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 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 

Friday Nov 23, 2012

Friday Tips #3

Even though yesterday was Thanksgiving here in the US, we still have a Friday tip for those of you around your computers today. In fact, we have two! The first one came in last week via our #AskOracleVirtualization Twitter hashtag. The tweet has disappeared into the ether now, but we remember the gist, so here it is:


Question:
Will there be an Oracle Virtual Desktop Client for Android?

Answer by our desktop virtualization product development team:
We are looking at Android as a supported platform for future releases.


Question:
How can I make a Sun Ray Client automatically connect to a virtual machine?

Answer by Rick Butland, Principal Sales Consultant, Oracle Desktop Virtualization:
Someone recently asked how they can assign VM’s to specific Sun Ray Desktop Units (“DTU’s”) without any user interfaction being required, without the “Desktop Selector” being displayed, or any User Directory.  That is, they wanted each Sun Ray to power on and immediately connect to a pre-assigned Solaris VM.  

This can be achieved by using “tokens” for user assignment – that is, the tokens found on Smart Cards, DTU’s, or OVDC clients can be used in place of user credentials.  Note, however, that mixing “token-only” assignments and “User Directories” in the same VDI Center won’t work.  

Much of this procedure is covered in the documentation, particularly here. But it can useful to have everything in one place, “cookbook-style”: 

1. Create the “token-only” directory type:

From the VDI administration interface, select:

 “Settings”, “Company”, “New”, select the “None” radio button, and click “Next.”

Enter a name for the new “Company”, and click “Next”, then “Finish.”

2. Create Desktop Providers, Pools, and VM’s as appropriate.

3. Access the Sun Ray administration interface at http://servername:1660 and login using “root” credentials, and access the token-id’s you wish to use for assignment.  If you’re using DTU tokens rather than Smart Card tokens, these can be found under the “Tokens” tab, and “Search-ing” using the “Currently Used Tokens” tab.  DTU’s can be identified by the prefix “psuedo.”   For example:


4. Copy/paste this token into the VDI administrative interface, by selecting “Users”, “New”, and pasting in the token ID, and click “OK” - for example:

5. Assign the token (DTU) to a desktop, that is, in the VDI Admin Gui, select “Pool”, “Desktop”, select the VM, and click "Assign" and select the token you want, for example:


In addition to assigning tokens to desktops, you'll need to bypass the login screen.  To do this, you need to do two things: 

1.  Disable VDI client authentication with: 

/opt/SUNWvda/sbin/vda settings-setprops -p clientauthentication=Disabled

2. Disable the VDI login screen – to do this,  add a kiosk argument of "-n" to the Sun Ray kiosk arguments screen.   You set this on the Sun Ray administration page - "Advanced", "Kiosk Mode", "Edit", and add the “-n” option to the arguments screen, for example:

3.  Restart both the Sun Ray and VDI services:

# /opt/SUNWut/sbin/utstart –c
# /opt/SUNWvda/sbin/vda-service restart


Remember, if you have a question for us, please post on Twitter with our hashtag (again, it's #AskOracleVirtualization), and we'll try to answer it if we can. See you next time!

Friday Nov 16, 2012

Friday tips #2

Welcome to our second Friday tips blog! You can ask us questions using the hash tag #AskOracleVirtualization on Twitter and we'll do our best to answer them.

Today we've got a VDI related question on linked clones:

Question: I want to use linked clones with Oracle Virtual Desktop Infrastructure. What are my options?

Answer by John Renko, Consulting Developer, Oracle:

First, linked clones are available with the Oracle VirtualBox hypervisor only.

Second, your choice of storage will affect the rest of your architecture.

If you are using a SAN presenting ISCSI LUNS, you can have linked clones with a Oracle Enterprise Linux based hypervisor running VirtualBox. OEL will use OCFS2 to allow VirtualBox to create the linked clones. Because of the OCFS2 requirement, a Solaris based VirtualBox hypervisor will not be able to support linked clones on remote ISCSI storage.

If you using the local storage option on your hypervisors, you will have linked clones with Solaris or Linux based hypervisors running VirtualBox.

In all cases, Oracle Virtual Desktop Infrastructure makes the right selection for creating clones - sparse or linked - behind the scenes. Plan your architecture accordingly if you want to ensure you have the higher performing linked clones.

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.

Tuesday Jul 31, 2012

Mountain Lion and Oracle VM VirtualBox

The Fat Bloke has a great blog entry up explaining how to install Oracle VM VirtualBox on Apple Mac OS X Mountain Lion. Head on over there and have a read!

VirtualBox and Mountain Lion (Mac OS X 10.8)

-Chris 

Wednesday Feb 29, 2012

Webcast: Top 10 Tips for Oracle VM Deployments

Server Virtualization deployments need not be difficult to get up and running quickly, particularly with Oracle VM.

Join our Virtualization experts, Adam Hawley, Senior Director of Virtualization Product Management and

Greg King, Senior Member of Technical Staff, Oracle VM Best Practices Engineering, as they discuss tips to:

  • Rapidly and reliably deploy an Oracle VM environment
  • Create a flexible infrastructure to deploy and manage enterprise apps

If you are an Oracle VM administrator, or just learning about Oracle VM, you wouldn't want to miss this webcast!

  • Day and Date: Tuesday, March 6th
  • Time: 9am US PT

Register Now.

 

   

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