Friday Feb 22, 2013

Friday Tips #16

Hope you are all having a good Friday! Here's a tip for Oracle VM VirtualBox:

Question:
Should I install the Oracle VM VirtualBox Extension Pack and Guest Additions?

Answer by Andy Hall, Product Management Director, Oracle Desktop Virtualization and Chris Kawalek, Senior Principal Product Director, Oracle Desktop Virtualization:
Yes!

The Oracle VM VirtualBox Extension Pack enables four features:

  • The virtual USB 2.0 device
  • Intel PXE boot ROM with support for the E1000 network card
  • Experimental support for PCI passthrough on Linux
  • VirtualBox Remote Desktop Protocol (VRDP) support

You might also notice when you do upgrades of VirtualBox you might get a warning about missing hardware (Chris saw this just yesterday with USB 2.0, in fact). This means the extension pack and the VirtualBox versions are out of sync, so you'll need to install the latest extension pack.

The good news is that it's really easy. From the VirtualBox download page, just select the appropriate extension pack. Once it has downloaded, just double click and you'll be guided through the quick process.

For the Guest Additions, they are also worthwhile and easy to install. The Guest Additions provide device drivers and applications that help make working with a guest a much better experience. This includes things like mouse pointer integration, shared folders, seamless windows, and more. The Guest Additions are included in the VirtualBox installation folder as an .iso image that you can mount and then install from the guest.

If you have a question for us, post on Twitter with hashtag #askoraclevirtualization. See you next week!

-Chris


Friday Feb 15, 2013

Friday Tips #15

Happy Friday, everyone!

Our tip this week is a little different. This week, we found a blog post from another Oracle blogger that we thought would be interesting for those of you diving deep into Oracle VM VirtualBox. The tip answers the question, "how can I get access to the serial console output of a Solaris VirtualBox guest running on a Solaris hypervisor host?"

Serial Console with VirtualBox on Solaris host by darrenm

Thanks to Darren for a very cool tip. We'll see you next week!

-Chris 

Friday Feb 08, 2013

Friday Tips #14

Our tip this week will help you experiment with the settings for the Sun Ray Operating Software (SROS).

Question:
I want to setup SROS (Sun Ray Operating Software) and play with the server based .parms files and the DTU GUI. What are the quick steps to get that done?

Answer by John Renko, Consulting Developer, Oracle Desktop Virtualization:
Good news, SROS isn't too different from the "old" ways of managing the operating software on Sun Ray DTUs.

1) Download the latest SROS package from My Oracle Support (support.oracle.com)

2) Unpack the package and install it on your Sun Ray server:

pkgadd -d . SUNWutdfw

3) Prepare a sample "srconfig" file with some common settings:

bash-3.2# cat /srconfig
compress=1
fastload=1
fulldup=1
lossless=0
poweroff=120
select=random
servers=myhouse.domain.com,myhouse2.domain.com

4) Deploy the SROS, with GUI enabled, so you can play with the DTU settings:

/opt/SUNWut/sbin/utfwadm -AaV -i /srconfig -G force

You should now see SROS images in /tftpboot along with .parms files, merged with your /srconfig settings and a SunRay.enableGUI object.

Friday Feb 01, 2013

Friday Tips #13

In honor of the new version of the Oracle Virtual Desktop Client yesterday, we thought we'd do a tip for the power users of our client software:

Question:
How can you run multiple Oracle Virtual Desktop Client sessions simultaneously?

Answer by John Renko, Consulting Developer, Oracle Desktop Virtualization:
You simply need to run each Oracle Virtual Desktop Client (OVDC) session with a --profile option.

For example, one could launch two sessions by doing:  

ovdc.exe --profile ovdc1
ovdc.exe --profile ovdc2

Each session will retain its settings, logs and contain its own client ID, which can useful when managing Sun Ray session assignment to a Kiosk or regular session, amongst other things:

ovdc.exe --profile ovdc1 -i

[ A popup window appears with the client ID ]

On Mac OS X platforms, the path to the OVDC binary would be:

 /Applications/Oracle Virtual Desktop Client.app/Contents/MacOS/ovdc

Some example scenarios of where this is useful:

  1. You need to connect to multiple environments concurrently.
  2. You need to make concurrent connections to a single environment using multiple user IDs.
  3. You want to run a large load test and have a server that can run 200 simultaneous OVDC sessions, like this:

-------------------------------------------- 

Thanks John, that could come in handy for lots of different testing scenarios.

That's it for this week. If you have anything you want to ask us, just post on Twitter with #AskOracleVirtualization and we'll try to get your question answered. See you next week!

