Understanding Plans, Profiles and Policies in Enterprise Manager Ops Center

Enterprise Manager Ops Center uses a combination of Plans and Profiles to maximize repeatability and reuse, while giving you the degree of flexibility to provision and update what you need to in your environment. The structured building block approach will allow reuse of many of the components instead of re-entering data each time, but does make the whole thing look very confusing until you understand the relationship between plans and profiles.

The sort activities covered by plans and profiles are:

  • OS provisioning and configuration
  • BIOS and Firmware updates
  • LDOM creation
  • Zone creation
  • Boot environment creation
  • Patching and adding packages (S10 and S11)
  • Configuration files and pre/post action scripts (S10)
  • Automation using operational plans (scripts)

The Building Blocks

So, firstly, let's look at the building blocks and see what is the difference between a Plan and a Profile.

Profiles

Profiles contain the configuration information required to perform an action eg:

  • OS Provisioning plan - contains type/architecture, resourcing, OS version, software group, language, timezone, password, filesystems, name services
  • OS configuration - contains type/architecture, agent/agentless, multipathing, network configuration
  • Discovery - contains asset type, tags, IP address, credentials, grouping
  • Logical Domains - contains type, name, CPU/Cores, memory, automatic recovery, storage, networks

These are just some examples of the 16 types of profiles available in the BUI. 

Plans

Plans are objects that can be run (executed) to make something happen. Plans contain profiles, other plans, policies, or a combination of these.

Policies

In addition to these profiles, there are update and monitoring policies and credentials that can also be created and edited here.

Examples

Let's look at a couple of examples from a process prospective and how they actually look in the BUI. A side note here is the screenshots have been taken from an Ops Center 12.2.2 environment. Ops Center 12.3.0 introduces new styles of icons, but the principles are still all the same.

Process overview

For example, if we were going to provision a bare metal physical sever, you would have 2 choices:

  • A simple provision that would just lay down an operating system
  • A complex provision that
    • could update the BIOS on an X86
    • lay down the OS
    • update (patch) the OS
    • Add applications
    • Run scripts
    • Apply a non default monitoring profile
    • etc.

You choose the one that best suits what you are trying to do.

Simple OS Provisioning

If you just wanted to get an OS laid down, basic network/filesystems configured and possibly an agent installed, you would choose a "Provision OS" plan

This plan contains 2 profiles, an "OS Provisioning" profile and an "OS Configuration" profile. These profiles contain the answers to the same questions that would have been asked if you provisioned the server manually. A point to remember: it is required that you create your profiles (answering the questions that the wizard presents) before they are available to be added to a plan.

In the BUI it looks like this:

Complex OS provisioning

This plan must have the same 2 plans that the simple approach did, but has the option to add many other plans to be able to patch the deployed OS (Update OS, Update software), add software (Install, Operational plans), and further configure the OS/Application using scripts (Pre-install, Post-install, Operational plans)

In the BUI it looks like this:

The steps (profiles) you choose will be determined by what you want to achieve and if you are provisioning Solaris 10/Linux or Solaris11. 

Duplicating steps

In addition, most of these optional steps can be duplicated to allow you to execute more than one profile. To do this, add your first profile for that step, then select (highlight) that step and if it is available, the copy icon (with 1, 2 shown on it) will become active.

 Click that icon and the step will be duplicated allowing you to run more than one profile.


This makes the whole operation much more flexible, as you could have an update profile for your OS , one for web servers and one for databases. So if this plan was to build a web server, your plan would contain both the OS update profile and the web server update profile, avoiding the need to have the OS patches in 2 profiles.

 Other examples

 Another example of this would be if you wanted to build and LDOM or if you wanted to build an LDOM and deploy an OS into it (complex or simple), you would choose the appropriate plan.

Building an LDOM

Building an LDOM requires a "Create Logical Domain" plan

which only has a single step, which is a "Logical Domain" profile.

Building an LDOM and provisioning an OS

You can build the LDOM and provision the OS into it in a single action by creating a "Configure and Install Logical Domains" plan

which contains two steps, which is a "Logical Domain" profile and an "Install Server Profile"

Summary

By now, hopefully, the pattern has become clear. Plans and profiles are just the building blocks that allow you to deploy your system in the way you want. Each of the components are modular, so they can be re-used as much as possible and make it easier to maintain as you have fewer places you need to change when you want to change your configurations. There are many other types of plans offered by Ops Center that will create zones , build M-series physical domains and deploy OVM for X86 virtual machines, individually or combined with OS deployment, but they all follow the same basic structure. While how to do this is all laid out in the online documentaion, my best advice is to get yourself some test systems and try it out. There is often no substitute for having actually done it.

Regards,

Rodney Lindner


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