Wednesday Jun 04, 2014

EM12c Release 4: Database as a Service Enhancements

Oracle Enterprise Manager (or simply put EM12c R4) is the latest update to the product. As previous versions, this release provides tons of enhancements and bug fixes, attributing to improved stability and quality. One of the areas that is most exciting and has seen tremendous growth in the last few years is that of Database as a Service. EM12c R4 provides a significant update to Database as a Service. The key themes are:

  1. Comprehensive Database Service Catalog (includes single instance, RAC, and Data Guard)
  2. Additional Storage Options for Snap Clone (includes support for Database feature CloneDB)
  3. Improved Rapid Start Kits
  4. Extensible Metering and Chargeback
  5. Miscellaneous Enhancements

1. Comprehensive Database Service Catalog

Before we get deep into implementation of a service catalog, lets first understand what it is and what benefits it provides. Per ITIL, a service catalog is an exhaustive list of IT services that an organization provides or offers to its employees or customers. Service catalogs have been widely popular in the space of cloud computing, primarily as the medium to provide standardized and pre-approved service definitions. There is already some good collateral out there that talks about Oracle database service catalogs. The two whitepapers i recommend reading are:

Service Catalogs: Defining Standardized Database Service

High Availability Best Practices for Database Consolidation: The Foundation for Database as a Service [Oracle MAA]

EM12c comes with an out-of-the-box service catalog and self service portal since release 1. For the customers, it provides the following benefits:

  • Present a collection of standardized database service definitions,
  • Define standardized pools of hardware and software for provisioning,
  • Role based access to cater to different class of users,
  • Automated procedures to provision the predefined database definitions,
  • Setup chargeback plans based on service tiers and database configuration sizes, etc

Starting Release 4, the scope of services offered via the service catalog has been expanded to include databases with varying levels of availability - Single Instance (SI) or Real Application Clusters (RAC) databases with multiple data guard based standby databases. Some salient points of the data guard integration:

  • Standby pools can now be defined across different datacenters or within the same datacenter as the primary (this helps in modelling the concept of near and far DR sites)
  • The standby databases can be single instance, RAC, or RAC One Node databases
  • Multiple standby databases can be provisioned, where the maximum limit is determined by the version of database software
  • The standby databases can be in either mount or read only (requires active data guard option) mode
  • All database versions 10g to 12c supported (as certified with EM 12c)
  • All 3 protection modes can be used - Maximum availability, performance, security
  • Log apply can be set to sync or async along with the required apply lag

The different service levels or service tiers are popularly represented using metals - Platinum, Gold, Silver, Bronze, and so on. The Oracle MAA whitepaper (referenced above) calls out the various service tiers as defined by Oracle's best practices, but customers can choose any logical combinations from the table below:

 Primary  Standby [1 or more]
 EM 12cR4
 SI  -
where RON = RAC One Node is supported via custom post-scripts in the service template

A sample service catalog would look like the image below. Here we have defined 4 service levels, which have been deployed across 2 data centers, and have 3 standardized sizes. Again, it is important to note that this is just an example to get the creative juices flowing. I imagine each customer would come up with their own catalog based on the application requirements, their RTO/RPO goals, and the product licenses they own. In the screenwatch titled 'Build Service Catalog using EM12c DBaaS', I walk through the complete steps required to setup this sample service catalog in EM12c.

2. Additional Storage Options for Snap Clone

In my previous blog posts, i have described the snap clone feature in detail. Essentially, it provides a storage agnostic, self service, rapid, and space efficient approach to solving your data cloning problems. The net benefit is that you get incredible amounts of storage savings (on average 90%) all while cloning databases in a matter of minutes. Space and Time, two things enterprises would love to save on. This feature has been designed with the goal of providing data cloning capabilities while protecting your existing investments in server, storage, and software. With this in mind, we have pursued with the dual solution approach of Hardware and Software. In the hardware approach, we connect directly to your storage appliances and perform all low level actions required to rapidly clone your databases. While in the software approach, we use an intermediate software layer to talk to any storage vendor or any storage configuration to perform the same low level actions. Thus delivering the benefits of database thin cloning, without requiring you to drastically changing the infrastructure or IT's operating style.

In release 4, we expand the scope of options supported by snap clone with the addition of database CloneDB. While CloneDB is not a new feature, it was first introduced in patchset, it has over the years become more stable and mature. CloneDB leverages a combination of Direct NFS (or dNFS) feature of the database, RMAN image copies, sparse files, and copy-on-write technology to create thin clones of databases from existing backups in a matter of minutes. It essentially has all the traits that we want to present to our customers via the snap clone feature. For more information on cloneDB, i highly recommend reading the following sources:

Blog by Tim Hall: Direct NFS (DNFS) CloneDB in Oracle Database 11g Release 2

Oracle OpenWorld Presentation by Cern: Efficient Database Cloning using Direct NFS and CloneDB

The advantages of the new CloneDB integration with EM12c Snap Clone are:

  • Space and time savings
  • Ease of setup - no additional software is required other than the Oracle database binary
  • Works on all platforms
  • Reduce the dependence on storage administrators
  • Cloning process fully orchestrated by EM12c, and delivered to developers/DBAs/QA Testers via the self service portal
  • Uses dNFS to delivers better performance, availability, and scalability over kernel NFS
  • Complete lifecycle of the clones managed by EM12c - performance, configuration, etc

3. Improved Rapid Start Kits

DBaaS deployments tend to be complex and its setup requires a series of steps. These steps are typically performed across different users and different UIs. The Rapid Start Kit provides a single command solution to setup Database as a Service (DBaaS) and Pluggable Database as a Service (PDBaaS). One command creates all the Cloud artifacts like Roles, Administrators, Credentials, Database Profiles, PaaS Infrastructure Zone, Database Pools and Service Templates. Once the Rapid Start Kit has been successfully executed, requests can be made to provision databases and PDBs from the self service portal. Rapid start kit can create complex topologies involving multiple zones, pools and service templates. It also supports standby databases and use of RMAN image backups.

The Rapid Start Kit in reality is a simple emcli script which takes a bunch of xml files as input and executes the complete automation in a matter of seconds. On a full rack Exadata, it took only 40 seconds to setup PDBaaS end-to-end. This kit works for both Oracle's engineered systems like Exadata, SuperCluster, etc and also on commodity hardware. One can draw parallel to the Exadata One Command script, which again takes a bunch of inputs from the administrators and then runs a simple script that configures everything from network to provisioning the DB software.

