2 Introduction

The Oracle Grid offers a proven solution that allows businesses to heighten application performance and \deliver unparalleled IT infrastructure reliability. Businesses of all sizes attain measurable IT cost savings by extending the availability of computing resources, cultivating more productive and effective administrators, and achieving higher quality of service—all direct benefits of the Oracle Grid. A critical ingredient to achieving the full benefits of the Oracle Grid is employing the right solution for managing the grid systems and, most importantly, the applications that run on those systems.

Oracle Enterprise Manager 11g Grid Control Release 1 is Oracle's single, integrated solution for managing all aspects of the Oracle Grid and the applications running on it. Enterprise Manager Grid Control couples a potent, top-down monitoring approach to delivering the highest quality of service for applications with a cost-effective automated configuration management, provisioning, and administration solution. This powerful combination provides unequaled management for any size Oracle data center.

This chapter provides an overview of Enterprise Manager 11g Grid Control Release 1, its rich functionality, and the unique benefits it offers to Oracle customers.

Quality of Service: Bridging the Business with IT Infrastructure

Until recently, business success measurements and IT infrastructure performance were rarely mentioned in the same conversation. Corporations treated the two distinctly—in part because of traditional organization structures—but mostly because existing management tools offered point solutions that only addressed a portion of the larger need. IT management priorities focused primarily on maintaining individual IT systems performance, largely disconnected from real business objectives and needs. Now companies realize that in order to manage bottom line profits and differentiate the quality of service they offer, they must gain insight into how businesses are affected by IT performance. This requirement has mandated innovation in management solutions, where tools must go beyond discrete systems management to focus on delivering application availability and performance levels that align with business priorities. Few management solutions—because of their limited view of the application and its life cycle—are up to the task.

Enhanced Application Management and Monitoring

New and enhanced functionality in Enterprise Manager extends the application-level management and monitoring capabilities with rich graphical modeling, workflow-driven dashboards, and root-cause diagnostics. The net is that administrators can gain insight into end-user application availability issues through the entire application stack, enabling quick identification and location of problems in the IT infrastructure that affect application performance.

Additionally, complementary functionality allows administrators to quickly identify and triage impacted applications when low-level system issues surface. Using the new features available in Enterprise Manager 11g R1, administrators can model and relate system components within the IT infrastructure that provide the backbone for service offerings.

Leveraging these system components, they can define applications, or services, that depend upon those systems, and select business transactions that are measured to determine availability and performance of those services.

The sections below provide an overview of Enterprise Manager's application management and monitoring features.

Application Dependency and Performance

Enterprise Manager provides a model-driven intelligent monitoring and modeling platform for Java EE and SOA applications. Key features from the formerly stand-alone Composite Application Monitor and Modeler (CAMM) product are now integrated into Enterprise Manager Grid Control, providing an integrated solution that allows a coherent and unified view of managed applications. This integration provides access to fine-grained metrics and contextual views (topology, functional views, architectural views) from a centralized starting point.

Real User Experience Insight

With Oracle Real User Experience Insight, you can maximize the value of your business critical applications by gaining visibility into real end-user experiences. By reporting on user traffic requested by, and generated from, your network, this feature set integrates performance analysis and usage analysis into a single offering.

Application monitoring for Oracle applications, including user session tracking and discovery of end-user performance issues, is enabled out-of-the-box with these plug-ins:

  • Real User Experience Insight Accelerator for Siebel

  • Real User Experience Insight Accelerator for E-Business Suite

  • Real User Experience Insight Accelerator for JD Edwards EnterpriseOne

  • Real User Experience Insight Accelerator for PeopleSoft

Business Transaction Management

Management of your SOA infrastructure is enhanced with Enterprise Manager's Business Transaction Management solution, which offers a comprehensive blend of transaction tracing/monitoring and SOA governance. The solution provides such features as:

  • Real-time monitoring of synchronous and asynchronous business transactions through a complex application environment

  • Visibility into performance issues, enabling you to answer such questions as "Which customer order is affected by this SOAP exception?"

