Tuesday Sep 16, 2014

Oracle OpenWorld: Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c General Session

Heading to Oracle OpenWorld?

Be sure to check out the Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c general session, Drive the Future of Self-Service IT with Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c [GEN8250].

Session Abstract:

Successful strategies for cloud computing and self-service IT demand a unified management solution that provides visibility, insight, and control across the IT landscape. In this session, key representatives from Oracle Enterprise Manager Product Development will discuss customer and partner experiences in deploying and managing large-footprint private cloud environments encompassing Oracle Applications, Oracle Fusion Middleware, Oracle Database, and Oracle Engineered Systems. In the second part of the session, attendees will get a sneak preview of several exciting new offerings in the Oracle Enterprise Manager family. Don’t miss this opportunity to glimpse the future of Oracle’s systems management offerings.

For the complete list of OpenWorld sessions, demos and hands-on labs, read the Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c Focus on Doc for more.


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Monday Sep 15, 2014

The Countdown is on—12 Days to Go!

Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c @ Oracle OpenWorld 2014

Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c, in its fourth year, has seen record levels of customer adoption. We are excited to showcase many of these customers throughout our OpenWorld activities, sessions, hands-on labs and DEMOgrounds this year.

With Oracle Enterprise Manager's large presence at OpenWorld, we've provided a variety of resources that you can use to follow all the Oracle Enterprise Manager activities and events.

Highlights:

  • Unprecedented number of customer sessions with over 50 presenting or co-presenting this year.
  • Full-day track on Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c at the Sunday User Group Forum sponsored by the IOUG.
  • General Session and over 40 Oracle-authored track-sessions on Oracle Enterprise Manager.
  • 19 Dedicated Oracle Enterprise Manager demopods in the Oracle DEMOgrounds.
  • 13 Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c hands-on labs providing deep-dive experience led by Oracle experts.

For the complete list of sessions, demos and hands-on labs, read the Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c Focus on Doc for more.



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Tuesday Sep 09, 2014

Express Scripts Automates IT with Oracle Enterprise Manager

Express Scripts, the largest pharmacy benefit management organization in the United States, automates its database services using Oracle Enterprise Manager's centralized management solution. Watch the video.



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Wednesday Aug 27, 2014

Demo: Consolidation Planner

Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c Consolidation Planner is a great tool that helps you plan and consolidate multiple targets on to a single machine such as Oracle Exadata. This solution helps you visualize what you have running in your environment and where you can take advantage of consolidation in order to maximize resources and lower IT operational costs. Watch the demo below to get a better understand of how Consolidation Planner works.


Want to learn more, read the Consolidation Planner documentation.


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Tuesday Aug 26, 2014

Q&A: Oracle's Andrew Sutherland on Managing the Entire Oracle Stack with Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c

As senior vice president of middleware for Oracle in Europe, Dr. Andrew Sutherland has more than 20 years’ experience in emerging technologies and their application to business problems. Currently, he manages a team of architects, business development managers, and technical specialists who help customers make the best use of their investments in Oracle technologies.

Given his breadth and depth of experience, we decided to ask Sutherland how Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c Release 4 is helping the Oracle customers he works with.

Q. What makes Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c different from competitors' offerings?
A. Oracle Enterprise Manager's approach is unique in that it manages across the entire Oracle stack, from applications, middleware, and the database all the way down to servers and storage. That means it can truly unlock the value of the entire Oracle stack.

Q. What is the payoff for organizations that adopt such a comprehensive approach?
A. Our customers are able to manage the entire Oracle estate in the most cost-effective way possible by automating many of their day-to-day tasks. To give you an idea of its scope, many of our customers have made sure that Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c’s dashboard is available to their senior IT management team. They use it to ensure that all parts of their IT stack are delivering what they should be delivering, when they should be delivering it.

Perhaps most important of all, Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c enables organizations to move beyond the old paradigm of multiple independent IT stacks to offer infrastructure as a service and platform as a service.

Q. As someone who helps customers make the most of their investment in Oracle technology, what do you find most promising about Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c Release 4?
A. There are three key areas that are especially exciting. First, it provides an accelerated path to the cloud. Whether you are building a small, medium, or large private cloud within your organization, it provides the tools you need to make it happen, from designing the cloud to provisioning and testing.

Secondly, this release provides monitoring and management tools that go both deeper into the stack and wider across components within the stack. That means an even more comprehensive dashboard.

Finally Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c Release 4 offers true enterprise-grade management. With the growth of social and mobile connectivity, the need for a highly performant and robust stack is more prominent than ever. And Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c is there to do exactly that: manage true, enterprise-grade IT deployments.

