Tuesday Jul 31, 2012

Updated ExaLogic Guidelines whitepaper

The Implementing Oracle ExaLogic and/or Oracle WebLogic Clustering (Doc Id: 1334558.1) available from My Oracle Support has been updated with additional advice for products using the Oracle Utilities Application Framework.

The following changes have been made to the document:

  • Correction to the document to explicity outline that the SPLEBASE environment variable must be set prior to starting any node in the cluster for the product to use files not included in EAR/WAR files.
  • Added Best Practices section outlining addition performnce configuration suggestions and some advice for optimizing ExaLogic with Exadata.
  • Added advice for configuring JMS in a cluster. This is particularly useful for customers using JMS for product to product integration or using the Message Driven Bean functionality in Oracle Utilities Application Framework V4.x.
  • Added advice for Oracle Service Bus (OSB) integration in a clustered environment for customers using OSB in association with the Oracle Utilities Application Framework based product.

Wednesday Jul 25, 2012

Oracle ExaLogic advice for Oracle Utilities Application Framework products

The Oracle WebLogic Clustering for Oracle Utilities Application Framework whitepaper (Doc Id: 1334558.1), available from My Oracle Support, has been updated to now include advice for Oracle ExaLogic. To reflect the new information the document is now renamed "Implementing Oracle ExaLogic and/or Oracle WebLogic Clustering".

The Oracle ExaLogic additional advice includes the following:

  • Implementation of the SDP protocol for use with the online component of the product. This improves communication between the tiers.
  • Configuration of Oracle WebLogic settings for optimization with Oracle ExaLogic.
  • Configuration of ExaLogic GridLink Data Sources for online transactions.

The document can be used by customers and partners who are implementing Oracle WebLogic clustering with or without Oracle ExaLogic.

Wednesday Jul 18, 2012

OUAF 4.1.0.1.0 Released (i.e. Service Pack 1)

In the past the Oracle Utilities Application Framework V4.1 supplied Group Fixes (GF1 - GF4 have been released). In line with other Oracle products, Oracle Utilities Application Framework now releases cumulative Service Packs on a regular basis instead of Group Fixes.

Service Packs now include all the fixes since the original release since the product was initially released. For new customers, you can install the original released product from the Oracle Delivery Cloud and then the latest service pack via My Oracle Support to keep up to date with fixes, enhancements and new platforms.

Along with the Service Pack is a new version numbering scheme. If you are familiar with other Oracle products and Oracle technology you will recognize the new numbering scheme. The new version number format is as follows:

X.Y.Z.A.B where

X.Y.Z is the version number of the product (as we originally quoted it). For example Oracle Utilities Application Framework V4.1 would be 4.1.0.
A is the Service Pack
B is reserved for special circumstances. Usually it is 0.

This means the new Service Pack brings Oracle Utilities Application Framework V4.1 up to 4.1.0.1.0 officially. This is extremely important as when you register a bug or enhancement you need to quote the official release number so that our engineers can target the problem or enhancement to the right version of the product.

Service Pack 1 is available for download from My Oracle Support at Patch 13967347.

Monday Jul 16, 2012

Using Oracle Fusion Middleware targets with OUAF Based products in OEM 12c

One of the advantages of Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c is the ability to manage Oracle WebLogic directly from the console with or without the use of the Oracle WebLogic management packs. Obviously customers can manage more with the packs but some basic administration and monitoring capabilities can be used from the basic Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c installation.

With Oracle Utilities Application Framework V2.x and above, the use of Oracle Weblogic is different to the typical base use of Oracle WebLogic. The Oracle Utilities Application Framework uses Oracle WebLogic in what I call "embedded mode". Customers install Oracle WebLogic as per the standard Oracle WebLogic installation process but "point" the installation to the Oracle Utilities Application Framework to execute the product. The advantage of this for non-production is that you can share a single copy of Oracle WebLogic across multiple environments on a single machine easily and each environment is isolated operationally with its own domain and own administration server. The disadvantage is that Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c cannot easily recognize the installation using the Auto-Discovery functionality provided by that product.

All is not lost though, it is possible to use the functionality using the "Add Targets Manually" functionality to expose the Oracle WebLogic instance for each environment as a target to manage.

To use this facility you need the following installed and available:

  • Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c console and OMS somewhere in your architecture
  • The machines that house the environment MUST be registered to the OMS as managed targets of "Host" target type. This ensures the agent is deployed and working to those machines.
  • The instances of Oracle WebLogic to be registered for the environments must be executing. Oracle WebLogic instances that are not active will not be registered using this process.

From the "Setup" menu in Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c select "Add Targets Manually" from the "Add Target" menu. Select the "Add Non-host Targets using Guided Process" and select "Oracle Fusion Middleware" from the Target Type list. For example:

Add Targets Manually example

Use the "Add Using Guideed Discovery ..." button to initiate the process. This will display a dialog to manually add the Oracle WebLogic embedded target type.

