Friday Nov 08, 2013

DON'T MISS: Live Webcast - Nimble SmartStack for Oracle with Cisco UCS (Nov 12)

You are invited to the live webcast with Nimble Storage, Oracle and Cisco where we will talk about the new SmartStack solution from Nimble Storage that features Oracle Linux, Oracle VM and Cisco UCS products. In this webinar, you will learn how Nimble Storage SmartStack with Oracle and Cisco provides a converged infrastructure for Oracle Database environments with Oracle Linux and Oracle VM. SmartStack, built on best-of-breed components, delivers the performance and reliability needed for deploying Oracle on a single symmetric multiprocessing (SMP) server or Oracle Real Application Clusters (RAC) on multiple nodes. 

When : Tuesday, November 12, 2013, 11:00 AM Pacific Time

Panelists:
Michele Resta, Director of Linux and Virtualization Alliances, Oracle
John McAbel, Senior Product Manager, Cisco
Ibby Rahmani, Solutions Marketing, Nimble Storage

SmartStack™solutions provide pre-validated reference architectures that speed deployments and minimize risk. 

    •     The pre-validated converged infrastructure is based on an Oracle Validated Configuration that includes Oracle Database and Oracle Linux with the Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel.
    •     The solution components include a Nimble Storage CS-Series array, two Cisco UCS B200 M3 blade servers, Oracle Linux 6 Update 4 with the Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel, and Oracle Database 11g Release 2 or Oracle Database 12c Release 1.
    •     The Nimble Storage CS-Series is certified with Oracle VM 3.2 providing an even more flexible solution leveraging virtualization for functions such as test and development by delivering excellent random I/O performance in Oracle VM environments.

      Monday Sep 23, 2013

      Nimble Storage Introduces SmartStack Solution leveraging Oracle Linux and Oracle VM

      Nimble Storage today announced a new SmartStack™ converged infrastructure solution leveraging Oracle Linux, Oracle VM, and Oracle Database, running on Cisco Unified Computing System™ (UCS). This solution provides organizations with the ability to meet Oracle Database performance demands and scale without disruption or increased capital expenses.

      Highlights of the SmartStack Validated Reference Architecture with Oracle

      - The new solution is fully tested and validated using both Oracle Validated Configuration test kit and Nimble Storage’s test environments.

      - The solution components include a Nimble Storage CS-series array, two Cisco UCS B200 M3 blade servers, Oracle VM 3.2, Oracle Linux 6 Update 4 with the Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel, and Oracle Database 11g Release 2 and Oracle Database 12c.

      Nimble Storage’s intelligent flash-based architecture allows customers with Oracle workloads running on Oracle Linux and Oracle VM to take advantage of:

      - Adaptive performance to easily grow performance and/or capacity to scale to the needs of OLTP and OLAP applications as they grow - Ease of deployment with pre-configured optimizations and performance profiles to minimize the guesswork of tuning the infrastructure for performance

      - Integrated data protection and enhanced availability enabling organizations to take more frequent backups without disrupting applications, and facilitate quick recovery with Nimble Storage snapshots

      Nimble Storage will exhibit its flash-optimized hybrid storage arrays and new converged infrastructure solutions at Oracle OpenWorld 2013 taking place September 22 – 26 at Moscone Center in San Francisco. You can check Nimble Storage solutions in the Oracle Linux and Virtualization Pavilion - booth #2021.

      Read the press release for more information.

      Friday Jun 28, 2013

      Friday Tips #34

      Happy Friday! I wanted to take the opportunity this week to not give out a tip per se, but to point you to a really fantastic white paper that you might have missed. It's called What It Takes to Deploy and Manage a Private Cloud with Oracle VM. The paper is filled with useful information and it's written in a really entertaining style, tackling the IT challenges of a friendly systems administrator named Dave. It gives a great overview of application-driven virtualization and covers Oracle VM, Oracle VM Templates, Oracle VM Storage Connect, and Oracle Enterprise Manager.

      Read the white paper What It Takes to Deploy and Manage a Private Cloud with Oracle VM.

      See you next week!

      -Chris 

      Friday Mar 29, 2013

      Friday Tips #21

      We hope you're having a great Friday! Here is our Friday tip:

      Question:
      Can I run VDI with just a single server?

