25 to introduce Oracle ExaLogic Elastic Cloud Software 2.0 . One of the focus areas of the upcoming ExaLogic release is enhanced manageability with Oracle Enterprise Manager .

Please join Oracle executives Hasan Rizvi, Cliff Godwin, Steve Wilson, Wim Coekaerts and Mohamad Afshar on July 25 for the launch of Oracle Exalogic Elastic Cloud Software 2.0. Oracle’s latest release of hardware and software is engineered to work together to run your business applications.

Learn how Oracle Exalogic Elastic Cloud Software 2.0 can help your company:

  • Close business up to 10x faster
  • Protect sensitive data with complete application isolation
  • Rapidly respond to market needs by provisioning applications 6x faster
  • Maximize availability and productivity with 2x faster troubleshooting

The interactive launch event will feature a panel discussion with Oracle executives and customer testimonials.Register now.

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Friday Jul 06, 2012

Oracle Enterprise Manager Ops Center 12c Update 1 is available now

Following the announcement of Oracle Enterprise Manager Ops Center 12c on April 4th, we are happy to announce the release of Oracle Enterprise Manager Ops Center 12c update 1. This is a bundled patch release for Oracle Enterprise Manager Ops Center. 

Here are the key features of the Oracle Enterprise Manager Ops Center 12c update 1 :

  • Oracle VM SPARC Server Pool HA Policy 
  • Automatically Upgrade from Ops Center 11g update 3 and Ops Center 12c 
  • Oracle Linux 5.8 and 6.x Support 
  • Oracle VM SPARC IaaS (Virtual Datacenters)
  • WANBoot Improvements with OBP Handling Enhancements
  • SPARC SuperCluster Support
  • Stability fixes

This new release contains significant enhancements in the update provisioning, bare metal OS provisioning, shared storage management, cloud/virtual datacenter, and networking management sections of the product.  With this update, customers can achieve better handling of ASR faults, add networks and storage to virtual guests more easily, understand IPMP and VLAN configurations better, get a more robust LDAP integration, get  virtualization aware firmware patching, and observe improved product performance across the board.  Customers can now accelerate Oracle VM SPARC and T4 deployments into production .

Oracle Enterprise Manager Ops Center 11g and Ops Center 12c customers will now notice the availability of new product update under the Administration tab within the  Browser User Interface (BUI) .  Upgrade process is explained in detail within the Ops Center Administration Guide under “Chapter 10: Upgrading”.  Please be sure to read over that chapter and the Release Notes before upgrading. 

During the week of July 9th,  the full download of the product will be available from the Oracle Enterprise Manager Ops Center download website.  Based on the customer feedback, we have changed the updates to include the entire product. Customers no longer need to install Ops Center 12c and then upgrade to the update 1 release.  The can simply install Ops Center 12c update 1 directly. 

Here are some of the resources that can help you learn more about the Oracle Enterprise Manager Ops Center and the new update 1.

Watch the recording of Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c launch webcast by clicking the following banner.

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Wednesday Jul 04, 2012

Oracle support note for Leap Second Hang problem that may result into 100% CPU utilization in Linux environment

On or around July 1, 2012, Oracle has become aware of an issue on Linux distributions resulting from the introduction of the leap second; this is causing problems for some customers.  Leap seconds may be introduced at the end of June or December in a calendar year, like 2012, as necessary to maintain time standards. Servers hosting Oracle products which are clients of an NTP server (Network Time Protocol) may be particularly susceptible to this issue as the NTP server is updated.

Linux distributions which may be affected include Oracle Enterprise Linux, Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Oracle VM and Oracle Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel. Asianux 2 and 3, based on RHEL 4 and 5, may also be affected. One report of correction to high agent CPU using Note 1472421.1 on SLES11 has also been reported.

Not all customers will be affected, but those, who are affected, may observe higher than normal CPU consumption on their Linux environments where JVM's are utilized.  In Oracle Enterprise Manager ( EM ) , this problem can manifest itself as high CPU consumption with the EM Agent process (which runs on a JVM in EM 12c, for instance).  It is possible that the OMS is also affected.

We would advise customers to review the description of this problem in MOS Note 1472651.1 and take action if they observe that their environment is affected.

Contributed by Andrew Bulloch , Director, Application Systems Management Products

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Database-as-a-Service on Exadata Cloud

Note – Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c DBaaS is platform agnostic and is designed to work on Exadata/non-Exadata, physical/virtual, Oracle/non Oracle infrastructure(hardware and OS) platforms and it’s not a mandatory requirement to use Exadata as the base platform.

Database-as-a-Service (DBaaS) is an important trend these days and the top business drivers motivating customers towards private database cloud model include constant pressure to reduce IT Costs and Complexity, and also to be able to improve Agility and Quality of Service.
The first step many enterprises take in their journey towards cloud computing is to move to a consolidated and standardized environment and Exadata being already a proven best-in-class popular consolidation platform, we are seeing now more and more customers starting to evolve from Exadata based platform into an agile self service driven private database cloud using Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c.