Steps to use the kit:

  • The kit can be found under the SSA plug-in directory on the OMS: EM_BASE/oracle/MW/plugins/oracle.sysman.ssa.oms.plugin_12.
  • It can be run from this default location or from any server which has emcli client installed
  • For most scenarios, you would use the script dbaas/setup/
  • For Exadata, special integration is provided to reduce the number of inputs even further. The script to use for this scenario would be dbaas/setup/
  • The script takes two inputs:
    • Cloud boundary xml: This file defines the cloud topology in terms of the zones and pools along with host names, oracle home locations or container database names that would be used as infrastructure for provisioning database services. This file is optional in case of Exadata, as the boundary is well know via the Exadata system target available in EM.
    • Input xml: This file captures inputs for users, roles, profiles, service templates, etc. Essentially, all inputs required to define the DB services and other settings of the self service portal.
  • Once all the xml files have been prepared, invoke the script as follows for PDBaaS:
    emcli -pdbaas 

         The script will prompt for passwords a few times for key users like sysman, cloud admin, SSA admin, etc. Once complete, you can simply log into EM as the self service user and request for databases from the portal.

More information available in the Rapid Start Kit chapter in Cloud Administration Guide

4. Extensible Metering and Chargeback

 Last but not the least, Metering and Chargeback in release 4 has been made extensible in all possible regards. The new extensibility features allow customer, partners, system integrators, etc to :

  • Extend chargeback to any target type managed in EM
  • Promote any metric in EM as a chargeback entity
  • Extend list of charge items via metric or configuration extensions
  • Model abstract entities like no. of backup requests, job executions, support requests, etc

 A slew of emcli verbs have also been added that allows administrators to create, edit, delete, import/export charge plans, and assign cost centers all via the command line.

More information available in the Chargeback API chapter in Cloud Administration Guide.

5. Miscellaneous Enhancements

There are other miscellaneous, yet important, enhancements that are worth a mention. These mostly have been asked by customers like you. These are:

  • Custom naming of DB Services
    • Self service users can provide custom names for DB SID, DB service, schemas, and tablespaces
    • Every custom name is validated for uniqueness in EM
  • 'Create like' of Service Templates
    • Now creating variants of a service template is only a click away. This would be vital when you publish service templates to represent different database sizes or service levels.
  • Profile viewer
    • View the details of a profile like datafile, control files, snapshot ids, export/import files, etc prior to its selection in the service template
  • Cleanup automation - for failed and successful requests
    • Single emcli command to cleanup all remnant artifacts of a failed request
    • Cleanup can be performed on a per request bases or by the entire pool
    • As an extension, you can also delete successful requests
  • Improved delete user workflow
    • Allows administrators to reassign cloud resources to another user or delete all of them
  • Support for multiple tablespaces for schema as a service
    • In addition to multiple schemas, user can also specify multiple tablespaces per request

I hope this was a good introduction to the new Database as a Service enhancements in EM12c R4. I encourage you to explore many of these new and existing features and give us feedback.

Good luck!


Cloud Management Page on OTN

Cloud Administration Guide [Documentation]

-- Adeesh Fulay (@adeeshf)

Tuesday Jun 03, 2014

Oracle Delivers Latest Release of Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c

Richer Service Catalog for Database and Middleware as a Service; Enhanced Database and Middleware Management Help Drive Enterprise-Scale Private Cloud Adoption

News Summary
IT organizations are adopting private clouds as a stepping-stone to business-driven, self-service IT. Successful implementations hinge on the ability to efficiently deploy and manage cloud services at enterprise scale. Having a complete cloud management solution integrated with an enterprise-class technology stack is a fundamental requirement for IT. Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c Release 4 meets that requirement by helping businesses become more agile and responsive, while reducing cost, complexity, and risk.

News Facts

  • Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c Release 4, available today, lets organizations rapidly adopt Oracle-based, enterprise-scale private clouds.
  • New capabilities provide advanced technology stack management, secure database administration, and enterprise service governance, enabling Oracle customers and partners to maximize database and application performance and drive innovation using self-service IT platforms.
  • The enhancements have been driven by customers and the growing Oracle Enterprise Manager Ecosystem, comprised of more than 750 Oracle PartnerNetwork (OPN) Specialized partners. Oracle and its partners and customers have built over 140 plug-ins and connectors for Oracle Enterprise Manager.
  • Watch the video highlights.

Automation for Broader Cloud Services

  • Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c Release 4 allows for a rapid enterprise-wide adoption of database, middleware and infrastructure services in the private cloud, driven by an enhanced API-enabled service catalog.
  • The release features “push button” style provisioning of complete environments such as SOA and Oracle Active Data Guard, and fast data cloning that enables rapid deployment and testing of enterprise applications.
  • Out-of-the-box capabilities to detect data and configuration vulnerabilities provide enhanced cloud service governance along with greater operational control through a flexible and extensible showback mechanism.

Enhanced Database Management

  • A new performance warehouse enables predictive database diagnostics and trend analysis and helps identify database problems before they occur.
  • New enterprise data-governance capabilities enhance security by helping systematically discover and protect sensitive data.
  • Step-by-step orchestration of upgrades with the ability to rollback changes enables faster adoption of Oracle Database 12c.

Expanded Fusion Middleware Management

  • A new consolidated view of Oracle Fusion Middleware 12c deployments with a guided management capability lets administrators apply best management practices to diverse middleware environments and identify performance issues quickly.
  • A Java VM Diagnostics as a Service feature allows governed access to diagnostics data for IT workers across multiple disciplines for accelerated DevOps resolutions of defects and performance optimization.
  • New automated provisioning for SOA lets middleware administrators perform mass SOA provisioning with ease.

Superior Enterprise-Grade Management

  • Private roles and preferred credentials have been added to Oracle Enterprise Manager to provide additional fine-grained security for organizations with complex access control requirements.
  • A new security console provides a single point of control for managing the security of Oracle Enterprise Manager environments.
  • Support for the latest industry standard SNMP v3 protocol, including encryption, enables more secure heterogeneous management.
  • “Smart monitoring” adapts to observed environmental changes and adds self-management capabilities to help Oracle Enterprise Manager run at peak performance, while demanding less IT supervision.

