Viva Las Vegas – Collaborate 2016

It’s that time of year again, time to spend a few days in Las Vegas at Collaborate with some of the top Oracle experts and exercise your brain (and your feet)! I will be heading out in a few days and have a great schedule lined up!

Collaborate 16

This year will be a little different as I’m representing two products.   For a while now I’ve been working more on Oracle Management Cloud, which is our new cloud services for Log Analytics, IT Analytics and Application Performance Monitoring.   These services are complimentary to your existing Oracle Enterprise Manager solution.  From a DBA perspective, I’m especially excited about IT Analytics, as it’s an answer to many of the questions we get asked about long-term performance, capacity and resource data that Oracle Enterprise Manager collects.  We will have a demo booth, as well as a session on Monday at 10:30 in Palm B – Oracle Management Cloud: Next-Generation Monitoring, Management and Analytics.   Be sure to attend this session to hear about what Oracle Management Cloud has to offer!   You can also learn more about the Oracle Management Cloud services here.

As always, there’s a lot of excellent Oracle Enterprise Manager sessions this year!  If you’re in Las Vegas on Sunday morning, be sure to register for the Hands-on Lab: Everything I Needed to Know About Enterprise Manager I Learned at COLLABORATE.   We’ll start at 9am with an overview of EM 13c and work on new features in target properties, dynamic groups, creating gold agent images, tablespace corrective actions, and more!  You won’t want to miss out on this one!  Be sure to pre-register as space is limited.

Here’s where you’ll find me:

Sunday – 9-1 – Hands-on Lab: Everything I Needed to Know About Enterprise Manager I Learned at COLLABORATE

Monday – 10:30am Palm B – Oracle Management Cloud: Next-Generation Monitoring, Management and Analytics – Learn about the latest offering in IT Operations Management – Log Analytics, IT Analytics and Application Performance Monitoring.

Tuesday – 4:45pm Palm B – Building a High-Available Enterprise Manager system with Werner de Gruyter – This session is a must attend for anybody who needs to build or maintain a highly available Enterprise Manager.

Wednesday – 8:00am Palm B – Oracle Enterprise Manager Security: a Practitioners Guide – Rise and shine with my session on how to make Enterprise Manager security work for your company in more ways than one!

For a full list of Oracle Management Cloud and Oracle Enterprise Manager demos, labs, sessions and SIG meetings be sure to save or print this handy schedule!   Don’t worry, if you’re not heading to Las Vegas, you can still catch my session by registering for the IOUG Virtual Forum!

I will also be on the Oracle demo grounds either at the Oracle Enterprise Manager booth or Oracle Management Cloud booth.   If you follow me on twitter or read my blog and we haven’t met in person, stop by and say hi!

Engineering the Future of STEM with Fun

You don’t have to be a technologist to know what STEM is.  These days, you see STEM everywhere you turn around.  Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.  Some even add Art and make it STEAM.  Whatever you call it, it’s critical for our kids to advance in this technology focused world.  It doesn’t have to be all work though.  There are some great resources that make learning STEM more fun then you can imagine.

Our school is blessed with two amazing teachers, Noreen and Shelly, who are dedicated and excited about teaching young kids technology!   Once a week, they spend a few extra hours helping the kids in our Jr Robotics Club.  The club is open to kids 1st-3rd grade, boys and girls.  Yesterday, I took an hour out of my day to spend some time assisting.  It was so exciting to see how many young kids were excited and engaged with the robots they played with.   Especially as a woman in IT, it was exciting to see how many girls were involved as well!

Initially, they focused on the early LEGO robotics as they were gearing up to participate in the FIRST Lego League Jr showcase in December.  Our school had 4 teams create a “working LEGO project”.  They had to create and build something that moved using the LEGO motors that related to this years theme on waste and recycling.  My 7-year old son’s team, Tough LEGO Town, built a can recycling conveyor belt.   They take their creation, along with a poster that shows their ideas, to a competition where they are interviewed by volunteer judges.  As a parent it was thrilling to see them explain their creation and demonstrate it at such a young age.  Another critical skill they’re practicing is working in groups, this is something many adults still don’t do well!  Certainly nothing like what I was doing in 1st Grade!

