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.

Thursday Apr 10, 2014

Create Server Pool Video

Ops Center is a big product, and regardless of what you use it for, there are a lot of procedures you'll have to learn. You can learn about these procedures by reading the how-to guides, but sometimes you want to hear someone explain it to you.

To that end, we've started putting together videos that walk you through some of the major jobs in Ops Center, providing some background information and a step-by-step explanation of the procedure. This one explains how to create a Server Pool:

We're planning to create more of these videos. If there's a particular feature that you'd like to see covered in a video, let me know.

Friday Apr 04, 2014

Engineered System Management in 12.2

Managing Oracle Engineered Systems is a good bit easier in Ops Center 12.2. It's always been possible, but we've made the process simpler in a few ways.

For one, you can now discover an Oracle SuperCluster from a separate Enterprise Controller using a discovery file. In the past, Oracle SuperClusters had to be discovered from a specially configured local Enterprise Controller, but they can now be discovered and managed from your datacenter Ops Center instance.

We've also added support for Oracle SuperCluster M6-32 servers, letting you manage and monitor the latest and greatest engineered systems from Ops Center.

Take a look at the Engineered Systems chapter for detailed information about managing engineered systems. The Admin Guide also has some information about the SuperCluster Admin role, which gives a user the necessary permissions to manage Oracle SuperClusters.

Thursday Mar 27, 2014

VLAN Tagging in 12.2

Among the new features in Ops Center 12.2 is support for VLAN tagging. VLAN tagging lets you use VLANs that span more than one network switch, giving you more flexibility in your network setup.

When you attach a network to an Oracle VM server or global zone, you can attach the network in tagged mode or untagged mode. In tagged mode, the VLAN ID is added to the ethernet frame by the network device such as the switch. In untagged mode, VLAN ID is not added to the ethernet frame.

It's a good idea, when you're creating a server pool, to combine assets that are associated with networks in the same mode. If you have a server pool with some assets on a tagged network and others on an untagged network, then a logical domain OS will lose its network configuration if it's moved from one sort of asset to another.

For more information about VLAN tagging, take a look at the Oracle VM Server for SPARC chapter in the Feature Reference Guide.

Thursday Mar 20, 2014

OS Provisioning Changes in 12.2

With the release of Ops Center 12.2, I'm going to do a series of posts about the new and enhanced features. I'll start with OS Provisioning, because it's had some big changes.

In older versions, Ops Center used an OS Provisioning profile to specify all of the OS parameters, including the OS image to be used, the installation requirements, and the OS and network configuration information.

In version 12.2, however, we've changed this in order to make the process more manageable and flexible. For the new process, we've broken the old OS Provisioning profiles into two new profiles:

  • OS Provisioning (OSP) profile - This specifies the OS image, and the provisioning and install requirements.
  • OS Configuration (OSC) profile -This specifies the operating system and network configuration.

The advantage here is that it makes it much easier to reuse profiles. If you want to create systems from the same OS image but with different network configurations, you don't need to repeat or copy the OS Provisioning info, you can just reuse the same profile.

When you upgrade to version 12.2, your existing OSP profiles will be automatically split into an OSP and an OSC profile, and any plans that used the old profile will be updated accordingly. You can see more information about the new profiles in the OS Provisioning chapter of the Feature Reference Guide; this section talks about the naming conventions that are used for this update. The Deploy How To section of the library also has how-tos explaining how to provision Oracle Solaris 10, Oracle Solaris 11, and Oracle VM Server for SPARC using the new process.

Thursday Mar 13, 2014

Upgrading to version 12.2

Now that Ops Center 12.2 is out, you might be interested in upgrading to it. We've put together a guide that explains how to perform an upgrade, but I thought I'd explain some of the basics here.

First off, you can only upgrade from version 12.1.3 or 12.1.4, so if you're not on one of those versions already, you need to upgrade to one of them before upgrading to 12.2.

Also, before you upgrade, take a look at these docs and follow their instructions:

Once you've done this, the Upgrade Guide will walk you through the process of upgrading. The book has several chapters, each one tailored to a specific environment (high availability or single Enterprise Controller) and upgrade method (user interface or command line), to make the process as clear as possible.

Monday Mar 10, 2014

Searching the Ops Center Documentation

I wanted to tell you a bit about how the search works in the documentation for 12.2.

When you do a search on the 12.2 documentation, in addition to giving you the sections that match your criteria, it gives you a few other categories of info:


The results on the left are the general search - what sections of what books best match your criteria.

The first box on the right, "Refine Results," is links to refined searches - to concepts, tasks, and examples that match your criteria. If you're searching for a specific procedure, then seeing examples or tasks is a quick way to narrow your search down, and concepts can be helpful if you're looking for background information.

The second box on the right, "Top Matching Books," is links to the top level of the books that best match your search. If you're looking for a general topic and all of the explanation and related procedures, this can be a useful tool.

Friday Mar 07, 2014

12.2 Release Documentation

A new version of Ops Center, version 12.2, has just been released. With it, we've made some improvements to the documentation (you can see all of the new documentation at Ops Center 12.2 documentation library). Here's a rundown of the big changes.

There's a section on the main docs page with bulletins about known issues and things you should be aware of before you install or upgrade. It's highlighted in the image below. You should read it.

