Tomcat, Oracle Linux and VMware

 

Following from yesterday’s post about Cloud Control 12cR3, Oracle Linux and VMware, I thought I would just mention something I put live yesterday evening.

We have a 3rd party Java-based application that runs on Tomcat 7 and Java 7 that until recently was running on RHEL5 on physical hardware. It runs against an Oracle database, but that is not housed on this server. This application is not that big, but it is *very* high profile as it is what we use to process our REF submissions. If you know anything about higher education in the UK, you’ll know that REF is a very big deal, especially as we are within a couple of months of the next submission.

As I mentioned in February, like many of our systems, the resource utilization on the physical hardware was not optimal. We had this single Java app running on a server with 64G RAM and 12 cores, when it was probably using at most 6G and 2 cores. What’s more, there were two physical servers of this specification to provide manual failover, as the vendor does not support any form of clustering for automated failover.

What I did late yesterday was move this across to a VMware virtual machine running Oracle Linux 6. The benefits of this being:

  • We can allocate just the resources we need. The existing physical boxes will be plugged into the VMware cluster and their resources used for something more useful than sitting around doing nothing.
  • We can now use VMware’s HA functionality to provide automatic failover, giving us enough high availability for our needs.
  • Using Oracle Linux gives us a variety of support options, starting from $0 upward.

IMHO this is another classic no-brainer as far as choosing a virtualized environment over physical and gets me one step closer to my vision for our systems… :)

If you are considering moving stuff to VMware and/or Oracle Linux, you might like to read these posts.

Cheers

Tim..

 

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. 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…

Fedora 19 Alpha…

 

For those eager beavers out there, you can now get hold of Fedora 19 Alpha from the pre-release location.

The release notes can be found here. I’m keen to check out the improvements to MATE in version 1.6, as this is now my standard desktop.

Cheers

Tim…

Update: It installs in Oracle VirtualBox and the guest additions install correctly, so it’s looking good so far. :)

Oracle Linux : Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)…

 

I mentioned in a previous post that my company were planning to move all of our middle tier infrastructure and some of our Oracle databases to Oracle Linux running on a virtual infrastructure. That process is now underway.

Persuading the company to ditch Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) in favor of Oracle Linux took a bit of effort, partly due to some Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt (FUD) spread by one of the vendors we use. In the process of trying to counter the FUD I put together an Oracle Linux FAQ document. I thought it might come in handy for anyone else in a similar position, so I thought I would make it available on my site.

As I say at the top of the article, this includes some of my opinions as well as facts. This made me a little nervous, so I thought I would run it by an expert before I let it loose.  Big thanks to Lenz Grimmer for giving the article the once-over. His corrections and suggestions were very welcome!

Cheers

Tim…

Oracle Forms and Reports Services 11gR2 on Oracle Linux 6…

 

Last year I wrote an article about the installation of Oracle Forms and Reports Services 11gR2 on Oracle Linux 5. I’ve now written the article for Oracle Forms and Reports Services 11gR2 on Oracle Linux 6. The latest patch of F&RS is certified for OL6, along with JDK6 and JDK7.

In addition to the installation articles, I’ve compiled a collection of random notes about post-installation configuration into a separate article. I keep adding to it every time I come across a new (for me) issue.

I’m hoping this will stop me falling into the trap I did with AS10g, where I didn’t write down any of this stuff, assuming I would remember it, only to find I couldn’t remember Jack a few years later. :)

Cheers

Tim…

 

UltraEdit for Linux/Mac v4.0 Beta II

 

Hot on the heels of the recent UltraEdit v19 release for Windows, comes the UltraEdit v4 Beta II release for Linux/Mac.

I’ve just started using it and so far so good. They usually progress through the betas pretty quick. I didn’t have time to install the beta I before this one dropped. :)

Cheers

Tim…

PXE Installations on RHEL6 / OL6

 

I spent yesterday neatening up a few old articles. For the most part it is a bit of a dull process, but it has to be done every so often.

With what’s going on at work, it seemed like a good idea bring my old Kickstart and PXE Installation articles up to date. My kickstart article was written in the RHEL3 era which needed bringing up to date. Nothing has really changed about the process, but some new screen shots from OL6 make it look a little fresher. My old PXE Installation article was written against RHEL5/OL5, so I figured things wouldn’t have changed much between that and RHEL6/OL6… Wrong! I ended up having to write a new article specifically for PXE Installations on RHEL6/OL6.

I think that’s enough of me pretending to be a Linux sysadmin for a while… :)

Cheers

Tim…

All change. Virtualization, here we come!

 

Followers of the blog will know I dig virtualization. I first ran Oracle in virtualized environments over a decade ago.

In my current company there is a strong virtualization presence in the Windows space. Pretty much all Windows servers, including those running MS SQL Server, are actually VMs running on a VMware farm. The UNIX/Linux side is a little different. Most stuff is still done on physical boxes and what little virtualization is done, uses CentOS and KVM for freebie open source solutions.

There are a lot of architectural changes going on at the moment and I’ve been pushing *very hard* for a switch to the virtual infrastructure (VI) for all our middle tier servers and a few of our databases. It is looking very likely (but not guaranteed) that this will happen.

Q: What is the incentive to switch to a virtualized environment?
A: We have a bad spread of resource utilization at the moment. Some very big boxes doing very little work, but in security zones that are too unsafe to use them for other purposes. Other boxes will soon be maxed out because they have been used to consolidate services. What’s more, some of the servers that are used for consolidation have multiple, conflicting, installations on them which are already starting to cause administration headaches.

Q: How can virtualization help with our resource utilization?
A: Using a 12 core server with 60G of RAM for a little Apache reverse proxy is crazy. For the sake of resilience, we have multiple of these. That’s just the tip of the iceberg. Imagine adding those servers to the farm, carving out some little VMs and leaving all the rest of the resources to do cool stuff with. Sounds like a no-brainer to me. :)

Q: How can virtualization products ease our administration headaches?
A: By far the biggest administration headaches we are seeing in the middle tier relate to having multiple installations of products on a single machine. Doing upgrades and trying to remove old software can cause no end of headaches. Some of our old boxes have 30+ installations on them. It does your noggin in when you are trying to find out what is going on. You often spend much more time trying to identify which installation you should be looking at, than actually doing the task you’ve been asked to do. By moving to the VI we can add a greater level of separation between some of these installations, making life much clearer. Our current vision is one installation per VM. To upgrade we set up new VMs, migrate the services on to them and bin the old VMs. Everything remains clean and simple.

Q: What virtualization product should we use?
A: We have a big investment in VMware. There is a dedicated team who manage this infrastructure and know what they are doing. IMHO it is only Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt (FUD) that prevents other people in the company moving some or all of the Linux stuff on to that infrastructure. Oracle products are only part of the infrastructure, but we understand and accept the Oracle licensing, support and certification implications of this move.

Q: What version of Linux will we be using?
A: Oracle Linux! Yeah baby!

Q: So nothing can go wrong?
A: Don’t be stupid. We are bound to get some pain points, but I think it will be a fantastic move in the right direction.

So now all that remains is to get the final approval and start moving this stuff on to the VI. If this happens I will be ecstatic. If it doesn’t I think my tantrums-per-day ratio will increase, but I’m bottom of the food chain in the company, so I will have to do what I’m told. :) Fingers crossed.

Cheers

Tim…