Cloud Control 12cR3, Oracle Linux and VMware

I mentioned some time ago that I was pushing my current company to move much of their gear on to VMware, mostly because of poor resource utilization on many of the servers.Β That process is still under way.

One thing I wanted to mention specifically was our use of Cloud Control 12cR3. Up until recently, we were using physical kit for this. We had an 11.2 database on HP-UX, With HA provided by HP Service Guard. We had two management servers on physical kit running RHEL5 pointing at this Service Guard package to give us some resiliency in of the OMS. It worked, but it was over complicated and I was never really happy with it for a number of reasons:

  • HP-UX for the databases : I know some of you guys love it, but I don’t.
  • Two management servers : Seems like a waste of kit to me. We either have them on their own boxes and waste lots of resources, or have multiple installations on those boxes, which adds to complexity and management of the kit.
  • RHEL : Why pay for RHEL when we can use Oracle Linux and decide for ourselves if we want to pay for the extra features support gives us, or just use it for free?

So what are we running now? We have one VMware VM, running Oracle Linux 6. That has both the Oracle 11.2 database for the repository and the Cloud Control 12cR3 OMS running on it. We use VMware functionality for the HA of this system.

Why do I like this situation?

  • Cloud Control is a complicated beast and I am a big fan of KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid). Having everything on a single VM is about as simple as it gets.
  • If I am using Cloud Control in this way I pay nothing for the database repository. As soon as you start thinking about RAC or Data Guard to protect your repository you have to pay for Enterprise Edition licenses.
  • Using VMware HA functionality gives us good enough HA for our purposes. We can failover or live migrate between hosts in the data centre, or between data centres.
  • We can clone the whole installation in a few minutes and use that as a base for upgrades. If something goes wrong, we just flip back.

While I was at Oracle OpenWorld I discussed this a number of times and it seems it is a very common approach.

Another thing that came out of those discussions is many people still misunderstand what Oracle Linux is and the support status of Oracle Linux, and more specifically UEK, on VMware. Suffice to say, it’s all supported, as discussed in my Oracle Linux : Frequently Asked Questions article.

If you are struggling to decide how best to run Cloud Control in your organization, I would recommend using a virtual environment (Oracle VM or VMware) and run it on Oracle Linux 6.

Cheers

Tim…

Author: Tim...

DBA, Developer, Author, Trainer.

22 thoughts on “Cloud Control 12cR3, Oracle Linux and VMware”

  1. Nice post Tim. We are seeing an increasing number of Oracle customers using the VMware level HA as opposed to application specific HA (like RAC, Dataguard, etc). Your post is yet more evidence of that trend.

  2. Tim,

    Interesting. May I ask what is your experience/thoughts about using Grid/Cloud Control for database backups? We recently had a debate at my workplace and the idea of keeping backup jobs in grid/cloud control was overwhelmingly rejected in favour of running CRON jobs on individual database servers. Reasons given….what if grid/cloud control fails? (We can’t afford RAC for grid) & “the leader” had never seen a big setup that used grid/cloud control for DB backups. I am not convinced and think it is a case of “FUD Syndrome” (in Tom Kyte’s language).

  3. @Narendra :

    I would not consider doing anything other than grid control for backups now. It is by far the best way to do them.

    You don’t need RAC to to make it resilient. Put it on a VM and use the virtual infrastructure to make it resilient.

    Cheers

    Tim…

  4. What does a license for Cloud Control cost? We’re currently using DB Console for a few instances but nothing for our development environment. It would be nice to have a central admin tool unless it costs a lot.

  5. I can’t find any relevant items for ‘Cloud Control’ or ‘Enterprise Manager’ in the Oracle Store so I presume it’s free to manage licensed Oracle instances?

  6. @Colin: Cloud Control is free.

    You don’t have to pay for WebLogic, Database or Cloud Control licenses, provided you stay within some specific guidelines, the basics of which are:

    – You are monitoring licensed products.
    – You only use features that you’ve paid support for on your targets. So if you DB has the D&T licence, you can use the Cloud Control performance pages against that target etc.
    – You only use the WebLogic installation for running Cloud Control. Deploy anything else to it and you have to pay a full WebLogic license.
    – You only use the DB installation for the CC repository, and an RMAN catalog if you like. Put anything else in it and you have to pay a full EE license.
    – You don’t use RAC or Data Guard. If you do, you have to license the DB in the normal way.

    So if you do a basic install, like I do in my installation articles, it is a totally free product. All you need to pay for is some hardware, or a VM to install it on. This is why I kind-of assume everyone uses it now. πŸ™‚

    Cheers

    Tim…

  7. Tim,

    Thanks for your response. If you don’t mind, would you be able to share some numbers like how many production databases you have and how many production servers (DB, middleware etc.) does your Cloud Control monitor. Also, would help to know what are the availability SLAs for those databases.

  8. @Narendra : Sorry. I can not mention specifics, but it is safe to say we are a rather small operation. There are sizing recommendations in the documentation for different numbers of targets (databases and app servers etc.) There are plenty of really big operations that are fans of Cloud Control…

    Not sure what the SLAs have to do with Cloud Control itself. It’s a monitoring and scheduling tool (amongst other things), so it is not directly affecting the application databases. Obviously, without Cloud Control we would have to run backups manually, which is why we use VMware to provide our HA for Cloud Control.

    You can run multiple OMS against 1 repository for free. If you want to use RAC or Data Guard for your repository, you have to fully licence the DB, rather than run it for free, so most people I speak to run a single instance…

    Cheers

    Tim…

  9. Tim,

    Never mind. The objective behind asking about numbers was that I got an impression (from our debate @ workplace) that companies with large setups do not tend to use Grid/Cloud Control for database backups. There is agreement about its usefulness in monitoring but not for backups (“Don’t put all your eggs in one basket when it comes to backups” is the message).

  10. @Narendra : Not sure I understand that logic. They probably use (or should use) a centralised enterprise backup solution, so that’s all the eggs in one basket also…

    I think it is more likely that the time and effort in migrating to Cloud Control backups is more significant for larger organisations, so they are using that as an excuse. Personally, I would expect the larger the organisation, the more it makes sense to centralise the control.

    Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt (FUD) and politics play more of a role in such decisions that facts. πŸ™‚

    Cheers

    Tim…

  11. Hi Tim,

    We’re deciding (or at least giving our technical opinion) about replacing our gridcontrol with a configuration similar to yours. What are your thoughts about the performance of the CC in VMWare? Are you using the last version of vSphere?

    Unrelated to this, what is your opinion about running both database and weblogic in VMWare? It seems a good idea to me because it greatly simplifies the configuration but if having problem they can be more difficult to troubleshoot, especially performance problems. The other big problem I see here is the licencing issues, because has it stands, you would have to fully license the host.

    Thanks for your opinion
    Pedro

  12. @Pedro :

    So far we have had no performance problems at all. In fact, it seems to run with similar performance to when it was on physical hardware with 12 cores and 64G RAM. πŸ™‚

    Regarding general DB and WebLogic under VMware, I’m very happy with it. Performance is fine, but I would question the logic of virtualising databases that required super high performance. From a WebLogic perspective, I think it makes sense to always virtualize. I can’t imagine having a single installation that would take up a whole server, and having multiple installation on a single physical server is a mess.

    The licensing aspect is an issue for some. You must license each product for the whole physical server, but you can use Mandatory Host Affinity to limit the licensing to part of the cluster. See:

    https://oracle-base.com/articles/vm/a-cure-for-virtual-insanity.php#whats-the-deal-with-licensing

    Cheers

    Tim…

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