Here are some of the big changes and improvements:
  • The What's New In This Release doc tells you about all of the new features, including improved OS Provisioning, LDOM management enhancements, and VLan Tagging.
  • The Known Issues section of the Release Notes tells you about the issues you should be aware of when you're upgrading or installing.
  • The Certified Systems Matrix lists the supported systems, some of which are new in 12.2.
  • There's a new Upgrade Guide, which includes end-to-end upgrade procedures for a variety of environments and preferences: HA or single Enterprise Controller, large or small, command line or UI.
  • The Ports and Protocols Guide lists all of the ports and protocols that Ops Center uses, which is good information if you're preparing to install.
  • There are quite a few new how-tos in the Deploy and Operate libraries, including how-tos for provisioning Oracle Solaris 10 and Oracle Solaris 11, and for provisioning root domains and I/O domains.
  • The Feature Reference Guide explains the product's main features, new and old, and the Feature Reference Appendix has some information that adds to that such as API information.
  • There's a new book that goes into detail on the use of the Ops Center command line interface.


Friday Feb 14, 2014

Adding an asset on a remote network

I saw an interesting question about discovering assets:

"I'm trying to discover a new chassis. I have three Proxy Controllers and all of them can ping the chassis, but only one has the firewall access to communicate with it. None of the Proxy Controllers has a direct connection to the network with the chassis, so that network isn't in the network list. How do I get the discovery job to route correctly?"

There is a solution in the discovery profile here. The discovery profile has a field for the target host or IP address, and a dropdown for the network. When you put the profile together, you supply the asset's IP address, and then select a network that has a route to the network with the chassis on it. Run that and you'll be able to discover the asset.

Thursday Jan 16, 2014

Database Failover Questions

In the post about installing Ops Center, one of the steps is setting up the database that Ops Center will use. You can use a co-located database on the EC system, or you can set up your own database and configure Ops Center to use it.

On that second option, I saw a couple of questions:

Can Ops Center be installed using a Data Guard customer managed database?

Data Guard is an Oracle tool for providing high availability and disaster recovery for an Oracle database. It can be used with Ops Center. The only thing to keep in mind is that, if your database fails over to a system with different connection parameters, you need to direct Ops Center to use the new system using the Changing the Customer-Managed Database Location procedure.

Can the RemoteDBProps.txt contain entries for both the active and standby databases?

No. The RemoteDBProps.txt file is used for the initial configuration. If you have a standby database in a separate location, you have to switch using the procedure described above.

Monday Dec 02, 2013

What would you like to see here?

When I'm writing for this blog, I try to focus on issues and questions that actual Ops Center users are dealing with. As a reader, though, I know that you might have issues or topics that you'd like to see me discuss.

So, I'd like to invite you to let me know if there's any topic that you'd like to discuss. You can leave a comment here, or you can tweet your ideas to our twitter account, @oracleopscenter. Either way, let me know what you'd like to see.

Thursday Nov 21, 2013

Tracking the energy cost for your servers

Keeping energy costs down is an ongoing challenge in any datacenter. Knowing how much energy each of your systems consumes, and how much they each cost to run, is an important piece of data.

Well, Ops Center can provide this data - it can give you data about the energy consumption of monitored servers, and about how much that energy costs.

The first step in getting this working (apart from discovering the server assets) is providing the cost of energy per kilowatt-hour in your datacenter, which you do using the Edit Energy Cost wizard in the Administration section.

Once Ops Center has that bit of data, it can give you detailed information about how much each server costs to run. You can select an asset and click the Energy tab to view the system's power consumption, power policy, and total cost for one day, or click the Charts tab and see the system's power consumption over time.


Thursday Oct 31, 2013

Agent versus Agentless management

I got a couple of questions about Agentless asset management:

"What does agentless management do for an asset?"

Agentless management is one of the two ways that you can manage an operating system. Rather than installing an Agent Controller on the OS, agentless management uses SSH to regularly check the system and gather monitoring data. Many of the actions that would be available on an agent-managed system are available on an agentless system, but actions such as running reports or updating an Oracle Solaris 10 or Linux OS are not available. A table showing the capabilities of agentless management is here.

"What permissions does agentless management require?"

Agentless management still requires root credentials. If you can't log into the system as root, you can provide one set of credentials for the login, and then a set of root credentials to switch to.

Thursday Aug 22, 2013

Ops Center CLI functions

I see questions from time to time about the Ops Center CLI and what you can do with it, so I thought I'd mention a couple of resources.

The Ops Center CLI lets you connect to an Enterprise Controller and perform many tasks from the command line. These tables from the CLI chapter show the features that can be accessed through the CLI; many but not all of the product's features are CLI-accessible.

That same chapter also explains how to log in, how to use the different CLI modes, and how to run scripted jobs through the CLI.

Tuesday Aug 13, 2013

Database locations

I got a question about customer-managed database locations:

"We are preparing to install Ops Center with ECHA. The install docs say that ECHA uses a customer-managed database on a separate system. What if I partitioned a system, and had the EC node and DB node on separate partitions? Could that work?"

Theoretically yes, although I don't think we've tested that kind of setup.

The reason we say that the database should be on a separate system is because an Enterprise Controller failover doesn't include failover for the database. We assume that, with a customer-managed database, you'll have your own methods for protecting the DB from system failures. ECHA, then, just focuses on the Enterprise Controller, and assumes that the database will still be accessible when the new EC node comes up.

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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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