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.

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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.

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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.

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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!