-Chris 

Friday Jan 25, 2013

Friday Tips #12

Our tip this week is about the newly released Oracle VM 3.2. For some background, you might also want to check out this related tip on updating Oracle VM Manager.

Question:
How do I get started with the command line interface for Oracle VM Manager?

Answer by Gregory King, Principal Best Practices Consultant, Oracle VM Product Management:
Oracle VM 3 ships with an automation tool that system administrators are going to love! Beginning with the latest version of 3.2, our Oracle VM 3 product comes with a built-in command line interface (CLI) that allows system administrators to create automated solutions using their favorite shell or scripting language. For example, you can create a bash or ksh script using calls to the CLI to gather information about objects and attributes managed by the Oracle VM Manager. You can also include CLI calls to change objects and attributes as well as initiate tasks such as putting a server into maintenance mode and then starting a software update using our built-in Server Update Manager.

Check Your Access to the CLI
The CLI is started automatically when the Oracle VM Manager is started during boot or whenever you execute “service ovmm start” on the server where Oracle VM Manager is installed. Test the ability to connect to the CLI first by logging in using ssh. You can execute the ssh session from any server with an ssh client – you should really test the login from the server where the automation scripts will reside. Perhaps you want to write the scripts and keep them on the same server where Oracle VM Manager is installed or perhaps you want to keep the scripts on a management/administration server where you keep all your other management scripts – the choice is really up to you.

Let’s assume for our example you are going to keep the scripts on a Linux server named “myserver”. Simply execute the ssh command shown below to test your login.  The CLI will prompt you for a password – this is the same password you use for the admin user when you log into the Oracle VM Manager.

You can see a list of available commands by typing either help or “?” at the command prompt as shown below.

You will most likely want to add ssh keys on the Oracle VM Management server to allow your script to execute without prompting for a password.  If your scripts are going to be executed as root from myserver, then add the public keys from myserver:/root/.ssh/*.pub into a single file named ovmcli_authorized_keys and copy the file to the oracle home directory on mymanager:/home/oracle/.ssh/ovmcli_authorized_keys. Make sure the ovmcli_authorized_keys file is owned by oracle and the group is dba – I always change the permissions to 644, but I’m not sure that is actually needed. The CLI will prompt for a password the first time after copying the file to that directory, but will not prompt again afterwards.

Thanks Greg. For more information on Oracle VM 3.2, have a read through Honglin's excellent blog entry on this very blog.

We'll see you next week!

-Chris 

Friday Jan 18, 2013

Friday Tips #11

Earlier this week, Oracle hosted a really cool event, the Virtual SysAdmin Day. If you missed it and happen to be in EMEA (or willing to stay up late in other parts of the world!), you can join the next one we're having on January 29th. You can learn all about Oracle Solaris, Oracle VM, and Oracle Linux straight from the experts here at Oracle.

During the event, one of the audience members tweeted a question about Oracle storage. We asked if we could use the question for our Friday tips series and he graciously agreed. Storage has a huge impact on the performance and cost of virtualization (both server and desktop) deployments, so we thought a short definition of Oracle optimized storage and the Oracle's Sun ZFS Storage Appliance would be in order.

Question:
What exactly is this ZFS Storage Appliance? Is it just a simulator or actual usable production appliance? 

Answer by Christopher J. Martin,  Principal Product Manager, Oracle Optimized Solutions:
The Sun ZFS Storage Appliance is Oracle’s preferred NAS storage system with unified storage capability for enterprise tier 1 environments that also simultaneously provides superior Block SAN features and performance. It offers a rich set of enterprise-class data services such as snapshots, clones and replication(local and remote) as well as industry-leading performance, and Oracle Hybrid Columnar Compression- a feature for Oracle Databases.  These systems also feature a comprehensive and intuitive user interface and storage analytics environment that is unmatched in the industry in terms of its ease of use and simplicity.  This dramatically reduces management time and complexity, reducing operating expenses.  The Sun ZFS Storage Appliance offers compelling economics along with extreme performance and efficiency for enterprise storage. 

Thanks Chris!

We also covered storage briefly back in our second entry in this series where we had a question on linked clones.

Thanks for reading today. We'll be covering more storage topics in future tips as well as anything else you want to ask regarding Oracle virtualization. Just use #AskOracleVirtualization on Twitter and we'll try to get your question answered.

-Chris 

Friday Jan 11, 2013

Friday Tips #10

Happy Friday, everyone, hope you've had a good week! We're very excited to to have reached double digits in our Friday tips series, and we hope you're finding them useful. Remember, you can get your questions answered by posting on Twitter with the #askoraclevirtualization hash tag. We're also very happy to receive questions via DM to the Oracle Virtualization Twitter account on the Oracle Virtualization Facebook page.

