Thursday Aug 01, 2013

LDoms and Maintenance Mode

 I got a few questions about how maintenance mode works with LDoms.

"I have a Control Domain that I need to do maintenance on. What does being put in maintenance mode actually do for a Control Domain?"

Maintenance mode is what you use when you're going to be shutting a system down, or otherwise tinkering with it, and you don't want Ops Center to generate incidents and notification of incidents. Maintenance mode stops new incidents from being generated, but it doesn't stop polling, or monitoring, the system and it doesn't prevent alerts.

"What does maintenance mode do with the guests on a Control Domain?"

If you have auto recovery set and the Control Domain is a member of a server pool of eligible systems, putting the Control Domain in maintenance mode automatically migrates guests to an available Control Domain.  When a Control Domain is in maintenance mode, it is not eligible to receive guests and the placement policies for guest creation and for automatic recovery won't select this server as a possible destination. If there isn't a server pool or there aren't any eligible systems in the pool, the guests are shut down.

You can select a logical domain from the Assets section to view the Dashboard for the virtual machine and the Automatic Recovery status, either Enabled or Disabled.

To change the status, click the action in the Actions pane.

"If I have to do maintenance on a system and I do not want to initiate auto-recovery, what do I have to do so that I can manually bring down the Control Domain (and all its Guest domains)?"

Use the Disable Automatic Recovery action.

"If I put a Control Domain into maintenance mode, does that also put the OS into maintenance mode?"

No, just the Control Domain server. You have to put the OS into maintenance mode separately.

"Also, is there an easy way to see what assets are in maintenance mode? Can we put assets into, or take them out of, maintenance mode on some sort of group level?"

You can create a user-defined group that will automatically include assets in maintenance mode. The docs here explain how to set up these groups. You'll use a group rule that looks like this:


Friday Jun 07, 2013

How To: Configure RAID Controllers

Configuring RAID Controllers in a secure and consistent manner is one of the tasks that you might face in your data center. Ops Center simplifies this process using profiles and plans - you can create a profile and a plan for a RAID Controller that matches your needs, then deploy the plan on the target hardware.

We've put together a How-To that takes you through this process step-by-step, explaining the requirements, showing the profile and plan creation, and the deployment. If you're looking for more information about plans and profiles, there's a larger chapter about them in the Feature Reference Guide.

Tuesday Mar 26, 2013

Ports used to talk to Agents

I got a question about the ports used by Ops Center:

"What ports are needed for communication between a Proxy Controller and managed assets?"

There is a table in the Security Guide that shows the ports and protocols used by Ops Center, including those used by Proxy Controllers to reach assets.

Tuesday Mar 19, 2013

Quick Browser Question

I got a question about supported browsers:

"I'm using Firefox 10.0.7. Is that a supported browser for accessing the Ops Center user interface?"

Yep, it is. The full list of supported browsers is here, in the Certified Systems Matrix, which also lists supported operating systems, supported databases, and supported hardware and engineered systems.

Wednesday Oct 24, 2012

Provisioning Oracle Solaris 11

OS Provisioning is one of the major features of Ops Center. You can set up an OS provisioning plan and profile, which specify how an OS is deployed, and then use them to create new operating systems on any number of systems.

Oracle Solaris 11 works a bit differently than older versions of Oracle Solaris, though, and even if you've done OS provisioning before you might have some questions about how to provision it. The Provisioning Oracle Solaris 11 OS how-to walks you through discovering the target hardware, creating a simple OS provisioning plan and profile, and launching a job to provision an OS. There's further information in the Provisioning Operating Systems section of the Feature Guide.

Thursday Oct 18, 2012

Getting Started Quickly

If you're interested in using Ops Center, you'll want to get up and running as quickly and effectively as possible. One way to do this would be to work your way through the documentation library - use the Linux or Oracle Solaris install guides, then go through the Feature Guide and Admin Guide to start using the software. They're thorough, but they're a lot of reading.

But if you're looking to install a simple deployment quickly, and you don't want to do all of the configuration work right off the bat, you can use the Quick Start Guide. It's a streamlined procedure that runs you through installing a single Enterprise Controller and co-located Proxy Controller, and then shows you how to discover assets quickly. Once you've discovered these assets, it describes how to use the analytics feature to view their performance, and use monitoring to keep track of their statuses and health.

You'll have to do some additional configuration to use features like OS provisioning, OS updates, and virtualization, but the Quick Start guide gives you an overview of how to install and start using features quickly.

Tuesday Oct 09, 2012

Asset displays in the UI

I've seen a little bit of confusion about how the UI displays assets and asset information, so I thought I'd explain how information and actions are displayed.

 In Ops Center, operating systems, servers, zones, Oracle VM Servers, and anything else that you can manage are called assets. When you discover them, Ops Center puts together a model in the navigation pane that shows the relationships between the assets. For example:

This tree shows three servers, and the Operating Systems on each one. If one of the operating systems was a global zone, we'd see the non-global zones beneath the global zone as well.