Q. What should Oracle customers do if they want to learn more about the latest release of Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c?
A. First, speak to your Oracle contact, whether it is a partner or Oracle representative, to get more complete information. Also consider coming to an Oracle Day event in your area, especially if you can attend one dedicated to cloud computing. And in the meantime, you can always head to the Oracle Enterprise Manager pages on oracle.com to get started.

Find out more about Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c Release 4.

Watch a short video featuring Sutherland.



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Monday Aug 25, 2014

Aramark Streamlines IT with Oracle Enterprise Manager

Aramark, a global leader in the food services industry, facilities management, and uniform services business, delivers world-class application SLAs consistently using Oracle Enterprise Manager.



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Wednesday Aug 20, 2014

Oracle OpenWorld 2014 Preview: Don't-Miss Sessions, Hands-on Labs, and More

Check out all the latest Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c sessions at this year's Oracle OpenWorld. Organizers of the event, taking place in San Francisco from September 28 to October 2, expect heavy turnout at sessions, hands-on labs, and customer panels devoted to Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c. Find out who is participating and which sessions are most recommended by the Oracle Enterprise Manager team.
Read More




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Wednesday Aug 13, 2014

Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c Wins 2 DBTA Readers’ Choice Awards

In the first annual 2014 Readers’ Choice Awards, Database Trends and Applications (DBTA) magazine announced that Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c has won two awards for "Best Database Administration Solution" and "Best Database Performance Solution."

More than 22,000 votes were cast across 31 different database categories, from Best Relational Database to Best Database Appliance, DBTA called the contest a tight race and was "often neck and neck" between nominees.

"Oracle has a longstanding commitment to superior manageability for our products. Oracle Enterprise Manager's continued success and innovations in providing the leading solution for managing Oracle Database is a prime example of this commitment. These awards are a further testament to the importance customers place on Oracle Enterprise Manager." says Moe Fardoost, Senior Director, Product Marketing for Oracle Enterprise Manager.

You can see the complete list of winners here: Database Trends and Applications magazine—2014 Readers’ Choice Awards


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Wednesday Jun 04, 2014

EM12c Release 4: Database as a Service Enhancements

Oracle Enterprise Manager 12.1.0.4 (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  -
 SI
 SI
 RAC
-
 RAC
SI
 RAC
RAC
 RON
-
 RON
RON
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 11.2.0.2 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_12.1.0.8.0/dbaas/setup
  • 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/database_cloud_setup.py
  • 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/exadata_cloud_setup.py
  • The database_cloud_setup.py 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 @database_cloud_setup.py -pdbaas 
          -cloud_boundary=/tmp/my_boundary.xml 
          -cloud_input=/tmp/pdb_inputs.xml

         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!

References:

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

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Thursday May 15, 2014

Whitepaper: Best Practices for Managing Siebel Configurations

Contributing Author: Eunjoo Lee, Principal Product Manager, Oracle

The Oracle Enterprise Manager Applications Management team is pleased to announce the release of their latest whitepaper (available here) and associated screenwatch (available here) on configuration management for Siebel.

The task of managing configuration parameters in a dynamic, multi-target environment can be extremely challenging. A large, production scale environment can have dozens of unique targets, and each target can have several hundred different configuration parameters.

Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c, with the Siebel Plug-in, provides advanced, out-of-the-box tools to manage the complexity of Siebel configuration management. Oracle Enterprise Manager has advanced configuration capture, change detection, and comparison reporting capabilities that can dramatically reduce the amount of time that System Administrators spend on configuration management.

The purpose of the whitepaper and screenwatch is to provide customers with details on Oracle’s Best Practices for managing Siebel Configurations. It addresses several key areas including;

  • Understanding comparison templates in Oracle Enterprise Manager
  • Creating configuration templates for Siebel servers, components groups, and components
  • Using configuration templates to compare Siebel servers
  • Analysis of configuration comparison results
  • Using configuration templates for Siebel patch analysis

The benefits of using configuration templates to manage Siebel applications are substantial, and include:

  • Easily compare configuration parameters for targets within a Siebel Enterprise, or between two different Siebel Enterprises
  • Easily compare configuration parameters for a Siebel target against a gold standard or baseline.
  • Define comparison reports once and re-run multiple times

We hope this white paper and screenwatch help to provide you with a good starting point to manage your Siebel Application configurations more efficiently and pro-actively.


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Tuesday Apr 08, 2014

Consolidated Database Replay: Playing Nice Together

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


Database work load patterns of two applications.


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Friday Apr 04, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

Register Now!


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Wednesday Apr 02, 2014

Cloud Odyssey in London

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

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Tuesday Apr 01, 2014

Managing Pluggable Database as a Service: Questions and Answers

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

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

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

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


Comparison of Database as a Service Consolidation Models

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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