Thursday Jun 11, 2015

Providing Contact Info for ASR

Ops Center includes a feature called Auto Service Request, which can automatically file service requests for managed hardware. However, I've seen a bit of confusion about how to get it running.

First, the prereqs - to get ASR running, you need to be in connected mode, and you need to have a set of My Oracle Support (MOS) credentials entered in the Edit Authentications window. Your MOS credentials have to be associated with a customer service identifier (CSI) with rights over the hardware that you want to be enabled for ASR.

Once you've got that, you'll click the Edit ASR Contact Information action in the Administration section. This opens a window where you specify the default contact information for your assets, which is used for all ASRs by default.

If you have assets that need separate contact information, you can specify separate ASR contact information for an asset or a group of assets. That info is used in place of the default contact info.

Finally, once you've got the contact info in the system, you click Enable ASR. This action launches a job to enable the assets for ASR, and it attempts to enable new assets for ASR when they're discovered. From then on, if a critical incident occurs on the hardware, ASR should create a service request for it.

Take a look at the Auto Service Request chapter of the Admin Guide for more information.

Thursday Jun 04, 2015

Enterprise Controllers in Logical Domains

I saw a few questions about installing Enterprise Controllers in Logical Domains, and what's possible with that sort of deployment. Here are some answers:

"Is it supported to install the Enterprise Controller in a Logical Domain?"

Yep. The Certified Systems Matrix lists the supported OSes for EC installation, and Oracle VM Server for SPARC is supported (as are some Oracle Solaris Zones).

"Can you use Oracle Solaris Cluster to provide High Availability for an Enterprise Controller installed on a Logical Domain?"

Yes, this is possible. It deserves its own post, so I'll go into more detail on it soon, but yes, it works.

"If I have two Enterprise Controllers installed on Logical Domains, can I have EC 1 discover and manage the LDom for EC 2, and vice versa?"

No. The Agent Controllers installed on EC and PC systems are different from standard Agents, and if you install an Agent from one EC on another EC's system, it's going to get confused.

Thursday May 28, 2015

Uploading and Deploying Oracle Solaris 11 Files

I saw a question recently about uploading flat files, such as a config file, or tarballs to an Oracle Solaris 11 library and then deploy them to Oracle Solaris 11 servers. This is an easy task for Oracle Solaris 8, 9, or 10, but it's trickier to find with Oracle Solaris 11.

Here are the steps to upload and deploy such files with Oracle Solaris 11 in Ops Center, using our software library for the content.

  1. Create an Oracle Solaris 11 pkg which contains the config files. Here's an example for how to do so: http://docs.oracle.com/cd/E23824_01/html/E21798/glcej.html
  2. Add that pkg to the repository. (The above example also covers this step.)
  3. Sync Ops Center with the repository so that the new pkg is added to Ops Center's catalog of software.
  4. Create an Ops Center Oracle Solaris 11 Profile that installs the pkg created in Step 1.
  5. Apply the profile in an update plan to the target systems.

For more information about OS Profiles, see the OS Updates chapter.

Thursday May 21, 2015

Special Database Options

When you're installing Ops Center, you have two options for the product database: You can use an embedded database, that's automatically installed on the Enterprise Controller and managed by Ops Center, or you can use a remote database that you manage yourself.

With regards to the customer-managed database, I saw an important question recently: When you install this database, do you have to enable any of the advanced or special features? Some folks want to use the bare minimum installation for security reasons.

The answer here is that Ops Center only requires the base installation; no special features are used. As long as you're using one of the DB versions listed in the Certified Systems Matrix, you're golden.

Thursday May 14, 2015

Supported OS, LDom, and firmware versions

A couple of weeks ago, I did a post about the supported versions for LDoms. As of Ops Center version 12.2.2, LDoms 3.2 is not supported, although the latest Oracle Solaris 11.2 SRU 8 comes with it. Well, this raised a couple of followup questions that I thought I should answer:

"If LDoms 3.2 isn't supported, are new versions of Oracle Solaris that contain it supported?"

