Thursday Apr 07, 2016

What are JMX Credentials and What is Ops Center Doing With Them?

When you discover a Solaris Cluster, you're asked to provide ssh credentials and JMX credentials. You already know the ssh credentials but what about those JMX credentials? They're for the agent on the cluster's global node. The agent uses JMX so they're called JMX credentials. Think of them as agent credentials.

The only thing these credentials are doing is allowing the agent on the global node to respond to the Enterprise Controller. Without the JMX creds, you can discover and manage the cluster server itself, but nothing else. If you look in the log file, you'll see a message like "JMXMP provider exception java.net.ConnectException: Connection refused." With the JMX creds, Ops Center authenticates the agent, connects to the agent, and acquires all the agent's information about the global node.

JMX credentials can be anything convenient for you, like cluster1 and cluster2, and simple passwords. For all global nodes to use the same credentials, create one set in the discovery profile and run the discovery job. However, if for some reason, you need to use a unique set of credentials for each global node, create each set of credentials in a credential profile and then run a discovery job for each global node. You'll use the same discovery profile but change the credential profile for each job. You can still keep it simple, like cluster1node1 and cluster1node2.

For more information, take a look at the Oracle Solaris Cluster section of the Configuration Reference.

Thursday Mar 31, 2016

Using Ops Center ASR For Unsupported Hardware

I saw a question recently about the limits of the Auto Service Request (ASR) feature in Ops Center:

"I have some hardware, including some switches, that are listed as supported in the ASR documentation but not in the Ops Center documentation. Can I still use Ops Center's ASR for them?"

In Ops Center, ASRs are generated through asset monitoring, so if a piece of hardware isn't supported in Ops Center, Ops Center can't generate ASRs for it. The Certified Systems Matrix talks a bit about how assets need to be listed as supported for both products for ASR through Ops Center to work for them.

The ASR documentation also has more information about what it supports. For products outside of Ops Center's umbrella, you'll need to use a separate ASR manager.

Thursday Mar 24, 2016

Searching in the Ops Center library

So, I've seen a few questions about the search function in the Ops Center doc library. This is a bit embarrassing, since the search function is supposed to answer questions instead of creating them. But, I figured I'd go over how the search works and how to tweak its settings.

Basically, the default setting for the search is based on where you are. If you do a search from the main page of docs.oracle.com,  it will cover literally every product library:


If you do a search from the Ops Center library, it will default to only searching the Ops Center library:

You can click Select in the categories on the left to see the current search options (and change them if need be):


If you're trying to find something within a specific book, then you can open up the book and then use the search box on the left:


Those are the basics of the search function in Ops Center.

Thursday Mar 17, 2016

Managing Guest Affinity and Disaffinity

When a guest is migrated to a new system, there are some cases where you want it to be placed with a specific guest, or want it not to be placed with a specific guest. Perhaps you have multiple guests that make up the parts of a three-tiered application, and you want to keep them together. Or perhaps you have two guests that are different nodes of an HA cluster, and putting them together would defeat the purpose.

Starting in Ops Center 12.3.1, you can use affinity tags to establish preferences for where guests go. You do this by selecting the guest, clicking Edit Tags, and using these tags:

  • affinityTags — This tag identifies the guest for other guests' affinities and disaffinities.

  • affinities — Which other guests the current guest should be placed with.

  • disaffinities — Which other guests the current guest should not be placed with.

For example, let's say that you have three groups of guests - A, B, and C - and you want to keep each group together. Here are the tags that you could assign to the guests in Group A:

 

  • affinityTags — Group A

  • affinities — Group A

  • disaffinities — Group B, Group C

There's more information about affinities and disaffinities in the Virtualization Reference document.

Thursday Mar 10, 2016

MAC Address Allocation for LDoms

MAC address collisions can cause a number of problems for logical domains. I've seen a few questions recently about how Ops Center allocates MAC addresses and how you can avoid or fix collisions, so I thought I'd address a few of them.

"How does Ops Center allocate MAC addresses?"

Ops Center uses the automatic range (00:14:4F:F8:00:00 - 00:14:4F:FB:FF:FF) to allocate MAC addresses to logical domains and network devices. You can use the manual range (00:14:4F:FC:00:00 - 00:14:4F:FF:FF:FF) for LDoms that you create manually.

"Is there a way to make sure that a MAC address won't have a collision before I bring it into Ops Center?"

The CLI can do this with the collisions mode. The list subcommand lists all known collisions, and the check subcommand checks to see if the specified IDs or addresses would have a collision.

"Does the UI keep track of all manually allocated MAC addresses?"

No, that information isn't collected in the UI.

Thursday Feb 25, 2016

Supported Remote Database Versions

I saw a couple of questions recently about database versions. One of the recent changes in Ops Center 12.3.1 was support for Oracle Database 12.1.0.2. If you have an embedded database, the database is automatically upgraded when you upgrade OC to 12.3.1.

The questions, though, were about what happens if you have a customer-managed database.

"If I'm upgrading to 12.3.1 with a customer-managed database, do I have to upgrade the DB to 12.1.0.2?"

 Nope. Oracle Database 11.2.0.3.0 or 11.2.0.4.0 are still supported for the remote DB, so you don't have to upgrade.

"What about a fresh installation?"

The same is true for a new installation. You can take a look at the Cert Matrix to see what's supported for what.

Thursday Feb 18, 2016

Support for Unified Archive (UAR)

Unified Archive, or UAR, is a new feature in Oracle Solaris 11.2. You can use UAR to take an image of an existing system, then use that image for provisioning. Folks have been asking about support for UAR in Ops Center since last year, so we made it a part of Ops Center 12.3.1.