IMG_2035

Since the competition was over, and the kids still wanted to learn about robot and technology, the teachers have continued meeting once a week after school.  The group grew from 24 to about 40 once the word got out. They break the kids into groups and have different stations for each group to work on.  Here’s an example of what they’re using in our club to engage and excite:

Scratch and Scratch Jr

Using iPads or Laptops, the kids can code using Scratch.  If you haven’t checked out Scratch, you should!   Scratch was developed at MIT and is a great way to get kids using their creativity and thinking skills.  They can create stories, animations, games, music and art, just the way they want it.  You can start using Scratch on a PC or Mac at scratch.mit.edu or you can download the Scratch Jr app on a tablet.   This is a great one to do at home too!  My kids love to share their creations with their friends!

LEGO WeDo 2.0

The LEGO WeDo is the beginner version of their Mindstorm robotics.  The build instructions are easy, and the software you use to program is very simple!   The newest release just came out in January (too late for Christmas unfortunately).  WeDo 2.0 is geared towards 2nd through 4th grade, though with parent help Kinder and 1st will also enjoy!  The core kit comes with 280 bricks, a SmartHub power block, 2 motors, a motion sensor, storage tray, programming software and examples!  You can see more in the video below.   WeDo 2.0 is available for $159.95 from LEGO Education here, this is definitely on my Christmas list.   We’re currently using the original WeDo sets, but the 2.0 looks like so much more fun!

If you have older kids, 4th and up, you might also want to look at the LEGO Mindstorm EV3.   My 4th grader competes in the regional FIRST Lego League competition for Houston this weekend, and they use the EV3 robot.  You can read more about their experience with FLL here.

Dash & Dot

Wonder Workshop’s Dash & Dot are controlled by an app on your phone or tablet.  You can program them using a visual block based app, or you can play one of the games that are available.  Along with movements, sounds and lights, you can purchase accessories such as a Xylophone that Dash can play.

Sphero

Sphero is an app controlled robot that allows you to program with visual blocks, then see the actual c-based code that you wrote.  Our school has the Sphero SPRK Edition, which is fun since you can see what’s inside and how it works.

Family STEM Time

While all of these robots and programs are very useful in schools to aid in their STEM curriculum, we shouldn’t just limit technology teaching to school.   These robots and games make learning fun, and it’s just as easy to have fun at home with mom and dad!   They make excellent birthday and Christmas gifts for the kids who have everything!  Grandparents love to buy educational items, instead of just video games.  Take some time, invest in the future of tech, and watch your child’s face light up with joy!

 

EM 13c – Enhancements to DB Optimizer Statistics Console

Optimizer Statistics Console

There’s a lot of new features in Enterprise Manager 13c (EM 13c) that the DBAs will love.   One of the things I’d heard customers complain about was the lack of visibility into the statistics jobs that run in the target database using DBMS_SCHEDULER. The enhanced DB Optimizer Statistics Console provides a central place to manage database statistics, view a summary of all object status, and the status and performance of the statistics jobs that have run.   To access the console, from a database target select Performance / SQL / Optimizer Statistics.

The Operations, Configure and Status sections haven’t changed much.  In the Operations section you can Gather, Lock, Unlock, View, Restore and Delete statistics.  From the Configure section you can easily adjust Global Statistics Gathering Options, Object Level or make changes to the Auto Task and view SPA Validation Resultsem13db3

The new notable new features here are the breakdown of Statistics Gathering tasks and the Jobs List.  From the chart, you can quickly see if you have job failures that might be affecting your performance.  In the status chart, you can identify if you have State statistics that need attention.

em13db1

Drilling down into the Statistics Gathering Job List or Auto Tasks will bring up a detailed report of the job run.

em13db2

Not a huge change, but hopefully one that will make the DBA’s life easier and provide better insight when evaluating database statistics!