The OS versions themselves are supported, yes. If you have a non-virtualized S11.2 OS, you can upgrade to SRU 8 without difficulty. It's only on LDoms systems where you should avoid SRUs that contain LDoms 3.2 until it's officially supported.

"The Certified Systems Matrix recommends using the latest firmware for managed servers. Does the latest firmware have a minimum OS level?"

No, the firmware and OS levels are independent. Even if you have an LDoms system that's using an earlier version of S11.2, updating the hardware underneath it to use the latest firmware shouldn't cause problems.

EDIT: Ops Center 12.3 supports LDoms 3.2.

Thursday May 07, 2015

Clustered Ops Center installation

Today's question from an Ops Center user:

"Can we cluster Ops Center deployments using, say, Solaris Cluster? How would we do it?"

Well, there are a couple of possible ways that you can install the Enterprise Controller so that it can fail over.

The first method is to use the documented HA installation, which uses Oracle Clusterware, two or more Enterprise Controller systems, and a remote customer-managed database. The procedures for this kind of installation are documented in the Oracle Solaris and Linux install guides.

The second is to install the Enterprise Controller in an LDom controlled by Oracle Solaris Cluster, and then have the Enterprise Controller fail over between hosts via Cluster. You can use an embedded database or a remote database with this solution.

Thursday Apr 30, 2015

Using Maintenance Mode

So, after last week's post about blacklisting assets for Ops Center, a couple of people pointed out that there's another - probably easier - way of temporarily stopping an asset from generating ASRs if you're doing maintenance on it: Putting the asset in maintenance mode.

Putting an asset in maintenance mode stops it from generating new incidents, so that when you power off or reconfigure it, Ops Center doesn't freak out. Ops Center doesn't stop managing the asset, and you can then disable maintenance mode when you're done.

Bear in mind that Ops Center will also treat the asset as though it's about to go down: If you put a Proxy Controller in maintenance mode it can't run jobs, and if you put an Oracle VM Server for SPARC in maintenance mode Ops Center will try to migrate its guests to another system in the server pool, or stop them if no other system is available.

Take a look at the Incidents chapter in the Feature Reference Guide for more information about maintenance mode.

Thursday Apr 23, 2015

Disabling ASR for a specific asset

Enabling ASR for your environment helps you get quick assistance when you have a hardware issue - Ops Center takes asset information when a hardware incident occurs, and generates a service request based on contact information and MOS credentials that you've provided.

The trick, though, is that you enable ASR for your entire environment. You can provide separate contact info for some groups, but when you enable it it's on for all assets that are associated with the credentials. So, what if you're performing some hardware maintenance, and you don't want to accidentally cause ASR to open a service request?

In cases like this, you can add an asset to a blacklist, to prevent ASRs from being generated for it. Select the Enterprise Controller from the admin section of the UI, then click configuration. In the list of subsystems, select Auto Service Request. You can then enter one or more serial numbers in a comma-separated list in the serial blacklist field to disable ASR creation for those assets. Monitoring of the assets still happens, and ASRs are created for other assets as normal.

The ASR chapter in the Admin guide goes into more detail about how to get ASR running.

Thursday Apr 16, 2015

LDom versions

I saw a recent question about LDOM versions that come along with Oracle Solaris versions:

"I'm looking at upgrading some of my Control Domains to Oracle Solaris 11.2 SRU 8, which comes with LDoms 3.2. If I upgrade, will the new version be supported for migration?"

LDoms 3.2 is not yet supported by Ops Center, so if you start using it, you'll find that Ops Center won't know how to find migration targets for it.

If you're interested in which versions are supported, keep an eye on the Certified Systems Matrix; we'll add new versions there once they're certified.

EDIT: As Jay Lake pointed out in the comments, MOS Document 2014856.1 contains a workaround for this issue:

On all CDOMs in the pool, add the following line to /opt/sun/n1gc/etc/ldoms.properties:

archlist.LDMMGR.3.2=native,generic,migration-class1,sparc64-class1

Then restart the agent on the CDOM.

