Thursday Mar 10, 2016

MAC Address Allocation for LDoms

MAC address collisions can cause a number of problems for logical domains. I've seen a few questions recently about how Ops Center allocates MAC addresses and how you can avoid or fix collisions, so I thought I'd address a few of them.

"How does Ops Center allocate MAC addresses?"

Ops Center uses the automatic range (00:14:4F:F8:00:00 - 00:14:4F:FB:FF:FF) to allocate MAC addresses to logical domains and network devices. You can use the manual range (00:14:4F:FC:00:00 - 00:14:4F:FF:FF:FF) for LDoms that you create manually.

"Is there a way to make sure that a MAC address won't have a collision before I bring it into Ops Center?"

The CLI can do this with the collisions mode. The list subcommand lists all known collisions, and the check subcommand checks to see if the specified IDs or addresses would have a collision.

"Does the UI keep track of all manually allocated MAC addresses?"

No, that information isn't collected in the UI.

Thursday Mar 03, 2016

Rebuilding an LDom Using Metadata

We recently got a question about rebuilding LDoms:

"Is there a way to use the metadata to rebuild an LDom on another CDom, if Ops Center was down or couldn't do Automatic Recovery?"

Yep. Beginning in 12.3.1, when you shut down and detach an LDom, the guest constraints are saved in an xml file in the /var/opt/sun/xvm/guests/ directory on the CDom. You can use this file to manually reconstruct the guest if necessary.

The xml file is named according to the guest name. For example, if you shut down and detach a guest named guest_1, the guest constraints are saved in the /var/opt/sun/xvm/guests/guest_1.xml file.

The Manage Logical Domains section of the docs discusses this, as well as a number of other options for managing LDoms.

Thursday Feb 25, 2016

Supported Remote Database Versions

I saw a couple of questions recently about database versions. One of the recent changes in Ops Center 12.3.1 was support for Oracle Database 12.1.0.2. If you have an embedded database, the database is automatically upgraded when you upgrade OC to 12.3.1.

The questions, though, were about what happens if you have a customer-managed database.

"If I'm upgrading to 12.3.1 with a customer-managed database, do I have to upgrade the DB to 12.1.0.2?"

 Nope. Oracle Database 11.2.0.3.0 or 11.2.0.4.0 are still supported for the remote DB, so you don't have to upgrade.

"What about a fresh installation?"

The same is true for a new installation. You can take a look at the Cert Matrix to see what's supported for what.

Thursday Jan 28, 2016

CLI Enhancements in 12.3.1

One of the improvements in version 12.3.1 of Ops Center is a set of additional commands for the command-line interface.

The CLI lets you use many of the functions of Ops Center from the command line, and enables you to script some tasks. Beginning in 12.3.1, you can use the following subcommands in the CLI:

  • Plan: Lets you view and delete plans and credentials
  • Security: Lets you deploy and manage security certificates
  • Guest: Lets you view guests

There are also a number of new options for existing subcommands, giving you finer control. Take a look at the What's New and the CLI reference for more information.

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 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 Aug 20, 2015

Editing or Disabling Analytics

There was a recent question thread about how you can tweak the OS analytics settings in Ops Center.

"Ops Center collects analytics data every 5 minutes and retains it for 5 days. Is it possible to edit these settings?"

You can edit the retention period but not the collection interval.

To edit the retention period, log into the UI. Click the Administration section, then click the Configuration tab for the EC, and select the Report Service subsystem.

The repsvc.daily-samples-retention-days property specifies the number of days to retain OS analytics data. You can edit this property, then restart the EC to make it take effect.

"Can I turn off data collection for OS analytics entirely?"

Yes, you can. Bear in mind that this requires you to edit a config file, so be very careful.

Go to the /opt/sun/n1gc/lib directory on the EC and find the XVM_SATELLITE.properties file. Edit it to uncomment this line:

#report.service.disable=true

Then, restart the Enterprise Controller.

Thursday Aug 06, 2015

Mixing Servers in a Server Pool

I saw a couple of questions recently about what kinds of servers you can group together in a server pool.

"Can I create a server pool with different types of servers, like T4 and T5, or T4 and M10?"

Yes, you can. As long as you're not trying to mix SPARC and x86, you can put different types of hardware in a server pool.

"Is it a good idea to make server pools like this?"

It will work, but performance won't be quite as good. To enable migration between hardware, the cpu-arch property needs to be set to generic, which means that not all of the hardware features are used. If you have the hardware to build completely homogeneous server pools, you'll get better performance.

The Server Pools chapter explains how to set up a server pool for whatever virtualization type you're using.

Thursday Jul 23, 2015

Kernel Zones support in 12.3

One of the new features in Ops Center 12.3 is support for Oracle Solaris kernel zones. I wanted to talk a bit about this, because there are some caveats, and a new document to help you with using this type of zone.