 

EM 13c – Exciting Updates to Target Properties

It’s here, it’s finally here!  I know most of you have already downloaded the binaries and started installing or upgrading your test environment.   It’s just too tempting not to, right?  One question I’ve heard over and over since Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c came out… Can I use User Defined Target Properties in my Dynamic Group and Administration Group?  Sadly the answer has always been no.   Until now.  Now, the answer is proudly YES!

User Defined Target Properties

One of the small but powerful new features in EM 13c is the ability to use your custom target properties to define the Dynamic and Administration groups!  This will work with global target properties, the ones you set as target_type=”*”.  The target specific properties won’t show up in the select list.  Small compromise I think!

First, create your custom target property with emcli command.

$ ./emcli add_target_property -target_type=”*” -property=”Owner”
Property “Owner” added successfully

Next, create a Dynamic Group and select the Define Membership Criteria button.

group6

You’ll see a list of the default target properties. Click the Add/Remove Target Properties button.

target properties

In this list, you will now see the Owner target property that I created earlier.  Select the box and click Select
target properties

Now, you need to set which values of this property you want to be added to this group by clicking the magnifying glass next to Owner.

group7

Since this is Jill’s group, we’re going to select Jill, click Move and then Select.

target properties

Now we see, that this group is going to contain any targets owned by Jill.

group4

Final step is to review membership and click OK.

target properties

Now that the group has been created, if Jill own’s any targets, we’ll see them listed in her group.

target properties

You will also see the global target property in the selection for the Administration Groups as shown here:

Administration Group with User Defined Target Property

 

Target Property List of Values

Another big enhancement is the ability to create a list of values to more accurately store your target properties.  Say your Line of Business has DBA, MW, and App.   However, admins keep entering the wrong values.  These won’t get used in Dynamic or Administration groups because the values were not expected.

To enable a Target Property to use a Master List of Values:

$ ./emcli use_target_properties_master_list -property_name=orcl_gtp_location -enable

Targets exists with values set for this property. Run the same command with -copy_from_targets flag to copy all values to the master list.

If your targets are already using this property, you’ll get the error message above.  Update your emcli command to include the -copy_from_targets flag.
$ ./emcli use_target_properties_master_list -property_name=orcl_gtp_location -enable -copy_from_targets
Successfully migrated property values

To see the target properties, on any target go to the target menu, then Target Setup / Properties.  Click Edit to update properties.

target properties

As you can see, there are no values listed for Location target property.

target properties

$ ./emcli add_to_target_properties_master_list -property_name=”orcl_gtp_location” -property_value=”Houston” -property_value=”Austin”
Successfully set 2 value(s) for property: orcl_gtp_location

Now under the edit Target Properties you’ll find the correct values listed:

target properties

If you added the wrong value, or you need to remove a value, you use the delete_from_target_properties_master_list command:

$ ./emcli delete_from_target_properties_master_list -property_name=”orcl_gtp_location” -property_value=”Houston, Austin”
Successfully deleted property-value

To see the valid values, you can use the list_target_properties_master_list_values command.

$ ./emcli list_target_properties_master_list_values -property_name=orcl_gtp_location
Target Properties Master list of values for property : orcl_gtp_location
Austin
Houston

 

For more on what you can do with Target Properties, you can see my previous post here.   I think with these two enhancements to target properties, EM administrators everywhere will smile a little brighter tonight.  Enjoy!

 

Enterprise Manager 13c – What’s New and What You Should Know!

Enterprise Manager 13c – What’s new and What You Should Know!

You may have heard by now that Enterprise Manager (EM) 13c has been  released and you can’t wait to get your hands on the new updates and see what it’s all about!   Here’s a few things you should know!

What’s With the New UI?

Just when you got used to the changes in EM 12c, they go and change it all up again right?  Well, change can be hard, but in this case, I think you’ll appreciate a few things.   The overall theme has been updated to match that of other Oracle Products.  Focus is on presentation of the data, so more charts, callouts of number of incidents/errors and tiles that help you get to important information quickly.

em13c
Enterprise Manager 13c

Where did my menu’s go?

