Wednesday Apr 16, 2014

RMAN Backups using Cloud Control

Friends, a technical article was recently published on the Oracle Technical Network:

Back Up a Thousand Databases Using Enterprise Manager Cloud Control 12c

This detailed technical article explains the set up and scheduling of full and incremental RMAN Database backups for  thousands of databases using Enterprise Manager 12c, and how this is done more easily and efficiently than the older, more time-consuming, manual method of performing Unix shell scripting, RMAN scripting, and CRON jobs for each database to be backed up.

And with the Database Group Backup feature new to Enterprise Manager 12c, it can be even faster to set up RMAN backups for multiple databases - even if there are thousands - that are part of an Enterprise Manager Database Group (one kind of target group).

The article also highlights the advantages of using Pluggable Databases (PDBs) in Oracle Database 12c and backing them up using RMAN. RMAN cannot backup individual schemas, and it has always been difficult to perform point-in-time-recovery (PITR) at an individual schema level, since schemas can easily be distributed across multiple tablespaces. The advantage in using PDBs in a Container Database is that you can easily set up RMAN backups at the Container Database level, and yet perform PITR at the PDB level. This is a clear technical advantage of the Multi-tenant architecture of Oracle Database 12c.

The set up and scheduling of RMAN database backups forms a part of the Base Database Management features of Enterprise Manager that enables numerous customers to get familiar with the day-to-day use of Enterprise Manager 12c. The full list of Base Database Management features can be found in the Enterprise Manager Licensing Information guide here.

In fact I had personally introduced Enterprise Manager to one of India’s largest financial services organizations in India in 2007 for the purpose of their RMAN backups, they started using it for the first time, and today we are proud to say that they are an Enterprise Manager reference customer who have presented in OOW for the last 2 years. The following slide is from their recent OOW presentation.

One thing I forgot to include in the article (and yes, it is a long article) was on reporting of the RMAN backups. A few readers asked me that question after the article’s publication, both inside and outside Oracle.

I told them that if they were using an RMAN catalog, the catalog would have this information and could easily be queried. If they were not using a catalog, then this backup information would be stored in the control file, and they would have to query each database’s control file (using V$ views) to get the backup report. BI Publisher, installed as an add-on to Enterprise Manager, could be used for this purpose. However note that if BI Publisher is used to query information from a source other than the Enterprise Manager repository database, a license is payable for each database it accesses.

Read the full article at “Back Up a Thousand Databases Using Enterprise Manager Cloud Control 12c”, and enjoy the world of Oracle Enterprise Manager.


Porus Homi Havewala (OCM 11g/10g).

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Tuesday Apr 08, 2014

Consolidated Database Replay: Playing Nice Together

Here is a great article from resident Oracle ACE, Arup Nanda, who details insight into predicting the impact of consolidating separate database workloads into one. The article outlines a typical consolidation scenario and explains how Oracle Real Application Testing's Consolidated Database Replay capabilities can help measure the impact of the workload consolidation. A must read for those considering a consolidation project in the near future. Read the article.

Database work load patterns of two applications.

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Friday Apr 04, 2014

Webcast: Database Cloning in Minutes using Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c Database as a Service Snap Clone

April 10 — 7:00 a.m. PT | 10:00 a.m. ET | 4:00 p.m. CET
April 24 — 10:00 a.m. PT | 1:00 p.m. ET
May 8 — 7:00 a.m. PT | 10:00 a.m. ET | 4:00 p.m. CET
May 22 — 10:00 a.m. PT | 1:00 p.m. ET

Since the demands from the business for IT services is non-stop, creating copies of production databases in order to develop, test and deploy new applications can be labor intensive and time consuming. Users may also need to preserve private copies of the database, so that they can go back to a point prior to when a change was made in order to diagnose potential issues. Using Snap Clone, users can create multiple snapshots of the database and “time travel” across these snapshots to access data from any point in time.

Join us for an in-depth technical webcast and learn how Oracle Cloud Management Pack for Oracle Database's capability called Snap Clone, can fundamentally improve the efficiency and agility of administrators and QA Engineers while saving CAPEX on storage. Benefits include:

  • Agile provisioning (~ 2 minutes to provision a 1 TB database)
  • Over 90% storage savings
  • Reduced administrative overhead from integrated lifecycle management

Register Now!

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Wednesday Apr 02, 2014

Cloud Odyssey in London

The Cloud Odyssey event happened in London recently. Here is the Storify from the event. Enjoy!

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Tuesday Apr 01, 2014

Managing Pluggable Database as a Service: Questions and Answers

Since the launch of Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c Release 3, we have received tons of questions around managing Oracle Multitenant, an Oracle Database 12c Enterprise Edition option, and pluggable databases (PDBs)—more specifically; questions about pluggable database as a service (PDBaaS). In this blog, we provide answers to some of the common questions from people.

