Monday Jul 21, 2014

Version 12.2.1 Released

Version 12.2.1 of Ops Center is out today.

There are a number of improvements in this version. The big ones are:

  • Support for discovering x86 64-bit Oracle Sun X4-8 servers through the ILOM SP.
  • Additional options for adding users from an external LDAP, using characteristics like full name or email addresses as Ops Center user names.
  • Audit logs let admins track Ops Center jobs, user logins, and changes to a user's roles.
  • A generic CPU architecture lets you migrate logical domains between systems with different architectures.

We've also made a number of performance enhancements - cutting the start-up times for several parts of Ops Center - and a number of bug fixes. You can find the full listing of what's new here.

For information about upgrading to 12.2.1, take a look at the Upgrade Guide.

If you're on 12.2, you'll need to apply a patch to your environment if you want to upgrade through the UI.  See the Release Notes for more information.

Thursday Jul 17, 2014

Java versions for Agents

I recently saw a question from the field regarding Agent installation:

"I'm trying to manage a group of servers with Ops Center. They use Java 1.5; is that going to be a problem?"

No, it shouldn't be. The Ops Center Agent uses Java 1.6, but it will install Java 1.6 if it's not already there. Java 1.5 and 1.6 can coexist on your systems. As long as Ops Center can get to Java 1.6 in the default location, it should work fine.

Thursday Jul 10, 2014

How-To: Configuring NAS Libraries

Server Pools in Ops Center let you group multiple virtualization hosts together and migrate guests between them. For guests to be migratable, though, the storage for the guests must be accessible to all of the hosts.

One way that you can make accessible storage is by configuring a NAS library. The library puts the guest storage in an NFS share that can be accessed by the virtualization hosts, enabling migration.

One of our how-tos, the creatively titled Configuring NAS Libraries how-to, walks you through the steps of configuring a NAS library - creating the NFS share on the storage server, then identifying it and creating the library in Ops Center. There's a workflow that explains when to use the several how-tos related to storage library deployment, as well.

Thursday Jul 03, 2014

How-To: Using Complex Plans

You can use Ops Center to perform some very complex tasks. For instance, you might use it to provision several operating systems across your environment, with multiple configurations for each OS.

Complex plans let you standardize each part of processes like that, and fit them together in different ways based on your environment's needs. You can create an OS provisioning profile for a specific OS, then create an OS configuration profile for one of the configurations your environment needs, and then put them together in a complex plan. By running the complex plan on the target systems, you ensure that no part of the process is being left out or performed inconsistently.

We've put together a how-to that demonstrates how complex plans work, using an Install Server plan as an example.

Thursday Jun 26, 2014

How-To: Using System Catalog Reports

If you have an environment with a large number of operating systems, it can be a lot of work to keep track of their versions. You might have update requirements or compatibility issues that apply across your environment, so the ability to get information about one or many OSes and their update levels can be very important.

For Oracle Solaris 10 systems, you can use a System Catalog report to track their patch status and installed OS software:

We put together a how-to that explains how to run the report, and also talks about the things you can do with the report once you've run it, like turning it into a template or an OSP Profile. If you manage Oracle Solaris 10 systems, it's worth a look. The how-to is in the Operate How-To Library, which has quite a few other how-tos about keeping your environment running.

Thursday Jun 19, 2014

How-To: Discovering a Fujitsu M10 Server

Discovering an asset, whether it's hardware, an OS, or virtualization, is the first step in managing it with Ops Center. Discovery lets Ops Center know what assets are there, and lets it begin to monitor those assets and target them with jobs.

Most assets can be discovered using the discovery procedures in the Feature Reference Guide. However, there are a few types of assets that have quirks that you have to take into account during discovery. Fujitsu M10 Servers, have a few settings that must be configured before you can discover it through the UI. We put together a how-to guide for these systems that explains those quirks, and then walks you through the entire discovery process.

If you're planning on discovering any Fujitsu M10 Servers, this guide has all of the information you'll need. There are also a few other server-specific discovery how-tos in the Deploy library, so take a look.

