Monday Feb 23, 2015

Webcast: Database Provisioning in Minutes: Using Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c DBaaS Snap Clone and EMC Storage

Live Webcast
Wednesday February 25, 2015
8:00 a.m. PST | 11:00 a.m. EST

Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c Database as a Service Snap Clone allows administrators to create fully functional copies of databases using the capabilities of the underlying storage layer. Users can request databases from the self-service console and have them provisioned within minutes instead of hours while keeping storage needs to a minimum.

Attend this presentation to learn more about the features and benefits of Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c DBaaS Snap Clone using EMC storage and to view a live demo.

This webcast is specifically targeted for DBAs, storage administrators and cloud administrators interested in saving time and effort implementing enterprise grade DBaaS.

Register Now!

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Monday Feb 09, 2015

Take the IOUG Database Manageability Survey

The Independent Oracle Users Group (IOUG), is conducting its annual database manageability survey. If you are a database professional responsible for managing and operating your organization's database applications and systems, then the IOUG wants to hear from you.

Take the next few minutes to answer simply questions around your common manageability practices and challenges. Share your experience and insight with the IOUG and Oracle communities and you'll be entered into a draw for a chance to win an Apple iPad from the IOUG. You will also receive a free copy of the final report.

Take the 2015 IOUG Database Manageability Survey


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Tuesday Jan 27, 2015

Top Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c Questions

Guest contributors: Courtney Llamas and David Wolf

What are the steps involved for upgrading from Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c Release 3 to Release 4? Is it an upgrade in place or a new install/migration
Answer: Yes, Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c R3 to R4 is an out-of-place upgrade, which means the installer will install in a new Oracle Home and migrate the application over. You will need the additional space for a new Oracle Home. You can reduce downtime of the upgrade by performing a “Software Only Install”, and then upgrade later. See the upgrade documentation here.

Do the patch and upgrade functionality work on Oracle Database 11g targets or only on Oracle Database 12c targets?
A: Yes, patching and upgrading can be performed on any certified target version. For more details on database patching and lifecycle management visit this page.

Where can I find a full list of new enhancements compared to Release 3?
A: The new features are listed in Oracle Enterprise Manager Cloud Control Introduction Guide.

Is there a list available of new features by management pack?
A: The new features are listed in Oracle Enterprise Manager Cloud Control Introduction Guide. They are listed by plug-in, not management pack. For the license information read this page.

What are the best hardware configuration and setup in order to provide high availability capabilities for database as a service (i.e. Oracle RAC, Oracle Exadata)?
A: The more you rely on Oracle Enterprise Manager, the more you need to think about high availability. The best recommendation is to have a multi-OMS system with a standby for disaster recovery. You can scale up to this as the environment grows, but starting with a multi-OMS system will give you the availability and scalability you need. A standby database with Oracle Data Guard and a software replicated standby OMS would be the next step. Please read this whitepaper Deploying a Highly Available Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c Cloud Control for more information.

Can Snap Clone be used with EMC storage or is Oracle ZFS storage required?
A: Yes. Snap Clone can be used with either EMC VMAX and/or VNX Block Storage, both are supported. More details can be found on this page under the section: Database Cloning and Dynamic Data Refresh.

Does Oracle Enterprise Manager support monitoring of hypervisors?
A: Oracle Enterprise Manager supports monitoring of Oracle VM natively and VMWare via a Blue Medora third party plug in. More details on managing physical and virtual host can be found here.

Is the metering and chargeback functionality part of the base product or does it requires an additional management pack?
A: Metering and Chargeback for Oracle Database is part of the Oracle Cloud Management Pack for Oracle Database. Metering and Charge back for guest virtual machines (VMs) and hosts are included with the base product and does not require a separate license. Read this whitepaper for more on Metering and Chargeback with Oracle Enterprise Manager.

Does Enterprise Data Governance require additional licensing?
A: Use of the Enterprise Data Governance capabilities within Oracle Enterprise Manager requires an Oracle Database Lifecycle Management Pack license.

How is the new AWR Warehouse feature different from the existing AWR report in Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c Release 3?
A: The existing AWR report in Oracle Enterprise Manager pulls AWR data from the source database and relies on the AWR retention setting of that database. This is typically only saved for 8 days. There’s been a big demand for saving this data for 30-60 days and even longer. AWR Warehouse, automates the extract of the source AWR data and loading to a warehouse database so that data can be retained without affecting the performance and storage of the source database. The reports are the same, it just allows you to dig back further in time. Read this article for more details.