      Answer by Chris Kawalek, Senior Principal Product Director, Oracle Desktop Virtualization Marketing:
      Absolutely! Oracle Virtual Desktop Infrastructure allows you to deploy on a single server for everything you need for a VDI deployment: brokering, running VMs, and storage. Properly outfitted, this single server should be able to support up to 180-190 users. You can read exactly how to do this, what kind of server it requires and more in this new white paper:

      Oracle's Single Server Solution for VDI

      Another great thing about this solution is that it easily scales. If you add a second server, you can use its own internal storage for HA. And you can add external storage and more servers if you want to scale even higher. And at no point do you have to install a different product or do a massive reconfiguration to grow from a small pilot or departmental deployment to an enterprise one.

      We'll see you all next week!

      -Chris 

      Thursday Feb 21, 2013

      Oracle VM step-by-step hands-on labs now available on Oracle Technology Network

      If you missed the Oracle VM labs in the Virtual Sysadmin Days recently, you can still run through the labs at your own pace. All three labs give you a good immersion of Oracle VM to prepare you for the next step of virtualizing Oracle Applications.

      • Lab 1 walks you through deployment of  Oracle VM, Oracle VM Manager and plan for an IaaS environment deployment.
      • Lab 2 introduces you to the power of Oracle VM Templates. By the time you are done, you will have deployed a 2-node RAC cluster.
      • Lab 3 empowers you with the basics to start a cloud infrastructure deployment, including storage.

      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 Nov 09, 2012

      Welcome to our Friday tips series!

      Today we're starting a brand new blog series. For your Friday afternoon reading, we'll be posting a technical tip or question and answer on a technical topic. We'll start by introducing ideas on our own, but we'd really like it if you were involved and asked us questions via Twitter! Tag your tweet with #AskOracleVirtualization and we'll consider your question for the blog.

      Today's tip is on Storage and Oracle Virtual Desktop Infrastructure:

      Question: I run Oracle Virtual Desktop Infrastructure 3.4.1 on Solaris and use a local ZFS storage pool.  How should I configure my ZFS ARC cache? 

      Answer by John Renko, Consulting Developer, Oracle:

      Oracle recommends about 5G of ARC cache per template in use to achieve up to a 90% disk read offload. Set your ARC min=max to reserve the maximum amount of your remaining memory for your running VMs. In /etc/system:

      set zfs:zfs_arc_min = 5368709120
      set zfs:zfs_arc_max = 5368709120

      The amount you need to reserve will depend on your template but this has proven to be a great start for a typical windows 7 VM running productivity applications.

      Thursday Oct 18, 2012

      Two Upcoming Server Virtualization Webcasts

      We have a couple of interesting server virtualization webcasts coming up that you might be interested in. Have a look: 

      Webcast 1: October 23rd, 9 am PST

      Virtualized Infrastructure Simplified with Oracle VM and NetApp Storage and Data Management Solutions
      Point-and-Click Interface Deploys Virtualized Data Infrastructure in Minutes 

      Provisioning and deploying a virtual data infrastructure can be costly, time-consuming, and prone to error. Oracle VM and NetApp joint solutions, however, give you a single point-and-click interface to deploy your virtualized data infrastructure seamlessly in minutes. Join us in this live webcast to learn more from product experts and view a product demo.
      Webcast 2: November 14th, 9 am PST

      Report Shows Oracle VM Up to 10x Faster than VMware vSphere 5 in Time to Deployment

      Time is your IT department’s greatest commodity. So when a new report reveals that your IT staff can deploy Oracle Real Application Clusters (Oracle RAC) up to 10 times faster than a traditional install performed with VMware vSphere 5, it’s newsworthy. Join us in this live webcast to learn how you can realize your time savings.

      Register (for free!) here


      Thursday Jul 26, 2012

      BriForum 2012 - Oracle Virtual Desktop Infrastructure Aligns with the Experts.

      BriForum 2012 in Chicago includes great sessions from industry experts and consultants focused on VDI and Server Based Computing.   One session delivered by Ron Oglesby of Unidesk presented "How you can solve common problems with VDI".  As VDI deployments have increased in size a major challenge as been optimizing storage to deliver the IOPS required for desktop workloads.  This requirement often is in conflict with the goals of reducing the CAPEX investment of implementing VDI.

      Ron Oglesby recommends the use of "Hybrid Storage Arrays" that provide a combination of large controller memory,  Solid State Disk (SSD) for high IOPS,  combined with lower cost array disks.   He then asks if anyone has heard of ZFS

      When you consider this general recommendation from Ron, it aligns with the Oracle Virtual Desktop Infrastructure solution that for years has taken advantage of the Sun ZFS Storage Appliance.  Otherwise considered a "Hybrid Storage Array" that as Ron generically suggests works very well for desktop workloads.

