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.

Thursday May 08, 2014

CLI Enhancements

Ops Center's Command Line Interface saw a few improvements in 12.2. If you haven't used it, by the way, Ops Center's CLI is a handy tool if you prefer CLI interactions over the UI or if you want to create your own scripts for automation.

The biggest improvement was in the area of certificates. When you connect to your Enterprise Controller from a remote system, you must accept the server's certificates. Once accepted, these certificates are stored in a local trust store and don't need to be accepted each time. You can also use the -a | --accept-all-certificates option to automatically accept these certificates, and use the new certificates mode to view and manage the list of trusted certificates for remote ECs.

There's also a new option, -C <channel>,  that you can use in the Update Mode to specify a channel name when you're creating an OS update profile or working with OS update content.

For more information about the CLI, you should take a look at the Command Line Interface Guide.

Thursday May 01, 2014

New Documents in the 12.2 Library

In addition to the new features introduced in 12.2, we've also added some new books to the documentation to make the product easier to use. Here's a rundown of the new books:

  • Upgrade Guide: This book contains all of the information you need to upgrade your environment to version 12.2. Each chapter focuses on a specific environment and upgrade process, so you can focus on the information that's relevant to you.

  • Ports and Protocols Guide: This book lists the ports and protocols that Ops Center uses and the websites that it accesses when in Connected Mode. This is particularly handy if you're setting up a new installation.

  • Feature Reference Appendix Guide: This book includes several appendixes that we've moved out of the Feature Reference guide in order to streamline it. It includes the Asset Attributes tables, and the Expression Query Language, Library Incidents, and API appendixes.

  • Oracle Enterprise Manager Ops Center Command Line Interface Guide: This guide explains how to use the Ops Center CLI, and includes the CLI man pages.

  • How Tos and workflows: We've added quite a few How-tos and workflows in 12.2. How-tos are short documents that walk you through a specific procedure, and workflows string these how-tos together to complete larger tasks. These docs are collected in the Deploy and Operate libraries.

These new books, as well as the rest of the documentation, are all available in the documentation library.

Thursday Apr 24, 2014

Proxy Controller High Availability

Proxy Controllers manage the bulk of your asset data. In the past, losing a Proxy Controller to a hardware failure meant losing all of that asset data, and the only way to resume management of the assets was to rediscover them using another Proxy Controller.

However, one of the enhancements in Ops Center 12.2 is full support for Proxy Controller High Availability. You can enable auto failover, and if a Proxy Controller goes down, its managed assets will automatically be migrated to another available Proxy Controller. If you're able to get the old Proxy Controller running, you can migrate the assets back, or migrate them to a new Proxy Controller once it's installed. You can migrate an asset to any Proxy Controller that's associated with the asset's network.

Take a look at the Proxy Controller High Availability section of the Administration Guide for more information.

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.


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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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