Thursday Jan 21, 2016

Zones Additions in 12.3.1

There are quite a few new features in Ops Center 12.3.1, but I think that the group of zones improvements are worth a particular mention.

The biggest is expanded support for kernel zones. In 12.3, you could discover kernel zones, but you couldn't create them. Once you've upgraded to 12.3.1, though, you gain the ability to create kernel zones, to edit existing kernel zones, and to migrate logical domains that host kernel zones. Since kernel zones are more independent from their host than other zones, kernel zones also have a storage tab that's similar to that for logical domains.

There are also some improvements for existing zones. On zones using Oracle Solaris 11.2 or later, you can dynamically edit network, file system, and storage attributes without having to reboot the zone.

The Virtualization Reference guide has more information about how to use these features, and the What's New will tell you about the other new features in 12.3.1.

EDIT: An earlier version of this post incorrectly stated that kernel zones could be migrated directly. Logical domains that host kernel zones can be migrated, but kernel zones cannot yet be migrated directly.

Thursday Jan 14, 2016

UI and Proxy Controller changes in 12.3.1

Version 12.3.1 of Ops Center introduced a number of new features and bug fixes. I wanted to talk about some of the new options you'll see in the UI.

First off, you can now launch a job to balance assets between Proxy Controllers. You can select one or more Proxy Controllers on which to balance assets, and migrate assets away from one or more Proxy Controllers if necessary.

The Admin section also has a couple of new tabs: One displaying asset count information for the EC and for each PC, and another showing all of the assets that have been blacklisted.

These options should give you more information and control of your Ops Center environment. For more information, take a look at the What's New document, which goes over these and other new features in this release.

Thursday Jan 07, 2016

Upgrading to version 12.3.1

Now that Ops Center 12.3.1 is released, you may be interested in upgrading.

The process is fairly simple - similar to past upgrades - with one important addition. If you're using an embedded database, we've upgraded the version to If you have an embedded database, you'll need to download the installation bundles for before performing the upgrade. If you're using a customer-managed database, you can upgrade your database to at any point after upgrading Ops Center to 12.3.1.

The Upgrade Guide goes into detail about how to upgrade your environment, with separate procedures based on your environment (single EC or HA) and your preferred method of upgrading (UI or command line).

Thursday Dec 24, 2015

Ops Center 12.3.1 Released

Ops Center version 12.3.1 has just been released. There are a number of enhancements here, which I'll discuss in detail in future posts, but here are some of the big features:

  • Expanded support for Kernel Zones, including the ability to create Kernel Zones
  • Expanded Oracle Linux support
  • Dynamic modification of zones
  • Support for JDK 8

There's a more complete list of new features in the What's New document.

You can find out how to upgrade your systems using the Upgrade Guide.

Thursday Dec 17, 2015

Changing the Remote Database Location

One of the benefits of using a customer-managed database with Ops Center is greater control over the database - you decide how it should be backed up, what system you want it on, and so on. This gives you the ability to move the database to a new system as well. But that raises a question - how do you get Ops Center to use the new DB location?

This is a process that you complete from the command line. There are a few big steps:

  1. Shut down the Enterprise Controller.
  2. Point the EC to the new DB location.
  3. Export the data from the old DB.
  4. Import the data on the new DB.
  5. Start the EC again.

Here's a link to the document that explains these steps in detail.

Thursday Dec 10, 2015

Users and Groups Created by Ops Center

I saw a question recently about the users and groups that are created on the EC and PC operating systems as part of an Ops Center install. Back in 11g, we had a section in the docs that showed these users and groups, but it's missing in 12c.

So, here are the users and groups that OC creates when it's installed:

  • Enterprise Controller Users: svctag, allstart, uce-sds, xvm, webservd
  • Enterprise Controller Groups: jet, uce-sds, webservd
  • Proxy Controller Users: svctag, allstart, uce-sds
  • Proxy Controller Groups: jet, uce-sds

The UIDs for the svctag and xvm users are set by Solaris (to 95 and 60, respectively) but the rest of the UIDs are not expected to be any specific value.

Also, if you're planning an installation, remember that you should use the OCDoctor utility to check the prerequisites first. There are a lot of prereqs that used to be manual checks, that we just made the OCDoctor do automatically.

Thursday Dec 03, 2015

Images for OS Provisioning

This week I saw a couple of questions about the sources that you can use for OS Provisioning in Ops Center.

"Is there any way that I can automate the importing of FLAR files for OSP, with a script or something like that?"

Yes. If you've set up a default software library through the UI, you can use the Ops Center CLI's osimage mode to perform imports. Take a look here for more information.

"Is Unified Archive (UAR) supported through Ops Center?"

Not yet. However, we know that it's a desirable feature for a lot of users, and we're working on it.

Thursday Nov 19, 2015

Oracle VM Server for SPARC Support

I saw a couple of related questions about Oracle VM Server for SPARC 3.3 support recently:

Are T7 servers with Oracle VM Server for SPARC 3.3 supported in Ops Center?

Yep. You can take a look at the Certified Systems Matrix to see the full list of supported systems.

What if I want to downgrade systems to Oracle VM Server for SPARC 3.2?

That's not something we've tested or certified.

Are live migration and automatic recovery supported for OVMSS 3.3?

Yes, the full feature set for OVMSS is supported for version 3.3. One issue worth mentioning, though, is that the option for setting the maximum bandwidth for a guest doesn't work properly in 3.3; we're working on that issue.