Repeat for all cdoms in pool.

EDIT 2: Ops Center 12.3 supports LDoms 3.2.

Thursday Apr 09, 2015

Adding an Asset to a Group During Discovery

A lot of people use user-defined groups to organize their assets in ways that make sense for their environment - like having groups for different locations, or groups based on the primary purpose of the assets. If you're adding a number of new assets, though, it can be a bit of a pain to discover all of them and then manually add them to the correct group.

A solution to this issue is to use group rules and tags to add the assets to the correct group during the discovery process. First, you edit the group and use the Create Group Rules option. You can create a rule that will add assets to the group automatically if they have a specific tag.

Then, when you're discovering systems that belong in a group, use the Tags step of the discovery profile wizard to add the corresponding tag to those assets as they're discovered. They will then be added to the correct group automatically.

See the Asset Management chapter of the Feature Reference Guide for more information about discovery and asset groups.

Thursday Apr 02, 2015

Ops Center's port usage

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

"There's a table in the Ports and Protocols guide showing what ports have to be opened for Ops Center, but I'm confused about directionality. Do these ports have to be open bi-directional?"

Nope. The ports only have to be open in the direction indicated by the first column - so, the ports listed for "Enterprise Controller to Proxy Controller" only need to be open in that direction.

Thursday Mar 26, 2015

Modifying Asset Groups

I got a question recently about the system-defined groups used in Ops Center:

"As I started discovering assets in Ops Center, I saw that they were being sorted into system-defined groups based on asset type. How can I modify these groups for my environment - for example, to put assets from two different labs into two groups?"

Well, you can't. The system-defined groups will forever be system-defined. However, if you're looking for a way to control the way that your assets are organized, you can create user-defined groups.

For example, if you have two labs, you can create a group for each lab, and then add each asset to the correct lab group.

Another possibility is to use group rules to add the assets automatically. For example, when you discover the assets in Lab A, you could add a "LabA" tag to them. Then, you could set up a group for Lab A, and create a rule that will automatically add assets to the group if they have the "LabA" tag.

You can learn more about discovery and user-defined groups in the Asset Management chapter.

Thursday Mar 19, 2015

Tuning Asset Monitoring

The ability to monitor a variety of asset characteristics, like reachability and CPU usage, is one of Ops Center's strengths. However, sometimes you'll want to fine-tune this monitoring capability. Maybe you have a group of important operating systems and you want their monitoring rules to be more stringent, for example.

In cases like that, you can use monitoring policies to fine-tune the way that your assets are monitored. A monitoring policy specifies what thresholds are critical, such as reachability being false (duh) or memory usage being higher than 90%. These thresholds determine when incidents are raised on the monitored assets.

By creating a monitoring policy and applying it to an asset or a group of assets, you can effectively tell Ops Center which information about your assets is important to you, so that you see more signal and less noise.

There's more information about asset monitoring in the Monitoring Rules and Policies chapter of the Feature Reference Guide.

Thursday Feb 26, 2015

Database License

I saw a question about Ops Center's database license recently:

"Ops Center comes with a license for an Oracle Database. What if I want to set up multiple databases in a RAC? Is that covered by this license?"

The answer here is that Ops Center only comes with a license for a single instance of an Oracle Database. This can be either the embedded database or a single customer-managed database. If you want to set up multiple databases in a RAC for use by Ops Center, you'll need separate licenses for all but one of them.

Thursday Dec 04, 2014

Command Line Interface

I've seen a couple of questions recently about the Ops Center CLI - what it can do and where it's documented - so I thought I'd give you a brief rundown.

The Ops Center command-line interface lets you perform many of the same tasks that you can perform through the UI, including asset discovery and management, OS and firmware provisioning, and administrative tasks like managing roles and jobs. Not every UI action has an equivalent CLI action, but there are several tables in the CLI guide that explain what it can and cannot do.

The CLI also gives you the ability to script some Ops Center actions, letting you automate regular tasks and run them without using the UI.

For more information about the CLI, take a look at the CLI 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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