Thursday Aug 14, 2014

CPU Architectures in 12.2.1

I've talked about a few of the enhancements that came in version 12.2.1 over the past few weeks. The last one is a new generic architecture class for newer systems that gives you new migration options for logical domains.

Some new systems - Oracle SPARC T4 servers, Oracle M5 and M6 servers, and Fujitsu M10 servers - have a class1 architecture. When you start a guest domain on one of these systems, Ops Center recognizes the architecture, and you can migrate the guest to systems with other CPU architectures without losing any LDOM capabilities.

Take a look at the Oracle VM Server for SPARC chapter in the Feature Reference Guide for more information about CPU architectures and other Logical Domain configuration options.

Thursday Aug 07, 2014

Audit Logs in 12.2.1

An increased audit capacity for Ops Center is something that folks have been asking about for a while. In 12.2.1, we added audit logs to provide this capability.

The audit logs are kept on the Enterprise Controller system starting in 12.2.1. They contain records of user logins, changes to user accounts, and job details. The logs require root access on the EC system and can't be edited, so they're a secure means of tracking who's logged in to Ops Center and done what.

The Feature Reference Guide has more information about how to view the audit logs.

Thursday Jul 31, 2014

LDAP Enhancements in 12.2.1

In Ops Center 12.2 and older versions, there were limitations on how a user pulled from an LDAP could log in to Ops Center - basically, users could only log in using the user name field.

One of the improvements in version 12.2.1 is that an Ops Center Admin can designate other fields, such as email address, name, or member ID, to be used when logging in to Ops Center.

The Admin Guide's section on Users and Roles has more information about adding users from directory servers.

Thursday Jul 24, 2014

Upgrading to version 12.2.1

Now that Ops Center 12.2.1 is out, I thought I'd give a brief walkthrough of the upgrade process.

The first thing to do if you're planning on upgrading to 12.2.1 is checking the upgrade paths. If you're using an older version of Ops Center, such as 12.1.4, you'll have to upgrade to version 12.2 first. Here's a flowchart that shows the supported upgrade paths:


Once you've figured out your upgrade path, you should check the release notes. They have a list of known issues that could be relevant to your environment. In particular, if you're using version 12.2, there's a patch that you have to apply if you want to upgrade through the UI.

Once you've taken a look at the release notes, the Upgrade Guide will take you through the upgrade itself, with different procedures based on how you're doing your upgrade (through the UI or command line) and what sort of environment you have.

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.

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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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