Thursday Apr 08, 2010

Ops Center Update

Ops Center is available today. For those of you who aren't familiar with Ops Center, it's a datacenter management tool that lets you discover physical and virtual assets in your data center, manage and monitor them, provision OSes and firmware, and update OSes.

This update is primarily focused on performance enhancements. Here are some of the key changes:

  • The OC Doctor and GDD are now bundled with the update. The OC Doctor can be used to predict, diagnose, and sometimes fix Ops Center issues, and the GDD gathers data for troubleshooting.
  • Limited IPMP support
  • Job Throttling - this improves job performance when jobs are run on large numbers of targets.
  • Oracle Branding - this shows that we're part of the Oracle Enterprise Manager family, and makes us look snazzier.
  • 64-bit support for Solaris ECs.

If you're using 2.5, you can download and apply the update using these instructions. If you're using Ops Center 2.1, you'll have to upgrade to 2.5 before applying the update.

Thursday Mar 18, 2010

Oracle Enterprise Manager Ops Center

There's an announcement out that Ops Center is now a part of the Oracle Enterprise Manager family. I thought I'd talk a little about what that means.

The Oracle EM Management Connector, which is now available, is our first step in making Ops Center work with Oracle Enterprise Manager. The Connector lets Ops Center share some data with EM. Notifications from Ops Center about Sun Server hardware faults; Linux, Oracle Solaris, or Windows OS performance; and other events can be sent to the EM console, where they are displayed along with EM notifications. These notifications help you address potential issues by showing them all in one place.

If you're currently using EM and Ops Center, you can get started with the Management Connector using these instructions. Here's the short version:

  1. Download and install the connector.
  2. Set up a user in Ops Center and make a notification profile that includes the notifications you want sent to EM.
  3. Register the connection between EM Ops Center and EM.
  4. Add the Ops Center cert to EM.
  5. Configure EM to listen to Ops Center.

Once you've done this, the Ops Center notifications that are sent to your new user will also appear in the EM console. You can fine-tune the way that they show up using controls in the EM console.

Tuesday Feb 02, 2010

Ops Center Update available

We released an update for Ops Center today. You can see the readme about it here, and if you're operating in Connected Mode, you can download it through the BUI using these instructions.

In addition to some bug fixes, there are a couple of new features in this update:

  • The "Add Asset to Group" action is now available from within smart groups and user-defined groups.
  • Limited support is now available for aggregated links for Zones and LDoms networking. Link aggregations are now displayed in the configuration wizard. You can define a network as using a link aggregation and assign a network to a global zone or to a control domain (logical domain host) in the configuration wizard. You can also define a zone guest or an LDom guest using link aggregation.
If you're using Ops Center 2.5, take a look.

Thursday Jan 21, 2010

OS Update Video

Updating operating systems is one of Ops Center's key features. There are a variety of ways to update Solaris, Linux, and Windows operating systems.

You can update a Solaris OS by running a report on the OS, modifying a system catalog, using live upgrade, using an existing profile, or launching an OS update job directly.

You can create customized OS update profiles and policies that standardize your update jobs to fit your patching requirements. We've put together a video that shows you how to create policies and profiles and how to use them to update a Solaris OS.

Take a look at the Media Library for links to other Ops Center demos.

Tuesday Dec 22, 2009

Creating Zones

In an earlier blog post we described the enhanced support for Solaris Containers in Ops Center. Using Ops Center 2.5, you can create zones through the BUI. This is much simpler than the regular procedure of using the native command line environment to create a zone.

Before creating a non-global zone in Ops Center, you have to discover and manage the global zone. You then select the global zone and click Create Zone in the Actions panel of the BUI. It takes you through the Create Zone wizard.

We have put together a screencast that takes you through the wizard of creating a zone in Ops Center.

Thursday Dec 17, 2009

Upgrading to Ops Center 2.5

Our engineering team has just released the Ops Center 2.1>2.5 Upgrade. If you're currently using Ops Center 2.1, you can use it to upgrade to 2.5 while preserving your asset and job data.