Supporting Quotes

  • “Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory has a strong tradition of technology breakthroughs and leadership. As a member of Oracle’s Customer Advisory Board for Oracle Enterprise Manager, we have consistently provided feedback and guidance in the areas of enterprise-scale cloud, self-diagnosability, and secure administration for the product,” said Tim Frazier, CIO, NIF and Photon Sciences, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. “We intend to take advantage of the Release 4 features that support enterprise-scale availability and fine-grained security capabilities for private cloud deployments.”
  • “IDC's most recent CloudTrack survey shows that most enterprises plan to adopt hybrid cloud architectures over the next three years,” said Mary Johnston Turner, Research Vice President, Enterprise System Management Software, IDC. “These organizations plan to deploy a wide range of workloads into cloud environments including mission critical database and middleware services that require high levels of fault tolerance and disaster recovery. Such capabilities were traditionally custom configured for each application but cloud offers the possibility to incorporate such properties within the service definition, enabling organizations to adopt cloud without compromise. With the latest release of Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c, Oracle is providing customers with an out-of-the-box experience for delivering highly-resilient cloud services for databases and applications.”
  • “Since its inception, Oracle has been leading the way in innovative, scalable and high performance solutions for the enterprise. With this release of Oracle Enterprise Manager, we are extending this leadership by providing enterprise-scale capabilities for planning, delivering, and managing private clouds. We call this ‘zero-to-cloud – accelerated.’ These enhancements help our customers to expedite their adoption of cloud computing and prepares them for the next generation of self-service IT,” said Prakash Ramamurthy, senior vice president of Systems and Cloud Management at Oracle.

Supporting Resources

Stay Connected:
Twitter |
Facebook | YouTube | Linkedin | Newsletter
Download the Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c Mobile app

Thursday Apr 24, 2014

The case for Snap Clone over point tools

Today, I stumbled over a competitor blog, conspicuous by its factual incorrectness on Enterprise Manager Snap Clone. However, I must compliment the author of the blog, because inadvertently, he has raised a point that we have been highlighting all along. The author, with reference to Dataguard and storage technologies, argues against the cobbling of technologies together and adding another technology stack to the mix without any automated management

Precisely the point! In the wide realm of technologies, there are necessities and there are accessories aka nice-to-haves. The necessities are technologies that are needed anyway, such as a high fidelity, high performance storage from a reputed vendor or a good DR solution for a mission critical database environment. Similarly, for any Oracle DBA worth his/her salt, Enterprise Manager 12c is a necessity, a part of the daily life. The Enterprise Manager agent, keeping vigil on every host, is therefore not an overhead, but the representative (the "agent" in true sense) of the DBA. Deep diagnostics, performance management, large scale configuration management, patching and compliance management make Enterprise Manager the darling of any Oracle DBA. All surveys suggest that any DBA spends considerable amount of time in Enterprise Manager for performing things beyond just data cloning, so why invest in an accessory for the cloning of Oracle test databases and unnecessarily proliferate the number of point tools (and possibly several instances of them) that you need to manage and maintain, not to ignore the past history that cites that very few such point tools solved customers' CAPEX and OPEX problems over the long run. It is like using spreadsheet for expenses and ERP for all other financial tasks.This is not to suggest that these point tools do not have good, innovative features. Over my tenure in the industry, I have come across several such tools with nice features, but often the hidden costs outweigh the benefits. Our position in this aspect has been consistent, whether it is on a competitor’s tool or our own. Few years back, we integrated My Oracle Support into Enterprise Manager with the same consistent goal that Enterprise Manager will serve as the single pane of glass for the Oracle ecosystem. Same has been our position on any product that we acquire.

Snap Clone's support for Dataguard and native storage stems from popular customer demand to leverage technologies they already invested in, and not create standalone islands of automation. Moreover, several customers have voiced in favor of the performance and scalability advantages that they would get by leveraging the native storage APIs. How else would you support one of the world's largest banks, a Snap Clone customer, who performs 60,000 (sixty thousand) data refreshes per year! In any case, that should not imply that we bind ourselves to any of those technologies. We do support cloning on various storage systems based on ZFS filesystem. Similarly, the Test Master refresh can be achieved with one among RMAN, Dataguard, Golden Gate or storage replication and optionally orchestrated with EM Job System.

Enterprise Manager 12c has taken a great step in delivering features via plugins that can be revisioned independent of the framework. An unwanted side effect is that the awareness often lags what is actually supported in the latest version of the product. For example, the filesystem support was introduced last Fall. And of course Enterprise Manager 12c Snap Clone supports RAC. My esteemed colleague and DBA par excellence, in her blog has highlighted some of these to dispel some of the prevalent awareness issues. Snap Clone's usage among the E-Business Suite and Developer community does not need any special accreditation. It is heavily used by the world's largest E-Business Suite Developer community-the Oracle E-Business Suite Engineering organization itself! It is true that Snap Clone does not support  restoration to any arbitrary point in time, but then our customers and prospects have not voiced a need for it. In reality, most customers want to perform intermediate data transformation such as masking and subsetting as they clone from production to test, and Enterprise Manager 12c already boasts of sophisticated data masking technologies, again via the same interface. It also includes testing features like Real Application Testing (RAT) that can complement and follow the test database creation. Future releases of Enterprise Manager will support a tighter integration among these features.

Snap Clone is delivered as a part of the Database as a Service feature set that has been pioneering, industry-leading and getting adopted at a great pace. Little wonder that we have already received a copious amount of Openworld paper submissions on the topic. In this emerging trend of DBaaS adoption, we find no reason to fragment the tasks such as fresh database creation, pluggable database provisioning and cloning across silo'ed point tools (not to mention broader PaaS capabilities which may be needed for complete application testing). Each use case could be different but needs a single service delivery platform. EM12c is that platform for Oracle. Period. So, think twice before 'adding another technology to the mix'. You do not need to.

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.

Stay Connected:
Twitter |
Facebook | YouTube | Linkedin | Newsletter
Download the Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c Mobile app

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!

Stay Connected:
Twitter |
Facebook | YouTube | Linkedin | Newsletter
Download the Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c Mobile app

Wednesday Apr 02, 2014

Cloud Odyssey in London

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

Stay Connected:
Twitter |
Facebook | YouTube | Linkedin | Newsletter
Download the Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c Mobile app

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

Stay Connected:
Twitter |
Facebook | YouTube | Linkedin | Newsletter
Download the Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c Mobile app

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.

Stay Connected:
Twitter |
Facebook | YouTube | Linkedin | Newsletter
Download the Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c Mobile app

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.

Stay Connected:
Twitter |
Facebook | YouTube | Linkedin | Newsletter
Download the Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c Mobile app

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.

Stay Connected:
Twitter |
Facebook | YouTube | Linkedin | Newsletter
Download the Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c Mobile app

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.

Stay Connected:
Twitter |
Facebook | YouTube | Linkedin | Newsletter
Download the Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c Mobile app

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.