Thursday Jun 12, 2014

OVM Server for SPARC Enhancements

Oracle VM Servers for SPARC saw a few improvements in Ops Center 12.2. In addition to brownfield support, we've made a number of enhancements to let you add OVM Servers for SPARC to a Server Pool and enable migration of their guests.

-When you discover an OVMSS Control Domain and manage it with an Ops Center Agent, its guests are automatically discovered as well. The guest metadata is initially put in the local metadata library in the /guests directory, but you can move it from one library to another to enable migration.

-Once you've discovered an OVMSS control domain, you can add it to a server pool, even if it's already configured and running logical domains. Even if live migration between OVMSS systems isn't possible due to CPU incompatibilities, you can still put them in a server pool together and enable guest recovery by configuring the CPU architecture of the guest domain as generic.

-You can mark a guest's storage as shared to indicate that it's available to other managed OVM Server systems with the same back-end name. This lets you use storage not fully managed in an Ops Center library as part of guest migration.

Put together, these enhancements make it much easier to manage and maintain OVMSS guests.

Thursday Jun 05, 2014

Asset Discovery Video

A while back, I mentioned that we'd started putting together videos that explain some aspects of Ops Center. (The first one I talked about shows you how to create a server pool.) Well, there's another video that I wanted to show you; this one is about discovering assets.

There are a few different tools you can use to discover assets in Ops Center, each one appropriate for different types of assets or different environmental needs. Salvador put together this video that walks you through the options in the Add Assets wizard, explaining when each option is used and how to use them:

We're adding more videos as we go, so if there's something else you'd like to see explained in video form, let me know.

Thursday May 29, 2014

Brownfield Support for OVMSS

The area of virtualization saw quite a few enhancements with version 12.2. There's one particular virtualization enhancement that can make a big difference for a lot of people: support for brownfield Oracle VM Servers for SPARC.

Brownfield refers to Oracle VM Servers for SPARC that were created outside of Ops Center. In older versions of Ops Center, you couldn't really do anything with them - Ops Center could only manage OVM Servers that it created. If you had OVM Servers outside of Ops Center, you'd have to recreate them if you wanted to manage them.

In 12.2, though, this problem is cleared up. You can discover and manage OVM Servers for SPARC that you created outside of Ops Center, so long as the LDom Manager is running. When you discover the control domain, all of the logical domains are automatically discovered and managed and appear under the control domain in the Asset tree.

If you want to use server pools and migrate the logical domains to a different Oracle VM Server for SPARC system, you'll need to move the metadata to a shared library and use shared Fibre Channel or iSCSI LUNs for the guest domain storage and add the server to a server pool.

See the Oracle VM Server for SPARC chapter for more information.

Thursday May 22, 2014

Help in the UI

One of the things that we expanded in Ops Center 12.2 was the UI help. There are a few ways that you can get help in the UI now.

The first is the help link in the masthead. This provides you with links to the documentation, both to the doc site in general and to specific chapters in the Feature Reference Guide and the Administration Guide:


There's also a help tab in all of the wizards. It gives you some contextual information and assistance with the specific step of the wizard that you're looking at:


Finally, there are a few wizards that we've made videos for, such as the Creating a Server Pool video. Wizards that have video help have a video icon that links to the video:


We tried to make it so that some help is available, no matter where you are in the UI. Hopefully, this walkthrough has been helpful too.

Thursday May 15, 2014

Expanded Workflows

Along with the new and expanded content for 12.2, we added quite a few new workflows. I thought I'd talk a bit about the philosophy behind these docs and show you how they work.

A workflow is a document that explains how to perform a broad task by linking together multiple how-tos. It explains the task and the prerequisites, and shows you which how-tos you'll need to follow (in what order) based on your environment and the result that you're shooting for.