  • Active management and enforcement of service-level agreement (SLA), usage, and business requirements set on services

Java Diagnostics

JVM Diagnostics enables administrators to monitor Java applications and diagnose performance problems in production. Administrators can identify the root cause of performance problems in the production environment without having to reproduce them in the test or development environment. JVM Diagnostics provides real-time JVM visibility and historical diagnosis. JVM Pooling and Tracing are other features that allow to analyze heaps and diagnose performance problems.

E-Business Suite, PeopleSoft And Siebel Management And Monitoring

Enterprise Manager provides enhanced management and monitoring support for E-Business Suite systems, including Oracle Applications Manager; PeopleSoft environments; and Siebel Customer Relationship Management (CRM) applications. A comprehensive set of availability and performance metrics are collected for all environments, enabling immediate identification of issues.

Lowering Management Costs Through the Grid

The number of systems and diversity of services in the Grid can be small or quite large. Historically, the cost of managing large sets of systems has increased linearly, or more, with each new system added to the enterprise. It's simply not possible to maintain management costs in the Grid environment with traditional management solutions that do not scale. The fundamental value proposition of Enterprise Manager Enterprise Manager Grid Control is to maintain management costs at a flat or near flat rate as the number of managed systems increases. There are a number of things that make this possible.

Knowing What You Have and What You Are Running

For years, IT departments have relied upon the knowledge of key individuals who manually installed, configured, and maintained the systems running throughout an enterprise. Keeping systems up and running was often a finely-tuned recipe book of details written in a language only those closely involved could understand. Yet, as distributed systems evolved and service architectures became more complex and heterogeneous, manual solutions were no longer viable from a cost-effective standpoint—and more pressingly, from a quality of service standpoint. Administrators are now responsible for far more systems, and the relationships between those systems are much too complicated to track manually. Firewalls, switches, load-balancers, application servers, databases, and clusters are all distributed and connected through complex rules that demand reliable, automated configuration management.

Enterprise Manager Grid Control's configuration management solution is designed to eliminate the costs and errors that plague traditional manual configuration management solutions. Enterprise Manager Grid Control centrally tracks hardware, software installation (including patch levels), and software configuration data for every service and system that it manages. This detailed information is regularly and automatically collected and updated as changes occur. Central storage of enterprise configuration information lays the foundation for defining, deploying, auditing, enforcing, and maintaining the systems throughout the Grid.

Certified Configurations: Bringing Harmony to an Ever-Changing Data Center

IT professionals will agree—the fewer variations in the types of systems deployed and the configurations used to deploy them, the easier systems are to manage and the more reliable they will be. That said, it is impossible to expect, even with the most mature business practices, that all systems can follow the same standards of deployment. Using a robust configuration management solution, administrators can rely upon automated tools to ensure that all systems deployed follow specified practices and rules. This way, only pre-tested, pre-certified configurations can enter the production "food chain" of a busy data center.

Enterprise Manager Grid Control allows administrators to define rules (or policies)—most of which are available out-of-box—that are responsible for governing the configuration of all the systems and software running across the enterprise. And because the natural configuration life cycle of any system means it will be changed—through installation of patches, adding files and directories, changing ports, editing its dependencies, and so on—once a system is rolled out, Enterprise Manager Grid Control continually audits it against its predefined policies. All changes are tracked so that administrators know when they are happening, who is making them, what changes are acceptable, and what changes must be corrected. This level of security and compliance through proactive auditing and enforcement is necessary to keep harmony in the continual flux that defines most data centers. It is also critical to maintaining order and meeting compliance standards as new systems are brought on line, existing systems are upgraded, or patches are applied.

Error-Free Automated Provisioning: Linux, Oracle RAC, Certified Images, Patches, Upgrades

Systems administrators can spend up to 25% of their time installing and configuring new software. Using Enterprise Manager Grid Control's automated provisioning tools, businesses can reduce the time spent deploying new software by up to 90%. Enterprise Manager Grid Control allows administrators to store base images in a central library—pre-configured and certified—from which new deployments can be based. Administrators can deploy fully configured Linux systems from bare metal. These systems can be deployed with any desired software configuration, certified to the appropriate version and patch level—all with a few simple clicks. This capability is extraordinarily powerful for Oracle Real Application Clusters (RAC) and application cluster environments where adding capacity can be done quickly and without errors. Specific capabilities designed for Oracle RAC and cluster systems, minimizing the number of steps and complexities involved, are now available.