Stay Connected:
Twitter |
Facebook | YouTube | Linkedin | Newsletter
Download the Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c Mobile app

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.

Stay Connected:
Twitter |
Facebook | YouTube | Linkedin | Newsletter
Download the Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c Mobile app

Thursday Feb 13, 2014

Steps to Fast Track your Database Cloud implementation on Exadata

Oracle Exadata Database Machine is the ideal consolidation platform for Enterprise Database Cloud and Oracle Enterprise Manager provides the most optimized and comprehensive solution to rapidly setup, manage and deliver Enterprise Clouds. Clearly, very significant innovations have been delivered via Exadata X4, Enterprise Manager 12c and Database 12c in Cloud Computing space and customers can start realizing benefits from this combination of most powerful and unique enterprise database cloud solution in industry.

As per OracleVoice blog on  "Why Database As A Service (DBaaS) Will Be The Breakaway Technology of 2014":

"Database as a Service (DBaaS) is arguably the next big thing in IT. Indeed, the market analysis firm 451 Research projects an astounding 86% cumulative annual growth rate, with annual revenues from DBaaS providers rising from $150 million in 2012 to $1.8 billion by 2016."

In this blog post, I will walk through the steps aiming to simplify DBaaS Setup on Exadata and also describe automation kits available to achieve the following rapidly -

  • Setup Monitoring and Management of Exadata Database Machine platform in EM 12c
  • Setup and Deliver DBaaS on Exadata using EM 12c
  • Manage and Optimize Exadata and EM 12c powered DBaaS cloud platform on an ongoing basis

There are 2 separate automation kits that are provided with EM 12c, first kit is for enabling rapid monitoring and management setup of Exadata stack in EM 12c and second kit is for rapid setup of DBaaS -

1) Deploy EM 12c site or use existing site - If you do not have existing EM 12c R3 setup, you can use EM Automation Kit for Exadata for installing EM 12c R3 Plug-in update 1. This kit is available via patch 17036016 on My Oracle Support(MOS) and can be used to deploy EM 12c latest release. Refer to Readme of patch and MOS note "Obtaining the Oracle Enterprise Manager Setup Automation kit for Exadata (Doc ID 1440951.1)" for additional details. Please note that this will setup EM12c Oracle Management Service along with Management Repository. It can be deployed on a single m/c or OMS and OMR can be setup on different machines.

2) Deploy EM 12cR3 agents and required plug-ins on Exadata Machine - Agent kit is also part of the same EM Automation Kit for Exadata and can be used for deploying agents and plug-ins on Exadata stack. Refer to MOS note "Obtaining the Oracle Enterprise Manager Setup Automation kit for Exadata (Doc ID 1440951.1)" for additional details. Best practice is to use most recent version of Agent kit and also deploy latest plug-ins. Patch details for respective platform are described in the MOS note.

Agent kit script will require Java 1.6.0_43 or greater version on database node where this script is being run. Agent kit script will need to be run as root OS user on Exadata db node, however JAVA_HOME and PATH with JAVA_HOME/bin should be set up as agent OS owner, so these OS env variables need to setup in profile of agent OS owner.

Agent Automation kit helps with achieving following -

  • EMCLI setup on Exadata Server
  • EM 12c R3 site compatibility checks
  • Setup and remove SSH between Exadata nodes to test SSH setup
  • Deploy EM 12c Agent and required Plugins on all DB Nodes of Exadata Machine
  • Confirm Exachk tool availability and run Exachk tool
  • Run Exadata Discovery Prerequisites
  • Discover Targets Cluster, Grid Infrastructure, RAC database and listener targets

Note - In case of Exadata X4, ensure you have the EM 12cR3 latest Bundle patch(released in January 2014). Refer to following MOS notes -
Enterprise Manager Bundle Patch Master Note (Doc ID 1572022.1)
Enterprise Manager for Exadata Plug-in 12cR3 Bundle Patch Bug List (Doc ID 1613177.1)

3) Discover Grid Infrastructure and RAC targets – Above setup script will discover Targets Cluster, Grid Infrastructure, RAC database and listener targets. Discover Grid Infrastructure, ASM and RAC targets manually if required.

4) Please note that this setup script will not discover Oracle Exadata Database machine target in EM 12c. You need to discover the machine using following steps

  • From the Setup menu, select Add Targets, then select “Add targets Manually”.
  • In the “Add Targets Manually” page, select 'Add Targets Using Guided Process (Also Adds Related Targets)' and Target Type as Oracle Exadata Database Machine.
  • Click Add Using Guided Discovery and follow the wizard.

5) Setup Database Cloud Using Rapid Start Kit - Once you have setup Exadata management in EM 12c, next step is to setup database cloud. Refer to Rapid Start Kit for setting up cloud for both DBaaS and Pluggable DBaaS/PDBaaS. This kit will help achieve the following -

  • Create Cloud Admin, SSA Admin and SSA User custom roles
  • Create Cloud Admin, SSA Admin and SSA Users
  • Grant Quota to SSA User custom roles
  • Setup Zones with Placement Policy Constraints
  • Setup Pools with Placement Constraints
  • Setup Service Template/Catalog and grant it SSA User custom roles.

Here are brief steps for setting up Database Cloud using Rapid start Kit, available in EM Agent Kit, after login to Exadata machine first DB node as EM 12c agent owner

  • Change to <location where Agent kit is unzipped>/cloudsetup directory.
  • Review the input files under config directory and customize the dbaas_cloud_input.xml for configuring DBaaS cloud and pdbaas_cloud_input.xml for configuring Pluggable Database as a Service.
  • Run the following command to setup DBaaS on Exadata Machine.
<EMCLI Home>/emcli login -username=sysman
<EMCLI Home>/emcli –dbaas
Above command will use dbaas_cloud_input.xml (under cloudsetup/config) as input file for configuring DBaaS. 
  • To setup PDBaaS on Exadata, please use following command.
<EMCLI Home>/emcli –pdbaas
Above command will use pdbaas_cloud_input.xml (under cloudsetup/config) as input file for configuring PDBaaS

Note: Currently Rapid Start kit for DBaaS makes use of Database "Exadata Data Warehouse" Profile available out-of-box. However you can create your own DBCA based Profiles and customize the dbaas_cloud_input.xml. Also if you need to use RMAN backup based or Snap clone based profile, you can to login to EM12c SSA Portal as SSA Administrator, to create the profile and setup service template. 

At this stage, you will be able to manage and deliver your Exadata powered enterprise database cloud using EM 12c.

