Oracle Enterprise Manager Ops Center as a Management Tool for Virtualization

by Elke Freymann

This article, which is Part 8 (and the last) in a series of virtualization articles, describes how to use Oracle Enterprise Manager Ops Center to centrally manage server virtualization technologies throughout their lifecycle from one GUI.


Published March 2013 (reprinted from eStep blog)

Part 8 - Oracle Enterprise Manager Ops Center as a Management Tool for Virtualization
Part 7 - The Role of Oracle Virtual Desktop Infrastructure in a Virtualization Strategy
Part 6 - Oracle VM VirtualBox - Personal Desktop Virtualization
Part 5 - Network Virtualization and Network Resource Management
Part 4 - Resource Management as an Enabling Technology for Virtualization
Part 3 - The Role of Oracle Solaris Zones and Linux Containers in a Virtualization Strategy
Part 2 - The Role of Oracle VM Server for x86 in a Virtualization Strategy
Part 1 - The Role of Oracle VM Server for SPARC in a Virtualization Strategy

 

Now that we've reviewed the different Oracle virtualization technologies that are available, this closing article provides a guide for simplifying life: one GUI for managing all the virtualization technologies...not really quite all of them, though, because Oracle VM VirtualBox and Oracle Virtual Desktop Infrastructure—described in the previous Part 6 and Part 7, respectively—have their own management tools. So this article is about centralized management for Oracle server virtualization technologies.

For data center management, Oracle offers Oracle Enterprise Manager, which is actually a product suite: Oracle Enterprise Manager Cloud Control 12c and Oracle Enterprise Manager Ops Center 12c are the two products within the suite that are relevant to the management of physical and virtual environments.

To many people, the term "Oracle Enterprise Manager" is synonymous with the Oracle Enterprise Manager Cloud Control product or its predecessor, Oracle Enterprise Manager Grid Control. However, since 2010, Oracle Enterprise Manager Ops Center has also existed. Oracle Enterprise Manager Cloud Control and Oracle Enterprise Manager Ops Center are two different products with separate installations. If preferred, they can be coupled together for data exchange.

So What Is Oracle Enterprise Manager Ops Center?

Oracle Enterprise Manager Ops Center offers complete infrastructure management with a focus on Oracle hardware (servers, switches, storage appliances) and Oracle operating systems, plus non-Oracle Linux variants that are supported on Oracle servers. "Focus on" means not "limited to," but that is a different story.

Using Oracle Enterprise Manager Ops Center, it's possible to manage the complete lifecycle of a system. For example, you can

  • Install and check firmware revisions.
  • Configure built-in RAID controllers and BIOS settings for x86 systems.
  • Install an operating system.
  • Install software applications
  • Keep the installation updated via patch or update management.

Virtualization Management

Instead of installing Oracle Solaris or Linux as the base operating system on a server, you can (for example) install Oracle VM Server for x86 on the bare-metal system using Oracle Enterprise Manager Ops Center. From there, you can then deploy virtual guests. Oracle Enterprise Manager Ops Center is used to deploy the hypervisor, which allows integration with Oracle VM Manager so that both the hypervisor and virtual guests can be managed from the same console.

Here's another example. If the server is running Oracle Solaris, you can use Oracle Enterprise Manager Ops Center to deploy and manage Oracle Solaris Zones on top of the OS. With the appropriate underlying hardware, you can also deploy and manage Oracle VM Server for SPARC (formerly called Sun Logical Domains or LDOMs).

Oracle Enterprise Manager Ops Center has an effective and easy-to-use interface. It provides an intuitive graphical overview of the physical and virtual environments you are running, and makes them easy to manage and maintain.

Figure 1 shows a sample screenshot:

Figure 1

Figure 1

On the left side of this first screenshot, I have selected the object test-paas-zone-03, which I'm interested in doing something with.

You see a nice grouping, as shown in Figure 2:

Figure 2

Figure 2

On the top, t6320-paas-045-sc is the handle I select for managing and monitoring the hardware on which my software stack is running.

