Monday May 21, 2012

Benefits of using Ops Center to deploy and manage Solaris 11

One of the more significant new features in Oracle Enterprise Manager Ops Center 12c is the ability to install Ops Center on Oracle Solaris 11, and to deploy and manage systems running Solaris 11.  The Solaris 11 capabilities are in addition to the analogous features for Solaris 10 and Linux, which can all be handled from the same Ops Center infrastructure.

When the Ops Center Enterprise Controller (EC) is installed on a system running Solaris 11, the EC can create a Solaris 11 Software Update Library containing Oracle Solaris Image Packaging System (IPS) content that is synchronized with the main Oracle repository at pkg.oracle.com. The Ops Center managed Solaris 11 repository becomes the package (pkg) publisher for downstream Solaris 11 deployments and updates on all Solaris 11 systems being managed by Ops Center.

Ops Center provides the ability to define Solaris 11 OS and Software Profiles comprised of Oracle Solaris 11 packages, user-supplied custom packages, scripts, and other files.  Such Software Profiles profiles can then be used to install and update software on systems already running Solaris 11 in a structured and consistent way.  Ops Center not only caches the main Oracle Solaris IPS repository, but more importantly it gives admins the ability to define their own preferred collection of packages so that systems can easily be kept in sync with each other, running a well-defined, life-cycle-managed Standard Operating Environment (SOE), instead of just whatever the latest content is at pkg.oracle.com.

Ops Center 12c also adds Solaris 11 features for bare-metal OS Provisioning, based on the Solaris 11 Auto Install (AI) facility.  Ops Center configures the Solaris 11 AI in a way that shields admins from needing to write custom AI manifests or custom "first boot" packages.  Solaris 11 deployments using Ops Center follow similar profile-based patterns as for Solaris 10 or Linux, all of which can all be deployed from the same Ops Center infrastructure running on Solaris 11.  The gory details of all these different times of bare-metal OS Provisioning are handled automatically for the user so that he or she does not need to put time and resources into manually creating and maintaining infrastructure for deploying different OS's natively -- Solaris 11 with AI, Solaris 10 JumpStart with JET, or Linux with Kickstart or AutoYast.  All of those OS's are handled by Ops Center under the covers, based on whatever network boot capability the OS requires (PXE/DHCP, WANBOOT, or AI), and all from the same Ops Center infrastructure running on Solaris 11.

Specific to Solaris 11 OS Provisioning (via AI), Ops Center provides its own "first-boot" package+scripts to customize the Solaris 11 deployment, and in particular this approach automatically installs the Ops Center agent.  With the Ops Center Agent in place right from the start, it is easy to handle post-install steps using the Ops Center features for handling Solaris 11 OS and Software Profiles containing additional packages, scripts, and content from the Solaris 11 Software Library, described above.

Tying bare-metal Solaris 11 deployment and post-install customization together is a key way that Ops Center simplifies the overall life-cycle management for Solaris 11 (in addition to Solaris 10 and Linux).   For example, a top-level plan based on "Configure and Install Logical Domains" can create numerous Logical Domains into an Oracle VM Server for SPARC "Server Pool" and provision Solaris 11 into each LDom Guest based on a powerful multi-step "Install Server" plan.  Such a plan can cover the end-to-end steps for installing and updating the OS, running scripts and adjusting monitoring parameters, etc.

Here is an example of the kinds of activities that can be performed in conjunction an OS Deployment, or separately, depending on the need:

Oracle Enterprise Manager Ops Center 12c Deployment Plan

NOTE: In the above example, the last step "Create Guests" can be used to create one or more Solaris Containers within the LDom Guest, rounding out the end-to-end deployment all the way from LDom Guest to Solaris 11 Global Zone to multiple Solaris Containers, if so desired.

One of the nicest aspect of deploying and managing Solaris 11 using Ops Center Plans and Profiles is that the same content can be applied as updates to existing Solaris 11 systems, aligned to the same content as chained off a bare-metal OS Provisioning.  It is up to the user which steps they want to include in a deployment plan -- whether they are updating Software Profiles on systems deployed 6 months ago to match the latest standard, or they are deploying new systems based on that same standard, Ops Center provides the means to insure that the outcome is consistent.

Here is an example of the kinds of activities that can be performed on an existing Solaris 11 OS -- either ad hoc, or immediately after a Solaris 11 OS Provisioning step, so that whether the life-cycle started with a new system, or the intent is to update a system deployed six months ago, the outcome can be the same:

S11 Update Multi-Step Plan

In short, Ops Center running on Solaris 11 can manage Solaris 10 and Linux systems, all from a common infrastructure, and all based on a simplified, consistent, profile- and plan-based way to do the OS and Software deployments and updates.  The net effect is an easy to use way to managing the life-cycle of heterogeneous systems, in a very consistent way through automation and re-use.

Please let us know what you think?  Until next time...
\Leon
--

Leon Shaner | Senior IT/Product Architect
Systems Management | Ops Center Engineering @ Oracle

The views expressed on this [blog; Web site] are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Oracle.



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