AT ORACLE: Interview

One Console to Rule Them All
By Justin Kestelyn

New features of Oracle Enterprise Manager improve the management of the entire Oracle stack.

Oracle Enterprise Manager 10g Release 5 offers improved reliability and scalability for integrated management of Oracle and third-party products. Justin Kestelyn, editor in chief of Oracle Technology Network (OTN), talked to Richard Sarwal, senior vice president of product development for Oracle Enterprise Manager, and Leng Leng Tan, vice president of development for applications and systems management for Oracle Enterprise Manager, about the new release. This is an excerpt from the video podcast.

Kestelyn: My two guests are the perfect people to discuss the finer points of Oracle Enterprise Manager 10g Release 5. Before we get into specific features, I want to start with a baseline topic: the change that’s occurred in Oracle Enterprise Manager from Release 1 through Release 5. It seems Release 5 is a much different animal than Release 1.

Sarwal: The main focus for Oracle Enterprise Manager is to provide complete management of the entire Oracle stack, which is really large now. We support everything from the virtualization layer through the database and its operating systems, the middleware and its operating systems, and all the applications that run on top of that stack. We’ve been focused on building out the capabilities to manage the stack, because we believe that managing the entire stack gives you far greater value than managing just the individual components of the stack. We’ve improved the reliability and scalability of the infrastructure that supports the management components. We’ve also leveraged some of the individual components across the stack. A good example is real user experience monitoring of a Web-based application, where you see the time spent on any particular URL.

I think our users of Oracle E-Business Suite, [Oracle’s] PeopleSoft, or [Oracle’s] Siebel will appreciate that we’ve mapped those applications to URLs, so when users look at the screens they’re seeing not just URLs, but what business transactions those correspond to. We’ve also taken the opportunity to increase the number of components of the stack we manage through the virtualization component.

Oracle Enterprise Manager 10g Release 5 is a much more comprehensive release, providing integrations to third-party applications and full lifecycle management of the Oracle product stack, including third-party components.

Kestelyn: One important thing about this release is that you can now manage an Oracle WebLogic Server or an Oracle Coherence deployment through Oracle Enterprise Manager. Give us some more details about that.

Sarwal: We completed the BEA acquisition about a year ago, and as we released those products as Oracle-branded products, it was important for us that the same single console that manages all the other pieces of the Oracle stack also manages the BEA components. To that end, we’ve added support for Oracle WebLogic Server in terms of domains and to Oracle Coherence in terms of provisioning the Oracle Coherence server.

Kestelyn: Oracle Database 11g reflected Oracle’s new lifecycle-oriented approach to database management, and that is also reflected in this new release of Oracle Enterprise Manager. How does that work?

Tan: In Oracle Database 11g, we introduced real application testing; one of the key elements is database replay. We help our customers test their changes to the database infrastructure, whether it’s changing or adding a new index, changing operating systems, or changing disk drives.

With Oracle Enterprise Manager 10g Release 5, we help customers with the application testing lifecycle: capture the production workload, bring it to a test system, make the change, and then compare the pre- and post-change performance and error analysis automatically. Oracle Enterprise Manager 10g Release 5 can provide guidance and automation for the whole lifecycle, including the backup and cloning, in one workflow. After you make a change, Oracle Enterprise Manager helps you provision that change or patch the binary in production.

Kestelyn: Let’s turn to Oracle VM. For the first time, you can use Oracle Enterprise Manager as a console to manage your Oracle VM virtual machines. Can you tell us more about how that functionality works and if that will supplant the Oracle VM Manager that’s already out there?

Tan: For Oracle Enterprise Manager 10g Release 5, we manage quite a few aspects of Oracle VM Manager. One feature is virtual templates: we have templates for the database, for some of the middleware components, and even for Oracle Enterprise Manager. With that template, customers can bring up that system in their environment using Oracle Enterprise Manager. So Oracle Enterprise Manager helps you to provision those virtual templates in the environment. Oracle Enterprise Manager 10g Release 5 provides the full set of functionality, from managing the Oracle VM performance metrics to moving and provisioning virtual templates to doing live migration.

Kestelyn: We’ve been talking about how Oracle Enterprise Manager crosses the stack from end to end. How does that affect the development process?

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One Console to Rule Them All

Sarwal: When Oracle started down the road of database management, we believed that management of an individual component belongs within that component. For example, to manage a database, you want to have self-diagnosis and self-management in the database itself and not depend on an external tool. And what the management tool is used for then is to provide workflows around the lifecycle of specific automation tasks. But the biggest value is in managing the stuff that spans components. We work with the component teams to develop the integrated management within the component. We expose that in lifecycles and workflows, and then we build the integration across the stack, so it’s a close cooperation with the Oracle Enterprise Manager development team. What you see in this release is the result of thousands of developers who are building management features into their components, exposing them, and then driving the integration across the stack.

Kestelyn: So we’re really talking about an additional layer of abstraction over these components, and the way that abstraction is designed is what adds the value.

Sarwal: Each component has some basic management capabilities: Oracle VM Manager manages Oracle VM, Oracle Enterprise Manager Database Control manages the database, Oracle WebLogic Operations Control manages the middleware. All those things come together in Oracle Enterprise Manager and are exposed through workflows and task automation. That is what you see as the final product.

Justin Kestelyn is senior director, OTN and developer programs, as well as OTN editor in chief.

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