Monday Nov 11, 2013

Spacewalk 2.0 provided to manage Oracle Linux systems

Oracle Linux customers have a few options to manage and provision their servers. We provide a license to use Oracle Enterprise Manager's Linux OS management, monitoring and provisioning features without additional cost for every server that has an Oracle Linux support subscription. So there is no additional pack to license and no additional per server cost, it's all included in our Basic, Premier and Systems support subscriptions. The nice thing with Oracle Enterprise Manager is that you end up with a single management product that can manage all aspects of your software stack. You have complete insight into the applications running, you have roles and responsibilities, you have third party connectors for storage or other products and it makes it very easy and convenient to correlate data and events when something happens. If you use Oracle VM as well, you end up with a complete cloud portal with selfservice, chargeback, etc...

Another, much simpler option, is just using yum. It is very easy to take a server and create directories and expose these through apache as repositories. You can have a simple yum config on each server pointing to a few specific repositories. It requires some manual effort in terms of creating directories, downloading packages and creating local repo files but it's easy to do and for many people a preferred solution.

There are also a good number of customers that just connect their servers directly to ULN or to our free update server public-yum. Just to re-iterate, our public-yum servers have all the errata and updates available for free.

Now we added another option. Many of our customers have switched from a competing Linux vendor and they had familiarity with their management tools. Switching to Oracle for support is very easy since we don't require changes to the installed servers but we also want to make sure there is a very easy and almost transparent switch for the management tools as well. While Oracle Enterprise Manager is our preferred way of managing systems, we now are offering Spacewalk 2.0 to our customers. The community project can be found here. We have made a few changes to ensure easy and complete support for Oracle Linux, tested it with public-yum, etc.. You can find the rpms in our public-yum repos at There are repositories for spacewalk server and then for each version (OL5,OL6) and architecture (x86 and x86-64) we have the client repositories as well. Spacewalk itself is only made available for OL6 x86-64.

Documentation can be found here.

I set it up myself and here are some quick steps on how you can get going in just a matter of minutes:

Spacewalk Server Installation :

1) Installing an Oracle Database

Use an existing Oracle Database or install a new Oracle Database (Standard or Enterprise Edition) [at this time use 11g, we will add support for 12c in the near future]. This database can be installed on the spacewalk server or on a separate remote server.

While Oracle XE might work to create a small sample POC, we do not support the use of Oracle XE, spacewalk repositories can become large and create a significant database workload.

Customers can use their existing database licenses, they can download the database with a trial licence from or Oracle Linux subscribers (customers) will be allowed to use the Oracle Database as a spacewalk repository as part of their Oracle Linux subscription at no additional cost.

|NOTE : spacewalk requires the database to be configured with the UTF8 characterset.
|Installation will fail if your database does not use UTF8.
|To verify if your database is configured correctly, run the following command in sqlplus:
|select value from nls_database_parameters where parameter='NLS_CHARACTERSET';
|This should return 'AL32UTF8'

2) Configure the database schema for spacewalk

Ideally, create a tablespace in the database to hold the spacewalk schema tables/data;

create tablespace spacewalk datafile '/u01/app/oracle/oradata/orcl/spacewalk.dbf'
 size 10G autoextend on;

Create the database user spacewalk (or use some other schema name) in sqlplus.

example :

 create user spacewalk identified by spacewalk;
 grant connect, resource to spacewalk;
 grant create table, create trigger, create synonym, create view, 
 alter session to spacewalk;
 grant unlimited tablespace to spacewalk;
 alter user spacewalk default tablespace spacewalk;

4) Spacewalk installation and configuration

Spacewalk server requires an Oracle Linux 6 x86-64 system. Clients can be Oracle Linux 5 or 6, both 32- and 64bit. The server is only supported on OL6/64bit.

The easiest way to get started is to do a 'Minimal' install of Oracle Linux on a server and configure the yum repository to include the spacewalk repo from public-yum.

Once you have a system with a minimal install, modify your yum repo to include the spacewalk repo.

Example :

edit /etc/yum.repos.d/public-yum-ol.repo and add the following lines at the end of the file :


Install the following pre-requisite packages on your spacewalk server :


rpm -ivh oracle-instantclient11.2-basic- 
rpm -ivh oracle-instantclient11.2-sqlplus-
The above RPMs can be found on the Oracle Technology Network website :

As the root user, configure the library path to include the Oracle Instant Client libraries :

cd /etc/
echo /usr/lib/oracle/11.2/client64/lib > oracle-instantclient11.2.conf

Install spacewalk :

# yum install spacewalk-oracle
The above yum command should download and install all required packages to run spacewalk on your local server.

| NOTE : if you did a full, desktop or workstation installation, 
| you have to remove the JTA package
| BEFORE installing spacewalk-oracle (rpm -e --nodeps jta)

Once the installation completes, simply run the spacewalk configuration tool and you are all set. (make sure to run the command with the 2 arguments)

spacewalk-setup --disconnected --external-db

Answer the questions during the setup, ensure you provide the current database user (example : spacewalk) and password (example : spacewalk) and database server hostname (the standard hostname of the server on which you have deployed the Oracle database)

At the end of the setup script, your spacewalk server should be fully configured and you can log into the web portal. Use your favorite browser to connect to the website : http://[spacewalkserverhostname]

The very first action will be to create the main admin account.


Wim Coekaerts is the Senior Vice President of Linux and Virtualization Engineering for Oracle. He is responsible for Oracle's complete desktop to data center virtualization product line and the Oracle Linux support program.

You can follow him on Twitter at @wimcoekaerts


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