Architecture Matters: Managing Databases on a Private Cloud with Oracle Enterprise Manager Cloud Control 13c

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    by Kevin Klapak, Ken Kutzer, and Larry McIntosh

     

    Easy database management with Oracle Enterprise Manager Cloud Control 13c

     

    Introduction

     

    Organizations are shifting to cloud deployments to improve agility, increase flexibility, provide standardization, reduce costs, and more.

     

    But while cloud deployments can result in greater IT efficiency and flexibility, many organizations are finding the transition to be a challenge. The shift to cloud delivery is complicated by a dizzying array of private, hybrid, and public cloud options, new operational procedures, redefined administrative responsibilities, and a variety of evolving management tools. Cloud vendors provide unique administrative methods that do not align neatly with typical on-premises practices. The resulting maze of operational procedures lowers reliability, reduces security, limits agility, and slows the pace of cloud adoption.

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    Oracle Optimized Solutions provide tested and proven best practices for how to run software products on Oracle systems. Learn more.

     

    Implementing a complete software stack along with a comprehensive cloud management platform eliminates many of these barriers. Administrators can more easily master common administration tasks for deployments on private, public, and hybrid clouds. Having a single management tool simplifies the flow of data and services between private and public clouds, enabling hybrid cloud models. For example, an enterprise can run production databases on the local infrastructure while deploying development or analytics on cloud services, and manage the entire data movement process and both environments from one toolset.

     

    Oracle Enterprise Manager Cloud Control 13c offers just such an integrated cloud management platform. It allows administrators to quickly set up, manage, and support services on traditional on-premises IT infrastructure, on in-house private clouds, on Oracle's public cloud offering (Oracle Cloud), and using a hybrid approach that deploys both on premises and in Oracle Cloud.

     

    This article focuses on how to manage Oracle Database instances on a private cloud infrastructure. Administrators can also use the same workflows and capabilities to manage database instances on Oracle Cloud.

     

    What Is Oracle Enterprise Manager Cloud Control 13c and Why Use It?

     

    Oracle Enterprise Manager is Oracle's on-premises management platform, providing a single-pane-of-glass browser-based interface to control all Oracle software deployments, whether in local data centers or in Oracle Cloud. Through deep integration with Oracle's product stack, Oracle Enterprise Manager provides market-leading management and automation that supports Oracle applications, database instances, middleware, hardware, and engineered systems.

     

    While Oracle Enterprise Manager Cloud Control 13c provides a complete management solution, what about organizations considering using OpenStack tools? The good news is that the two can be used together to achieve cloud management goals. Oracle Enterprise Manager Cloud Control 13c can consume resources provisioned by OpenStack infrastructure as a service (IaaS) and provide robust platform as a service (PaaS) services as well. However, many critical and necessary features—such as hardware diagnostics, firmware management, environmental monitoring, and other infrastructure management tasks—might not be available through OpenStack IaaS tools. For this reason, a detailed analysis of both an organization's needs and tool capabilities is recommended before making a selection.

     

    Similarly, a careful analysis of requirements and capabilities is essential when selecting tools for PaaS management. Following years of development as the primary Oracle Database and middleware management platform, Oracle Enterprise Manager 13c provides a robust and complete set of capabilities that might not be available through emerging open source tools. Some examples include

     

    • Sophisticated data security features including extensive credential management, data encryption and keys, and data in-memory protection using Silicon Secured Memory in the latest SPARC processors from Oracle
    • Support for Oracle's unique Software in Silicon technology, which helps to improve security and accelerate analytics performance for the Oracle Database In-Memory option to Oracle Database 12c
    • Discovery, inventory tracking, and reporting of infrastructure details such as products, versions, and lifecycle status, eliminating the need to manually track resources across the stack, from databases to individual servers
    • Lifecycle management that automates administrative tasks including updates, cloning, and database migrations between public and private clouds, reliably and with less risk
    • Simplified provisioning including self-service capabilities for database as a service (DBaaS) users, providing a defined service catalog
    • Automated deployment procedures that simplify setup tasks, eliminate manual error, and ensure the standardization of services
    • Compliance and change tracking that simplify auditing and promote best practices, making sure that database deployments meet required configuration, database efficiency, maintenance, and security standards
    • Ability to perform a wide variety of management tasks and ensure operational consistency, whether you are managing deployments on in-house infrastructure or in private, public, or hybrid clouds

     

    Getting Started

     

    Let's look at some examples that show how simple it is to manage Oracle Database targets, whether they are on premises or deployed in a private cloud. Once Oracle Enterprise Manager Cloud Control 13c is installed, it is a relatively straightforward process to configure and to start creating and managing database systems.

     

    Starting with the Add Target panel (Figure 1), the browser interface walks the administrator through the process of deploying Management Agents to on-premises or cloud hosts. A Management Agent is an integral software component that enables Oracle Enterprise Manager to discover, administer, and monitor databases and other targets, whether they reside on data center servers or within the cloud. Agents communicate with the Oracle Enterprise Manager service, which maintains a centralized management repository to give administrators a 360-degree view of managed databases and targets in real time.

