Friday Aug 31, 2012

Ops Center and Oracle Solaris 11

There have been a few questions about Ops Center and S11 recently. People have been trying to discover and update S11 from Enterprise Controllers installed on S10 or Linux, and running into problems, and wondering what the solution is.

Well, the solution is that, if you want to be able to provision and update S11 OSes, and manage them using Agent Controllers, you need to install your Enterprise Controller and at least one Proxy Controller on S11 systems. The Oracle Solaris and Linux install guides both note this in the chapters that cover preparing your environment.

Technically, if you have an S11 Proxy Controller you can at least discover and monitor S11 systems. However, features like the automated installer and the image packaging system (for OS updates) can only be used through Ops Center if your Enterprise Controller is installed on S11 as well.


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.

Thursday Aug 23, 2012

Which Proxy Controller is managing your assets?

I got an interesting question about Proxy Controllers. The question was, if you have an asset on a network and two Proxy Controllers can access that network, can you control which Proxy Controller manages the asset?

Well, you do have some control, but before I get into that, it's worth noting that the Proxy Controller-Agent communication works differently in 12c than it did in prior versions of Ops Center. In older versions, an Agent was associated with one specific Proxy Controller, and if the Proxy Controller failed the asset's connection to Ops Center was broken. In 12c, if a Proxy Controller fails, you can migrate the assets to any other Proxy Controller with access to their network, keeping the assets managed.

So, in 12c assets are not as strongly tied to specific Proxy Controllers. When you try to discover an asset, Ops Center looks at which Proxy Controllers can access the asset, and picks the one with the least load.

However, you do have some options for controlling what asset goes to what Proxy Controller. First, you can put a Proxy Controller into maintenance mode by selecting the Proxy Controller and clicking Put in Maintenance Mode; this doesn't stop it from managing its existing assets, but it stops it from taking on new ones.

You can also set different power levels for your Proxy Controllers. Select the Enterprise Controller's Configuration tab, then select the Proxy Management subsystem. If you want Proxy Controller A to do twice the work as Proxy Controller B, for instance, set A's relative power to 2 and B's to 1.

The Feature Reference Guide goes into more detail about discovery, and the Administration Guide gives you more information about Enterprise Controller settings and asset migration.

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.

Friday Aug 17, 2012

How To: Create Oracle Solaris Zones

Oracle Solaris Zones are a versatile technology. You can use them to create virtualized Oracle Solaris 10 or 11 operating systems which can independently run a variety of applications. You can also use Ops Center to set up server pools for your zones, which lets you move zones and allocate resources quickly.

Before you can do any of this, though, you need to create zones. In Ops Center, this is a two-step process:

First, you create a profile and a plan. The profile specifies the naming convention and zone details such as the CPU and memory attributes, and the plan specifies how to deploy the profile. You can use the same profile and plan to create zones on multiple systems.

Once you've created a profile and a plan, you run the plan to create zones on the targeted systems, and provide some zone-specific information.

We've created two How To guides that walk you through the whole process of creating Oracle Solaris 10 and Oracle Solaris 11 zones. These How Tos are part of the How To library within the docs site. There's also an article over on the OTN about creating Oracle Solaris 11 zones.

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.

Tuesday Aug 14, 2012

Checking an Agent's status

Sometimes, through network or configuration problems, you can end up with an OS where you're not sure if it has a properly configured Agent. There are a few simple things you can do to see if an asset has an Agent, and if it does, to see if it's correctly configured to talk to a Proxy Controller.

One way to check is to look for the "scn-agent" SMF service. If it exists, there's an Agent on the system that has been configured. If the service is disabled, the agent isn't running, but it has been installed and configured.

# svcs scn-agent
STATE          STIME    FMRI
online         Aug_14   svc:/application/management/common-agent-container-1:scn-agent 

 Another way is to run "sc-console list-connections". If the Agent is configured, this will show you the connection to the Proxy Controller.

# sc-console list-connections
scn-agenthttps://10.163.209.70:21165  urn:scn:clregid:<string>

 Another way is to run the OCDoctor utility with the --troubleshoot flag, which will let you know if there's an issue with the Agent.

# ./OCDoctor.sh --troubleshoot
Ops Center Doctor 4.10  [OC 12.1.1.2076,SunOS11]
OCDoctor: =============== Checking agent... ===============
OCDoctor: OK: Agent requirements are met
OCDoctor: OK: Patch 121431-54 is installed
<output omitted>

Any one of these tools can help you get a better idea of what a particular Agent is doing, and whether or not it's configured properly.

Thursday Aug 09, 2012

How To: Configure a Virtual Datacenter

Virtualization is a versatile tool. By creating virtual systems and configuring them to share resources, you can adapt your environment quickly to meet changing needs.

Setting up a Virtual Datacenter (vDC) in Ops Center is one way to make effective use of virtualized systems. A vDC lets you discover and pool multiple Oracle VM servers or zones and to make a resource for cloud users.

The How To walks you through discovering the components, setting up the network resources, creating the vDC, and creating accounts to give users access to resources.

Tuesday Aug 07, 2012

Time zones in Ops Center

I just saw an interesting question about how time data is displayed in Ops Center. A lot of people have environments that span multiple time zones, and the people monitoring those systems might be on the other side of the world. So, when you log in, and Ops Center says that System X got a firmware update at 10 am, what does that mean?

It means 10 am in the time zone that you're in. The UI adjusts all times to the local time from which you are viewing it. In some cases this won't match the time used by the systems themselves, but it makes things consistent in the UI.

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.

Wednesday Aug 01, 2012

Changing Management Credentials

I got a question about management credentials, which are sets of login credentials used to discover and manage assets. If you manage a lot of systems with the same set of credentials, being able to change those credentials in one place can save a lot of time. But, the question was:

"I'm looking for documentation about updating management credentials. I looked through the Ops Center Doc library and found nothing. Can you point me toward anything?"

Well, it's in there, but it must not have been where you expected. In the Feature Reference Guide, there's a chapter on Asset Management, which includes sections about creating and editing management credentials.

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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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