Instead of a menu on the left for general use, and admin features on the right, the menu bar has been consolidated to the right side of the page.   Once everyone gets used to this, I think that it’s going to be a lot easier to navigate and more consistent.  Even I had a hard time remembering, was it on the left menu or the right?  This will take a little to get used to but I think it’s much more user friendly.

em13b

From left to right:

  • em13enterprise (Enterprise) – Monitoring, Jobs, Reports, Patching, etc.
  • em13target(Target) – All Targets, Databases, Exadata, etc.
  • em13favorites(Favorites) – Save your favorite targets for quick access
  • em13history(History) – View your last 10 pages
  • em13setupSetup – Security, incident rules, add targets, etc.

Next you’ll see the Search icon, when you click on the magnifying glass, a search box will appear.  This can be used to search for any target.

em13a

The em13notification is new, this will take you to the Notification Center, one of the new features we’ll discuss more later.

Finally you have the User Menu em13user where you’ll find user preferences and logout.

What versions of WebLogic and Java are installed?

The infrastructure stack for WebLogic is now 12.1.3.0.0, and Java is version 1.7.0.    Both are deployed during the Enterprise Manager install.

What’s the upgrade path?

Direct upgrade from Enterprise Manager 12.1.0.3 and higher will be supported.  The Repository database needs to be upgraded to DB 12.1.0.2 first.

If you’re still on EM 10g or 11g (we need to talk), you need to upgrade to EM 12.1.0.5 first before you can upgrade to 13c.

Is there a 2-system upgrade?

No, unfortunately, there is no 2-system upgrade so a full downtime will be required.

Can I use my 12c Agents?

Yes, if you’re agents are 12.1.0.3 or higher, they are compatible with 13.1.  However, you should plan to upgrade the Agents as soon as possible to take advantage of new features.

A Few New Features

Always On Monitoring Service – A separate service used in planned downtime, will receive target availability and send limited notifications.

Agent Gold Images – Create a standard agent and mass deploy updates with ease.  This will cover provisioning, upgrading and updating agents.    I will be posting about this separately, in detail.

Corrective Actions – Support for corrective actions on all event types (beyond just metrics), and out-of-the box customizable Tablespace corrective action.

Target Properties Master List of Values – Define a list of values for your target properties.

Incident Manager  –  New dashboards and export incident rules. Enough said.

That’s a quick summary, but I’ll be blogging about more features in detail.  In the meantime, takes sometime to review the New Features documentation.

 

 

 

Kids and LEGO and Robotics, Oh My!

Kids and LEGO and Robotics, Oh My!

If you know me well,  you know Oracle is my secondary passion.  My true passion is my children.  I have two amazing, beautiful, intelligent and active boys, ages 7 and 9 (no bias there, I know).   Life is never dull, that’s for sure!  We are fortunate to live in a area with great schools, with teachers and administration that realize the importance of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education.   We have a very active PTO that goes to amazing efforts to raise money so that the school can get the latest technology and programs to help our kids succeed.   The whole school participates in the Hour of Code each year, and recently started a Python programming club.  Kids actually come to school early to program!  They also recently added robotics teams for 1st-6th, and this year my 4th and 1st grader are both participating.

I didn’t know much about the FIRST organization before now.  They’ve done some Jr. Engineering and Jr. Robotics camps, most recently an excellent one by Woodlands Robotics that they really enjoyed.  This led to their interest in participating with the school teams.  My oldest is in FIRST LEGO League (FLL), where my youngest is doing FIRST LEGO League Jr for kids K-3rd grade.   Last weekend the FLL team had their first competition, and there’s only really one way to describe it.  Electric.

FIRST LEGO League (FLL)

This program is for students in 4-8th grade.  Each year there’s a new challenge.   This year it’s about trash, and how we can reduce, reuse and recycle.   The teams have missions they have to solve with their robot, all worth a certain number of points. They need to work together to decide the best use of their time, and how to program the robot to complete as many missions as possible in 2 1/2 minutes.

