Organizing Your Oracle Enterprise Manager Targets

If you’re monitoring more than a handful of servers or databases in your Enterprise Manager 12c (EM), you have probably started creating groups to manage many targets together.   If you haven’t, this is one of the most critical aspects of setting up your EM to properly monitor and manage targets.  There are several use cases where you will want to perform a single action on multiple targets.

  • Setting monitoring thresholds
  • Granting privileges
  • Sending notifications
  • Applying compliance rules
  • Viewing dashboards
  • Running jobs, upgrades, backups
  • Creating reports

The easiest way to perform a single action against multiple targets is to use groups.  Oracle Enterprise Manager (EM) 12c has 4 types of groups that we can take advantage of.  These groups are compared in the table below:

 Details Membership Automation
Basic Group The basic group in EM is just that, basic.  It allows you to group a set of targets manually by selecting through the wizard or EM CLI.  These groups can be nested to form a hierarchy.   Targets can be in multiple basic groups. Membership is controlled by editing the group and selecting members to add/remove. This type of group does not include any automation for privileges or templates.
Privilege Propagating Group Privilege Propagating is an option you select when creating a basic group that allows the privileges granted to administrators at the group level to propagate to the targets within the group.  If a user has Operator on the group, they will have Operator on the member targets of the group.  Targets can be in multiple privilege propagating groups. Membership is controlled by editing the group and selecting members to add/remove. This type of group does not include any automation for templates. Privileges are propagated to group members.
Dynamic Group Membership of a dynamic is automated by selecting target properties that define the group membership. Targets can be in multiple dynamic groups.   A parent group can be assigned to the dynamic group. Membership is automated by setting target properties to match the group criteria.  Members cannot be added/removed manually. This type of group does not include any automation for templates. Privileges can be propagated to group members.
Administration Group Much like dynamic groups, the administration group is created based on the target’s target properties.   This group is defined with a hierarchy however, so there are multiple levels and layers.  Targets can only reside in one node of the hierarchy, so defining the hierarchy must fit into the organizations goals. Membership is automated by setting target properties to match the group criteria.  Members cannot be added/removed manually. Templates can be applied automatically when using administration groups.  Privileges are propagated to member targets.

 

So now that we know what kind of groups are available, the next obvious question is “What’s the best way to group my targets?”  Obviously, there’s no one right answer here.   When defining your groups, you want to think about how you work as an organization, how you will manage your targets, and what type of notifications you want to receive.  Getting this out on paper before implementing in EM is the best way to work this out.   Let’s think about the different ways we might use our groups.

Access

Knowing up front who is going to be accessing EM will help you determine what type of group structure to start with as you’ll want to use groups to manage access permissions.  What type of targets are you going to be monitoring, and who will be using EM.  Is EM going to be strictly a DBA tool?  Or will the Fusion Middleware products such as WebLogic, be added as well?  What about Oracle Enterprise Linux?

Monitoring

One very big benefit of Administration Groups is the ability to automate template application.  The templates set the metric and thresholds to be used for monitoring all targets.  Grouping targets that have the same monitoring requirements allows you to apply templates in bulk.  For targets of the same type, will they require different monitoring thresholds and metrics?   Do you have different thresholds or monitoring requirements between development and production?  Do different organizations or lines of business require different settings?

Notifications

Not everybody wants to be paged or notified for every issue that EM can detect, so take a minute to think about who should be notified for each set of targets.   Does a central Level 1 team receive all notifications?  Do DBAs get paged on Critical events for Production targets?  All these pieces will help you determine what type of grouping you need in order to manage your Incident Rules properly so that the right people are notified at the right times.

Reporting

In a corporate wide EM, you’re likely to have many different organizations or lines of business.  Segregating the targets by line of business allows you to customize reports for each organization so that information can be shared with the business teams as well.

Operations

Will you perform operations at a group level?  Patch multiple databases at a time?  Backup multiple targets at one time?  Upgrade agents or plug-ins for a set of targets together?  If you plan to perform bulk operations, groups can assist in this.  Think about the different operations and groupings that you might need to accomplish this.

Pulling it All Together

The group that provides the most advantage is obviously the Administration Group.  The ability to control membership by target properies, and to apply monitoring templates automatically is a big deal for many large organizations.  If you have a simple organization you may be able to fit all your goals and requirements into one Administration Group hierarchy.  If you’re environment is much more complex, you may need to add a few Dynamic groups to accomplish some of the one off tasks.   For example, you may create an Administration Group to separate your MW and DB targets, with LifeCycle Status set for a 2nd layer. This could be used for monitoring templates and incidents.   If you have a Linux team though, they may need a dynamic group of all Hosts so they can get just host notifications and permissions.  There is no one-size fits all for organizing your targets in EM.  There’s a whitepaper available that walks through the creating of templates, administration groups and incident rules that I highly recommend.  Really, if you read one thing about EM monitoring, read Strategies for Scalable, Smarter Monitoring using Oracle Enterprise Manager Cloud Control 12c.

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