Thursday Jan 15, 2015

Proxy Controller Backups

There were a number of new features introduced in Ops Center 12.2.2. One of the shiny ones is an expansion of the backup and recovery capabilities to include Proxy Controllers.

It's always been possible to create a backup of the Enterprise Controller and the co-located Proxy Controller using the ecadm backup command. Now, in version 12.2.2, there's a similar command - proxyadm backup - to create a backup of a Proxy Controller, including all of its asset data. You can save off this file and use it to restore the Proxy Controller to its backed-up state.

The only trick with OC backups is that the OS images directory isn't part of the backup file for size reasons, but they can be backed up separately.

The Backup and Recovery chapter of the Administration guide explains how to back up your Proxy Controllers and Enterprise Controller, and the What's New goes over many of the other new features in 12.2.2.

Thursday Jan 08, 2015

Sizing and Performance Guide

When you're planning an Ops Center deployment, planning to expand a datacenter where Ops Center is installed, or looking to optimize your Ops Center deployment, it's vital to have information about scaling and performance. You need to know whether your new systems will need another Proxy Controller, or whether the system you're planning on using for your Enterprise Controller is beefy enough.

We've added a Sizing and Performance Guide to the Ops Center library, to help you answer these sorts of questions for your environment:

  • The Resource Utilization chapter discusses the relative resource usage of common Ops Center uses, such as OS provisioning, update management, and virtualization.
  • The Scaling and Performance Guidelines chapter provides detailed information about the resources used by, and the scaling capabilities of, Ops Center components such as the Enterprise Controller, Proxy Controllers, database, virtualization controllers, and networks.
  • The Reference Systems chapter provides several reference system specifications for you to use in your planning.
  • The Report Service Configuration Properties appendix explains how to edit the reporting properties, or disable reporting entirely, to improve performance.

You can find this document, along with the rest of the documentation, in the Ops Center 12.2.2 documentation library.

Thursday Dec 18, 2014

Upgrading to version 12.2.2

Now that version 12.2.2 of Ops Center is out, you might be interested in upgrading.

We've put together a guide that walks you through the upgrade process. Each type of environment - HA or single Enterprise Controller - has separate chapters explaining how to do the upgrade through the UI or from the command line.

Something to note is that, if you're using an embedded database, the upgrade includes an upgrade of the DB to Oracle Database 11.2.0.4. If you're using an embedded database, you'll have to log into MOS and download the new DB bundles. The doc explains this step too, but if you've done upgrades in the past it'll be new to you. If you're using a customer-managed database, 11.2.0.4 is also now officially supported.

Thursday Jun 12, 2014

OVM Server for SPARC Enhancements

Oracle VM Servers for SPARC saw a few improvements in Ops Center 12.2. In addition to brownfield support, we've made a number of enhancements to let you add OVM Servers for SPARC to a Server Pool and enable migration of their guests.

-When you discover an OVMSS Control Domain and manage it with an Ops Center Agent, its guests are automatically discovered as well. The guest metadata is initially put in the local metadata library in the /guests directory, but you can move it from one library to another to enable migration.

-Once you've discovered an OVMSS control domain, you can add it to a server pool, even if it's already configured and running logical domains. Even if live migration between OVMSS systems isn't possible due to CPU incompatibilities, you can still put them in a server pool together and enable guest recovery by configuring the CPU architecture of the guest domain as generic.

-You can mark a guest's storage as shared to indicate that it's available to other managed OVM Server systems with the same back-end name. This lets you use storage not fully managed in an Ops Center library as part of guest migration.

Put together, these enhancements make it much easier to manage and maintain OVMSS guests.

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.

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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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