Question: What qualifies a database to be pluggable?
Answer: A pluggable database must be a current Oracle Database 12c database, configured for multitenant through a new enterprise edition option called Oracle Multitenant. It delivers a new architecture that allows a multitenant container database (CDB) to hold many pluggable databases (PDBs). An Oracle Database in the old architecture (a “non-CDB”) may be upgraded to the multitenant architecture via a simple process known as “adopting the non-CDB as a PDB”. A PDB is a self-contained, fully functional Oracle Database, and includes its own system, sysaux and user tablespaces. You can learn more about Oracle Multitenant and pluggable database in this whitepaper.

Can the pluggable databases be plugged and unplugged across multiple platforms such as Solaris, AIX, and Linux?
The pluggable database must be endian compatible. Cross endian operations require OGG, Data pump or restore from backup.

In terms of database consolidation, what are the differences between using VMs, dedicated schemas and pluggable databases?
To describe the advantages of using pluggable database vs. other consolidation methods, it can be best illustrated in a simply comparison table.

Comparison of Database as a Service Consolidation Models

Pluggable database combines the best of all the other models and offers excellent consolidation, isolation, manageability and is suitable for any application that is certified to run on Oracle Database 12c. With the other models, we see certain shortcomings. For example, server virtualization offers good isolation but creates compliance and administrative headaches. Schema based consolidation offers ease of management and patching, but limited isolation.

How do you track configuration drift with a pluggable database? I certainly understand drift in the container database, but in what ways would a pluggable database drift from its standard baseline?
This pertains to Configuration Drift Tracking via Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c. One can compare any two Enterprise Manager targets or a complete system such as an Oracle Exadata Database Machine. When you compare at the PDB level, they can differ in the tablespace names, the storage settings of tablespace with same name, or users, etc. Using Oracle Enterprise Manager to track drift, it is particularly useful in comparing difference in your development, testing, and production environments. It is even useful for comparing your standby systems to set standards for compliance requirements.

What is a zone? Is it physical? Regional?
The Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c Cloud resource model involves pooling the same target types where it’s combining similar hosts, databases, hardware or other similar resources in to a zone. Zones can therefore be defined by the boundary of the Cloud and exposed through Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c’s self-service portal. In terms of the pluggable database as a service model, you can create Oracle Multitenant container databases and group them to form a database pool that users can then draw from. When the self-service user provisions a pluggable database, they need to simply specify the Zone where they want to deploy. Internally, Oracle Enterprise Manager uses load or configuration driven algorithms to place the PDB in the right CDB.

What will be the DBA and SYSADMIN role in the pluggable DBaaS environment?
With pluggable databases you have common users and local users as well as common roles and associated privileges and local roles and associated privileges. You can isolate user/role/privilege to the PDB by defining only local user/role/privilege. To leverage the manage many as one, you would define common user/role/privilege to act on all PDBs or a subset of PDBs where the common user has create session privileges within the PDB. You would define DBA roles and SYSADMIN roles based on common and/or local user roles.

What if you need custom configurations on a pluggable database? Once the database is deployed via self-service how do you make changes?
Some parameters are modifiable at the PDB level. You would check v$parameter ISPDB_MODIFIABLE value to determine what can be changed. Some customization can be done at the CDB level; however, they would affect all PDBs for that CDB. Oracle Enterprise Manager’s self-service provides a TNS Connect string to connect to the PDB with the right privilege and execute “ALTER SYSTEM” for the parameters that are permissible to change.

If I'm an application developer and I request a database with a certain pre-defined service level, what level of permissions should I expect with that database? Am I getting DBA or SYSDBA privileges with that request?
It depends on what was negotiated as part of the service definition and associated user/role/privileges defined for that service.

Are the pluggable database as a service capabilities for Oracle Database 12c included in Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c? Do we need a plug-in? Do we need to license Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c Database Management Packs?
You need the Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c database and cloud plug-ins. License-wise; the self-service provisioning from Oracle Enterprise Manager is licensed as part of Cloud Management Pack for Database. The Oracle Multitenant option must be licensed if two or more PDBs are plugged into a single CDB.
Watch this short demo called “Using Pluggable Database as a Service (PDBaaS) Self-Service Portal” for a better understanding of deploying PDBaaS using Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c.

Which Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c Management Packs are required to be able to provide DBaaS?
You need the Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c Cloud Management Pack for Database and Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c Lifecycle Management Pack for Database to do database as a service. Both of which must be licensed.

If you have shared memory and background processes in the container database, how do you allocate server resources to a particular pluggable database? Can you assign specific amount of CPU cycles, RAM and IOPS for a given pluggable database?
SQL execution is scoped to the PDB as identified by the con_id created during session create. In Oracle Database 12c, Resource Manager (RM) has been extended to include support for Oracle Multitenant. Policies may be defined at the PDB level in terms of the simple-yet-powerful concepts of “caps” and “shares” to determine the allocation of resources between PDBs. In this way, resource manager can control allocation of CPU, sessions and parallel execution servers. Additionally, on Oracle Exadata, Resource Manager can also manage IO and network. Memory management currently is implicitly managed through SGA LRU algorithms and CPU share management.