Additional References:

Obtaining the Oracle Enterprise Manager Setup Automation kit for Exadata (Doc ID 1440951.1)

Oracle® Enterprise Manager Cloud Administration Guide12c Release 3 (

Oracle® Enterprise Manager Exadata Management Getting Started Guide Release

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.

Stay Connected:
Twitter |
Facebook | YouTube | Linkedin | Newsletter
Download the Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c Mobile app

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.

Stay Connected:
Twitter |
Facebook | YouTube | Linkedin | Newsletter
Download the Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c Mobile app

Wednesday Jan 15, 2014

Oracle Enterprise Manager Snap Clone Webcast Replay and Slides

Thank you to all who attended our webcast on Enterprise Manager 12c Snap Clone last month. In this webcast, we talked about how EM12c Snap Clone can help:

  • Leverage storage copy-on-write technologies for rapid 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

 For those who missed this webcast, the replay is available here and the slides have been uploaded to slideshare.

Feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions on Snap Clone or Database as a Service.

- Adeesh Fulay (@adeeshf)

Thursday Jan 02, 2014

What is EM 12c DBaaS Snap Clone?

Happy New Year to all! Being the first blog post of the new year, lets look at a relatively new feature in EM that has gained significant popularity over the last year - EM 12c DBaaS Snap Clone.

The ‘Oracle Cloud Management Pack for Oracle Database’ a.k.a the Database as a Service (DBaaS) feature in EM 12c has grown tremendously since its release two years ago.  It started with basic single instance and RAC database provisioning, a technical service catalog, an out of box self service portal, metering and chargeback, etc. But since then we have added provisioning of schemas and pluggable databases, full clones using RMAN backups, and Snap Clone. This video showcases the various EM12c DBaaS features.

This blog will cover one of the most exciting and popular features – Snap Clone. In one line, Snap Clone is a self service way of creating rapid and space efficient clones of large (~TB) databases.

Self Service - empowers the end users (developers, testers, data analysts, etc) to get access to database clones whenever they need it.
Rapid - implies the time it takes to clone the database. This is in minutes and not hours, days, or weeks.
Space Efficient - represents the significant reduction in storage (>90%) required for cloning databases

Customer Scenario

To best explain the benefits of Snap Clone, let’s look at a Banking customer scenario:

  • 5 production databases total 30 TB of storage
  • All 5 production databases have a standby
  • Clones of the production database are required for data analysis and reporting
  • 6 total clones across different teams every quarter
  • For security reasons, sensitive data has to be masked prior to cloning

Based on the above scenario, the storage required, if using traditional cloning techniques, can be calculated as follows:

5 Prod DB                  = 30 TB
5 Standby DB            = 30 TB
5 Masked DB             = 30 TB (These will be used for creating clones)
6 Clones (6 * 30 TB) = 180 TB
Total                           = 270 TB
Time = days to weeks

As the numbers indicate, this is quite horrible. Not only 30 TB turn into 270 TB, creating 6 clones of all production databases would take forever. In addition to this, there are other issues with data cloning like:

  • Lack of automation. Scripts are good but often not a long term solution.
  • Traditional cloning techniques are slow while, existing storage vendor solutions are DBA unfriendly
  • Data explosion often outpaces storage capacity and hurts ITs ability to provide clones for dev and testing
  • Archaic processes that require multiple users to share a single clone, or only supports fixed refresh cycles
  • Different priorities between DBAs and Storage admins

Snap Clone to the Rescue

All of the above issues lead to slow turnaround times, and users have to wait for days and weeks to get access to their databases. Basically, we end up with competing priorities and requirements, where the user demands self service access, rapid cloning, and the ability to revert data changes, while IT demands standardization, better control, reduction in storage and administrative overhead, better visibility into the database stack, etc.

EM 12c DBaaS Snap Clone tries to address all these issues. It provides:

  • Rapid and space efficient cloning of databases by leveraging storage copy-on-write (or similar) technology
  • Supports all database versions from 10g to 12c
  • Supports various storage vendors and configurations NAS and SAN
  • Lineage and association tracking between clone master and its various clones and snapshots
  • 'Time Travel' capability to restore and access past data
  • Deep visibility into storage, OS, and database layer for easy triage of performance and configuration issues
  • Simplified access for end user via out-of-the-box self service portal
  • RESTful APIs to integrate with custom portals and third party products
  • Ability to meter and charge back on the clone databases

So how does Snap Clone work?

The secret sauce lies in the Storage Management Framework (SMF) plug-in. This plug-in sits between the storage system and the DBA, and provides the much needed layer of abstraction required to shield DBAs and users from the nuances of the different storage systems. At the storage level, Snap Clone makes use of storage copy-on-write (or similar) technology. There are two options in terms of using and interacting with storage:

1. Direct connection to storage: Here storage admins can register NetApp and ZFS storage appliance with EM, and then EM directly connects to the storage appliance and performs all required snapshot and clone operations. This approach requires you to license the relevant options on the storage appliance, but is the easiest and the most efficient and fault tolerant approach.

2. Connection to storage via ZFS file system: This is a storage vendor agnostic solution and can be used by any customer. Here instead of connecting to storage, the storage admin mounts the volumes to a Solaris server and format it with ZFS file system. Now all snapshot and clone operations required on the storage are conducted via ZFS file system,. The good thing about this approach is that it does not require thin cloning options to be licensed on the storage since ZFS file system provides these capabilities.

For more details on how to setup and use Snap Clone, refer to a previous blog post.

Now, lets go back to our Banking customer scenario and see how Snap Clone helped then reduce their storage cost and time to clone.

5 Prod DB                      = 30 TB
5 Standby DB                 = 30 TB
5 Masked DB                 = 30 TB
6 Clones (6 * 30 TB)      = 180 TB
6 Clones (6 * 5 * 2 GB) = 60 GB
Total                               = 270 TB 90 TB
Time = days to weeks minutes

Assuming the clone databases will have minimal writes, we allocate about 2GB of write space per clone. For 5 production databases and 6 clones, this totals to just 60GB in required storage space. This is a whopping 99.97% savings in storage. Plus, these clones are created in matter of minutes and not the usual days or weeks. The product has out-of-the-box charts that show the storage savings across all storage devices and cloned databases. See the screenshot below.

Snap Clone Savings

Where can you use Snap Clone databases?

As i said earlier, Snap Clone is most effective when cloning large databases  (~TBs). Common scenarios we see our customers best use Snap Clone are:

  • Application upgrade testing. For example, EBusiness suite upgrade to R12.
  • Functional testing. For example, testing using production datasets.
  • Agile development. For example, run parallel development sprints by giving each sprint its own cloned database.
  • Data Analysis and Reporting. For example, stock market analysis at the close of market everyday.