      Ron goes on to mention the option of using local storage for lowering the CAPEX cost for VDI that can provide high IOPS with the lower cost of internal disks within the hypervisor server.   Local storage is not for all deployments but can certainly be used for deployments such as flexible desktops without high availability requirements. 

      The latest release of Oracle Virtual Desktop Infrastructure aligns well with this recommendation by supporting fast local storage installed on servers running the Oracle VM VirtualBox hypervisor.   The Oracle VM VirtualBox hypervisor when installed on Oracle Solaris can provide the local storage with ZFS combined with the large server memory footprint available with Oracle Servers.  Additionally, the Oracle VM VirtualBox hypervisor can be deployed onto Oracle Linux and leverage the Oracle Cluster Files System V2 (OCFS2) combined with the large memory available with Oracle Servers.

      The Oracle Virtual Desktop Infrastructure strategy that leverages hardware and software optimized for delivering virtual desktop workloads clearly is lining up with recommendations from virtual desktop experts.  

      Tuesday May 08, 2012

      Oracle Desktop Virtualization Security Solution at DISA Mission Partner Conference 2012

      Oracle desktop virtualization is showcased with the Oracle Cross Domain Security Solution and Oracle Systems at the DISA (Defense Information Systems Agency) Mission Partner Conference 2012.  This annual DISA conference brings together decision-makers and subject-matter experts from the military services, combatant commands, industry, and academia to share information and ideas that are of mutual interest and are critical to helping the U.S. Department of Defense achieve mission success.  The conference also features a list of stellar speakers including Oracle President Mark Hurd as the featured speaker on Wednesday May 8, 2012.

      Oracle Sun Ray Clients and Oracle Solaris with Trusted Extensions are key elements of the accredited Cross Domain Security Solution used by the U.S. Federal Government.  The Oracle Solution for Single Level Security adds the Oracle Virtual Desktop Infrastructure software for the secure access and provisioning of Windows 7 Virtual Desktops.

      This years DISA Conference theme is “The Joint Enterprise: Delivered Through Partnership.”  As described by Lt. General Ronnie Hawkins: "DISA realizes that delivering an enterprise that improves security, enhances effectiveness, achieves efficiency, enables innovation, and reduces the warfighter’s burden can be achieved by working with our mission partners".

      Oracle Sun Ray Clients are featured at the Oracle Booth for the DISA 2012 Mission Assurance Conference. Solaris Trusted Extensions provide the cross domain multi-level security solution shown to the left with green and red window labeling indicating the security level.

      Integrated labeling enforce secure access across security domains and applications including access to Windows desktops hosted on Oracle Virtual Desktop Infrastructure.  The Oracle Cross Domain Security Solution supports the Federal Government Common Access Card and SIPR Token Cards.

      Lt. General Ronnie Hawkins stops by the Oracle Booth to discuss the Oracle Cross Domain Security Solution with Oracle sales consultants at the DISA Mission Partner Conference 2012.

      Monday Feb 27, 2012

      Solving The Storage Challenge for Desktop Virtualization Webcast

      For many people, the storage design is one of the more concerning issues when moving to desktop virtualization model. It can get confusing for sure, but one of the things we're doing at Oracle is making sure our storage solutions and our desktop virtualization solutions work really well together. We get to take direct advantage of the features in our storage hardware, ensuring you get optimum performance out of your investment.

      On Wednesday, we'll be doing a webcast on this very topic with two Oracle experts. We have Chris Martin from the Oracle storage team and Andy Hall from the Oracle desktop virtualization team. The webcast is live, so you'll be able to have your storage and desktop virtualization questions answered by our esteemed speakers.

      Here are the event details:

      Solving the Storage Challenge for Desktop Virtualization
      Date: Wednesday, February 29, 2012
      Time: 10:00 AM PST

      Register for the free webcast here. Hope to see you there!

      -Chris

      Thursday Jan 05, 2012

      Live Webcast: Solving Storage Challenges in a Virtual Environment

      Join us for a live webcast on Jan 12 at 10 am PST, and learn about "Solving Storage Challenges in a Virtual Environment"

      Oracle's storage and virtualization experts will discuss how solutions like Oracle VM 3.0 through its Storage Connect API, streamline storage provisioning and management in a virtual environment. Oracle's storage products offer unique levels of integration with Oracle VM and Oracle Virtual Desktop Infrastructure to increase management agility and control costs. Come to this session to learn about storage best practices with Sun ZFS and Pillar Axiom that accelerate virtual machine and virtual desktop deployments, reduce management overhead, optimize performance, and control deployment costs.

      Day and Date: Thursday, Jan 12, 2012

      Time: 10 am PST

      Register Now.