What is the largest number of pluggable databases you can deploy on Oracle Exadata?
Currently the PDB limit per CDB is 252 PDBs. In Oracle Real Application Clusters environments such as Oracle Exadata, the density of PDB consolidation greatly increases as you may have multiple CDBs per physical server and 252 PDBs per CDB. The maximum limit would be bound by compute resource constraints/limits. And as mentioned in the question on Zone, Oracle Enterprise Manager gives an ability to combine multiple CDBs into a Pool and handle transparent placement. The Oracle Enterprise Manager self-service user therefore won’t be exposed to the underlying limit.

Can I use pluggable database as a service if the target database is 9i or 10g?
You would need to migrate the Oracle Database 9i, 10g and 11g databases to Oracle Database 12c non-CDB and convert them into pluggable databases. The architectural changes within Oracle Database 12c are not backward compatible.

Can Active Data Guard be configured for selective pluggable databases from a container database? I do not want all pluggable databases to have a standby.
In the current release, Oracle Active Data Guard operates at the container level, however, PDB annotations are tagged in the redo stream, so PDB operations on the primary are reflected on the standby.

Does RMAN support pluggable databases?
Scheduled backups are at the CDB layer and include all PDBs. Ad-hoc backups can be executed on individual PDBs. Individual PDBs can be restored from backup.

For complete details of managing pluggable database as a service, be sure to watch this webcast: Delivering Pluggable Database as a Service

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Monday Mar 31, 2014

Munhowen to Reduce Maintenance Costs and TCO by More Than 50 Percent

Munhowen, a leading Luxembourg beverage distributor, decided to replace its existing IT environment. By selecting Oracle technology, including Oracle Real Application Clusters, Oracle Enterprise Manager, Oracle Linux and Oracle ZFS Storage Appliances, the company was able to enhance system performance and reduce maintenance costs associated with sustaining an optimal hardware environment.

Jean-Pierre Rasquin, CIO, Munhowen, explains: “Implementing Oracle Real Application Clusters, Oracle Enterprise Manager, and Oracle ZFS Storage Appliance helped us to significantly increase our IT environment’s availability, scalability, and manageability—providing superior support, tailored to our business needs, while helping us to reduce maintenance costs.” Read the press release.

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Friday Mar 28, 2014

Oracle Database 2 Day + Performance Tuning Guide

Great Resource for Learning Oracle Database 12c and Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c

The guide includes coverage of Oracle Diagnostics Pack and Oracle Tuning Pack features such as Automatic Database Diagnostic Monitor (ADDM), Active Session History (ASH) Analytics, SQL Tuning Advisor, Real-time SQL Monitoring and more. Download the PDF or HTML verision.

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Thursday Mar 27, 2014

Cisco Improves Service Quality with Self-Managing Automation

Learn how Cisco improves its database application service delivery using Oracle Enterprise Manager.

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Wednesday Mar 26, 2014

Infographic: Database Manageability—Getting Ahead of the Curve

As a DBA, getting ahead of the demands of the job are challenging enough, day in and day out. A recent IOUG survey on database management sheds new light on some of the top challenges facing administrators. Here's an infographic breakdown on what you need to know.

Download the IOUG Survey.

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Tuesday Mar 25, 2014

Demo: Setting Up a Database Cloud Self Service Portal for Data Cloning Using Snap Clone

This demo shows how to setup a database cloud self service portal for data cloning using Snap Clone in Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c.

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Thursday Feb 27, 2014

Fast Recovery Area for Archive Destination

If you are using Fast Recovery Area (FRA) for the archive destination and the destination is set to USE_DB_RECOVERY_FILE_DEST, you may notice that the Archive Area % Used metric does not trigger anymore. Instead you will see the Recovery Area % Used metric trigger when it hits a Warning threshold of 85% full, and Critical of 97% full. As this metric is controlled by the server side database thresholds it cannot be modified by Enterprise Manager (see MOS Note 428473.1 for more information). Thresholds of 85/97 are not sufficient for some of the larger, busier databases. This may not give you enough time to kickoff a backup and clear enough logs before the archiver hangs. If you need different thresholds, you can easily accomplish this by creating a Metric Extension (ME) and setting thresholds to your desired values.  This blog will walk through an example of creating an ME to monitor archive on FRA destinations, for more information on ME's and how they can be used, refer to the Oracle Enterprise Manager Cloud Control Administrator's Guide

[Read More]

Tuesday Feb 18, 2014

Monitoring Archive Area % Used on Cluster Databases

One of the most critical events to monitor on an Oracle Database is your archive area. If the archive area fills up, your database will halt until it can continue to archive the redo logs. If your archive destination is set to a file system, then the Archive Area % Used metric is often the best way to go. This metric allows you to monitor a particular file system for the percentage space that has been used. However, there are a couple of things to be aware of for this critical metric.