The underlying hardware is, as the name suggests, a SPARC T-Series server from Oracle. SPARC T-Series servers have a built-in hypervisor, which is represented by the next icon: t6320-paas-045. This was the object I selected during the setup of the environment.

Related to this system, the initial Oracle Enterprise Manager Ops Center job I ran from the GUI was effectively telling Oracle Enterprise Manager Ops Center to build a control domain on this hypervisor.

Afterwards, other jobs for defining and installing guest logical domains were run. Logical domains Test-paas-ldom-03 and test-paas-ldom-04 were created. Both have an anchor point for resource management and possible live migration (the icons test-paas-03 and test-paas-04).

And one of my guest logical domains, test-paas-ldom-04, is running a non-global zone: test-paas-zone-03. Yes; this was also built from the Oracle Enterprise Manager Ops Center GUI.

By selecting the test-paas-zone-03 zone object, I can inspect the zone's configuration details in the next screenshot. On the right side are the possible actions I can perform on this zone (see Figure 3).

Figure 3

Figure 3

Selecting Edit Configuration gives you the chance to change resource definitions for this zone, as shown in Figure 4:

Figure 4

Figure 4

Server Pools

You could argue that you have more flexibility, in general, when using the Oracle Solaris command line, for example, while setting up your control domains.

However, using Oracle Enterprise Manager Ops Center provides an additional benefit. You can group servers of compatible architecture together, assign them shared storage where virtualized guests can run, define the type of virtualization technology to be used (Oracle VM Server for SPARC, Oracle VM Server for x86, Oracle Solaris Zones for SPARC, or Oracle Solaris Zones for x86), and then define a server pool.

For the server pool itself, you can define characteristics such as the following (see Figure 5):

  • Placement Policy: Specifies how to determine on which physical server a new virtual guest is to be deployed.
  • Auto Balancing Policy: Specifies whether Oracle Enterprise Manager Ops Center should watch the server pool to determine whether the server pool is equally utilized or optimization is possible via migration of a guest. Also specifies whether Oracle Enterprise Manager Ops Center should perform such a migration job without further intervention or whether you should be alerted.
  • Automatic Recovery: Specifies whether Oracle Enterprise Manager Ops Center should power off a failing physical server and migrate the virtual guests to other physical servers that are part of the pool.
Figure 5

Figure 5

I hope this has given you some valuable insight into the virtualization management features available to you from within Oracle Enterprise Manager Ops Center. And there is much more to discover in this tool.

Cloud Support

As the full product name—Oracle Enterprise Manager Ops Center 12c—implies, cloud features are offered at the infrastructure level.

Oracle Enterprise Manager Ops Center allows you to build the managed assets into virtual data centers, or vDCs.

A vDC provides a full stack of coordinated resources for cloud computing, including systems, network infrastructure, storage, virtualization hosts, and a self-contained user and permission model. You can leverage this functionality in two ways: by logging directly into the Oracle Enterprise Manager Ops Center UI or by using the programmatic API and command-line tools for infrastructure as a service (IaaS). These features enable Oracle Enterprise Manager Ops Center to greatly speed the deployment and management process for a cloud-based infrastructure.

Additional Benefits

Besides the various benefits a graphical management tool offers, there is another important advantage Oracle provides to its customers:

Customers who maintain an Oracle Premier Support for Systems or Oracle Premier Support for Operating Systems agreement can download and use Oracle Enterprise Manager Ops Center to manage their covered Oracle systems at no additional cost with support included. This Ops Center Everywhere Program has been in place since November 2011.

See Also

About the Author

Elke is a principal sales consultant and is located in Munich, Germany. She acts as server and systems management specialist with special focus on Oracle Enterprise Manager Ops Center within Oracle's Northern Europe Server Architects team. She joined Sun Microsystems in 2000 and is now part of Oracle. Prior to that, Elke worked as a software engineer.

Revision 1.0, 03/11/2013

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