Figure 2-1 Automated Oracle RAC Deployments and Extensions

This is the Clone Oracle Home: Product Settings page.
Description of "Figure 2-1 Automated Oracle RAC Deployments and Extensions"

Patch Management

Historically, managing the patches for any IT environment has been extremely tedious and difficult to control. In a Grid environment, where the number of systems and changes to those systems is widespread, manual patch management can become a full-time, often unproductive, job.

My Oracle Support is now integrated with Enterprise Manager Grid Control and provides a unified support and management experience. My Oracle Support provides the following:

  • Comprehensive patch recommendations across security and other recommendations.

  • New methodology to rollout patches using PLANs.

  • Patch validation and single click conflict resolution of patches.

  • Better information on patches such as downloads, trends, integration with community for patch reviews, and result validation.

  • Integration with deployment procedures for automated deployments.

Figure 2-2 Searching for Patches in the Context of a Specific Target

This is the Enterprise Manager Select Patch page.
Description of "Figure 2-2 Searching for Patches in the Context of a Specific Target"

Using Grid Control to find, download, and deploy patches increases an administrator's efficiency by automating mundane, repetitive, day-to-day maintenance tasks as much as possible, allowing them more time for proactive systems work.

Management for the Complete Oracle Grid Environment

While Enterprise Manager 11g Grid Control provides the richest, most comprehensive management for Oracle products, it is also clear that there is no such thing as an Oracle-only environment. Customers have a wide variety of platforms, hardware, network, storage, and software components delivering critical functionality to the Oracle Grid, and they look for a single tool to monitor and manage this environment. With the latest release of Grid Control, there are two complementary initiatives that target extending the solution so customers can better leverage existing investments:

  • Extending Grid Control's scope through native management extensions, and partner and custom plug-ins.

  • Developing valuable integration solutions with existing management solutions to allow customers to leverage these investments without losing the unique value they gain from Grid Control.

Extensions and Management Plug-ins

With Release 2, Enterprise Manager dramatically broadens the reach of its management solution. New extensions and plug-ins enable customers to leverage their investment in Grid Control to manage all the pieces of the application solution in a vendor-neutral way—components such as firewalls, server load balancers, and non-Oracle databases and application servers. Grid Control also includes extensions of the core Grid Control product for F5 server load balancers and NetApp Filers. Over the coming months, many more extensions will be generally released and available as easy-to-implement plug-ins. These plug-ins will be both Oracle-developed (e.g., Checkpoint firewall, SQL Server, and others) and developed in partnership by third-party vendors, with support and validation by Oracle to provide a single console for primary monitoring and management of the Oracle Grid. In addition to the management plug-ins available out-of-box, Grid Control offers an open Command Line Interface and illustrative examples for easily adding new targets and customizing management solutions for customer-specific environments. This extended breadth of coverage gives customers the ability to use Grid Control for central management of their complete environment.

Oracle Integrated Management Partnerships

In addition to extending the direct reach of Grid Control, bi-directional integration support for other leading management solutions is a key priority. Customers who have invested in non-Oracle management solutions derive increased value from Oracle's integration efforts. Direct integration between Grid Control and products by HP, Micromuse, and EMC SMARTS are currently supported. As an example, the integration between HP OpenView Operations and Grid Control provides both depth and breadth of management capabilities based on a common view of management data. This new level of integration allows customers to seamlessly leverage Oracle's strength in database, application server, and applications management and HP OpenView's strength in host and network management.

Other complementary partnerships designed to deliver unique capabilities to Oracle customers (including storage management and the ability to dynamically flex data center capacity) are underway and will be announced shortly.

Conclusion

Grid computing is poised to revolutionize the economics of delivering applications and services across the enterprise. Enterprise Manager 11g R1 allows customers to deliver heightened application performance and realize dramatic savings in IT administration and maintenance costs. Enterprise Manager's robust service level management functionality brings together business priorities with IT application performance requirements in ways it never has before. Rich configuration management and provisioning functionality eliminate the error-prone, manual tactics that plague most data centers and drive up the overall cost of management. In a time when administration resources are at a premium, and businesses are forced to tightly control IT spending budgets, Enterprise Manager 11g is a must-have tool for small and large enterprises that want to make the Grid a reality for their IT department.