They are also judged on their core values (discovery, teamwork, gracious professionalism), robot design, and their project.  The project is a way for them to show their creativity in how to solve this years challenge.   Our team decided that our school could reduce trash by using sporks instead of spoons and forks, and recycling in the cafeteria.  The also wrote a rap and performed this for the judges.   The team has a sponsor, but all the work is done by the kids themselves.

For the robot, they use the LEGO Mindstorm EV3 robot.  If you haven’t checked this out, you should.   Every techie could fall in love with this.  You can build various robot models, with sensors and arms.  Then you connect it to your computer and program using a visual block structure.   Viola! You’ve got a robot that can play music, move pieces, turn wheels and anything else you can think of!  The programming is very flexible, and easy enough once you understand what the components do.

Competition Day

Our team is called 4G Short Circuits.  These 6 boys and 1 girl have been meeting 4 hours a week after school since early October.  They stepped it up in the last 2-3 weeks adding every day before school for 45 minutes, working through lunch, and extra after school hours.   For a while I was a little concerned with how much time he was having to spend on this, he is only 9 after all.   With 7 incredibly intelligent kids, one of the things they’re learning  is to work together as a team, and communicate effectively.  When everybody has a great idea, it’s sometimes hard to get them all out for discussion.   Once they work out the kinks here, I think we can expect to see amazing things!  I know adults who have a hard time with this concept, so it’s exciting to see the kids working on it so young.

We arrived at the competition before 8am on a Saturday.  The kids got in a few practice rounds, some hands on experience and advice from the judges, and had a chance to fine tune their programs a bit.  It was amazing to see them just go to work and know exactly what they needed to do.   Then the kids go in front of a panel of judges for design, project and core values.

Solving problems after first test run.

Finally, the robot games started.  There’s three rounds and they keep their highest score.  Their first round, things didn’t go so well.  The robot went crooked, missed it’s mark, and stalled.  You could see the disappointment on their faces.  However when the scores were posted, they were still positive and went straight to work on fixing the problems they had.  They went into the second round knowing that their final program wasn’t quite right but they’d made some changes and hoped for the best.   When they hit 4 out of 5 missions, you could see the pure joy and accomplishment in their faces, and when they were ranked in the top 10, they were beyond themselves!   The third round didn’t go as well, and they slipped to 11th place, but these kids remained positive and upbeat the whole time, and that is what I’m so proud of.  Their first time as a team, first robotics competition and they came in 11th out of 42 teams!

Testing out their robot before competition starts.

They worked so hard to get to this point, just like any sports team when playing a tournament.   Although they didn’t win an award, they did earn their golden ticket to the regional competition in February.    These 4th graders worked together, worked hard, challenged themselves in areas they weren’t familiar with, and kept pushing until the very end.  They never game up, never game in.  They were electric.  And as a parent in tech, it was so exciting to see the sparks!  They’ve got a break for now, but in January they’ll be back in the lab working together to fix those problems and see how many more points they can earn for the next competition!

4G Short Circuits celebrating their golden ticket

One thing about the competition that stood out, was how diverse the participants were.  All ages, races, genders, it was really fun to see so many of the young girls involved with the robotics and programming.   The idea behind FIRST was a way to get more kids interested in STEM, by leveraging the sports competition model.  I think it’s working!  I think back to what I was doing in 4th grade, and it sure doesn’t compare to this!

Texas Torque is the high school team who sponsors the FLL competition for our district.  I have to say, this was the nicest group of high school kids I’ve ever met.   They won the FIRST Robotics Competition World Championship in 2013 and were featured in the documentary Roboleague.   It’s an amazing look at how the FIRST league got started, and how bright and amazing these kids are.   So, if you have bright, creative, talented children who like to use their mind, check out FIRSTInspires.org and see if there’s an event in your area, or consider forming a team!

See my Kids & Code page for more resources!