You can import UAR images into Ops Center and provision operating systems, LDoms, and global zones from them, using Ops Center 12.3.1. This procedure explains how to do it, and goes over the prereqs.

Take a look at the What's New to learn more about the other new features in 12.3.1.

Thursday Jan 28, 2016

CLI Enhancements in 12.3.1

One of the improvements in version 12.3.1 of Ops Center is a set of additional commands for the command-line interface.

The CLI lets you use many of the functions of Ops Center from the command line, and enables you to script some tasks. Beginning in 12.3.1, you can use the following subcommands in the CLI:

  • Plan: Lets you view and delete plans and credentials
  • Security: Lets you deploy and manage security certificates
  • Guest: Lets you view guests

There are also a number of new options for existing subcommands, giving you finer control. Take a look at the What's New and the CLI reference for more information.

Thursday Jan 21, 2016

Zones Additions in 12.3.1

There are quite a few new features in Ops Center 12.3.1, but I think that the group of zones improvements are worth a particular mention.

The biggest is expanded support for kernel zones. In 12.3, you could discover kernel zones, but you couldn't create them. Once you've upgraded to 12.3.1, though, you gain the ability to create kernel zones, to edit existing kernel zones, and to migrate logical domains that host kernel zones. Since kernel zones are more independent from their host than other zones, kernel zones also have a storage tab that's similar to that for logical domains.

There are also some improvements for existing zones. On zones using Oracle Solaris 11.2 or later, you can dynamically edit network, file system, and storage attributes without having to reboot the zone.

The Virtualization Reference guide has more information about how to use these features, and the What's New will tell you about the other new features in 12.3.1.

EDIT: An earlier version of this post incorrectly stated that kernel zones could be migrated directly. Logical domains that host kernel zones can be migrated, but kernel zones cannot yet be migrated directly.

Thursday Jan 14, 2016

UI and Proxy Controller changes in 12.3.1

Version 12.3.1 of Ops Center introduced a number of new features and bug fixes. I wanted to talk about some of the new options you'll see in the UI.

First off, you can now launch a job to balance assets between Proxy Controllers. You can select one or more Proxy Controllers on which to balance assets, and migrate assets away from one or more Proxy Controllers if necessary.

The Admin section also has a couple of new tabs: One displaying asset count information for the EC and for each PC, and another showing all of the assets that have been blacklisted.

These options should give you more information and control of your Ops Center environment. For more information, take a look at the What's New document, which goes over these and other new features in this release.

Thursday Jan 07, 2016

Upgrading to version 12.3.1

Now that Ops Center 12.3.1 is released, you may be interested in upgrading.

The process is fairly simple - similar to past upgrades - with one important addition. If you're using an embedded database, we've upgraded the version to 12.1.0.2. If you have an embedded database, you'll need to download the installation bundles for 12.1.0.2 before performing the upgrade. If you're using a customer-managed database, you can upgrade your database to 12.1.0.2 at any point after upgrading Ops Center to 12.3.1.

The Upgrade Guide goes into detail about how to upgrade your environment, with separate procedures based on your environment (single EC or HA) and your preferred method of upgrading (UI or command line).

Thursday Dec 24, 2015

Ops Center 12.3.1 Released

Ops Center version 12.3.1 has just been released. There are a number of enhancements here, which I'll discuss in detail in future posts, but here are some of the big features:

  • Expanded support for Kernel Zones, including the ability to create Kernel Zones
  • Expanded Oracle Linux support
  • Dynamic modification of zones
  • Support for JDK 8

There's a more complete list of new features in the What's New document.

You can find out how to upgrade your systems using the Upgrade Guide.

Thursday Dec 17, 2015

Changing the Remote Database Location

One of the benefits of using a customer-managed database with Ops Center is greater control over the database - you decide how it should be backed up, what system you want it on, and so on. This gives you the ability to move the database to a new system as well. But that raises a question - how do you get Ops Center to use the new DB location?

This is a process that you complete from the command line. There are a few big steps:

  1. Shut down the Enterprise Controller.
  2. Point the EC to the new DB location.
  3. Export the data from the old DB.
  4. Import the data on the new DB.
  5. Start the EC again.

Here's a link to the document that explains these steps in detail.

Thursday Dec 10, 2015

Users and Groups Created by Ops Center

I saw a question recently about the users and groups that are created on the EC and PC operating systems as part of an Ops Center install. Back in 11g, we had a section in the docs that showed these users and groups, but it's missing in 12c.

So, here are the users and groups that OC creates when it's installed:

  • Enterprise Controller Users: svctag, allstart, uce-sds, xvm, webservd
  • Enterprise Controller Groups: jet, uce-sds, webservd
  • Proxy Controller Users: svctag, allstart, uce-sds
  • Proxy Controller Groups: jet, uce-sds

The UIDs for the svctag and xvm users are set by Solaris (to 95 and 60, respectively) but the rest of the UIDs are not expected to be any specific value.

Also, if you're planning an installation, remember that you should use the OCDoctor utility to check the prerequisites first. There are a lot of prereqs that used to be manual checks, that we just made the OCDoctor do automatically.

Thursday Dec 03, 2015

Images for OS Provisioning

This week I saw a couple of questions about the sources that you can use for OS Provisioning in Ops Center.

"Is there any way that I can automate the importing of FLAR files for OSP, with a script or something like that?"

Yes. If you've set up a default software library through the UI, you can use the Ops Center CLI's osimage mode to perform imports. Take a look here for more information.

"Is Unified Archive (UAR) supported through Ops Center?"

Not yet. However, we know that it's a desirable feature for a lot of users, and we're working on it.

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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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