Thursday Jul 16, 2015

New Books in 12.3

One of the changes that we've made in Ops Center 12.3 is a change to the documentation library. We've divided the old Feature Reference Guide up into several smaller books so that it's easier to use:

  • Configure Reference talks about how to get the software working - discovering assets; configuring libraries, networks, and storage; and managing jobs.
  • Operate Reference talks about incidents, reports, hardware management, and OS management, provisioning, and updating.
  • Virtualize Reference describes the use and management of Oracle Solaris Zones, Oracle VM Servers for SPARC, and server pools.
  • Oracle SuperCluster Operate Reference covers the management of Oracle SuperCluster.

The What's New doc has more information about these new books. You can find the new books by clicking Feature Reference on the main doc site.

Thursday Jul 09, 2015

New Virtualization Icons

There's a change in the UI that I wanted to talk about, since it's been confusing some people after they upgrade to version 12.3. The icons that represent the different virtualization types, such as Oracle Solaris Zones or Logical Domains, have changed. Here are the new icons:

We made this change because there were getting to be a lot of supported virtualization types, particularly now that Kernel Zones are supported. The new icons make it easier to differentiate between different types so that you know at a glance what sort of system you're dealing with.

The other new features in version 12.3 are discussed in the What's New document.

Thursday Jun 25, 2015

Ops Center 12.3 is Released

Version 12.3 of Ops Center is now available!

This is a major upgrade from the prior versions. In addition to bug fixes and performance enhancements, there are a number of new features:

  • Asset discovery refinements, including the ability to run discovery probes only on a specific network or from a specific Proxy Controller
  • Support for discovering and managing existing Oracle Solaris 11 Kernel Zones
  • The ability to create a custom Oracle Solaris 11 AI manifest and use it for provisioning
  • Refined search: Searching for one or more assets now displays the search results in a new tab in the Navigation pane, making navigation a bit easier
  • New and expanded books in the doc library

Take a look at the What's New In This Release document for a more detailed breakdown of the new features, and the Upgrade guide for more information about upgrading to version 12.3.

You can also take a look at the 12.3 documentation library here.

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:
  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 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/


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 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 Mar 12, 2015

Giving Feedback in the OC Docs

There are a couple of features of the docs that are sometimes overlooked, so I thought I'd mention them.

If you click on a book in the documentation library, over on the left there are a couple of buttons. The feedback button lets you send us a message about the doc that you're looking at, so if something is confusing or incorrect, you can let us know and we'll fix it. There's also a download button where you can get a PDF of the current doc.

Also, if you're on the main page for Oracle Docs, there's a flying question mark box that you can click to give feedback about the doc site in general:

Speaking for our team, we do actually read those feedback messages, so let us know what you think.


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


« November 2015