Cluster Database vs. Database Instance

You will notice in EM 12c, the Archive Area metric exists on both the Cluster Database and the Database Instance targets. The majority of Cluster Databases (RAC) are built against database best practices which indicate that the Archive destination should be shared read/write between all instances. The purpose for this is that in case of recovery, any instance can perform the recovery and has all necessary archive logs to do so. Monitoring this destination for a Cluster Database at the instance level caused duplicate alerts and notifications, as both instances would hit the Warning/Critical threshold for Archive Area % Used within minutes of each other. To eliminate duplicate notifications, the Archive Area % Used metric for Cluster Databases was introduced. This allows the archive destination to be monitored at a database level, much like tablespaces are monitored in a RAC database.

In the Database Instance (RAC Instance) target, you will notice the Archive Area % Used metric collection schedule is set to Disabled.

If you have a RAC database and you do not share archive destinations between instances, you will want to Disable the Cluster Database metric, and enable the Database Instance metric to ensure that each destination is monitored individually.

Friday Feb 14, 2014

WEBCAST: Accelerate Database Testing for Improved Agility

Accelerate Database Testing for Improved Agility and Cost Savings

Wednesday, February 26, 2014
10:00 AM PST | 1:00 PM EST

Join us in a webcast to learn how Oracle Real Application Testing—an Oracle Database 12c, Enterprise Edition option and Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c—work together to provide an easy-to-use solution for making changes to your mission-critical database. Learn from Oracle experts about the new Oracle Real Application Testing capability, SQL Performance Analyzer (SPA) Quick Check. It lets DBAs run quick validations on production databases for any system change.

Discover how SPA Quick Check helps to:

  • Safely test and deploy system changes using real workloads
  • Test consolidation scenarios for better resource management
  • Improve the quality of service for business agility and uptime
  • Reduce administrative effort and risks for database changes

Register now.

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Friday Feb 07, 2014

VIDEO: Nationwide Deploys Database Applications 600% Faster

Watch the latest Nationwide video to see how they saved administrative time and effort using Oracle Enterprise Manager.

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Thursday Jan 30, 2014

Oracle Enterprise Manager Helps Manage Systems for Gaia Mission

The Italian National Institute of Astrophysics (INAF) has selected Oracle to store, analyze and manage scientific data generated from the European Space Agency's Gaia mission. The mission sets out to provide in-depth 3-D mapping of the Milky Way galaxy over the course of the next 5 years. An estimated 1 petabyte of astronomical data (equivalent to 1 million gigabytes) will be collected and stored in Oracle Database with Oracle Enterprise Manager entrusted to manage the system.

The goal of the Gaia mission will give researchers a better understanding into how the Milky Way was formed and how it has evolved over time. According to Roberto Morbidelli, Scientific Operation Manager at INAF, "Our activity within the Gaia mission will provide a huge volume of information, a very precious heritage of astronomical data that will have to be stored for the whole 21st century and beyond. Oracle has demonstrated in other research contexts that it would be the ideal technological partner to manage scientific projects of this kind of size. Thus we are sure that it will be a successful choice for INAF too. Oracle has been selected for its technology’s reliability, scalability, availability and the appropriate technological evolution planned in the next years; also key was the competence showed by Oracle experts in the development of features useful to our research.”

Oracle Enterprise Manager will be deployed to help manage the multiple Oracle Database instances and Oracle Real Application Clusters. Oracle Enterprise Manager will be used to ensure reliable access to Gaia mission data, allowing for numerous third-party applications and systems that control and verify the correct functioning of satellites and astronomical instruments.

“We are proud to offer our technology to the Gaia mission, an international research project that is of both major importance and high ambition,” said Xavier Verhaeghe, Vice President, Technology & Big Data Oracle EMEA. “INAF’s choice is another confirmation of Oracle’s ability to easily manage the extreme challenges involved in processing petabytes of Big Data."

Follow the Gaia Mission on Facebook.
Read the press release.

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Thursday Nov 28, 2013

Database Cloning in Minutes using Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c Snap Clone

Date: Tuesday, December 3 , 2013
Time: 7:00 a.m. PST | 10:00 p.m. EST

Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c Snap Clone allows administrators to create fully functional copies of databases using the copy-on-write capabilities of the underlying storage layer. Users can request databases from Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c's self-service portal and have them provisioned within minutes instead of hours while keeping storage needs to a minimum. Part of Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c Cloud Management Pack for Oracle Databases, Snap Clone can fundamentally improve the efficiency and agility of administrators and QA engineers while saving storage costs and other capital expenses.