Before you use the upgrade, take a look at the upgrade documentation and the system requirements for Ops Center 2.5. There are some tasks that you need to perform before upgrading, including upgrading your SLES systems with a required RPM package, backing up your Proxy Controllers, and verifying system requirements (since they've gone up since version 2.1). The new OC Doctor can also help you determine if your system is up to par for version 2.5.

After you confirm that your system can be upgraded, you can get the upgrade either by talking to Sun Support Services or, on Solaris Ops Center installations, by downloading it. Follow the instructions in the documentation, and you'll be running version 2.5.

Friday Dec 11, 2009

Prepping for an Install: The OC Doctor

There are a lot of things to consider when you're getting ready to install Ops Center. What hardware are you going to put it on? How many Proxy Controllers do you need to manage your systems? What kind of setup is needed to ensure good performance?

Our engineering folks created a script called the OC Doctor to help answer these questions. You can download it here, and run it on any system that will be part of your Ops Center installation. It'll do a few things for you.

First, it can check to see that your systems meet the Ops Center prerequisites. The --sat-prereq option will check the system against the requirements for the Enterprise Controller that runs Ops Center. These requirements have changed a fair bit since the last version, so this is a good thing to check. The --agent-prereq option will verify that a system can be managed by Ops Center.

The OC Doctor can also check a system's performance. By using this command on the systems that will be your Enterprise Controller and Proxy Controllers, and comparing the data to the values on the System Scaling page, you can see how well your setup will handle the Ops Center workload.

Finally, the OC Doctor also contains several options that can be used to troubleshoot Ops Center after an installation, gather information if a help ticket is needed, and tune your systems to optimize Ops Center's performance.

If you're considering an Ops Center installation, or are considering changing your setup to optimize performance, the OC Doctor will be able to help.

Monday Nov 23, 2009

Branded Zones in Ops Center 2.5

The branded zone facility in Solaris OS is an extension of the Solaris Zones. It lets you install Solaris 8 or 9 Containers in branded zones on a Solaris 10 OS system.

Sun Ops Center lets you create branded zones. Before creating branded zones, you must follow and verify certain instructions. We have put together the necessary steps that need to be followed before creating a branded zone in Ops Center.

For branded zone installation, the SUNWs8brandr and SUNWs8brandu packages must be installed in the global zone. These packages should have been installed on your system during Solaris OS installation. If not, install the following packages according to the Solaris 10 OS version on the global zone:

  • Global zones that are running less than Solaris 10 10/08 OS version
    • SUNWbrandu and SUNWbrandr for Solaris 8 Containers
    • SUNWbrandu, SUNWbrandr, and SUNWbrandk for Solaris 9 Containers
  • Global zones that are running Solaris 10 10/08 OS or later versions
    • SUNWbrandk for Solaris 8 or 9 Containers

These packages are available from the Solaris 10 OS media or from the Sun Download Center in the Solaris Containers 8 or 9 Product.

Ops Center provides Create Zone option to configure and install a zone. This option displays a Create Zone wizard which takes you through a series of steps to select the CPU model, network, file systems, and storage for the zone configuration. Take a look at the Solaris Containers section in the Wiki Documentation for detailed information.

When you create a branded zone in Ops Center, you must provide the image location for Solaris 8 or 9 Containers in the first step of the Create Zone wizard. You cannot use images that are available from the libraries that are associated with the global zone. Instead, download the flar images from the Sun Download Center and store them in one of the following locations and provide the image location while creating a branded zone:

  • Global zone. Provide the image location as file:///path/of/the/image
  • HTTP Server that is accessible from the global zone. Provide the image location as http://path/of/the/image
  • FTP Server that is accessible from the global zone. Provide the image location as ftp://path/of/the/image

Apart from this, also watch out for the language selection in the Create Zone wizard. If you have selected a language in the wizard that is not installed in the flar, the create zone job fails.

These collective information should be helpful for a successful brand zone creation using Ops Center.

Wednesday Nov 11, 2009

Sun Ops Center Training

Sun Ops Center is a big product, with a lot of functionality and a lot riding on it. Getting training in how to use it is kind of a big deal.

To that end, we've created a five-day course that covers pretty much every aspect of Ops Center - installation and configuration, existing features like asset management and OS provisioning and patching, and new features like Solaris Container and Sun Logical Domain management.