Its obvious that Snap Clone has a strong affinity to applications, since its application data that you want to clone and use. Hence it is important to add that the Snap Clone feature when combined with EM12c middleware-as-a-service (MWaaS) can provide a complete end-to-end self service application deployment experience. If you have existing portals or need to integrate Snap Clone with existing processes, then use our RESTful APIs for easy integration with third party systems.

In summary, Snap Clone is a new and exciting way of dealing with data cloning challenges. It shields DBAs from the nuances of different storage systems, while allowing end users to request and use clones in a rapid and self service fashion. All of this while saving storage costs. So try this feature out today, and your development and test teams will thank you forever.

In subsequent blog posts, we will look at some popular deployment models used with Snap Clone.

-- Adeesh Fulay (@adeeshf)

Additional References

Cloud Management Page on OTN

Cloud Administration Guide (Documentation)

Enterprise Manager 12c Database-as-a-Service Snap Clone Overview (Presentation)

Tuesday Dec 31, 2013

Database Lifecycle Management for Cloud Service Providers

Adopting the Cloud Computing paradigm enables service providers to maximize revenues while driving capital costs down through greater efficiencies of working capital and OPEX changes. In case of enterprise private cloud, corporate IT, which plays the role of the provider, may not be interested in revenues, but still care about providing differentiated service at lower cost. The efficiency and cost eventually makes the service profitable and sustainable. This basic tenet has to be satisfied irrespective of the type of service-infrastructure (IaaS), platform (PaaS) or software application (SaaS). In this blog, we specifically focus on the database layer and how its lifecycle gets managed by the Service Providers.

Any service provider needs to ensure that:

  • Hardware and software population are in control. As new consumers come in and some consumers retire, there is a constant flux of resources in the data center. The flux has to be managed and controlled
  • The platform for providing the service is standardized, so that operations can be conducted predictable and at scale across a pool of resources
  • Mundane and repeatable tasks like backup, patching, etc are automated
  • Customer attrition does not happen owing to heightened compliance risk

While the Database Lifecycle Management features of Enterprise Manager have been widely adopted, I feel that the applicability of the features with respect to service providers is yet well understood and hence appreciated. In this blog, let me try addressing how the lifecycle management features can be effective in addressing each of the above requirements.

1. Controlling hardware and software population:

Enterprise Manager 12c provides a near real-time view of the assets in a data center. It comes with out-of-box inventory reports that show the current population and the growth trend within the data center. The inventory can be further sliced and diced based on cost center, owner, etc. In a cloud, whether private or public, the target properties of each asset can be appropriately populated, so that the provider can easily figure out the distribution of assets. For example, how many databases are owned by Marketing LOB can be easily answered. The flux within the data center is usually higher when virtualization techniques such as server virtualization and Oracle 12c multitenant option are used. These technologies make the provisioning process extremely nimble, potentially leading to a higher number of virtual machines (VMs) or pluggable databases (PDBs) within the data center and hence accentuating the need for such ongoing reporting. The inventory reports can be also created using BI Publisher and delivered to non-EM users, such as a CIO.

Now, not all reports can always be readily available. There can be situations where a data center manager can seek adhoc information, such as, how many databases owned by a particular customer is running on Exadata. This involves an adhoc query based upon an association, viz. database running on Exadata and target properties, viz. owner being the customer. Enterprise Manager 12c provides a sophisticated Configuration Search feature that lets administrators define such adhoc queries and save them for reuse.

2. Standardization of platform:

The massive standardization of platform components is not merely a nice-to-have for a cloud service provider, it is rather a must-have. A provider may choose to offer various levels of services, tagged with levels such as gold, silver and bronze. However, for each such level, the platform components need to be standardized, not only for ease of manageability but also for ensuring consistency of QOS across all the tenants. So how can the platform be standardized? We can highlight two major Enterprise Manager 12c features here:

The ability to rollout gold images that can be version controlled within Enterprise Manager's Software Library. The inputs of the provisioning process can be "locked down" by the designer of the provisioning process, thereby ensuring that each deployment is a replica of the other.

The ability to compare the configuration of deployments (often referred to as the "Points of Delivery" of the services). This is a very powerful feature that supports 1-n comparisons across multiple tiers of the stack. For example, one can compare an entire database machine from storage cells, compute nodes to databases with one or more of those.

3. Automation of repeatable tasks:

A large portion of OPEX for a service provider is expended while executing mundane and repeatable tasks like backup, log file cleanup or patching. Enterprise Manager 12c comes with an automation framework comprising Jobs and Deployment Procedures that lets administrators define these repetitive actions and schedule them as needed. EMCC’s task automation framework is scalable, carries functions such as ability to schedule, resume, retry which are of paramount importance in conducting mass operations in an enterprise scale cloud. The task automation verbs are also exposed through the EMCLI interface. Oracle Cloud administrators make extensive use of EMCLI for large scale operations on thousands of tenant services.

One of the most popular features of Enterprise Manager 12c is the out-of-box procedures for patch automation. The patching procedures can patch the Linux operating system, clusterware and the database. For minimizing the downtime involved in the patching process Enterprise Manager 12c also supports out-of-place patching that can prepare the patched software ahead of time and migrate the instances one by one as needed. This technique is widely adopted by the service providers to make sure the tenants' downtime related SLAs are respected and adhered to. The co-ordination of such downtime can be instrumented by Enterprise Manager 12c's blackout functionality.

4. Managing Compliance risks:

In a service driven model, the provider is liable in case of security breaches. The consumer and in turn, the customer of the consumer's apps need to be assured that their data is not breached into owing to platform level vulnerabilities. The security breaches often happen owing to faulty configuration such as default passwords, relaxed file permissions, or an open network port. The hardening of the platform therefore, has to be done at all levels-OS, network, database, etc. The security breaches often happen owing to faulty configuration such as default passwords, relaxed file permissions, or an open port. . To manage compliance, administrators can create baselines referred to as Compliance Standard. Any deviations from the baselines triggers compliance violation notifications, alerting administrators to resolve the issue before it creates risk in the environment.

We can therefore see how four major asks from a service provider can be satisfied with the Lifecycle Management features of Enterprise Manager 12c. As substantiated through several third party studies and customer testimonials, these result in higher efficiency with lower OPEX.

Stay Connected:

Twitter |  Face book |  You Tube |  Linked in |  Google+ Newsletter

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!