Join us for this webcast to learn how Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c Snap Clone can help:

  • Leverage storage copy-on-write technologies for fast provisioning
  • Integrate cloning with other Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c Lifecycle Management features, such as data masking and sub-setting
  • “Time travel” across multiple database snapshots to restore and access past data
  • Reduced administrative overhead from integrated lifecycle management

Register Now!

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Wednesday Nov 13, 2013

Webcast: Delivering Pluggable Database as a Service

Date: Thursday, November 21, 2013
Time: 10:00 a.m. PST | 1:00 p.m. EST

Save Time and Costs, Reduce Complexity

Database as a service (DBaaS) offers a variety of benefits to help companies improve operations and move faster to the cloud. Using Oracle Multitenant—a new option for Oracle Database 12c featuring pluggable databases—and Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c, companies can make the most of those benefits.

Join us for the webcast and learn how Oracle technology can help:

  • Accelerate provisioning of database clouds through self-service
  • Facilitate consolidation with unique automation capabilities
  • Lower IT costs by managing many databases as one

Register Now!

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Tuesday Nov 12, 2013

Automate RAC Cluster Upgrades using EM12c

One of the most arduous processes  in DB maintenance is upgrading Databases across major versions, especially for complex RAC Clusters.
With the release of Database Plug-in  (, EM12c Rel 3 (  now supports automated upgrading of RAC Clusters in addition to Standalone Databases.

This automation includes:

  • Upgrade of the complete Cluster across the nodes. ( Example: CRS, ASM, RAC DB  -> or GI, RAC DB) 
  • Best practices in tune with your operations, where you can automate upgrade in steps:
    Step 1: Upgrade the Clusterware to Grid Infrastructure (Allowing you to wait, test and then move to DBs).
    Step 2: Upgrade RAC DBs either separately or in group (Mass upgrade of RAC DB's in the cluster).
  • Standard pre-requisite checks like Cluster Verification Utility (CVU) and RAC checks
  • Division of Upgrade process into Non-downtime activities (like laying down the new Oracle Homes (OH), running checks) to Downtime Activities (like Upgrading Clusterware to GI, Upgrading RAC) there by lowering the downtime required.
  • Ability to configure Back up and Restore options as a part of this upgrade process. You can choose to :
    a. Take Backup via this process (either Guaranteed Restore Point (GRP) or RMAN)
    b. Set the procedure to pause just before the upgrade step to allow you to take a custom backup
    c. Ignore backup completely, if there are external mechanisms already in place. 

    Mass Upgrade of RAC using EM12c

High Level Steps:

  1. Select the Procedure "Upgrade Database" from Database Provisioning Home page.
  2. Choose the Target Type for upgrade and the Destination version
  3. Pick and choose the Cluster, it picks up the complete topology since the clusterware/GI isn't upgraded already
  4. Select the Gold Image of the destination version for deploying both the GI and RAC OHs
  5. Specify new OH patch, credentials, choose the Restore and Backup options, if required provide additional pre and post scripts
  6. Set the Break points in the procedure execution to isolate Downtime activities
  7. Submit and track the procedure's execution status. 

The animation below captures the steps in the wizard.  For step by step process and to understand the support matrix check this documentation link.

Explore the functionality!!

In the next blog, will talk about automating rolling Upgrades of Databases in Physical Standby Data Guard environment using Transient Logical Standby.

Monday Nov 04, 2013

Announcing: Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c Delivers Advanced Self-Service Automation for Oracle Database 12c Multitenant

New Self-Service Driven Provisioning of Pluggable Databases

Today Oracle announced new capabilities that support managing the full lifecycle of pluggable database as a service in Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c Release 3 ( This latest release builds on the existing capabilities to provide advanced automation for deploying database as a service using Oracle Database 12c Multitenant option. It takes it one step further by offering pluggable database as a service through Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c self-service portal providing customers with fast provisioning of database cloud services with minimal time and effort.

This is a significant addition to Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c’s existing portfolio of cloud services that includes infrastructure as a service, database as a service, testing as a service, and Java platform as a service. The solution provides a self-service mechanism to provision pluggable databases allowing users to request and access database(s) on-demand. The self-service operations are also enabled through REST APIs allowing customers to integrate with third-party automation systems or their custom enterprise portals.


