What's New in Database Lifecycle Management in Enterprise Manager 12c Release 3

Enterprise Manager 12c Release 3 includes improvements and enhancements across every area of the product. This blog provides an overview of the new and enhanced features in the Database Lifecycle Management area. I will deep dive into specific features more in depth in subsequent posts.

"What's New?"  In this release, we focused on four things:

1. Lifecycle Management Support for new Database12c, especially around the pluggable databases (aka multitenant option)
2. Management of long running processes, such as a security patch cycle (Change Activity Planner)
3. Management of large number of systems by
· Leveraging new framework capabilities for lifecycle operations, such as the new advanced ‘emcli’ script option
· Refining features such as configuration search and compliance
4. Minor improvements and quality fixes to existing features
· Rollback support for Single instance databases
· Improved "OFFLINE" Patching experience
· Faster collection of ORACLE_HOME configurations

Lifecycle Management Support for new Database 12c - Pluggable Databases

Database 12c introduces Pluggable Databases (PDBs), the brand new addition to help you achieve your consolidation goals. Pluggable databases offer unprecedented consolidation at database level and native lifecycle verbs for creating, plugging and unplugging the databases on a container database (CDB).

Enterprise Manager can supplement the capabilities of pluggable databases by offering workflows for migrating, provisioning and cloning them using the software library and the deployment procedures. For example, Enterprise Manager can migrate an existing database to a PDB or clone a PDB by storing a versioned copy in the software library. One can also manage the planned downtime related to patching by  migrating the PDBs to a new CDB.

While pluggable databases offer these exciting features, it can also pose configuration management and compliance challenges if not managed properly. Enterprise Manager features like inventory management, topology associations and configuration search can mitigate the sprawl of PDBs and also lock them to predefined golden standards using configuration comparison and compliance rules.

Learn More ...

Management of Long Running datacenter processes - Change Activity Planner (CAP)

Currently, customers resort to cumbersome methods to create, execute, track and monitor change activities within their data center. Some customers use traditional tools such as spreadsheets, project planners and in-house custom built solutions. Customers often have weekly sync up meetings across stake holders to collect status and updates. Some of the change activities, for example the quarterly patch set update (PSU) patch rollouts are not single tasks but processes with multiple tasks. Some of those tasks are performed within Enterprise Manager Cloud Control (for example Patch) and some are performed outside of Enterprise Manager Cloud Control. These tasks often run for a longer period of time and involve multiple people or teams.

Enterprise Manger Cloud Control supports core data center operations such as configuration management, compliance management, and automation. Enterprise Manager Cloud Control release leverages these capabilities and introduces the Change Activity Planner (CAP).

CAP provides the ability to plan, execute, and track change activities in real time. It covers the typical datacenter activities that are spread over a long period of time, across multiple people and multiple targets (even target types).

Here are some examples of Change Activity Process in a datacenter:

· Patching large environments (PSU/CPU Patching cycles)
· Upgrading large number of database environments
· Rolling out Compliance Rules
· Database Consolidation to Exadata environments

CAP provides user flows for Compliance Officers/Managers (incl. lead administrators) and Operators (DBAs and admins).

Managers can create change activity plans for various projects, allocate resources, targets, and groups affected. Upon activation of the plan, tasks are created and automatically assigned to individual administrators based on target ownership. Administrators (DBAs) can identify their tasks and understand the context, schedules, and priorities. They can complete tasks using Enterprise Manager Cloud Control automation features such as patch plans (or in some cases outside Enterprise Manager). Upon completion, compliance is evaluated for validations and updates the status of the tasks and the plans.

Learn More about CAP ... 

Improved Configuration & Compliance Management of a large number of systems

Improved Configuration Comparison: 
Get to the configuration comparison results faster for simple ad-hoc comparisons. When performing a 1 to 1 comparison, Enterprise Manager will perform the comparison immediately and take the user directly to the results without having to wait for a job to be submitted and executed.
Flattened system comparisons reduce comparison setup time and reduce complexity. In addition to the previously existing topological comparison, users now have an option to compare using a “flattened” methodology. Flattening means to remove duplicate target instances within the systems and remove the hierarchy of member targets. The result are much easier to spot differences particularly for specific use cases like comparing patch levels between complex systems like RAC and Fusion Apps.