Stay Connected:
Twitter |
Facebook | YouTube | Linkedin | Newsletter
Download the Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c Mobile app

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!

Stay Connected:
Twitter |
Facebook | YouTube | Linkedin | Newsletter
Download the Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c Mobile app

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:

Stay Connected:
Twitter |
Facebook | YouTube | Linkedin | Newsletter
Download the Oracle Enterprise Manager Cloud Control12c Mobile app

Tuesday Aug 27, 2013

Enterprise Manager sessions by Usergroup members at Oracle Openworld 2013 SIG Sunday

Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c

User Group Forum Sessions

Sunday, September 22, 2013 - Moscone West

The IOUG's Enterprise Manager Special Interest Group (EM SIG) wants to let you know of an awesome line-up of Enterprise Manager sessions awaits those who can be there on "SIG Sunday" of Oracle OpenWorld!  It promises to be an interesting mix of real-world use cases and panel discussions from implementers and users.  Click the titles on the listing below for session abstracts. 

Make sure you come early.  Last year many of these sessions were full and folks had to be turned away, so don't let that happen to you.  All sessions will be in the user pavilion area in Moscone West.  While you are there you can stop by the User Group booths in the pavilion to learn more about IOUG in between the sessions.

At the final session of the day, Oracle Enterprise Manager Panel Discussion will also serve as the EM special interest group (SIG) meeting.  It will be a great  opportunity to meet with colleagues, peers, and subject matter experts to share best practices, tips, and techniques around Oracle technologies. In addition to the Oracle usergroup experts, Oracle executives and experts will be available to answer questions and listen to the user feedback.

If you cannot make it to the session, the IOUG and Oracle Enterprise Manager teams invite you to join a Twitter Chat during this session on Sunday, Sep. 30th from 3:30 PM to 4:30 PM PST.  IOUG leaders, Enterprise Manager SIG contributors and many Oracle Users Forum speakers will answer questions related to their experience with Oracle Enterprise Manager and the activities and resources available for  Enterprise Manager SIG members.

You can participate in the chat using hash tag #em12c on or by going to      (Needs Twitter credential for participating). 

A full listing of Enterprise Manager activities at OOW is available at the Focus-on EM 12c document.

Session Name
Time Room ID
Extending Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c Features/Functionality: Oracle Application Express
Todd Bellaver, Secure 24 LLC

8-9 AM

3005 UGF9793
Oracle RAC Performance with Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c and AWR—Interconnect Troubleshooting
Tim Quinlan, Scotiabank

8-9 AM

I Have to Patch Again? Patch Management with Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c
Bobby Curtis, BIAS Corporation.

9:15-10:15 AM

3005 UGF9772
 Managing Oracle Enterprise Manager Cloud Control 12c with Oracle Clusterware
Leighton Nelson, Mercy Health

10:30-11:30 AM

3005 UGF9794
Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c, Oracle Database 12c, and You
Bobby Curtis, BIAS Corporation.

1-2 PM

3004 UGF9764
Simplify Database Performance Analysis with Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c for Monitoring

1-2 PM

3005 UGF9807
Clustering/High Availability with Oracle VM and Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c: 360 Degrees
Tariq Farooq, BrainSurface & Kai Yu, Dell, Inc.

1-2 PM

Oracle Enterprise Manager Command-Line Interface Illustrated
Ray Smith, Portland General Electric

2:15-3:15 PM

3005 UGF9773
Cloud Computing, Oracle VM, and Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c Best Practices: Expert Panel
Michael Ault, IBM; Tariq Farooq, BrainSurface; Syed Jaffar Hussain, Alinma Bank; Charles Kim, Viscosity North America
2:15-3:15 PM 3018
Oracle Enterprise Manager Panel Discussion
Kris Cook, SITA; Bobby Curtis, BIAS Corporation; Seth Miller, St. Jude Medical; Ray Smith, Portland General Electric

3:30-4:30 PM

3005 UGF9808

Stay Connected:

Twitter |  Face book |  You Tube |  Linked in |  Google+ Newsletter

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!

Stay Connected:
Twitter |
Facebook | YouTube | Linkedin | Newsletter
Download the Oracle Enterprise Manager Cloud Control12c Mobile app

Tuesday Aug 20, 2013

Short Demo Video : Deliver Database as a Service with Oracle Enterprise Manager

This demo provides an overview of various use cases and benefits of delivering database as a service using Oracle Enterprise Manager.

Stay Connected:

Twitter |  Face book |  You Tube |  Linked in |  Newsletter Google+

Wednesday Aug 07, 2013

VIDEO: Managing Oracle Database 12c

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

Stay Connected:
Twitter |
Facebook | YouTube | Linkedin | Newsletter
Download the Oracle Enterprise Manager Cloud Control12c Mobile app

Tuesday Aug 06, 2013

Secure, Subset and Self-Service Database provisioning in Cloud

One-step inline data masking and data subsetting is a very innovative solution in Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c that enables enterprises to provision secure and reduced size test systems directly from the production or standby database without the need for a full production database copy. So you are able to create reduced size copies of production database keeping the referential integrity of data set intact saving on storage costs and more importantly also ensure your sensitive database never creeps into any of your development or test systems in compliance with data privacy policies.

With Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c Release 3 customers have now started adopting this one-step on-the-fly masking and subsetting solution along with Database-as-a-Service(DBaaS) self-service provisioning capabilities and the outcome is one of the most comprehensive and unique solution to realize self-service provisioning of secured, subset copies of production like databases for all of testing and development needs in a private cloud model.

In this blog post I will walk through the steps required to achieve this comprehensive solution for test and development systems provisioning in enterprise private cloud.

1) Prepare source database

One of the ideal option in case customer has physical standby is to convert physical standby into a snapshot standby for one-step data subsetting and masking operation. A snapshot standby receives and archives but does not apply redo from primary until converted back to physical standby. So once you have created subsetted and secure dump from snapshot standby you can convert snapshot standby back to physical standby using Oracle Enterprise Manager. Refer to Oracle Data Guard guide for considerations in using snapshot standby.  In-line data subsetting and masking can also be performed on production database in case there is no physical standby.