Take a look at the training page for more information about taking the training in person. There is a session at the end of this month.

There's also a version of this class taught in a Live Virtual Classroom. LVC classes are taught by a live instructor over a webcast, and they use the same labs as the in-person class.

So if you're looking to get started with Ops Center, or you want to learn about the new features, have a look.

Sunday Nov 01, 2009

Patching Windows

Ops Center 2.5 includes a bunch of Windows management features. Chief among them is the ability to patch Windows operating systems through Microsoft's System Center Configuration Manager. Here's how you do it:

First, you configure Ops Center to work with your SCCM 2007 instance. You do this by selecting Windows Update in the Administration section, and plugging in the credentials. Once you've done that, Ops Center can work with SCCM.

Before you can do the actual patching, you have to discover and manage the Windows systems. (See this post or this video for info about discovering and managing assets.)

You perform the actual update using reports. In the Reports section, set up and run a Host Compliance Report or an Incident Compliance Report on one or more Windows systems. These reports will tell you whether or not the systems are up to date. If they aren't, you can update them by clicking Make Targets Compliant, and configuring an update job.

We put together a screencast that walks through the Windows update process:

If you have any questions about this process, let me know.

Thursday Oct 22, 2009

Asset Discovery video

Asset Discovery is a big part of Ops Center. Discovery searches for hardware and operating systems using established protocols and xml product identifiers called Service Tags. Through discovery, you can remotely identify assets in your data center and begin to manage them.

Discovery is one of the parts of Ops Center that's seen some refinement in 2.5. The new Discover and Manage Assets wizard lets you run a discovery and begin to manage the discovered assets with a single process. It starts by directing each Proxy Controller to search for Service Tags on its subnet. (Service Tags are embedded on most Sun products, and you can create them for other assets.) Once it's found assets, you supply credentials for them and Ops Center starts to manage them. On operating systems, this means installing Agent software to monitor the OS and enable patching.

We've put together a video that walks through a simple asset discovery using the new wizard:

We're putting together more videos on other new features, including Windows patching and zones. Do you have any other videos that you'd like to see? Let me know.

Wednesday Oct 07, 2009

Zones in Ops Center 2.5

One of the big deals in Ops Center 2.5 is the enhanced support for virtualization solutions such as Solaris Containers. It's something that we've been working on for a while - there was some support in 2.1 - but it's been beefed up a lot. So, what can you do with zones?

In Ops Center, zones are displayed like other assets. In the assets menu, they're displayed under the system that they're on. From there, you can monitor their resource utilization. You can do management actions like those you can do on other assets - boot them, shut them down, or delete them. You can also provision new global zones, and update the OSes for both global and local zones.

If you've created multiple zones through Ops Center, some other actions are available to you. You can migrate zones between containers. You can also manage the networks and storage associated with various zones.

So you can manage zones just like other assets via Ops Center, but you can also move them around and reassign resources for them remotely. I'll be doing some posts explaining how to perform some of these actions soon. You can also take a look at the zones section of the docs.

Tuesday Sep 29, 2009

Welcome to the Ops Center blog

Welcome to the new Ops Center blog! Sun Ops Center is our systems management tool, which lets you discover physical and virtual assets in your data center, manage and monitor them, provision OSes and firmware, and update OSes. This blog will contain news, interviews, features, and clever uses of Ops Center.

As you may know, we're just rolling out version 2.5 of Ops Center. (The story is on, along with a video from Steve Wilson.) Ops Center 2.5 adds a bunch of features, including but not limited to:

  • Support for Solaris Containers and Sun Logical Domains - You can create, clone, and migrate guests in Ops Center 2.5, and can automate management actions for them. (This is really too big a thing for a bullet list - it'll get its own post soon.)
  • Streamlined install and configuration
  • Streamlined upgrade process
  • Support for Oracle Enterprise Linux (To install Ops Center on, as well as to discover and manage)
  • Smart Groups
  • Windows patching
  • Solaris Live Upgrade software
  • Notification enhancements

I'll be talking about these features in more detail in the coming days and weeks. There are also other resources for Ops Center information: the Information Exchange; the 2.5 documentation, and the official training.


This blog discusses issues encountered in Ops Center and highlights the ways in which the documentation can help you


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