Friday Feb 28, 2014

Friday Spotlight: What's in a Name?

This week’s spotlight is an Oracle VM tip from Greg King, our best practices engineer. While the tip may appear to be straightforward, a well thought out naming convention is critical in helping system administrators better organize, manage and eliminate mistakes made by other administrators.

Oracle VM is designed to be a highly availability computing platform for your Oracle VM guests. However, high availability is not just about ensuring you have eliminated as many single points of failure as possible, it also means making your Oracle VM platform easy to understand and maintain. An easy to understand Oracle VM environment makes all the difference in managing and maintaining a fault tolerate environment for your Oracle VM Guests when the chips hit the fan.

The use of meaningful descriptions and simple names is a frequently overlooked key to maintaining a reliable highly available computing platform. One goal of high availability is reducing the occurrence of mistakes that cause outages through human error. Using cryptic naming schemes, relying on default names of objects and failing to use descriptions effectively all contribute to overly complex, hard to understand Oracle VM environments; this in turn can completely undermine all the effort you put into eliminating single points of failure in your hardware and operating systems.

The easier it is to understand things at a glance, the faster tasks can be done with less explanation and less chance for critical mistakes. So, let’s take a look at a few examples of things you can do to make your Oracle VM object naming scheme more powerful.

People often leave the simple name for the server management network as the dotted decimal notation of the subnet. Even worse, they use the dotted decimal subnets as names for all their other networks they create. This is pretty cryptic and quite meaningless to anyone but a few in your organization. The default name is meant to be changed to something meaningful in your environment and a naming scheme should be developed that is simple yet meaningful for the remaining networks you create. We have a network naming white paper available on OTN that might give you some good ideas.

You should also take the time to create meaningful naming schemes for Oracle VM servers, server pools, physical disks, virtual disks, guests and guest resources such as assemblies, ISO images and templates. You want to be able to relate various objects to each other without having to search through different tabs and sub-tabs so take the time to create and use meaningful simple names.

If nothing else, the more time you spend making your naming scheme easy to understand, the faster you can detect issues from Oracle VM Manager at a glance. This can save you time on maintaining tedious documentation that you don’t like to write and most people don’t like to read.

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