All About That Agent…

For Enterprise Manager, the Agent plays a big role.  The Agent is in charge of gathering all information from the targets and performing administrative tasks and jobs.  To do it’s job, the Agent has to be healthy.  In this post, we’re going to take a look at some checks that you can perform to make sure that your Agents and Targets are monitored and reporting properly.

Agent Page

Let’s take a look at what we can find in the Agents page.   In my opinion, this is a page the main EM Administrator should be checking every day.  They should know what targets aren’t uploading, what Agents are down or have been blacked out for months.  From Setup / Manage Cloud Control / Agents we get the view below:

agents

First we have the ability to filter our view by Status.   We can view All, Up, Down, Blackout or Unreachable.  We can also look for agents that are Blocked or Misconfigured.  agents2

Agents are secured during install by default, so if there’s any No’s in the Secure Upload column, they should be resecured.

agents4

There are various statuses that you’ll find here.  The most common needing investigation will be Unreachable or Blocked.

agents5

Unreachable agents will have an additional icon for Diagnostic Analysis.  This will run some checks to help determine why an agent is unreachable.

agents7

The Last Successful Load can tell us a lot about an agent and it’s targets.   If you sort by this column, and find agents that haven’t uploaded for months or maybe even years, it’s a sign that nobody’s paying attention, and possibly that the target has been decommissioned.  If you can’t find a contact for these, then maybe a blackout is in order.agents6

I think the next two columns get overlooked often.

agents3

The first is monitored targets.  This is telling us how many targets (including host and agent) are being managed.  Now, every agent will have 3 at a minimum (agent, host, agent Oracle Home).  So if you see agents that have 2 or 3, that’s a big clue to start investigating just what are you monitoring on that server.  Is it new, or has it been decommissioned and not cleaned up properly?   The Broken Targets column is another key to diagnosing issues.  If there’s anything but a 0 in this column, it deserves some attention to find out exactly what is broken and why.

Metrics

Just like any other target in EM, you’ll find a wealth of information is collected about the agent target in Monitoring / All Metrics.  Each category can have multiple metrics collected.   You will find information here on certificate expiration, disk usage, memory usage, cpu usage,

agent1

When you click on the Category, the right-hand pane will show real-time data.   This can be very helpful in troubleshooting metric issues.  You will see the last upload time.  Metrics are uploaded every 15 minutes, so if it’s older than 15-20 min, the agent is having a problem.

agent2

Some of the metrics are very helpful, specifically in the EMD… categories.  In these metrics you’ll find information about agent and OMS communication (heartbeat, ping, and upload).    Take some time to review the metrics that are collected and available on your agents.

agent4

Reports

There are  a couple of Information Publisher reports that can be useful in identifying problems on Agents and other targets.   From Enterprise / Reports / Information Publisher, the first reports are under the Enterprise Manager Health category.

agentreports

Agent Clock Synchronization Offset will give you the agents whose system clock may be offset from the Repository system clock based on the timestamp of the last heartbeat recorded.  As many pieces of EM rely on the timestamp, an offset more than a few minutes can cause problems.

Agents in Questionable State shows Agents which are in Metric Error state, Agent Down state and Pending/Unknown state for the last 24 hours.

Agents Restarted shows the Agents which have restarted in the last 24 hours. If an Agent is consistently on this report, it’s a sign that it’s crashing.

Broken Targets is another view of the targets we looked at earlier, where they are misconfigured or not monitored for some reason. This is a good report to have emailed out regularly, to be sure you know what targets are having problems.

Targets Not Uploading Data is another one that EM Administrators should regularly view.   This is the report of the targets not uploading consistently, and the last upload date.

Another set of reports under the Target Status Diagnostics category, will help in diagnosing issues with specific targets.  Agent-based targets are going to be your Host, Database Instance, Listener.  Repository-based targets will be Cluster, Cluster Database, System, etc.  In a future post, I’ll break down these reports further.

agentreports2

In part 2 of this blog, we’ll take a look at using EMDIAG’s AGTVFY scripts, as well as looking at some of the Agent log files and common errors.   Stay tuned!

