Thursday Oct 16, 2014

How-To: Creating and Managing Network Domains

Efficient networking is crucial for a virtual datacenter. (I suppose it's crucial for any kind of datacenter, but I'm focusing here.) In Ops Center, you can keep your vDC networks running using network domains. Network domains manage public networks with defined resources as well as ad-hoc private networks.

To create a network domain through Ops Center, you need to identify at least one fabric to support it, then run the Create Network Domain wizard. This wizard lets you create new dynamic private networks for the new domain and associate existing networks with it.

Once you've created a network domain, you can associate it with a server pool by selecting the server pool and running the Associate Network Domain wizard. This wizard lets you pick a network domain, then pick a physical interface on each server in the server pool for the network domain to use. Once you've done this, the server pool can use public and private networks within the network domain.

The Creating and Managing Network Domains how-to provides more background information and walks you through both of these wizards.

Thursday Oct 09, 2014

How-To: Lifecycle Management for Zones

Oracle Solaris Zones are a useful too. As I've been discussing over the past few weeks, Ops Center lets you manage zones from a high level by creating them, grouping them into server pools, and migrating them. However, I haven't talked about how to use Ops Center for more day-to-day zone management.

When a zone is managed in Ops Center, you can see its current state - running, shut down, or unreachable - in the Assets section, shown by an icon over the asset. By selecting a specific zone, you can take a number of possible actions: you can reboot or shut down a running zone, halt a zone if it's not responding to a graceful shutdown, boot a stopped zone, or delete a zone if it's no longer needed.

The Lifecycle Management of Zones how-to explains how to take each of these actions. The zones chapter in the Feature Reference Guide also discusses them.

Thursday Oct 02, 2014

How-To: Migrating Oracle Solaris 11 Zones

I've talked a bit over the past couple of weeks about how to create Oracle Solaris 11 zones and how to group them into a server pool to enable automatic load balancing and high availability.

You can also use the server pools to manually migrate zones from one host to another. You can perform this migration to do your own load balancing, to reorganize your zones, or in preparation for system maintenance. When you use the Migrate Zone action to move the zone, the wizard lists all of the global zones in the pool, including the number of running zones, total CPU, and available dedicated CPUs. If you don't have enough resources in that server pool, you can migrate the zone to a global zone in a different server pool, as long as they're compatible and meet the storage and network requirements. 

The Migrating Zones how-to walks you through migrating a zone to a new global zone in the same server pool. There's also more information in the Oracle Solaris Zones chapter in the Feature Reference Guide.

Thursday Sep 25, 2014

How-To: Creating a Server Pool for Oracle Solaris 11 Zones

I talked a bit last week about creating Oracle Solaris 11 zones by following the zone creation how-to. If you're creating zones on at least two systems, it's a good idea to create a server pool for them. A zones server pool lets you group 2 or more global zones (hosts) that have the same processor architecture. The hosts must share storage resources and have access to the same virtual and physical networks.

There are some big advantages to pooling your zones, including load balancing and high availability. When you add hosts to the server pool, you can share resources between the zones, and create policies to manage a lot of the CPU utilization and resource balancing functions and automatically migrate hosts between servers to balance the load. You can also manually move zones between hosts, and restart zones on a new host if a pooled host shuts down.

If you want to know more, there's a Server Pools chapter in the Feature Reference Guide. There's also a Creating a Server Pool for Zones how-to which walks through the process, using a hypothetical environment with two Oracle Solaris 11 zones.

Thursday Sep 18, 2014

How-To: Creating Oracle Solaris 11 Zones

The odds are good that you use Oracle Solaris 11 Zones in your environment or are interested in doing so - it's an effective and secure virtualization technology that lets you get more use out of each piece of hardware.

If your environment uses Ops Center, you can use a profile to quickly create new zones with a specific setup. The profile specifies the OS version, zone configuration, storage, and file system for the zone. Once you've created a profile, it automatically generates a deployment plan, which you can run to create a new zone. At runtime you specify the target system, and the name, IP address, and network resources for the new zone, edit any of the info from the profile if you want, and schedule the zone creation.

We've put together a how-to that walks you through the whole process, so take a look.

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 Jan 23, 2014

How-To: Migrating Logical Domains

Using Ops Center, you can create Server Pools to allow for failover and migration of virtual systems such as Logical Domains. In some cases, you'll want to migrate systems manually, either to balance the load or to perform hardware maintenance.

There's a how-to in our library that walks you through the whole procedure, and explains what prerequisites and roles are required. It also gives you a pointer to some additional resources - the Feature Reference Guide has chapters about Oracle VM Servers for SPARC and Server Pools.

Thursday Nov 14, 2013

Optimizing OS performance

With the right information, there's a lot that you can do to improve the performance of an operating system. However, it can be time-consuming to gather that information in a large environment with hundreds or thousands of operating systems, Oracle Solaris Zones, or Oracle VM Servers.

Ops Center's OS Analytics tools can help you gather the information that you need to tune your operating systems. For operating systems managed by Ops Center, you can view OS performance info like CPU and memory utilization, process details, and virtualization capacity. For Oracle Solaris systems, you can also view the status and details of SMF services.

We put together a how-to that walks you through the process of viewing all of this information.

Thursday May 30, 2013

How To: Access the Ops Center Database

Ops Center uses an Oracle Database to store product data. Normally you'll use the Ops Center UI and won't access the database directly, but it can occasionally be useful to see the database contents directly.

We've put together a How-To that explains how to view the database directly. You can make this connection either using Oracle SQL Developer, or from the command line using SQL*Plus. The How-To walks you through both procedures.

Wednesday Apr 24, 2013

How To: Discover an Oracle SPARC T5 Server

When you're deploying new hardware, it's helpful to have as specific a plan as possible. For instance, it's good to know how to run a discovery in Ops Center, but if you have a guide that specifically explains how to discover the type of hardware that you're installing, that makes your job even simpler.

With that in mind, we put together a How-To that explains how to discover new Oracle SPARC T5 servers. It walks you through creating IPMI and SSH credentials, creating a discovery profile, and running it to discover the new system or systems. It also gives you pointers to the asset management and hardware management chapters in the feature guide, which provide a broader range of information about discovering and managing hardware.

Wednesday Apr 10, 2013

How To: Migrating Virtual Machines

One of the big advantages of using Oracle VM Server for x86 or SPARC is the ability to migrate virtual machines. If two Oracle VM Servers are grouped together in a server pool under one Oracle VM Manager, you can perform a live migration to move an Oracle VM to a new server without shutting it down. This can be handy if you need to perform maintenance on one of the Oracle VM Servers but want to minimize the impact.

We've put together a How-To that walks you through a live migration of an Oracle VM and explains the prerequisites and roles required. It also gives you a pointer to some additional resources - the Feature Reference Guide has chapters about Oracle VM Servers for x86 and Server Pools, and the How-To library has a few other How-Tos that relate to VM management.

Thursday Jan 10, 2013

How To: Enable Single Root I/O Virtualization in Exalogic Elastic Cloud

The Oracle Exalogic Elastic Cloud X2-2 solution includes a set of compute nodes connected through QDR InfiniBand IO Fabric. In order to virtualize the I/O for these nodes, the Single Root Input Output Virtualization (SR-IOV) has to be turned on. However, ILOM and BIOS updates will reset the settings, which prevents virtualization, and causes some headaches if you're trying to get that virtualization working quickly.

So, we put together a How-To that explains how to enable SR-IOV. You can do it through the Ops Center UI or from the command line; the how-to walks you through both ways of doing it, and gives you a pointer over to the Exalogic section of the Feature Reference guide for more info.

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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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