As an example, we'll look at the Deploy Storage Libraries workflow. It's centered on this image:

The left side shows the prerequisites. The right side presents a set of choices (indicated in white), then directs you to the necessary how-tos (the blue boxes) based on your responses. On the Deploy and Operate how-to tabs, each Workflow has its component how-tos listed immediately beneath it, like this:

Take a look at those two tabs (Deploy and Operate) to start using these workflows.

Thursday May 08, 2014

CLI Enhancements

Ops Center's Command Line Interface saw a few improvements in 12.2. If you haven't used it, by the way, Ops Center's CLI is a handy tool if you prefer CLI interactions over the UI or if you want to create your own scripts for automation.

The biggest improvement was in the area of certificates. When you connect to your Enterprise Controller from a remote system, you must accept the server's certificates. Once accepted, these certificates are stored in a local trust store and don't need to be accepted each time. You can also use the -a | --accept-all-certificates option to automatically accept these certificates, and use the new certificates mode to view and manage the list of trusted certificates for remote ECs.

There's also a new option, -C <channel>,  that you can use in the Update Mode to specify a channel name when you're creating an OS update profile or working with OS update content.

For more information about the CLI, you should take a look at the Command Line Interface Guide.

Thursday May 01, 2014

New Documents in the 12.2 Library

In addition to the new features introduced in 12.2, we've also added some new books to the documentation to make the product easier to use. Here's a rundown of the new books:

  • Upgrade Guide: This book contains all of the information you need to upgrade your environment to version 12.2. Each chapter focuses on a specific environment and upgrade process, so you can focus on the information that's relevant to you.

  • Ports and Protocols Guide: This book lists the ports and protocols that Ops Center uses and the websites that it accesses when in Connected Mode. This is particularly handy if you're setting up a new installation.

  • Feature Reference Appendix Guide: This book includes several appendixes that we've moved out of the Feature Reference guide in order to streamline it. It includes the Asset Attributes tables, and the Expression Query Language, Library Incidents, and API appendixes.

  • Oracle Enterprise Manager Ops Center Command Line Interface Guide: This guide explains how to use the Ops Center CLI, and includes the CLI man pages.

  • How Tos and workflows: We've added quite a few How-tos and workflows in 12.2. How-tos are short documents that walk you through a specific procedure, and workflows string these how-tos together to complete larger tasks. These docs are collected in the Deploy and Operate libraries.

These new books, as well as the rest of the documentation, are all available in the documentation library.

Thursday Apr 24, 2014

Proxy Controller High Availability

Proxy Controllers manage the bulk of your asset data. In the past, losing a Proxy Controller to a hardware failure meant losing all of that asset data, and the only way to resume management of the assets was to rediscover them using another Proxy Controller.

However, one of the enhancements in Ops Center 12.2 is full support for Proxy Controller High Availability. You can enable auto failover, and if a Proxy Controller goes down, its managed assets will automatically be migrated to another available Proxy Controller. If you're able to get the old Proxy Controller running, you can migrate the assets back, or migrate them to a new Proxy Controller once it's installed. You can migrate an asset to any Proxy Controller that's associated with the asset's network.

Take a look at the Proxy Controller High Availability section of the Administration Guide for more information.

Thursday Apr 17, 2014

Using the OCDoctor through the UI

The OCDoctor utility is a tool that's bundled along with Ops Center, and which you can also download from java.net. It has a wide variety of functions - it can check a system to see if it meets Ops Center's installation prerequisites, troubleshoot and fix some common issues, check a system's connectivity, and update itself.

You can download the OCDoctor and run it on a system from the command line, but it's also possible to use the OCDoctor's troubleshooting functions on managed systems through the UI. To do this, you select the asset and click the Self Diagnosis action in the Actions pane:


This option launches a Self Diagnosis job, which uses the OCDoctor to check the system for known issues. Once the job is complete, you can click on Self Diagnosis again to see the results and, if issues are found, attempt to fix them using the OCDoctor.


Take a look at the OCDoctor chapter and the Self Diagnosis procedure for information about the OCDoctor's other features.

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

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