  • Self-service provisioning allows rapid access to pluggable database as a service for hosting or certifying applications on Oracle Database 12c
  • Self-service driven migration to pluggable database as a service in order to migrate a pre-Oracle Database 12c database to a pluggable database as a service model and test the consolidation strategy
  • Single service catalog for all approved pluggable database as a service configurations which helps customers achieve standardization while catering to all applications and users in the enterprise
  • Resource guarantee via database resource manager (and IORM on Oracle Exadata) that enables deployment of mixed workloads in a shared environment
  • Quota, role based access, and policy based management that enforces governance and reduces administrative overhead
  • Chargeback or showback which improves metering and accountability for services consumed by each pluggable database
  • Comprehensive REST APIs that support integration with ticketing or change management systems, and or with other self-service portals
  • Minimal administrative and maintenance overhead through self-managing automation that allows for intelligent placement of pluggable databases

To understand how pluggable database as a service works, watch this quick demo:

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Tuesday Sep 17, 2013

Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c Upgrade sessions at Oracle OpenWorld 2013

This year @ Oracle OpenWorld 2013 we have customers Wells Fargo and Colorcon sharing their success stories and real-life lessons about upgrading to Oracle Enterprise Manager 12.1.0.x. then come join us for the below session:

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Thursday Aug 22, 2013

Reduce Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c Patch Set Upgrade Downtime

As Product Manager for Oracle Enterprise Manager, one question that is often being asked to me is how much is the upgrade downtime and how it can be reduced? 

One easy way to reduce the downtime while doing patch set upgrades is to perform Software only upgrade and then shutdown the existing OMS for the upgrade. This approach will not completely eliminate the downtime but reduce it to a great extent. 

When I mention patch set upgrade, we cover following upgrade paths:

a) (with Bundle Patches 1) to

b) to

Following table compares the steps required for regular installation (OUI) and software only installation.

 As you may notices from the steps listed above, regular OUI upgrade requires stopping OMS before invoking runInstaller and keeping it down until the upgrade is complete. On the other hand Software only upgrade first copies the bits and sets up the environment before stopping OMS, thus reducing the upgrade downtime.

Next comes Agent upgrade. While we recommend Agent Upgrade Console (AUC) to upgrade agents from (with bundle patch1) / to, sometimes it’s not clear what happens during the Agent upgrade and when is the actual downtime . So here are high level steps describing the complete process: 

The actual downtime while doing the agent upgrade is on step9 where we shut down your old agent. When the agent is in blackout from step 1 to 8 it still collect’s all the monitoring data so there is no loss. 

More Information: It is recommended to go through the below checklist notes before starting your upgrade 

MOS note 1568143.1 - EM 12c R3: Checklist for Upgrading Enterprise Manager Cloud Control from Version 12.1.0.x to

MOS Note  1569883.1 EM 12c R3: Checklist for Upgrading Management Agents Version 12.1.0.x to

Collateral :

 EM Install and Upgrade collateral page(PPT,Recorded demo,Whitepapers) on OTN:

Understanding Enterprise Manager Upgrade and Agent Upgrades

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Wednesday Aug 21, 2013

WEBCAST: Managing Oracle Database 12c

Thursday August 22
10:00 a.m. PST / 1:00 p.m. EST

Discover Oracle’s Next-Generation Database Management Solution

Don’t miss this opportunity to learn first-hand how Oracle Database 12c and Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c bring together the next evolution in self-manageability—so you can plug into the Cloud faster using the power of Oracle Database 12c.

Join us for this live webcast to discover new groundbreaking management capabilities for:

  • Real-time performance diagnostics and application tuning
  • Embedded database self-manageability
  • Managing many pluggable databases as one
  • Delivering reliable database cloud services

Only Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c offers customers maximum performance, enhanced automation, and total control for Oracle Database 12c.

Register Now!

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Wednesday Aug 07, 2013

VIDEO: Managing Oracle Database 12c

Learn about all the new manageability capabilities in Oracle Database 12c. Watch the video.

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Friday Aug 02, 2013

Managing Oracle Database 12c

Oracle recently announced new management capabilities for Oracle Database 12c, providing customers with even more enhancements to improve productivity and manageability. The new Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c features are supported out-of-the-box with Oracle Database 12c. So whether you want to take advantage of the new Data Redaction capabilities at the security layer, or whether you want to take a look at some of the heat map capabilities in our Information Lifecycle Management or leverage the new performance management features, such as, Database Operations Monitoring or Enhanced Real-Time ADDM, you can use Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c to manage them all.

These new capabilities can be integrated with your standard monitoring and management that you already have in your environment without having to undertake any additional tools or any additional training. Simply install or upgrade to Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c and Oracle Database 12c and together these two products will let you plug into the Cloud.