Thursday Nov 12, 2015

Updating an Oracle Solaris 8 system

Last week, we talked a bit about how to update branded zones. I saw a question this week about upgrading Oracle Solaris 8 systems, and branded zones figure into the answer here too.

"I've got some legacy applications running on some Oracle Solaris 8 systems. I'd like to get them running on S11 if possible. What can I do to upgrade these systems?"

Solaris 8 is old enough that there isn't an upgrade path all the way to Oracle Solaris 11. If you have legacy applications running on Solaris 8, and you want to move to a newer OS, you have a couple of options.

If you can move your applications onto S11, then you can use Ops Center to provision new S11 systems and then get the applications running on the new system.

However, some applications might not work on S11. In that case, you could create a Flash Archive of the existing S8 system, and use that FLAR to make an S8 branded zone on an S10 system. It's not S11, but it's not too shabby.

Thursday Nov 05, 2015

Branded Zones Questions

Branded Zones are handy if you want to run Oracle Solaris 10 zones on top of an S11 platform. However, they do work a bit differently from other zones in Ops Center. I've received a couple of questions about branded zones that I thought I'd try to clear up:

"I have a Control Domain with an Oracle Solaris 10 branded zone on it. Can I upgrade the control domain without Ops Center getting confused by the branded zone?"

Yes. When you upgrade a control domain or OS with a branded zone on it, the branded zone is skipped by design.

"Okay, so how do I upgrade the branded zone itself?"

Patching on a branded zone is similar to patching a global zone. If the branded zone doesn't have an agent, you can switch to agent management using the Switch Management Access option, then patch the branded zone normally.

Thursday Oct 29, 2015

Added Hardware and OS Support in Ops Center 12.3

There's some new support that's just been added to Ops Center 12.3.0. SPARC M7 and T7 servers are now officially certified, and Oracle Solaris 11.3 is certified, both as a managed OS and for the EC and PC systems.

There are some new and updated docs to go along with this support, as well. There are two revised how-tos that explain how to discover and manage these servers:

There are also two new how-tos, which aren't directly related to SPARC M7 or T7 but which you might find useful regardless:

Take a look at the What's New document for more information.

Thursday Oct 22, 2015

Ops Center Communication Issue with Some Java Versions

Some Ops Center users have run into an issue recently with certain Java versions on managed assets. Basically, if you upgrade to one of the problematic versions, it can disrupt communication between the different parts of Ops Center, causing assets to show as unreachable and jobs to fail.

The problem children are:

  • Java SE JDK and JRE 6 Update 101 or later

  • Java SE JDK and JRE 7 Update 85 or later

  • Java SE JDK and JRE 8 Update 51 or later

There's a simple workaround for this issue, which you can apply before or after you've hit the issue, which uses the OCDoctor script (by default, it's in the /var/opt/sun/xvm/OCDoctor/ directory).

On the EC, run the OCDoctor script with the --update option (the fix requires version 4.51 or later). Then run it again with the --troubleshoot and --fix options.

If you're using JDK 6, you then need to download a new Agent Controller bundle based on the version of Ops Center that you're using:

Finally, use the same OCDoctor options (--update, then --troubleshoot --fix) on the Proxy Controllers. This will either clear up the issue, or prevent it from appearing at all.

Thursday Oct 15, 2015

Checking the Health of an Ops Center System

I saw a general question about keeping Ops Center running:

"I want to do a regular diagnostic to make sure that my Enterprise Controller and Proxy Controller systems are healthy. What tools can I use to do that?"

There are a few tools that you can use for this purpose.

First, there's the UI. The Administration section in the UI shows the status of all Proxy Controllers, and the current status of the Enterprise Controller services.

Outside of the UI, there are a number of tools bundled with the OCDoctor script that you can use. The OCDoctor and its toolbox are in the /var/opt/sun/xvm/OCDoctor/ folder on the Enterprise Controller and Proxy Controllers. Here are some of the options and tools you can use:

  • --update  - You should run this first, to make sure that you've got the latest version of the OCDoctor.
  • --troubleshoot  - This option will provide troubleshooting information for some known issues. You can also add the --fix option to apply fixes for some of these issues.
  • --check-connectivity  - This option will check for connectivity issues.
  • toolbox/ -b  - This script checks for issues with your libraries.

These options should help you stay aware of how Ops Center is doing.

Thursday Oct 08, 2015

Agent versus Agentless Management

I've seen a couple of questions recently about the differences between Agent managed and Agentless assets, so I thought I'd explain the differences and the relative merits.

You can manage operating systems and virtualization technologies in one of two ways - by installing an Ops Center Agent on them, or by providing Ops Center with credentials that it can use to reach the asset. The agent is tailored to the system - there are separate types of Agents for Zones and LDoms.

If you don't want to have anything else installed on a system, agentless management can provide management and monitoring capabilities. However, there are some features that aren't available for assets that are managed agentlessly. There's a table in the OS Management chapter that explains what features are and are not available with agentless assets.

Thursday Oct 01, 2015

Changing an Asset's Name

I got a question about an incorrect asset name:

"I discovered a server, but when I discovered it, it was named according to its IP address because of a DNS issue. The incorrect name in the UI angers me. How do I fix it?"

This is relatively simple. In the navigation section, select the All Assets node at the root of the asset tree, then select the Managed Assets tab. Select the incorrectly named asset, and click the pencil icon to edit its properties (including name). Click finish to save the changes.


This blog discusses issues encountered in Ops Center and highlights the ways in which the documentation can help you


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