2) Perform Inline data subsetting and masking workflow

Here are the steps :

a) Create Application Data Model(ADM)
ADM is a knowledge base entity in Oracle Enterprise Manager that captures application metadata, referential relationships, sensitive columns and is used by both test data management and data masking. There are pre-defined drivers to capture data relationships from application metadata tables for Oracle Applications such as Fusion Apps and eBusiness Suite. Security Administrator requires EM_ALL_OPERATOR privilege to create ADM and Data Masking and Subsetting definition.

b) Create Masking and Subsetting definition

As a best practice, Security Administrator can create masking formats for all regulated information in the enterprise. There are out-of-box Oracle supplied default masking formats also that can be used from format library. Next step is to create masking definition that includes information regarding table columns and the format for each column. You can choose which columns to mask. Data Masking workflow can be referred here.
Next step is to create Data subset definition and use the same ADM and database used in creating the masking definition. In this step you can define the table rules,rule parameters, include 'Ancestor and Descendant tables' or 'Ancestor tables only' option this ensuring referential integrity is maintained. At this step Space estimates can also be reviewed and depending on the result, you can modify or add new rules and review back on space estimates value. Pre/Post subset scripts can also be included in definition.

c) Generate subset using export option

Using the definition subset can be created by writing the subset data to export file. Specify directory where to save the export dump and schedule the subset job. Once the job is complete, the subset Data pump file of production data with sensitive data masked is ready. The overall flow is described here
Some key tips -
- Parallel degree can be used for faster export. Start with twice the number of CPUs and tune from there
- %U and max file size parameter can be used to ensure optimum use of parallelism
- Rule parameter in where clause can be used for actual subset generation with different values
- Column rules can be used to set large-sized columns to null or fix value to reduce database size further

3) Prepare secure test/reference database

Once the Data pump export file is generated it can be imported in a test/staging database . For details refer here.This test database can be used as a reference for all development and testing copies and hosted in Self-Service portal for end users to request from service catalog.

4) Self-Service Portal Setup

Following two options are available to cloud-enable this secure reference database for self-service provisioning of future copies of this database via Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c Database-as-a-Service (DBaaS) solution :

a) Snap Clone option that leverages storage level copy-on-write technologies for cloning and is suited best for functional testing requirements and for short lived databases.With this option you can clone terabytes of data in few minutes and storage saving is enormous with this option. you need to review the supported storage options for this method. As of time of writing the post Netapp and ZFS is supported though there are plans to support more storage options in near future.

b)  RMAN based cloning from backup is one of the favorite option for DBAs. The restore process is completely automated with EM 12c DBaaS and this option is best suited for performance and load testing, development requirements and for databases used for significant updates.
Once you decide on the option, steps to follow are documented in one of my recent blog post around Planning Database as a Service Implementation Project

Refer to Private Cloud Setup and Administration guide here for details on DBaaS Setup and Snap Clone, RMAN Profile options. The secure database prepared in previous step will be used as reference target by SSA Administrator while creating database provisioning profile using RMAN backup or Snapshot option. Please also ensure you have reviewed this MOS Note for DBaaS related patches -
"Enterprise Manager Cloud Control 12c Recommended Plug-Ins and Patches for Database as a Service (DBaaS) (Doc ID 1549855.1)"

5) Self-Service database provisioning in Cloud

End users can now request for secure subset copies of production database via Self-service portal for all kind of functional QA, load and performance testing, development requirements. All the databases provisioned from this approach are also enabled by default with EM 12c powered monitoring and diagnostics, lifecycle and cloud management capabilities.

Solution References

1) Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c Packs
Oracle Test Data Management Pack
Oracle Data Masking Pack
Oracle Database Lifecycle Management Pack
Oracle Database Cloud Management Pack

2) Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c Platform and Plug-ins
Enterprise Manager Cloud Control 12c Release 3 Base Platform (
Enterprise Manager for Oracle Database (DB) plug-in
Enterprise Manager for Oracle Virtualization (VT) plug-in
Enterprise Manager Storage Management Framework (SMF) plug-in
Enterprise Manager for Oracle Cloud (SSA) plug-in

Additional information

Stay Connected:

Twitter |  Face book |  You Tube |  Linked in |  Newsletter

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.

Stay Connected:
Twitter |
Facebook | YouTube | Linkedin | Newsletter
Download the Oracle Enterprise Manager Cloud Control12c Mobile app

Tuesday Jun 25, 2013

Planning Database as a Service Implementation Project

People, process and planning are the three key elements to success in a private cloud journey. Some common questions i hear from field/customers often relates to tasks involved in setting up Database-as-a-Service(DBaaS) using Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c from scratch and how these tasks are mapped to current IT roles and responsibilities - overall list of activities that needs to be performed to setup and achieve DBaaS and who does what during the implementation process.

In terms of roles, responsibilities and users, you will map to these categories

  • Project Manager is responsible for working with all stakeholders, project team and coordinating in planning and delivering DBaaS implementation project
  • EM Admin sets ups Cloud management infrastructure and is responsible for overall EM 12c installation/configuration and Administration
  • Cloud Admins are responsible for managing the Cloud infrastructure(Servers, Network, Storage) and related Administration
  • SSA Admins or Cloud DBAs are responsible for Self Service portal setup, managing quotas, policies, target DBs S/W provisioning/ongoing Administration
  • SSA Users or End users of Cloud who actually requests for DB instances to be rapidly provisioned on-demand from Self Service portal

Here is a sample Work-breakdown structure(WBS) listing down tasks involved and with individual owners mapped. Note - we have all type of use cases covered in the plan (DBCA, RMAN, Schema as a Service, Snap Clone) and you can pick up any or mix or all of these tasks in your plan depending on your use cases and requirements for implementing DBaaS -

 Activity Description
A. Initiation and Startup

Determine scope of implementation
Determine and document scope of DBaaS Cloud implementation together with customer and end users. Determine requirements and goals. Introduction meeting implementation team. Project Manager
Coordination and quality management Coordination and quality management on throughout all phases of the implementation Project Manager
Define High availability Needs
Determine the level of High availability required Project Manager
Technical intake Technical intake meeting; Infrastructure requirements (Hardware, OS, network/firewall, s/w requirement) for cloud setup Project Manager
Functional intake Functional intake meeting; Monitoring /Reporting/Alerting requirement. User/Roles/Groups/Rules model Project Manager
Deliver implementation plan Document requirements and goals. Document required functional and technical configuration. Build architecture Diagram. Update estimate planning based on implementation plan. Project Manager
B. Infrastructure Setup

Install hardware systems Plan EM12c compatible hardware systems EM Admin
Operating system installation
Installation of certified OS platform [Refer Certify on MOS] EM Admin
Network configuration of hardware systems General network configuration of hardware systems I.e. TCP/IP, routing, NTP, firewall access, SSH, HTTP and HTTPS access. Set up network access between systems and work place of end users. Optionally implementation of remote access EM Admin