To register an envieonment specify the following:

  • Administration Server Host - The host name used for WL_HOST in your environment. This host must be registered to Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c as a target so that the agent is redeployed.
  • Port - The port number assigned to the environment (WL_PORT).
  • Username - An account authorized to the Oracle WebLogic console. The Oracle Utilities Application Framework installer creates an initial user system that can be used if you have not got a site specific value for this user. This userid is used, by default, for all operations to the target. It must be an Administration account not a product account.
  • Password - The password configured for the Username.
  • Unique Domain Identifier - An unique identifier for the domain to denote within Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c. This is important and should be some value that means something for your admninistrator to understand. This also allows multiple targets per host to be defined easily. Make sure you do not use any embedded blanks and special characters for the name.
  • Agent - This is the default host and port for the OEM agent on that machine. Just for references and can be altered if the default port is different for OEM at your site.

For example:

 Example Oracle WebLogic manual target definition

Press "Continue" to complete the process. If the above parameters are correct then new targets should appear in the console as management targets. The Oracle WebLogic domain and each of the deployments will appear seperately in the target list. For example:

Example target discovery

The targets can now be managed and monitored using the facilites of Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c from the console.

For example:

Example Monitor/Management screen

You can repeat this process for each of your environments. This process does not need to be repeated as once a target is registered Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c will maintain the connection.

Thursday Jul 12, 2012

Oracle Application Management Pack for Oracle Utilities

A management pack for use for management of Oracle Utilities applications within Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c is available. A detailed whitepaper is now available on My Oracle Support at Doc Id: 1474435.1.

The pack supports the following products and versions:

Oracle Management Pack for Oracle Utilities provides application life-cycle services for the Oracle Utilities suite of applications. By combining Oracle Enterprise Manager's enterprise management solution with Oracle Utilities applications, IT organization can significantly reduce the cost and complexity to manage an Oracle Utilities product environment.

The Application Management Pack for Oracle Utilities provides a top down application management framework. This framework automates mundane operational tasks of application lifecycle management. These tasks are routinely performed by IT administrators to operationally manage a deployed production instance of Oracle Utilities products. The management pack leverages the power of the Oracle Utilities Application Framework to provide a single solution that is based upon Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c and extends it by providing a single view and console to manage Oracle Utilities products.

Centralized Operations and Management

Typically, multiple instances of multiple Oracle Utilities products are implemented at a site. A centralized framework is needed to manage and operate these multiple instances of multiple products to reduce total cost of operations. The Application Management Pack for Oracle Utilities provides a centralized management framework and allows IT administrators to centrally manage instances of Oracle Utilities environments using a browser based console.

Main OEM screen

Application Operations – Availability

Once an Oracle Utilities product has been installed, managing that environment's availability is critical. The Application Management Pack for Oracle Utilities provides instrumentation and tracking of a products individual components and their availability. This capability can be integrated with Oracle Enterprise Manager's incident and alerting capability to provide availability target tracking.

Oracle Utilities Home Page

Application Monitoring – Introducing Group Monitoring

An Oracle Utilities product contains a number of key components in the architecture. These components can be managed individually or as part of a group or group(s), to perform group monitoring and group management capabilities. Groups can be created by a number of dimensions matching your preferred IT management strategies.

Application Environment Management – Cloning environments

After installing the Oracle Utilities product, the Application Management Pack for Oracle Utilities allows additional copies of the software to be quickly created using environment cloning. Simple cloning allows for environments to be created with minimal interaction and advance cloning allows new environments with new characteristics to be created.

Sample Advanced Cloning

Application Upgrades – Introducing Patch Management

Once an Oracle Utilities product is installed the challenge is to keep that environment up to date with patches. The Application Management Pack for Oracle Utilities provides an interface to My Oracle Support to import and install patches on an environment interactively or on a schedule. Once an environment is patched to an acceptable level, Application Management Pack for Oracle Utilities allows patch sets to be migrated across environments.

Example Patch install

Utilizing the power of Oracle Enterprise Manager

The Application Management Pack for Oracle Utilities allows Oracle Utilities products to take advantage of the power of management from Oracle Enterprise Manager. The ability to schedule any of the pack tasks interactively or on a pre-scheduled basis, integration with availability alerting to detect outages, support for blackout periods and support for management grouping allows Oracle Utilities product to take advantage of the power of Oracle Enterprise Manager.

Enterprise Wide Management

The Application Management Pack for Oracle Utilities has been designed to work standalone or in conjunction with other packs available for Oracle Enterprise Manager. Customers can choose to target Oracle Utilities product using Oracle Enterprise Manager or target their entire Oracle infrastructure to provide higher levels of management across the enterprise

About

Anthony Shorten
Hi, I am Anthony Shorten, I am the Principal Product Manager for the Oracle Utilities Application Framework. I have been working for over 20+ years in the IT Business and am the author of many a technical whitepaper, manual and training material. I am one of the product managers working on strategy and designs for the next generation of the technology used for the Utilities and Tax markets. This blog is provided to announce new features, document tips and techniques and also outline features of the Oracle Utilities Application Framework based products. These products include Oracle Utilities Customer Care and Billing, Oracle Utilities Meter Data Management, Oracle Utilities Mobile Workforce Management and Oracle Enterprise Taxation and Policy Management. I am the product manager for the Management Pack for these products.

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