Together Exadata Database Machine and Enterprise Manager 12c provides industry’s most comprehensive and integrated solution to transform from a typical silo’ed environment into enterprise class database cloud with self service, rapid elasticity and pay-per-use capabilities.


In today’s post, I’ll list down the important steps to enable DBaaS on Exadata using Enterprise Manager 12c. These steps are chalked down based on a recent DBaaS implementation from a real customer engagement -

  • Project Planning - First step involves defining the scope of implementation, mapping functional requirements and objectives to use cases, defining high availability, network, security requirements, and delivering the project plan. In a Cloud project you plan around technology, business and processes all together so ensure you engage your actual end users and stakeholders early on in the project right from the scoping and planning stage.
  • Setup your EM 12c Cloud Control Site – Once the project plan approval and sign off from stakeholders is achieved, refer to EM 12c Install guide and these are some important tips to follow during the site setup phase -
    • Review the new EM 12c Sizing paper before you get started with install
    • Cloud, Chargeback and Trending, Exadata plug ins should be selected to deploy during install
    • Refer to EM 12c Administrator’s guide for High Availability, Security, Network/Firewall best practices and options
    • Your management and managed infrastructure should not be combined i.e. EM 12c repository should not be hosted on same Exadata where target Database Cloud is to be setup
  • Setup Roles and Users – Cloud Administrator (EM_CLOUD_ADMINISTRATOR), Self Service Administrator (EM_SSA_ADMINISTRATOR), Self Service User (EM_SSA_USER) are the important roles required for cloud lifecycle management. Roles and users are managed by Super Administrator via Setup menu –> Security option. For Self Service/SSA users custom role(s) based on EM_SSA_USER should be created and EM_USER, PUBLIC roles should be revoked during SSA user account creation.
  • Configure Software Library – Cloud Administrator logs in and in this step configures software library via Enterprise menu –> provisioning and patching option and the storage location is OMS shared filesystem. Software Library is the centralized repository that stores all software entities and is often termed as ‘local store’.
  • Setup Self Update – Self Update is one of the most innovative and cool new features in EM 12c framework. Self update can be accessed via Setup -> Extensibility option by Super Administrator and is the unified delivery mechanism to get all new and updated entities (Agent software, plug ins, connectors, gold images, provisioning bundles etc) in EM 12c.
  • Deploy Agents on all Compute nodes, and discover Exadata targets – Refer to Exadata discovery cookbook for detailed walkthrough to ensure successful discovery of Exadata targets.
  • Configure Privilege Delegation Settings – This step involves deployment of privilege setting template on all the nodes by Super Administrator via Setup menu -> Security option with the option to define whether to use sudo or powerbroker for all provisioning and patching operations.
  • Provision Grid Infrastructure with RAC Database on Compute Nodes – Software is provisioned in this step via a provisioning profile using EM 12c database provisioning. In case of Exadata, Grid Infrastructure and RAC Database software is already deployed on compute nodes via OneCommand from Oracle, so SSA Administrator just needs to discover Oracle Homes and Listener as EM targets. Databases will be created as and when users request for databases from cloud.
  • Customize Create Database Deployment Procedure – the actual database creation steps are "templatized" in this step by Self Service Administrator and the newly saved deployment procedure will be used during service template creation in next step. This is an important step and make sure you have locked all the required variables marked as locked as ‘Y’ in this table.
  • Setup Self Service Portal – This step involves setting up of zones, user quotas, service templates, chargeback plan. The SSA portal is setup by Self Service Administrator via Setup menu -> Cloud -> Database option and following guided workflow. Refer to DBaaS cookbook for details. You also have an option to customize SSA login page via steps documented in EM 12c Cloud Administrator’s guide
  • Final Checks – Define and document process guidelines for SSA users and administrators. Get your SSA users trained on Self Service Portal features and overall DBaaS model and SSA administrators should be familiar with Self Service Portal setup pieces, EM 12c database lifecycle management capabilities and overall EM 12c monitoring framework.
  • GO LIVE – Announce rollout of Database-as-a-Service to your SSA users. Users can login to the Self Service Portal and request/monitor/view their databases in Exadata based database cloud.

    Congratulations! You just delivered a successful database cloud implementation project!

    In future posts, we will cover these additional useful topics around database cloud –

    • DBaaS Implementation tips and tricks – right from setup to self service to managing the cloud lifecycle
    • ‘How to’ enable real production databases copies in DBaaS with rapid provisioning in database cloud
    • Case study of a customer who recently achieved success with their transformational journey from traditional silo’ed environment on to Exadata based database cloud using Enterprise Manager 12c.

    More Information –

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