Today's tip is the last in our video series (for now) on Oracle Virtual Desktop Infrastructure administration. Once again, this video is courtesy of John Pither, Principal Sales Consultant, Oracle Desktop Virtualization. In this video, John covers setting up a "Company", an important concept for multi-tenant or departmental deployments.

We'll see you next week!

-Chris 

Friday Jan 04, 2013

Friday Tips #9

We hope you're enjoying these video tips! Here is another from John Pither, Principal Sales Consultant, Oracle Desktop Virtualization. This one describes the admin interface and roles in Oracle Virtual Desktop Infrastructure:

As always, you can submit questions for our Friday tips on Twitter using the #askoraclevirtualization hashtag.

-Chris 

Friday Dec 28, 2012

Friday Tips #8

For our final tip of 2012, we have another video from John Pither, Principal Sales Consultant, Oracle Desktop Virtualization. Watch below to learn how to create desktop providers in Oracle Virtual Desktop Infrastructure:

Remember, you can submit questions for our Friday tips on Twitter using the #askoraclevirtualization hashtag. We'll see you next week!

-Chris 

Friday Dec 21, 2012

Friday Tips #7, Part 2

Our desktop tip today is in the form of a video done by John Pither, Principal Sales Consultant, Oracle Desktop Virtualization. It covers how desktop pools work and how to create them in Oracle Virtual Desktop Infrastructure:

Friday Tips #7, Part 1

Welcome to Friday Tips #7, part 1. This tip is focused on server virtualization and part 2 will be focused on desktop.

Last week, we shared a tip on how to update the Oracle VM Servers, which begged the question of how to update the OVM Manager itself:


Question:
How do I update OVM Manager?

Answer by Justin Kutticherry, Systems Account Manager, Oracle: 
Here are the steps to update the OVM Manager itself:

  • Login to myoraclesupport site
  • Click on the ‘Patches & Updates’ tab
  • Click on ‘Product or Family’ on the Search Tab, select Oracle VM and then Oracle VM 3.0 (like below) and hit Search:

  • Look through the list and select the appropriate patch - click on the link to the left to download the ISO (will save as a zip)

  • Then mount the ISO and run the updater (“ovmm-update” is the ISO in the example below)

Ideally, you would update the OVM Manager first and then the servers. Make sure to backup prior to updating as there is currently no revert function.

Friday Dec 14, 2012

Friday Tips #6, Part 2

Here is a question about updating Oracle VM:


Question:
How can I perform Oracle VM 3 server updates from Oracle VM Manager?

Answer by Gregory King, Principal Best Practices Consultant, Oracle VM Product Management:
Server Update Manager is a built-in feature of the Oracle VM Manager. Basically, Server Update Manager automatically configures YUM updates on all the Oracle VM Servers, pointing each to our Unbreakable Linux Network (ULN) update channel for Oracle VM. The servers periodically check with our Oracle YUM repository and notify the Oracle VM Manager that an update is available for each server. Actual server updates must be triggered by the Oracle VM administrator – they are not executed automatically.

At this point, you can use the Oracle VM Manager to put a server into maintenance mode which live migrates all the running Oracle VM Guests to other Oracle VM Servers in the server pool. Once all the Oracle VM Guests have been migrated, the Oracle VM administrator can trigger the update on the server. The entire process is documented in the Installation and Upgrade Guide of Oracle VM Documentation so I won’t spend time detailing the steps.

However, configuring the Server Update Manager is exceedingly simple. Simply navigate to the Tools and Resources tab in the Oracle VM Manager, select the link for Server Update Manager and ensure the following values are added to the text boxes as shown in the illustration below:

  • YUM Base URL: http://public-yum.oracle.com/repo/OracleVM/OVM3/latest/x86_64
  • YUM GPG Key: file:///etc/pki/rpm-gpg/RPM-GPG-KEY-oracle

Every server in the pool will be automatically configured for YUM updates once you choose the Apply button.


Many thanks to Greg and Rick for providing the answers to this week's questions. If you want to ask us something, hit up Twitter and use hashtag #AskOracleVirtualization. See you next week!

-Chris 

Friday Tips #6, Part 1

We have a two parter this week, with this post focusing on desktop virtualization and the next one on server virtualization.


Question:
Why would I use the Oracle Secure Global Desktop Secure Gateway?