     

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    Figure 1: Specify hosts to receive Management Agents.

     

    The first step, as shown in Figure 1, is to select the host(s) to be managed by installing Management Agents. Once the agents are installed, Auto Discovery finds the targets that can be monitored and managed. By promoting a target, an administrator selects the target as an entity to be managed (Figure 2).

     

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    Figure 2: Discovery and promotion of a multitenant database target.

     

    Once a discovered target is promoted and under management control, the browser displays the target resources that can be managed (Figure 3).

     

    Note that the screenshot in Figure 3 displays a variety of managed target types (as shown in the Type column), including an Oracle Automatic Storage Management (Oracle ASM) disk group, Oracle Real Application Clusters (Oracle RAC) clustered databases, and Oracle Database single instances.

     

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    Figure 3: List of targets that are available to manage, including the container database (CDB) target just discovered and promoted.

     

    Managing Databases with Oracle Enterprise Manager Cloud Control 13c

     

    Oracle Enterprise Manager Cloud Control 13c gives administrators the ability to perform database management tasks simply and efficiently through its browser-based interface. Without this integrated management functionality, many database management tasks would otherwise require multiple manual steps, which can introduce additional delay and the potential for human error.

     

    After double-clicking a host from the list of managed targets (as in Figure 3), the Host menu (Figure 4) provides an easy interface for performing a number of different management tasks. Specifically, the screenshot in Figure 4 shows the submenu of monitoring capabilities. For example, administrators can monitor individual hosts to determine if excessive swapping is occurring, if file systems are nearly full, or if CPU or memory resources are under- or over-utilized, and take corrective action. Information about alerts and diagnostic messages is also viewable from the Host menu.

     

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    Figure 4: A managed host can be monitored and administered in real time.

     

    Oracle Multitenant is an option for Oracle Database 12c, Enterprise Edition that consolidates multiple pluggable databases (PDBs) in a single container database (CDB), conserving resources through consolidation without altering existing schemas or applications. Oracle Enterprise Manager can simplify the process of database deployment, copying, and migration activities, including Oracle Multitenant deployments. Figure 5 shows the easy-to-use browser interface for creating a new PDB within an existing CDB.

     

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    Figure 5: Creating a new PDB within an existing CDB.

     

    In subsequent steps, the administrator is prompted to provide authentication credentials for database login, PDB settings, storage resources (such as an Oracle ASM disk group), and a deployment schedule (such as whether the PDB should be started immediately).

     

    After Oracle Enterprise Manager provisions and creates the PDB, the administrator can select it from list of available databases. Figure 6 shows the status of all managed databases. There's no longer a need to manually track hosts and databases with spreadsheets that must be constantly updated as the environment changes.

     

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    Figure 6: The Databases display shows all databases currently running in real time, including the new PDB.

     

    By double-clicking a database of interest, the administrator obtains more detailed information. The screenshot in Figure 7 shows status details for the running the PDB that was just created.

     

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    Figure 7: New PDB running.

     

    Menus in the database status page (Figure 8) show how easy it is to perform many basic database management activities, including monitoring, diagnostics, provisioning, and cloning. The Control sub-menu allows the DBA to start and stop the database.

     

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    Figure 8: Control menu.

     

    The performance monitoring screen (Figure 9) is where the Management Agent on each monitored host reports status, health, and performance details for all managed targets on that host in real time. If a target goes down, or if a performance metric crosses a warning or critical threshold, an event is triggered and an alert is sent for further review.

     

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    Figure 9: Database performance monitoring.

     

    Centralized performance monitoring extends through the entire stack. The browser integrates access to familiar Oracle Database performance monitoring tools, including SQL monitoring, transaction plans, and transaction plan statistics.

     

    Database Cloning—An Example

     

    Cloning is a quick and easy way to create new databases for application development or to assess the impact of environment changes due to patching or upgrades. A cloned database can be created in a new fully patched environment, tested, analyzed, and then destroyed, all with just a few mouse clicks. In the past, a cloning operation might have required many steps using homegrown scripts and various command-line instructions. With Oracle Enterprise Manager Cloud Control 13c, the process is quick and intuitive.

     

    The following example shows how Oracle Enterprise Manager 13c simplifies cloning a production database running on Oracle's SPARC T7-1 server to a new and upgraded development and test environment on a separate SPARC S7-2 server from Oracle. The SPARC S7 processor, derived from the SPARC M7 chip architecture used in many Oracle server and engineered systems, has the same security and data analytics Software in Silicon capabilities that make these servers ideal development, test, and production systems and extraordinary systems for private cloud deployments.