However, when you select an asset, the info in the center pane and the actions in the actions pane are the ones that apply to that specific asset, and not to its related assets. If you select a server, for example, you'll see service request info and have the option to provision a new OS. If you select an existing OS, you'll see file system information and have the option to update the OS. Actions that apply directly to the hardware aren't visible from the OS view, and vice versa.

Thursday Sep 20, 2012

Building a virtualized SPARC environment

If you're interested in making effective use of virtualization tools like Oracle VM Server, there's a whitepaper on oracle.com that you should check out.

The whitepaper starts with a few specific technologies and hardware: Oracle VM Server for SPARC, T4 Servers, Ops Center, Solaris 11, Sun Network 10GbE Switches, and Sun ZFS Storage Appliances. It then explains how to use them to plan and set up a virtualized environment, in which guests are grouped in Server Pools with high availability and are managed through Ops Center. It explains how Ops Center simplifies the management of logical domains by using custom plans to create new logical domains and managing their life cycle through its user interface.

So, if you're interested in setting up a cloud and you want to avoid surprises along the way, have a look.

Thursday Sep 13, 2012

Article about Sun ZFS Storage Appliances

Sun ZFS Storage Appliances are versatile storage systems. Discovering and managing them in Ops Center, though, makes them even more versatile. If you discover a Sun ZFS Storage Appliance in Ops Center 12c, you can create iSCSI and Fibre Channel LUNS, and make the LUNs available to server pools and virtualization hosts as a storage library.

Barbara Higgins has written an excellent article that walks you through the process of setting up a Sun ZFS Storage Appliance and discovering and managing it in Ops Center. If you're looking into ways to make a Sun ZFS Storage Appliance work for you, it's worth a look.

Wednesday Aug 29, 2012

Database commands

Ops Center has two database options - you can have Ops Center automatically install a database on the Enterprise Controller system, or you can use your own database on any system you choose. If you use your own database, it's obviously important to make sure that this database is running smoothly. You have a few tools that can help you do this.

The first is the ecadm command. This command has a variety of subcommands that let you view and control the status of the Enterprise Controller. Two subcommands in particular are relevant to the database:

ecadm verify-db: This subcommand verifies that the database is reachable and that the schemas are configured with the proper permissions. Use the -v option if you want more details; the command is normally terse if the DB is configured correctly.

ecadm sqlplus -r: This subcommand opens an sqlplus console connection to the database. The -r option makes this console read-only, which isn't necessary, but is generally a good idea.

You can also view the database contents using Oracle SQL Developer or other tools. The Accessing Core Product Data how-to describes this process.

Tuesday Aug 21, 2012

Managing Users and Roles

Ops Center gives you fine-grained control over your users and the tasks that they can carry out.

You can add users to Ops Center either from the local filesystem on the Enterprise Controller, or import them from an external directory server.

You can then give each user a set of roles. Each role gives the user permission to carry out specific tasks. For example, the Report Admin role lets a user run reports and simulate update jobs; the Asset Admin role lets a user discover, manage, and group assets; and the Ops Center Admin role lets a user do anything.

You can also manage the role associations for a user's roles, controlling what targets they apply to. So, you could give a user the Asset Admin role, but then apply it only to a specific group of assets. That user could then manage those assets, but no others.

The User and Role Management chapter in the Admin Guide explains how to add users and directory servers and assign roles to those users.

Thursday Aug 16, 2012

Cloud API and CLI guide

One of the new features of Ops Center 12c is the virtual data center, or vDC. I talked a little bit last week about how to set one up.

Once you've got a vDC running, you can manage it in a few different ways. You can always use the Ops Center UI, but you'll likely want to manage vDC resources without having to log into the Ops Center UI each time, so 12c provides two other methods for managing vDC resources.

The first is the cloud infrastructure API. This is a web service interface that lets you manage vDC resources without using the Ops Center UI.

The second is the cloud infrastructure CLI, which lets you manage vDC resources from a terminal.

Both of these options are discussed in detail in the Cloud Infrastructure API and CLI reference guide.

Friday Aug 03, 2012

The Security Guide

One of our goals with the docs for Ops Center 12c was to provide some clearer security recommendations. We decided that the best way to do this was a stand-alone Security Guide.

There are two major sections in the security guide. The first covers the security considerations to make when you're installing and configuring Ops Center: High Availability, Network settings, and additional actions that you can take to secure your environment.

The second section discusses the security features that are part of the product, such as user authentications, access control, and data protection, and how you can use them to keep your environment running securely.

If you have questions about securely operating Ops Center, let me know.

Friday Jul 27, 2012

Deployment Guide

One of the matters to consider when you're installing Ops Center is what size of a deployment you need. Ops Center can scale to fit a variety of environment sizes, but you need to know what the infrastructure can support in order to scale properly.

There's a deployment guide over on the OTN with some information about what kind of resources are used by the various features of the product. The first part of the doc is mostly about the architecture and terminology, but towards the end there are some tables and some deployment considerations that should help you figure out what types of systems you'd need, and how many.

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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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