      Thursday Dec 09, 2010

      New Reference Configuration: Accelerate Deployment of Virtual Infrastructure

      Today, Oracle announced the availability of Oracle VM blade cluster reference configuration based on Sun servers, storage and Oracle VM software. Assembling and integrating software and hardware systems from different vendors can be a huge barrier to deploying virtualized infrastructures as it is often a complicated, time-consuming, risky and expensive process.

      Using this tested configuration can help reduce the time to configure and deploy a virtual infrastructure by up to 98% as compared to putting together multi-vendor configurations.

      Once ready, the infrastructure can be used to easily deploy enterprise applications in a matter of minutes to hours as opposed to days/weeks, by using Oracle VM Templates.

      Find out more:
      Press Release
      Business whitepaper
      Technical whitepaper

      Wednesday Dec 09, 2009

      NetApp Talks about Using Oracle VM with NetApp Storage

      By Preetom Goswami, Technical Marketing Engineer, NetApp and Kannan Mani, Reference Architecture Specialist, NetApp

      Server virtualization technologies are bringing sweeping changes to the way Data Centers are designed around the world. And at the core of the success of that transformation will be the ability of the underlying shared storage infrastructure to effortlessly integrate with the dynamics of the virtualized server environments. NetApp's innovative storage technologies bring a unique value proposition  to industry leading server virtualization products, and we'd like to tell you a little bit about the terrific synergy between the storage virtualization provided by NetApp and Oracle's server virtualization solution.

      Oracle's server virtualization offering - 'Oracle VM' - is an efficient, low-cost server virtualization solution and we at NetApp have been testing our products with Oracle VM from its very early versions (current version is 2.2).

      Although at first glance Oracle VM may come across as yet another Xen-based hypervisor, we think it has its own set of benefits particularly when viewed from the perspective of the need to create a full, end-to-end infrastructure architecture. In this context, it is easy to see the synergy of NetApp's truly unified storage architecture and storage virtualization foundation with Oracle's strategy to provide a full-stack virtualization solution.

      Of course, its also easy to see the value that NetApp storage technology brings directly to the Oracle VM environment:

      · Superior protection for virtual server environments in the form of double disk protection in a RAID group, NetApp RAID-DP

      · Instantaneous backup and restore using NetApp's Snapshot technology

      · Practical disaster recovery using Thin Replication - NetApp SnapMirror products

      · Tremendous storage savings obtained through NetApp Deduplication and Thin Clones - FlexClone, LUN Clone and File level clone

      · Highly available virtual infrastructure design using NetApp MetroCluster and Oracle VM HA

      · Secure multi-tenancy using NetApp MultiStore.

      You can read more about using Oracle VM with NetApp storage in a technical report we've produced. This document describes the best practices of integrating NetApp's storage virtualization technologies with Oracle VM virtual infrastructure solutions and the value add that comes with it - like shared storage provisioning for Oracle VM infrastructure, backup and restore of Oracle VM virtual infrastructure, creation of efficient dev & test environments, storage efficiency, practical disaster recovery, end-to-end high availability - to just name a few.

      And here is one interesting customer story about how they successfully deployed Oracle VM with NetApp's storage efficient technologies to entirely virtualize the application layer of an Oracle RAC infrastructure.

      A key aspect of Oracle's virtualization strategy is to make enterprise software easier to deploy, manage, and support. To that end, Oracle Validated Configurations for Oracle VM provide easier, faster, and lower-cost deployment of virtualization solutions in your enterprise. The program offers pre-tested, validated architectures including software, hardware, storage, and network components along with documented best practices. NetApp along with partners Brocade and Oracle delivered its first Oracle Validated Configuration with Oracle VM. The end result is improved performance, scalability, and reliability of NetApp Oracle VM solutions, with faster, more cost-effective deployments.

      Server Platform

      AMD - 2 X Quad Core Opteron(tm) Processor 8382 2.613GHz

      Storage Model

      NetApp FAS 3140

      HBA

      2 X Brocade 825 8Gb dual port PCIe FC

      Switch

      Brocade Switch model 340

      Guest VMs

      Oracle Database Single Instance on OEL 4 Update 6 x86_64 , OEL 5 Update 2 x86_64

      You can read more about NetApp's Oracle Validated Configuration for Oracle VM in this detailed report.

      Wednesday Oct 21, 2009

      Deploying Oracle VM 2.2 and Upgrading Oracle VM from 2.1.5 to 2.2

      Oracle VM 2.2 was announced last week, bringing customers more benefits by providing better performance, scalability and security. In the next series of blogs, I'd like to cover some new features of Oracle VM 2.2. But first, how can I get started with Oracle VM 2.2 or upgrade the existing Oracle VM 2.1.5 environment to 2.2?