Improved Configuration Search & Advanced EMCLI Script option for Mass Automation

Enterprise manager 12c introduces a new framework level capability to be able to script and stitch together multiple tasks using EMCLI. This powerful capability can be leveraged for lifecycle operations, especially when executing a task over a large number of targets. Specific usages of this include, retrieving a qualified list of targets using Configuration Search and then using the resultset for automation. Another example would be executing a patching operation and then re-executing on targets where it may have failed. This is complemented by other enhancements, such as a better usability for designing reusable configuration searches.

IN EM 12c Rel 3, a simplified UI makes building adhoc searches even easier. Searching for missing patches is a common use of configuration search. This required the use of the advanced options which are now clearly defined and easy to use.

Perform “Configuration Search” using the EMCLI. Users can find and execute Configuration Searches from the EMCLI which can be extremely useful for building sophisticated automation scripts.
For an example, Run the Search named “Oracle Databases on Exadata” which finds all Database targets running on top of Exadata. Further filter the results by refining by options like name, host, etc..

emcli get_targets -config_search="Databases on Exadata" –target_name="exa%“

Use this in powerful mass automation operations using the new emcli script option. For example, to solve the use case of – Finding all DBs running on Exadata and housing E-Biz and Patch them. Create a Python script with emcli functions and invoke it in the new EMCLI script option shell.

Invoke the script in the new EMCLI with script option directly:

$<path to emcli>/emcli @myPSU_Patch.py

Richer compliance content: 

Now over 50 Oracle Provided Compliance Standards including new standards for Pluggable Database, Fusion Applications, Oracle Identity Manager, Oracle VM and Internet Directory.
9 Oracle provided Real Time Monitoring Standards containing over 900 Compliance Rules across 500 Facets. These new Real time Compliance Standards covers both Exadata Compute nodes and Linux servers. The result is increased Oracle software coverage and faster time to compliance monitoring on Exadata.

Enhancements to Patch Management:
Overhauled "OFFLINE" Patching experience: Simplified Patch uploads UI to improve the offline experience of patching. There is now a single step process to get the patches into software library.

Customers often maintain local repositories of patches, sometimes called software depots, where they host the patches downloaded from My Oracle Support. In the past, you had to move these patches to your desktop then upload them to the Enterprise Manager's Software library through the Enterprise Manager Cloud Control user interface.

You can now use the following EMCLI command to upload multiple patches directly from a remote location within the data center:
$emcli upload_patches -location <Path to Patch directory> -from_host <HOSTNAME>

The upload process filters all of the new patches, automatically selects the relevant metadata files from the location, and uploads the patches to software library.

Other Improvements: 
Patch rollback for single instance databases, new option in the Patch Plan to rollback the patches added to the patch plans. Upon execution, the procedure would rollback the patch and the SQL applied to the single instance Databases.

Improved and faster configuration collection of Oracle Home targets can enable more reliable automation at higher level functions like Provisioning, Patching or Database as a Service.

Just to recap, here is a list of database lifecycle management features: 

Red highlights mark – New or Enhanced in the Release 3.

• Discovery, inventory tracking and reporting
• Database provisioning including
Migration to Pluggable databases
o Plugging and unplugging of pluggable databases
o Gold image based cloning
o Scaling of RAC nodes
•Schema and data change management
End-to-end patch management in online and offline modes, including
o Patch advisories in online (connected with My Oracle Support) and offline mode
o Patch pre-deployment analysis, deployment and rollback (currently only for single instance databases)
o Reporting

• Upgrade planning and execution of the upgrade process
Configuration management including
• Compliance management with out-of-box content
Change Activity Planner for planning, designing and tracking long running processes

For more information on Enterprise Manager’s database lifecycle management capabilities, visit http://www.oracle.com/technetwork/oem/lifecycle-mgmt/index.html


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