Does this new release require more disk space for the AWR Warehouse? More CPU and memory?
A: Not for the OMS. The recommendation is to setup the AWR Repository in a separate database, outside of the Oracle Enterprise Manager repository database. Hosting on the same server would be fine, so long as there is sufficient memory and CPU for both instances. Read this article on AWR Warehouse for more details.

Does AWR Warehouse also support Oracle Database 10g and/or 11g AWR?
A: AWR Warehouse must be installed on Oracle Database 12.1.0.2 or higher or version 11.2.0.4 with the appropriate patch. It also must be an equal or higher database version of the source databases it accommodates. Check out this demo to understand AWR Warehouse. Read the AWR Warehouse documentation.

Is there a list of 3rd party technologies that can be managed by Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c?
A: Check out the Oracle Enterprise Manager Extensibility Exchange for a list of the available 3rd party plug-ins and connectors.

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Friday Jan 16, 2015

Webcast: Zero to Manageability in One Hour—Build a Solid Foundation for Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c

Wednesday, January 21, 2015
1:00 p.m. EST | 10:00 a.m. PST

The goal in every Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c rollout is to take it from zero to manageability in the shortest possible time. This presentation will show you how to accomplish this feat. Oracle experts will demonstrate how to properly architect and deploy Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c, including designing a highly available and scalable environment. Through this demonstration a list of essential techniques and tips compiled from Oracle Enterprise Manager Development’s Strategic Customer Programs team will also be shared. Topics such as; users, roles, groups, templates, and incidents will be discussed, plus key architectural decisions.

By attending this webinar, you will learn how to:

  • Organize targets, notifications and users properly
  • Configure for best practices after the install is complete
  • Properly plan and architect an Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c environment

Featured Speaker: Courtney Llamas, Principal Member of Technical Staff, Oracle

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Thursday Jan 15, 2015

IOUG eBrief: News for the Oracle Enterprise Manager User Community

IOUG eBrief: January Edition Now Available

Check out January's issue of the IOUG eBrief featuring all the latest news and highlights from IOUG and the Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c Special Interest Group (SIG).

Read the newsletter

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Friday Jan 09, 2015

Innovating to Optimize: Creating Room in the IT budget for Initiatives that Boost Business

Read the latest Economist Intelligence Unit whitepaper called Innovating to Optimize: Creating Room in the IT budget for Initiatives that Boost Business. The paper outlines new ways executives can use technology to improve IT operational processes in order to drive innovation and optimize their business. The Economist interviews industry experts and thought leaders, revealing candid insights and new emerging trends.

Download the whitepaper

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Wednesday Jan 07, 2015

Webcast: Oracle Database 12c Performance Analysis

IOUG Webcast: Long Term and Cross-Database Performance Analysis for Oracle Databases Using Automatic Workload Repository Warehouse

Thursday, January 15, 2015
1:00 p.m. EST | 11:00 a.m. PST

The Automatic Workload Repository (AWR) feature in Oracle Database has been the standard used by DBAs to diagnose database performance problems.

In this session, you will learn about the new AWR Warehouse capability, which enables DBAs with capacity planning and performance analysis for Oracle Databases without the constraint of the retention period and without any overhead on critical databases.

Learn how AWR Warehouse can tell why performance was slow this month compared to the same period last year or give administrators an annual report of problems in your mission-critical databases.

Featured Speaker: Jagan Athreya, Senior Director of Product Management, Oracle

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Friday Oct 24, 2014

Get Compliant with Oracle Java VM Database PSU OCT 2014 using EM12c

Check for compliance and automate patching of Oracle Database fleet using EM12c

Oracle along with its regular Quarterly Database PSU/SPU/CPU update this October 2014 released Oracle JAVA VM PSU patch, the patch is recommended to be applied to all databases in your fleet (esp. the ones that uses JAVA).  (For more information, support Note- 1929745.1 explains it in detail).
The mandate primarily is to apply the patches against the databases that use JAVAVM option. Ideally, you would need to apply it against all databases, so in case a new database is created in the ORACLE_HOME it is covered.

Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c provides support features of Compliance Management and automated Patching of databases. Using both these features you could identify the databases in your fleet that needs the patch and automate applying them.  

To get started, download the starter kit here. It contains utilities to jump start on your compliance, the kit contains a readily importable Compliance Standard and a step-by-step guide.

[Read More]

Monday Oct 20, 2014

Webcast: Trouble-Free Upgrade to Oracle Database 12c with Oracle Real Application Testing

Live Webcast: October 28
9:00 a.m. PST | 12:00 p.m. EST | 4:00 p.m. GMT

Oracle Database 12c contains many new capabilities including Oracle Multitenant, in-memory column stores and much more. Oracle Real Application Testing gives you verifiable functionality and performance testing capabilities to take advantage of all the new enhancements. Combining your database upgrade with Oracle Real Application Testing assures you that your database will perform as required, whether you’re implementing an in-memory column store, consolidating to a database as a service model, or doing an in-place upgrade—join us in this webcast to learn 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 Jul 30, 2014

Reducing Downtime While Patching Multi-OMS Environments

Enterprise Manager 12.1.0.4 has now been released for a few weeks, as well as the 12.1.0.4 OMS Bundle patches (also known as System patches). If you plan to apply these bundle patches to your 12.1.0.4 OMS, and you are concerned about the downtime, then, you can reduce the downtime by referring to this whitepaper that contains patching instructions to reduce downtime. 


This whitepaper covers various Enterprise Manager High Availability (EM HA)  usecases (level 1, 2, 3, 4), and contains instructions on how to reduce downtime while applying patches to each of these usecases. It also clearly defines the steps that require downtime and those that do not.

If you have a multi-OMS setup, you can also refer to this whitepaper which covers script creation using the opatchauto command, which automates the substeps and further reduces downtime.During our internal testing of this whitepaper on an EM HA setup, we have noticed a significant reduction in downtime. 

If your customer plans to do an Enterprise Manager Upgrade to 12.1.0.4, then as a post upgrade recommendation, they should patch their OMS with the latest bundle patches by following the instructions outlined in this whitepaper.

White paper on OTN:
http://www.oracle.com/technetwork/oem/install-upgrade/reducedowntime-patchmultioms-2251257.pdf

MOS note for the latest Bundle Patches:
Enterprise Manager 12.1.0.4.0 (PS3) Master Bundle Patch List (Doc ID 1900943.1)

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Monday Jun 23, 2014

Patch automation of Data Guard Databases takes a leap with EM12cR4


Patching has always been one of the many joys (or dreads) of Oracle DBAs. 
The effort compounds as the Database sprawl grows and the architecture complexity increases.  Additionally,  there is an increasing pressure to patch the systems with minimal or zero downtime. EM12c's Database patch automation functionality provides  an end-to-end management starting with proactive patch recommendations (like quarterly PSUs and CPUs), complete pre-flight checker to ensure predictable patching during maintenance window and  automation for patching the comprehensive list of products under the Oracle Database family.  ( EM12c Patch Automation overview

Patching has always been one of the many joys (or dreads) of Oracle DBAs. The effort compounds as the Database sprawl grows and the architecture complexity increases. Additionally, there is an increasing pressure to patch the systems with minimal or zero downtime. 

EM12c's Database patch automation functionality provides an end-to-end management starting with proactive patch recommendations (like quarterly PSUs and CPUs), complete pre-flight checker to ensure predictable patching during maintenance window and  automation for patching the comprehensive list of products under the Oracle Database family.  ( EM12c Patch Automation overview)

With the introduction of "Out of Place" patching in EM12c, the automation feature got a complete overhaul. Over the past 3 years I have seen customers moving to this mode to achieve their automation goals.  ( What is Out of Place?)

Patching Data guard environments (read as Primary and its corresponding Standby Databases) has always been a challenging task for the DBAs. 
In addition to handling the differences in steps needed for the configuration, the very nature of its distributed environment and incorporating any additional custom tasks makes it more demanding. Till now in EM we only supported automation in disparate steps and in “In Place” mode.

Starting 12.1.0.4 (EM12c R4), the support is enhanced to be more tighter, can be done in 'Out of Place' mode, and has new supplemental features to manage the process along with its additional tasks.

In this post we will take a closer look of the data guard stand by patching feature and then dive into a use case, you could try out in your environment.

[Read More]

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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