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An Oracle blog about Oracle Enterprise Manager and Oracle Management Cloud

Simplified Agent and Plug-in Deployment

Courtney Llamas
Architect

On your site of hundreds or thousands of hosts have you
had to patch agents immediately as they get deployed?  For this reason I’ve always been a big fan of cloning an agent
that has the required plug-ins and all the recommended core agent and plug-in
patches, then using that clone for all new agent deployments. With EM 12c this got even easier as you can
now clone the agent using the console “Add Host” method. You still
have to rely on the EM users to use the clone. The one problem I have with cloning is that you have to have a reference
target for each platform that you support. If you have a consolidated environment and only have Linux x64, this may
not be a problem. If you are managing a
typical data center with a mixture of platforms, it can become quite the
maintenance nightmare just to maintain your golden images. You must update golden image agents whenever
you get a new patch (generic or platform specific) for the agent or plug-in, and
recreate the clone for each platform. Typically, I find people create a clone for their most common platforms,
and forget about the rest. That means,
maybe 80% of their agents meet their standard patch requirements and plug-ins
upon deployment, but the other 20% have to be patched post-deploy, or worse –
never get patched!

While deployed agents and plug-ins can be patched easily
using EM
Patches & Updates
, but what about the agents still getting deployed or
upgraded? Wouldn’t it be nice if they
got patched as part of the deployment or upgrade? This article will show you two new features
in EM 12.1.0.3 (12cR3) that will help you deploy the most current agent and
plug-in versions. Whether you have 100s
or 1000s of agents to manage, reducing maintenance and keeping the agents up to
date is an important task, and being able to deploy or upgrade to a fully patched
agent will save you a lot of time and effort.

Agent One-off Patches

Using the new feature available in 12cR3, you can enforce
which one-off patches get applied during agent deployment or when using the
Console or EM CLI. This keeps all
Agents at a consistent patch level and removes the extra steps required to
patch agents after deployment or upgrade.

As part of your change management process, it is recommended
to have a gold image agent that you perform all your patching and testing
on. You will need one per platform if
you have platform specific patches. After
you have fully tested the Agent one-off patches and decide they are to be part
of your agent golden image, stage them on each OMS in
$OMS_HOME/install/oneoffs/<agentversion>/<platform> where agentversion
is like 12.1.0.3.0 and platform
matches an option in the table below:

Patch Operating System

Platform Directory

Generic

Generic

Linux

Linux

Linux X64

linux_x64

Oracle Solaris on x86-64
(64-bit)

solarix_x64

Oracle Solaris on SPARC
(64-bit)

Solaris

HP-UX PA-RISC (64-bit)

hpunix

HP-UX Itanium

Hpi

IBM S/390 Based Linux (32-bit)

linux_zseries64

IBM AIX on Power Systems
(64-bit)

Aix

IBM Linux on Power Systems
(64-bit)

linux_ppc64

Microsoft Windows x64 (64-bit)

windows_x64

Microsoft Windows (32-bit)

win32

For example, a non-platform specific patch for 12.1.0.3.0
would reside in the following file:

$<OMS_HOME>/install/oneoffs/12.1.0.3.0/Generic/

Once the patches are staged in the install directory for
each OMS, agent deployment and agent upgrades done using the EM 12c Console will
apply the one-off patches as a post-install/post-upgrade step. Using EM CLI upgrade_agents
or submit_add_host verbs will
also deploy the one-off patches.

Patches can be verified in the $AGENT_HOME/cfgtoollogs/agentDeploy/agentDeploy<timestamp>.log
or by checking the Agent inventory with Opatch.

$<AGENT_HOME>/OPatch/opatch
lsinventory -oh <AGENT_HOME> -invPtrLoc <AGENT_HOME>/oraInst.loc

For full details and examples on this new feature, see the Oracle Enterprise Manager Cloud Control
Advanced Installation and Configuration Guide
in Appendix
D Applying One-Off Patches to Oracle Management Agents
and watch the
self-running demo How
to push Plug-in patches while doing Fresh Agent Deployment or Agent Upgrade
using Create Custom Plug-in Update
.

Agent Side Plug-in One-off Patches

So now that you’ve got your agent deployed and patched, it’s
time for the Plug-ins. These patches
get applied to the plug-in home (i.e. /oracle/agent/plugins/oracle.sysman.db.agent.plugin_12.1.0.4.0
is the plug-in for the DB 12.1.0.4.0 plug-in for an Agent installed in
/oracle/agent). Just as with agent
patches, you can easily deploy patches to existing agent plug-in using EM
Patches & Updates, but what about all those new plug-ins you have to deploy
to newly installed agents? With 12cR3 you can now ensure that the patches
are automatically applied each time the plug-in is deployed as well. This removes an additional step of having to
go back and patch an agent plug-in that you just deployed.

Using
your gold image agent you selected earlier, apply any plug-in patches that you
want to apply. Once you’ve successfully
validated and tested the plug-in, create the Custom Plug-in Update using EM CLI. To create a Custom Plug-in Update the user
must have the EM_INFRASTRUCTURE_ADMIN role. The overwrite flag is required once the first Custom Plug-in Update is
created to update. For example there is a plug-in patch for DB
plug-in that we have applied to all our existing agents and we would like all
new agents to have this plug-in patch.

$emcli create_custom_plugin_update
-agent_name="server1.oracle.com:3872" -plugin_id=”oracle.sysman.db”
-overwrite

To
view a list of patches included in a particular Custom Plug-in Update, run the
following command or view the details in the Console:

$emcli
list_patches_in_custom_plugin_update -plugin=<plugin_id>:<version>
[-discovery]

For more details on the Custom Plug-in Update feature in
12cR3, see the Enterprise Manager 12c
Cloud Control Administrator’s Guide
section on Plug-ins
and watch the self-running demo How
to push Plug-in patches while doing Fresh Agent Deployment or Agent Upgrade
using Create Custom Plug-in Update
.

Summary

In summary, using these two new features of 12cR3 helps you
ensure that freshly deployed or upgraded agents and plug-ins get the
appropriate patches in one step. This
will help in reducing maintenance and maintain a consistent agent profile
across all servers.

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