Answer by Rick Butland, Principal Sales Consultant, Oracle Desktop Virtualization:
Well, for the benefit of those who might not be familiar with client connections in Oracle Secure Global Desktop (SGD), let me back up and briefly explain. An SGD client connects to an SGD server using two distinct protocols, which, by default, require two distinct TCP ports. The first is the HTTP protocol, used by the web browser to connect to the SGD webserver on TCP port 80, or if secure connections are enabled (SSL/TLS), then TCP port 443, commonly identified as the "HTTPS" port, that is, "SSL encrypted HTTP." The second protocol from the client to the server is the Adaptive Internet Protocol, or AIP, which is used for displaying applications, transferring drive mapping data, print jobs, and so on. By default, AIP uses the TCP port 3104, or port 5307 when SSL is enabled.

When SGD clients need to access SGD over a firewall, the ports that AIP requires are typically "closed"; and most administrators are reluctant, to put it mildly, to change their firewall configurations to allow AIP traffic on 3144/5307.  

To avoid this problem, SGD introduced "Firewall Forwarding", a technique where, in effect, both http and AIP traffic are "multiplexed" onto a single "well-known" TCP port, that is port 443, the https port.  This is also known as single-port firewall traversal.  This technique takes advantage of the fact that, as a "well-known service", port 443 is usually "open",   allowing (encrypted) traffic to pass. At the target SGD server, the two protocols are de-multiplexed and routed appropriately.

The Secure Gateway was developed in response to requirements from customers for SGD to support multi-stage DMZ's, and to avoid exposing SGD servers and the information they contain directly to connections from the Internet. The Secure Gateway acts as a reverse-proxy in the first-tier of the DMZ, accepting, authenticating, and terminating incoming client connections, and then re-encrypting the connections, and proxying them, routing them on to SGD servers, deeper in the network. The client no longer needs to know the name/IP address of the SGD servers in their network, they connect to the gateway, only. The gateway takes care of those internal network details.    

The Secure Gateway supports the same "single-port firewall" capability as does "Firewall Forwarding", but offers the additional advantage of load-balancing incoming client connections amongst SGD array members, which could be cumbersome without a forward-deployed secure gateway. Load-balancing weights and policies can be monitored and tuned using the "Balancer Manager" application, and Apache mod_proxy_balancer directives.  

Going forward, our architects recommend the use of the Secure Gateway over "Firewall Forwarding" for single-port firewall traversal, due to its architectural advantages, its greater flexibility and enhanced features. 

Finally, it should be noted that the Secure Gateway is not separately priced; any licensed SGD customer may use the Secure Gateway component at no additional cost.  

For more information, see the "Secure Gateway Administrator's Guide".

Friday Dec 07, 2012

Friday Tips #5

Happy Friday, everyone! Following up on yesterday's post about Oracle VM VirtualBox being selected as the best virtualization solution for 2012 by the readers of Linux Journal, our Friday tip is about that very cool piece of software:


Question:
How do I move a VM from one machine to another with Oracle VM VirtualBox?

Answer by Andy Hall, Product Management Director, Oracle Desktop Virtualization:
There are a number of ways to do this, with pros and cons for each. The most reliable approach is to Export and Import virtual machines:

  1. From the VirtualBox manager, simply use the File…Export appliance menu and follow the wizard's lead.
  2. Move the resulting file(s) to the destination machine; and
  3. Import the VM into VirtualBox.

This method will take longer and use more disk space than other methods because the configuration files and virtual hard drives are converted into an industry standard format (.ova or .ovf). But an advantage of this approach is that the creator of the virtual appliance can add a license which the importer will see and click-to-accept at import time. This is especially useful for ISVs looking to deliver pre-built, configured and tested appliances to their customers and prospects.


Thanks Andy!

Remember, if you have a question for us, use Twitter hashtag #AskOracleVirtualization. We'll see you next week!

-Chris 

Friday Nov 30, 2012

Friday Tips #4

It's time once again for our Friday tip. Our question today is about how to determine how much video RAM to allocate for your virtual machines in a VDI deployment:


Question:
How much video RAM do I really need on my VirtualBox VMs?

Answer by John Renko, Consulting Developer, Oracle:
The answer is in the VirtualBox admin guide but it's seldom followed correctly, usually resulting in excess unused RAM to be allocated. The formula for determining how much RAM to allocate is shown below for a 32 bit fullscreen 22" monitor supporting 1680x1050:

bit depth / 8 x horizontal res x vertical res / 1024 / 1024 = MB RAM

Which translates to:

32 bits / 8 x 1680 x 1050 / 1024 / 1024 = 6.7 MB

If you wanted to support dual 22" monitors, you would need twice that, so 13.4 MB.

Anything in excess of what is needed is readily allocated but not used and would be better suited for running more VMs!


Thanks John, that tip should help folks squeeze a little more out of their VDI servers. And remember, if you have a question for us, use hash tag #AskOracleVirtualization on Twitter.

We'll see you next week with another tip!

-Chris 

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