Here is a quick summary of all the new Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c capabilities for Oracle Database 12c:

  • Complete lifecycle management of multitenant databases: Support for the entire lifecycle operations of multitenant databases that comprise migration, creation, cloning, patching and tracking for compliance
  • Consolidated database replay: Allows customers to test and plan their consolidation using Oracle’s multitenant container and pluggable database technology
  • At-source data masking: Allows customers to maximize compliance and security by masking data in-flight as it is being copied from production
  • Enhanced diagnostics: Improvements to Automatic Database Diagnostic Monitor (ADDM) for real-time and proactive problem detection, especially designed for catching short, transient performance issues
  • Real-time business operations monitoring: Monitors composite business operations such as; batch jobs and ETL operations, providing real-time reports on all SQLs and PL/SQLs executed inside the job
  • Performance hub: Newly redesigned performance home page that provides administrators with a single, at-a-glance view of all performance data and advisors
  • New Oracle Enterprise Manager Database Express 12c: An out-of-the-box, lightweight, easy-to-use web-based management solution for managing individual databases
  • Schema as a Service: This ultimate consolidation of databases lets administrators host multiple application schemas within a single database and offer database as a service to hundreds of application users without creating database sprawl
  • Snap Clone: Instant database cloning allows administrators to create fully functional copies of databases using the copy-on-write capabilities of the underlying storage layer

To learn more about all the latest capabilities, be sure to register for our upcoming webcast: Managing Oracle Database 12c with Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c.

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Tuesday May 28, 2013

IOUG Webcast - Upgrading to Enterprise Manager 12c: Best Practices and Real World Lessons

Upgrading to Enterprise Manager 12c: Best Practices and Real World Lessons
Wednesday, June 5, 2013 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM CST

Join the IOUG webcast to learn how CernerWorks, the remote hosting division of Cerner, a global health IT company, upgraded their Oracle Enterprise Manager system from 11g to 12c.

In this webcast , Aaron Rimel from Cerner and Akanksha Sheoran from Oracle will discuss available upgrade paths and why Cerner chose what the upgrade path they followed.

With thousands of managed databases in Cerner's IT environment, high availability, ease of upgrade and minimal downtime were key requirements for the upgrade process. You will learn how all of these requirements were met with proper planning and out-of-the-box features included with Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c. 

Register here

You can also join us during the webcast and ask questions virtually via twitter using hash tag #em12c on or by going to .

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Monday May 20, 2013

Test Drive Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c Today!

Are you looking for a place to test Oracle Enterprise Manager Cloud Control 12c features? Amazon Web Services new Oracle Enterprise Manager Cloud Control 12c – Monitoring Essentials Test Drive is the perfect solution for anybody who’s interested in testing out Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c before upgrading or deploying! Through a partnership with Apps Associates, AWS will provide 5 hours free access to an Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c environment with database and middleware targets for a look into the new features and abilities of Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c. A step-by-step guided workflow is provided to introduce the monitoring framework, including an overview of navigation, auto discovery, monitoring, management and reporting features. 

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Thursday Apr 11, 2013

Qualcomm Deploys Application Changes Faster with Oracle Enterprise Manager

Listen in as Qualcomm talks about saving time and energy by making application changes faster through Oracle Enterprise Manager.

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Wednesday Mar 27, 2013

Using Advanced Notifications in Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c

When using an enterprise monitoring tool such as Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c, one of the most critical components is notification. Once an alert or issue has been identified, how do you tell the right people at the right time? Most enterprises use e-mail or open a trouble ticket. As you can imagine, no two enterprises are the same when it comes to their tools and processes. Many customers use one of the more common and well known trouble ticketing systems but quite a few use non-standard or custom (homegrown) trouble ticketing systems. Some customers have special routing requirements or corporate standards and have custom applications which handle all emailing functions instead of directly emailing using an SMTP server.

Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c can handle all of these situations by utilizing one of the various notification methods provided: E-mail, 3rd party connectors and advanced notification methods. There are three types of advanced notifications: SNMP, OS Command or PL/SQL. This blog will introduce you to the OS Command and PL/SQL notification methods available in EM 12c and provide an example of using a custom OS script for notifications.

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Thursday Mar 14, 2013

Database as a Service: Glad that you asked these!

Thanks for visiting my earlier blog post on the new Database as a Service (DBaaS) features which got released in Enterprise Manager 12cR2 Plugin Update 1.

Our first public webcast on  DBaaS since the release was held this morning (the recording will be soon available on The webcast was pretty well attended with peak attendance going well over our expectation. I wish we had more time to handle the technical Q&A, but since we didn't, let me use the blogosphere to answer some of the questions that were asked. I am repeating some of the questions that we answered during the webcast, because they warrant details beyond what the duration permitted.

Kevin from the audience asked "What's the difference between a regular provisioning and DbaaS?" Sometimes the apparently obvious ones are the most difficult to answer. The recently released whitepaper covers the regular/traditional provisioning versus DBaaS in detail. Long story cut short, in a traditional provisioning model, IT (usually a DBA) uses scripts and tools to provision databases on behalf of end users. In DBaaS IT's role changes and the DBA simply creates a service delivery platform for end users to provision databases on demand as and when they need them. And that too, with minimal inputs ! Here's how the process unfolds:

  • The DBA pools together a bunch of server resources that can host databases or a bunch of databases that can host schema and creates a Self-Service zone.
  • The DBA creates a gold image and provisioning procedure and expresses that as a service template
  • As a result, the end users do not have to deal with the intricacies of the provisioning process. They input a couple of very simple things like the service template and the zone and everything else happens under the hood. The provisioning process, the physicality of the database, etc are completely abstracted out.
  • And finally, because DbaaS deals with shared resource utilization and self-service automation, a DBaaS is usually complemented by quota, retirement and chargeback. 