      If you read my previous blog - Basics of Oracle VM, you use Oracle VM Manager to manage many Oracle VM servers. Multiple Oracle VM Servers are grouped into Server Pools in which every server in a given pool has access to shared storage, which can be NFS, SAN (Fibre Channel) or iSCSI storage. This allows VMs associated with the pool to start and run on any physical server within the pool that is available and has the most resources free. Given the uniform access to shared storage, VMs may also be securely Live Migrated or automatically (re-)started across any servers in the pool. Each Oracle VM server or Manager installation just takes a few minutes. You can refer to the Oracle VM 2.2 documentation for details.

      OracleVM-Deployment.jpg

      In Oracle VM 2.2, it's much easier to configure the shared storage repositories. We provide an improved shared storage configuration and cluster configuration script (/opt/ovs-agent-2.3/utils/repos.py). This new script replaces the previous scripts, ovs-makerepo and ovs-offlinerepo in the /usr/lib/ovs/ directory, and the /etc/init.d/ovsrepositories script. The goal is to reduce storage repositories set up complexity. In addition, the /OVS directory is the cluster root and is a symbolic link mounted to the /var/ovs/mount/uuid directory. You can refer to the "Creating Shared Storage and Cluster" and "Managing Storage Repositories" chapter of the Oracle VM 2.2 Server User Guide.

      If you upgrade your Oracle VM 2.1.5 server pool to Oracle VM 2.2, you should plan properly and ensure a smooth upgrade. There are some important factors to consider. You can not mixed Oracle VM 2.1 and 2.2 servers in the same server pool, so there would be planned down time during the upgrade; however, the stored VMs in the repositories remain intact. It only took several minutes minutes to upgrade the Manager, and each server node upgrade would just take a few minutes. So the entire upgrade process should not be long depending on the size of your server pool.

      Before you start the upgrade, you want to make sure that your existing server pool has been configured properly:

      • The hostname in /etc/hosts must be associated with the public IP address instead of 127.0.0.1
      • You have all the server entries in your DNS server; If DNS is not used, make sure the correct setting in /etc/hosts for all the servers in the pool. If you plan to use DNS for all servers, but DNS was not specified during the server installation, please update /etc/resolv.conf file and add your domain name in it.
      • All the servers in the same pool must have the consistent name resolution, either by DNS or by file (/etc/hosts). You should not have mixed name services for the servers in the same server pool. For example, some have DNS, while others use /etc/hosts to resolve host names.

      You can follow the simple steps to upgrade your entire server pool:

      1) Upgrade the Oracle VM Manager first.
      You run the runInstaller.sh script and select the Upgrade option. You can read the Oracle VM Manager 2.2 Installation Guide for details. Note you should back up the Oracle VM Manager database before upgrade.

      2) Upgrade non-master Servers, make sure that VMs have been shutdown before the upgrade; After the upgrade, no need to reboot the server at this time if you want to enable sparse file support for OCFS2 cluster in the next step.

      Option 1: boot from Oracle VM 2.2 ISO (local or from the network), select the upgrade option, then follow the instructions; refer to the Oracle VM Server Installation Guide.

      Option 2: if connected with ULN, you can read the instructions to upgrade the server via ULN.

      3) The server pool master should be the last one to perform upgrade. Reboot the server after you complete the upgrade.
      If you want to turn on the new OCFS2 1.4 feature support, such as sparse files and unwritten extents, you can enable the feature now: (the device must be unmounted from all nodes before performing the tunefs.ocfs2 command)
      # umount <device>
      # tunefs.ocfs2 --fs-features=sparse,unwritten <device>

      Also, if the user encounters the following error, it means that the volume is still mounted on one or more nodes.
      # tunefs.ocfs2 --fs-features=sparse,unwritten <device>
      tunefs.ocfs2: Trylock failed while opening device "<device>"

      4) Reboot the rest of the servers in the pool, the server pool master agent will communicate with the other nodes in the pool, populate the changes of the cluster and storage repository configurations.

      5) If the server pool is HA-enabled and you want the server pool master fail-over feature, be sure to add the virtual IP address for the server pool from the Oracle VM Manager.


      Now you've successfully upgraded your environment from Oracle VM 2.1.5 to Oracle VM 2.2. Have fun!

      Update (10/23/2009): Roddy Rodstein provided a step-by-step upgrade manual, please refer to The Underground Oracle VM Manual:

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