 

SMS Notifications From Enterprise Manager

Starting with Enterprise Manager (EM) 12c, you have the choice to send SMS notifications to a cell phone, or a pager (does anybody still use pagers?).  There’s been a couple questions on the forums about this so I thought I’d write it up since it appears to be a bit confusing as to how this works.

First, be sure that your Mail Server is setup in Setup / Notifications / Notification Methods and you can receive the test e-mail.

sms7

Next, create an EM administrator user, then login as that user to update your e-mail address and SMS/Pager information by clicking on the Username drop down menu and selecting Enterprise Manager Password & Email.

sms6

For the SMS/Pager, you need the text based address.  So if your provider was Verizon, it would be 8885555555@vtext.com.    Select the Email Type Pager for SMS messages as they are shorter than the Email format.   It’s important to note, that you will not see the multiple lines in the Setup / Security / Administrators view.  You can enter multiple e-mails separated by commas, but the E-mail Type option will not be available.

sms5

By default, both email and pager will be enabled in your Notification Schedule, you may adjust this as necessary by going to Setup / Notifications / My Notification Schedule.   You can receive notifications by both e-mail/page, just e-mail, or just page depending on what you configure here.

Next, you need to create an Incident Rule Set, or edit an existing one.   From Setup / Incidents / Incident Rules, select a rule set and rule to edit.  Once you get to the Action for the Rule, in the Basic Notifications section, select the EM Administrator in the Page box.  Save all changes.

sms8

In 12cR4, you can test the Incident Rule Set by selecting your Rule Set and clicking the Simulate Rules button (Setup / Incidents /  Incident Rules).  You will need to select a Target, Event Type and find an alert to simulate.  Then you will get a list of Actions that the Incident Rule Set will perform for this alert.

To test my notifications, I dropped the warning threshold on the tablespace metric to 15, something I know would trigger immediately.    Here’s the messages I received on my phone.

sms4

I also received the long format in my e-mail.  When you’re done testing, don’t forget to set your thresholds back!

 

Introducing Oracle Management Cloud…

Oracle Management Cloud

If you were at Oracle OpenWorld this year you might have had the chance to preview Oracle’s latest cloud service – Oracle Management Cloud (OMC).   The three OMC services launched this month are Application Performance Monitoring (APM), Log Analytics (LA) and IT Analytics (ITA).    The goal for OMC is to bring together different types of operational data for use by both businesses and IT.  All data is stored in a unified data platform that allows you to navigate from one service to another while working on specific use cases.   Here’s a quick overview of each service to get you up to speed.

Application Performance Monitoring

This service gives you insight into the end user performance and experience, from  browser statistics to  AJAX calls.  With statistics on page load times and errors, you can drill down to find errors, see the request calls, and review memory usage and garbage collection.

omcla4

The integration with Log Analytics allows the user to drill down to server and application logs related to the poor performance time periods.  By using saved searches and creating custom dashboards you can see the information that’s important to your application in one view.

omsla

Log Analytics

Upload all your logs to the cloud – database, application, middleware, server, infrastructure – then search and explore to identify problems or resolve issues.   Troubleshoot problems by exploring logs in context of the application using topology-aware log exploration. Then utilize the cluster feature to identify outliers or frequently occurring patterns.  There’s always a lot of noise in log files, so this allows you to filter out the noise and get to the real errors that you need to see.

la

Another key feature is the ability to correlate other logs within a time period.  Let’s say you found an error at 1:00, you can then see the log entries 1 minute before and after on different systems to identify any correlated log entries.    LA also includes the ability to save queries and use them in a dashboard so you can replicate your searches with ease.  Not to mention storing logs in the Oracle cloud instead of on your servers for long periods of time.