The following picture can make it clear.

In terms of licensing, for a traditional administrator driven database provisioning, you need the Database Lifecycle Management Pack.  If you want to enable DBaaS on top of it, simply add the Cloud Management Pack for Database.

I will combine the next two questions. Alfred asked, "Is RAC a requirement?" (the short answer for which is "No") while Jud asked, "Is the schema-level provisioning supported in an environment where the target DBs are running in VMs?" First of all, in our DBaaS solution we support multiple models, as shown below.

In the dedicated database model, the database can run on a pool of servers or a pool of cluster. So both single instance and RAC are supported. Similarly, in the dedicated schema (Schema as a Service) model, it can run on single instance or RAC, which can in turn be hosted on physical servers or VMs. Enterprise Manager treats both physical servers and VMs as hosts and as long as the hosts have the agent installed, they can participate in DBaaS. Bottomline is that as we move from IaaS and offer these higher order services, the underlying infrastructure becomes irrelevant. This should also satisfy Steve, who queried "As the technology matures is there an attempt by Oracle to provide ODA vs EXADATA as the foundation of the dbaas to lower the cost?". The answer is YES. But, why wait?  DBaaS is supported on Exa and ODA platforms TODAY. In fact, HDFC Bank in India is running DBaaS on Exadata. You can read about them in the latest Oracle Magazine.

Another interesting question came from Yuri. He asked, "Is there an option to disable startup/shutdown for the self-service users?" It can be answered in multiple ways. First of all, in Schema as a Service or dedicated schema model, the end user cannot control the database instance state because it houses database services (schemas) owned by others too. So this may be a good model for enterprises trying to limit what end users can do at the database instance level.  However, in a dedicated database model, the Enterprise Manager out-of-box self-service console allows the end user to perform operations like startup and shutdown on the database instance. In general, if you want to create your tailored own self-service console with a limited set of operations exposed in the self-service interface, using the APIs may be the way to go. Enterprise Manager 12c also supports RESTFul APIs for self-service operations and hence a limited set of capabilities may be exposed. Check this technical presentation for the supported APIs.

Gordon's question precisely brings out the value of the Enterprise Manager 12c offering. He asked, "How do the services in the cloud get added to Cloud Control monitoring and alerting?" Ever since Amazon became the poster child of public IaaS, enterprises tried emulating their model within the data centers. What most people ignore or forget is that there is a life of the resources in a cloud beyond the provisioning process. Initial provisioning is just the beginning of that lifecycle. In Amazon's case, the management and monitoring of resources is the headache of Amazon's IT staff and consumers are oblivious to the time and effort it takes for them to manage the resources. In a private cloud scenario, one does not have that luxury. Once the database gets provisioned, it needs to monitored for performance, compliance and configuration drifts by company's own  IT staff. In Enterprise Manager 12c, the agent is deployed on the hosts that constitute the pool making the databases automatically managed without any additional work. It comprehensively manages the entire lifecycle and both adminsitrators and self-service users have tailored views of the databases. Well, this also gives me an opportunity to address a question by a participant who alluded to a 3rd party tool exclusively for database provisioning purposes. First of all, as I mentioned during the webcast, Enterprise Manager 12c is the only tool that handles all the use cases- creation of full databases, schemas and cloning (both full clone and Snap Clone) from a single management interface. The point tools out there handle only fraction of these use cases- some specialize in cloning while others specialize in seed database provisioning. Second, as stated in the previous answer, provisioning is only the initial phase of the lifecycle and a provisioning tool cannot be synonymous with a cloud management tool. Thanks Gordon for helping me make that point!

Sam and Cesar share the honors for the most difficult question that came right at the beginning. "Has it started?  Been on hold for a while." was their reaction at two minutes past ten. This is possibly the most embarrassing one for me because I was caught in traffic. With due apologies for that, I wish my car operated like Enterprise Manager's  Database as a Service!

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Tuesday Mar 12, 2013

WEBCAST: Delivering Database as a Service with Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c

Thursday March 14
10:00 a.m. PST / 1:00 p.m. EST

Join us for a live Webcast to find out about the recently released Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c plug-ins that deliver new capabilities and support for managing database cloud services with schema as a service for extreme database consolidation and quick efficient database cloning through Snap Clone or RMAN Backups. These new capabilities provide an optimum utilization of development and database resources giving customers more flexibility and control during application development, leading to a faster time-to-market for delivering IT services.

Register Now!

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Latest information and perspectives on Oracle Enterprise Manager and Oracle Management Cloud.

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