Kernel zones differ from other zones in that they have a separate kernel and OS from the global zone, making them more independent. In Ops Center 12.3, you can discover and manage kernel zones. However, you can't migrate them, put them in a server pool, or change their configuration through the user interface.

We put together a how-to that explains how you can discover existing kernel zones in your environment. You can also take a look at the What's New doc for more information about what's changed in 12.3.

Thursday Jul 16, 2015

New Books in 12.3

One of the changes that we've made in Ops Center 12.3 is a change to the documentation library. We've divided the old Feature Reference Guide up into several smaller books so that it's easier to use:

  • Configure Reference talks about how to get the software working - discovering assets; configuring libraries, networks, and storage; and managing jobs.
  • Operate Reference talks about incidents, reports, hardware management, and OS management, provisioning, and updating.
  • Virtualize Reference describes the use and management of Oracle Solaris Zones, Oracle VM Servers for SPARC, and server pools.
  • Oracle SuperCluster Operate Reference covers the management of Oracle SuperCluster.

The What's New doc has more information about these new books. You can find the new books by clicking Feature Reference on the main doc site.

Thursday Jul 02, 2015

Upgrading to 12.3

Now that Ops Center 12.3 is out, you might be wondering how to upgrade to it. I thought I'd walk you through the major steps involved in upgrading, and direct you to the documents that go into more detail.

First off, to upgrade directly to 12.3, you have to be using some variant of 12.2 - 12.2.0, 12.2.1, or 12.2.2. If you're on 12.1, you have to upgrade to 12.2 first. Here's a flowchart of the upgrade paths:


The Upgrade guide also walks you through the other planning steps. It's a good idea to look at the release notes and the Oracle Solaris and Linux install guides before you upgrade, to make sure that you're aware of known issues and the latest system requirements.

Once you've done your planning, you go to the Upgrade guide chapter that matches your environment - there are separate procedures for HA and non-HA environments, and separate procedures for upgrading from the command line or from the UI.

These chapters will walk you through downloading the upgrade (you can get it through the UI, from the Oracle Technology Network, or from the Oracle Software Delivery Cloud), and applying the upgrade to the Enterprise Controller(s), Proxy Controllers, and Agents.

Thursday Jun 25, 2015

Ops Center 12.3 is Released

Version 12.3 of Ops Center is now available!

This is a major upgrade from the prior versions. In addition to bug fixes and performance enhancements, there are a number of new features:

  • Asset discovery refinements, including the ability to run discovery probes only on a specific network or from a specific Proxy Controller
  • Support for discovering and managing existing Oracle Solaris 11 Kernel Zones
  • The ability to create a custom Oracle Solaris 11 AI manifest and use it for provisioning
  • Refined search: Searching for one or more assets now displays the search results in a new tab in the Navigation pane, making navigation a bit easier
  • New and expanded books in the doc library

Take a look at the What's New In This Release document for a more detailed breakdown of the new features, and the Upgrade guide for more information about upgrading to version 12.3.

You can also take a look at the 12.3 documentation library here.

Thursday Mar 05, 2015

Using Variables in Operational Plans

I saw a question recently about variables in operational plans, which I thought I'd discuss. If you're unfamiliar with them, operational plans let you create or upload scripts, then run those scripts on targeted systems through Ops Center.

The question was about the variables you can use in these scripts. There are two kinds of variables you can use: user-defined ones, which you have to create, or system defined variables which are defined by Ops Center. The system defined variables are listed in the documentation, but the questioner wasn't sure what each variable actually was. So, here's a list of the useful system variables and what they do:

  • $OC_UFN - The target asset's user-friendly name - the same name that's used in the UI.

  • $OC_JOB_ID - The Job ID number for the job that's applying the operational plan. A lot of users use this variable to help track changes that are made by a script.

  • $OC_TARGET_NAME - This is Ops Center's internal name for the target asset.

  • $OC_TARGET_TYPE - This is the type of asset that the script is being applied to.

There's more information about creating and applying Operational Plans in the Feature Reference Guide.

Thursday Feb 12, 2015

Discovery Changes

There were a few changes to the discovery process in Ops Center 12.2.2. If you've already upgraded, you might have noticed some of them, but I thought I'd give you the rundown.

The first change is an enhancement for zones and LDoms discovery. In version 12.2.2, when you discover a control domain or global zone and manage it with an Agent, any non-global zones or logical domains on them are discovered automatically. There are also some performance enhancements in this area, so the discoveries ought to go quicker now than in past.

The other change is that the Find Assets wizard, which searches for assets using service tags, is now disabled by default. This is mostly because, since this method searches for service tag-equipped products on all networks associated with a Proxy Controller, it can end up being a big resource drain/timesink in a very large environment. If you want, you can still enable it.

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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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