IT Analytics

Finally a way to look at IT resources holistically and see how targets in your environment compare to one another.  Resource Analytics will allow you to view current utilization as well as forecast things like storage and CPU across targets, or groups of targets. Answer questions like how much storage will we need in 6 months?  How about what databases are consuming the most CPU and how much have they increased recently?   itacpu1

With Performance Analytics you can identify bottlenecks across Database or Middleware targets.  Have you ever wondered what the worst SQL in your environment is?  I had a manager once who really liked to point out the worst performing SQLs across applications, how easy this will be now!

Probably the most exciting feature is the Data Explorer which allows you to create custom queries and save them as a dashboard that you can create for your unique requirements.   Below I’ve searched for database instances based on their DB Wait time, hovering over the chart you get a popup with the target, type of wait and value.  I can now save this widget to a dashboard if I like.itawaits

Learn More

More information on OMC can be found in this ebook from Oracle and on the Oracle Cloud website.   You can also watch the launch video here.   I will be posting more about each of the services over the next few weeks, as well as sharing my experiences with our first customer implementations, so stay tuned!

Automating the Mundane with Corrective Actions and Oracle Enterprise Manager

In my opinion, one of the most under-utilized features of Oracle Enterprise Manager is the Corrective Actions that can be triggered when a metric alert threshold is crossed.  I think one reason it’s under-utilized is it’s very hard to think about where to start and what can be automated.  My advice from previously implementing, is to look at the alerts that are generated, or tickets, and determine which ones are most frequent and mundane.  The one that always comes to mind is Archive Destination.

Archive was the first CA we implemented at my previous company, because we got at least 20 per day.  Since our backups were controlled by a different team, all we could do was cut a ticket to them, and possibly kick off an archive backup hoping it would complete this time.  So we put this in a Corrective Action.  The script checked for hung backups sessions, checked that a backup wasn’t already running, looked through a config file to get the right information, and then kicked off an archive backup job.   Then it sent an email to a ticketing queue for the backup team to generate the ticket so they could investigate why it was failing.    We set the CA to run on Warning, with a fairly low threshold so we had plenty of time to react if it got to Critical.  This was such a success that we went on to write more, including automating tablespace adds and sending notifications to the application teams when process/sessions was exceeded.

A friend of mine, Tyler Sharp, recently started implementing Corrective Actions and has found tremendous time savings.    He recently had the idea to automate oradebug steps so they would always have the required debug when working with Oracle Support, instead of having to go through the process manually the next time around.   The CA is triggered when > 4 active sessions waiting on concurrency, or over 900 seconds db blocking time.  He was kind enough to share the script they’ve implemented below:

conn / as sysdba
set serverout on

DECLARE
   trace_name   VARCHAR2 (1000) := NULL;
   alter_session   VARCHAR2 (1000) := NULL;

BEGIN
   SELECT to_char (SYSDATE, ‘MMDDYY_HHMISS’) INTO trace_name FROM DUAL;
   alter_session :=
         ‘alter session set tracefile_identifier=”’||trace_name||’_AUTO_HANGANALYZE”’;
   DBMS_OUTPUT.PUT_LINE (alter_session);
   EXECUTE IMMEDIATE alter_session;
END;
/

oradebug setmypid;
oradebug unlimit;
oradebug dump ashdumpseconds 5
oradebug hanganalyze 3
execute sys.dbms_lock.sleep(180);
oradebug hanganalyze 3

As you can see, they set a trace file name, take an ashdump, then do the required hanganalyze twice with a  sleep in between.   Now the DBA can skip these steps when working an issue, and collect the files that were created at the right time, not 10 minutes later.   You’ll need to be sure to have a credential that has sysdba access to run this properly.

The great thing about Corrective Actions, is you can use them in a template so you can push them to all servers to keep your resolutions standard.    The Corrective Action is triggered for either Warning or Critical, or both.  Then you have the choice to get notified of that alert right away, or bypass notifications unless the Corrective Action failed.   This allows you a fall back in case the script or job has a problem fixing the issue.

To learn more about Corrective Actions, check the Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c Cloud Control Administrator’s Guide and check out the following blog posts for more ideas!

What are the Corrective Actions you’ve implemented, or would like to implement in your environment?