     

    The progress bar at the top of Figure 10 indicates the steps involved, which the browser interface presents as a sequence of window panels: define source and destination details; configure destination storage and listener information; set initialization parameters for the destination database; specify post-processing (such as custom scripts); schedule the deployment; and review and initiate the cloning process. Figure 10 shows that the destination is a different host recognized by the browser from an earlier agent deployment process. Figure 11 shows the final screen in the cloning process, which begins when the administrator selects Clone in the upper right after reviewing the defined cloning parameters.

     

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    Figure 10: Initial step to clone a database.

     

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    Figure 11: Review settings; click Clone to start the process.

     

    The Oracle Enterprise Manager interface greatly simplifies and automates a complex multistep process that otherwise would be manual, time-consuming, and prone to error.

     

    This example shows that you can clone the database easily to a destination on a different system. In this case, the clone is created in a fully patched database software environment on the destination system. This allows a running production database, for example, to be cloned to a new dev/test/production environment running the latest database software patch bundle.

     

    The browser provides a live view of the actions taken during the cloning and migration to the SPARC S7-2 system. Actions performed included applying patches and updates (Figure 12).

     

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    Figure 12: Live monitoring of cloning process shows patches applied.

     

    When Oracle Enterprise Manager completes the process, the cloned and updated database is running with the same performance capabilities but upgraded with patches on the new SPARC S7-2 server (Figure 13).

     

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    Figure 13: Cloned database running on the SPARC S7-2 system.

     

    In this example, a DBA used the Oracle Enterprise Manager browser interface to perform a rather complex operation. The close integration of Oracle Enterprise Manager with the Oracle stack minimizes the risk of errors, slashes database deployment time, and replaces the use of individual tools, scripts, and commands for patching, upgrading, and cloning with simple menu-driven actions.

     

    Conclusion

     

    As demonstrated here and in previous articles in this series (refer to the "See Also" section for links to those), end-to-end Oracle converged technologies have the advantage of being able to leverage the built-in capabilities of the Oracle stack. This makes it possible to provide a complete database lifecycle management solution with easy setup, administration, and support extending from traditional Oracle IT environments to cloud delivery models. Integrating Oracle Enterprise Manager Cloud Control 13c with the latest of Oracle's SPARC servers brings performance, availability, and security advantages to database workloads. Now the complete Oracle Database stack, from software to hardware—network infrastructures, storage, servers, virtual machines, databases, and operating systems—can be managed from a single-pane-of-glass browser-based interface.

     

    Oracle Enterprise Manager replaces error-prone manual procedures. Automated discovery eliminates the need to manually track IT assets and databases. Provisioning, patching, configuration, compliance management, cloning, testing, and performance monitoring are all performed seamlessly whether the deployment is on premises or to a cloud. Integrated with performance and security features down through the Oracle stack, Oracle Enterprise Manager Cloud Control 13c offers capabilities not found in other solutions.

     

    In particular, the Oracle solution stack offers substantial security and performance advantages for Oracle Database applications. Oracle Database In-Memory, an option for Oracle Database 12c, uses Software in Silicon (SWiS) features in SPARC processors to accelerate data warehouse and mixed workload OLTP databases. SPARC processors also include an on-chip memory-access validation capability that can detect common memory-access violations, such as buffer overruns. These processors also support on-chip encryption, allowing database deployments to be fully encrypted to protect data and enhance application security.

     

     

    Video: The Next Decade of Processor Evolution, with John Fowler

     

    Video: SPARC S7: Cloud to the Core, with John Fowler

     

    Clearly, architecture does matter. Migrating to Oracle Optimized Solution for Secure Oracle Database incorporates best-of-breed Oracle server platforms based on recent SPARC processors to automatically take advantage of the latest processor and Oracle stack innovations. And Oracle Enterprise Manager 13c offers the easiest and most efficient way of managing these deployed solutions. To learn more, visit the solution website.

     

    See Also

     

     

    About the Authors

     

    Kevin Klapak is a product manager on the Oracle Optimized Solutions team. He joined the team in January 2015 after completing his master's degree from Carnegie Mellon University. He has a background in computer science and over five years of IT experience. Since joining Oracle, he has been working on database migration, Apache Spark/big data analytics, and systems security.

     

    Ken Kutzer is a team lead for Oracle Optimized Solution for Secure Oracle Database and Oracle Optimized Solution for Oracle Database as a Service. He is responsible for driving the strategy and efforts to help raise customer and market awareness for Oracle Optimized Solutions in these areas. Kutzer holds a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering and has over 20 years in the computer and storage industries.

     

    Larry McIntosh is the chief architect within the Oracle Optimized Solutions team. He has designed and implemented highly optimized computing, networking, and storage technologies for both Sun Microsystems and Oracle. McIntosh has over 40 years of experience in the computer, network, and storage industries and has been a software developer and consultant in the commercial, government, education, and research sectors and an information systems professor. He has directly contributed to the product development phases of Oracle Exadata Database Machine and various Oracle Optimized Solution architectures. His most recent contribution has been in the design, development, testing, and deployment of Oracle Optimized Solution for Secure Oracle Database.