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 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.

Thursday Mar 05, 2015

Using Variables in Operational Plans

I saw a question recently about variables in operational plans, which I thought I'd discuss. If you're unfamiliar with them, operational plans let you create or upload scripts, then run those scripts on targeted systems through Ops Center.

The question was about the variables you can use in these scripts. There are two kinds of variables you can use: user-defined ones, which you have to create, or system defined variables which are defined by Ops Center. The system defined variables are listed in the documentation, but the questioner wasn't sure what each variable actually was. So, here's a list of the useful system variables and what they do:

  • $OC_UFN - The target asset's user-friendly name - the same name that's used in the UI.

  • $OC_JOB_ID - The Job ID number for the job that's applying the operational plan. A lot of users use this variable to help track changes that are made by a script.

  • $OC_TARGET_NAME - This is Ops Center's internal name for the target asset.

  • $OC_TARGET_TYPE - This is the type of asset that the script is being applied to.

There's more information about creating and applying Operational Plans in 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 Feb 19, 2015

Creating Networks for Server Pools

I've seen a couple of questions recently about creating networks for Server Pools. There's an important guideline that you should bear in mind, particularly when you're planning your Server Pools out: The servers in a server pool should be homogenous in terms of their network tagging mode.

The reason for this is that, if you had a Server Pool with servers using tagged and untagged networks, a guest migrated from one server to another could lose its network configuration.

The same principle applies even to standalone Oracle VM Servers for SPARC - you can't connect the same network to a standalone one in both tagged and untagged modes.

Thursday Feb 12, 2015

Discovery Changes

There were a few changes to the discovery process in Ops Center 12.2.2. If you've already upgraded, you might have noticed some of them, but I thought I'd give you the rundown.

The first change is an enhancement for zones and LDoms discovery. In version 12.2.2, when you discover a control domain or global zone and manage it with an Agent, any non-global zones or logical domains on them are discovered automatically. There are also some performance enhancements in this area, so the discoveries ought to go quicker now than in past.

The other change is that the Find Assets wizard, which searches for assets using service tags, is now disabled by default. This is mostly because, since this method searches for service tag-equipped products on all networks associated with a Proxy Controller, it can end up being a big resource drain/timesink in a very large environment. If you want, you can still enable it.

Thursday Feb 05, 2015

Access Point counts in the OCDoctor

When you're trying to figure out questions of scaling in Ops Center, it's important to be able to tell exactly how much load the different parts of the infrastructure are handling. In Ops Center, the relevant number is the access point count. An access point is a connection between a Proxy Controller and a managed asset. We don't just count the number of assets directly because, if different parts of an asset are managed by different Proxy Controllers, that puts more load on the system.

There's a tool in the OCDoctor's toolbox directory that lets you count the access points in your environment. The AssetCount.sh script gives you the total number of access points managed by the Enterprise Controller, and gives additional information depending on which option you use:

  • The standard option shows the number of access points for each Proxy Controller - both the total and a detailed breakdown by asset category.
  • The machine option gives a list of the access points on each Proxy Controller in machine-readable format.
  • The agent option shows, for each Proxy Controller, how many assets are agent-managed, how many are agentless, and how many are SPs.

The Scaling and Performance Guide explains how to use the AssetCount.sh script. You can find it in the version 12.2.2 documentation library.

Thursday Jan 29, 2015

Database Versions

I've seen a few questions about what Oracle Database versions are supported with which versions of Ops Center, so I thought I'd clarify that point a bit.

 If you're using Ops Center 12.2.2, the latest version, and you have a customer-managed database, you can use Oracle Database 11.2.0.3 or 11.2.0.4. If you're using an embedded database, the upgrade to Ops Center 12.2.2 includes an upgrade of the embedded database to 11.2.0.4.

If you're using Ops Center 12.2.0 or 12.2.1, the supported database version is 11.2.0.3, for both embedded and customer-managed databases.

Thursday Jan 22, 2015

Enabling and Testing ASR

The Auto Service Request feature in Ops Center, when it's properly enabled, can automatically generate service requests based on qualified incidents in Ops Center, helping you get the systems up and running again quickly. The questions, then, are how do you enable it properly, and short of taking a crowbar to your new M7, how can you be certain it's working?

One of the new How-Tos that we've just released, Enabling and Testing Auto Service Request, can help you answer these questions. It talks about the prerequisites, explains how to add contact information and enable ASR, and shows you how to use a test trap to verify that ASRs are being created correctly.

This How-To is just one of the improvements in Ops Center 12.2.2. Take a look at the What's New for more information about these improvements, and the Deploy and Operate libraries for more how-tos.

Thursday Jan 15, 2015

Proxy Controller Backups

There were a number of new features introduced in Ops Center 12.2.2. One of the shiny ones is an expansion of the backup and recovery capabilities to include Proxy Controllers.

It's always been possible to create a backup of the Enterprise Controller and the co-located Proxy Controller using the ecadm backup command. Now, in version 12.2.2, there's a similar command - proxyadm backup - to create a backup of a Proxy Controller, including all of its asset data. You can save off this file and use it to restore the Proxy Controller to its backed-up state.

The only trick with OC backups is that the OS images directory isn't part of the backup file for size reasons, but they can be backed up separately.

The Backup and Recovery chapter of the Administration guide explains how to back up your Proxy Controllers and Enterprise Controller, and the What's New goes over many of the other new features in 12.2.2.

Thursday Jan 08, 2015

Sizing and Performance Guide

When you're planning an Ops Center deployment, planning to expand a datacenter where Ops Center is installed, or looking to optimize your Ops Center deployment, it's vital to have information about scaling and performance. You need to know whether your new systems will need another Proxy Controller, or whether the system you're planning on using for your Enterprise Controller is beefy enough.

We've added a Sizing and Performance Guide to the Ops Center library, to help you answer these sorts of questions for your environment:

  • The Resource Utilization chapter discusses the relative resource usage of common Ops Center uses, such as OS provisioning, update management, and virtualization.
  • The Scaling and Performance Guidelines chapter provides detailed information about the resources used by, and the scaling capabilities of, Ops Center components such as the Enterprise Controller, Proxy Controllers, database, virtualization controllers, and networks.
  • The Reference Systems chapter provides several reference system specifications for you to use in your planning.
  • The Report Service Configuration Properties appendix explains how to edit the reporting properties, or disable reporting entirely, to improve performance.

You can find this document, along with the rest of the documentation, in the Ops Center 12.2.2 documentation library.

Thursday Dec 18, 2014

Upgrading to version 12.2.2

Now that version 12.2.2 of Ops Center is out, you might be interested in upgrading.

We've put together a guide that walks you through the upgrade process. Each type of environment - HA or single Enterprise Controller - has separate chapters explaining how to do the upgrade through the UI or from the command line.

Something to note is that, if you're using an embedded database, the upgrade includes an upgrade of the DB to Oracle Database 11.2.0.4. If you're using an embedded database, you'll have to log into MOS and download the new DB bundles. The doc explains this step too, but if you've done upgrades in the past it'll be new to you. If you're using a customer-managed database, 11.2.0.4 is also now officially supported.

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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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