VMware Workshop : Video

A few months ago I wrote about a VMware Workshop in Cork, co-sponsored by Pure Storage. All the posts associated with that are linked from the wrap-up post here. This is just a quick note to say a short video of that event came out recently and can be seen here.

There is a brief clip of me sounding dazed and confused, which makes me laugh.

For your information, we use VMware for the following.

  • Oracle databases : All but two of our projects using Oracle databases have the databases running on Oracle Linux inside VMware virtual machines. The two projects that don’t are things we are hoping to switch off soon as they are being replaced.
  • MySQL databases : All run on Oracle Linux inside VMware virtual machines.
  • SQL Server databases : All run on Windows inside VMware virtual machines.
  • WebLogic : All run on Oracle Linux inside VMware virtual machines.
  • Tomcat : All run on Oracle Linux inside VMware virtual machines.
  • Node.js : We recent put some stuff live running on Node. That’s on Oracle Linux inside VMware virtual machines.

You get the picture. We pretty much do everything on VMware and almost always use Oracle Linux. 🙂



VMware Workshop : It’s a Wrap!

Just a few quick comments to wrap up the whole“VMware Expert Database Workshop Program Oracle Edition” event…

Running Oracle workloads in virtualised environments is not a new thing for me. On my desktop I mostly use VirtualBox, but in the data centre it’s always VMware. I first started to run Oracle workloads on VMware about 15 years ago and have never really had any problems from a technology perspective. I’ve never been a VMware administrator, and never will be, but it’s important for me to know as much as possible about VMware to allow me to get the most out of the Oracle database when it’s running on that platform.

A very big thank you to all the folks at VMware and Pure Storage for inviting me to this event and organising everything. I feel hugely privileged to be able to get access to these people and this information!

Thanks to all the speakers, VMware and non-VMware, who took the time to come and educate us and deal with our questions, whether they were good or dumb questions. 🙂 Thanks to Michael Corey for being the event photographer, and not capturing me at my absolute worst. 🙂

For those folks that don’t have the opportunity to take part in an event like this, you can still get all the non-NDA information for free! Just Google “VMware best practice” and the name of your area of interest, like “Oracle RAC”, and you are going to get a whole bunch of links to VMware best practice documents that will tell you everything you need to know! The take-home message from the VMware support folks was the vast majority of customer issues actually come down to misconfigurations that are detailed in these best practice documents. Only go off-piste if you know what you are doing! 🙂

Thank you everyone. Much appreciated! See you soon…



PS. My posts related to this event were:

VMware Workshop : The Journey Home

It was a later start today. I headed down to breakfast at about 08:15 to meet Heli (and family) and Johannes. It was the first time I had made it to the hotel breakfast this week. Over time more people filtered in to say hello and goodbye. 🙂

From there it was back to my room to write some blog posts and continue the process of playing catch-up with the stuff I have missed while I have been away. I’m officially on holiday, but I can’t stop myself from logging in to work every day, checking my emails and doing odd things to keep on top of stuff. The thought of going back next week and having to deal with the week’s backlog is too much for me. 🙂

When I came to zip up my case the zip broke. I managed to fix it, but I was a bit concerned it might open in transit. At about 13:30 I headed off for the airport. The plane had been delayed coming out of Scotland, so it arrived late in Cork. As a result my flight home was delayed by about 40 minutes. The flight itself went smoothly enough and when I got to the other end my luggage was intact. 🙂

I was going to get a taxi home, but the delay meant I would be stuck in rush hour traffic, so instead I opted for the train. The train is a lot cheaper, but super annoying as I need to take two trains and walk with the bags at the end…

I ended up standing on both trains, then walking home in the rain. I had a coat in my bag, but I was scared to open my bag in case it wouldn’t close again… I arrived home wet, but in one piece… 🙂

I’ll do a wrap-up post next…



VMware Workshop : Day 3

Day 3 started the same way as day 2. I woke up and felt like a total zombie due to lack of sleep.

The agenda for “VMware Expert Database Workshop Program Oracle Edition” day 3 was packed and looked something like this.

  • “License Fortress from VLSS” by Dean Bolton
  • “VMware vSphere Core & SDDC – Networking – NSX & VCNS” by Chris Rohan
  • “VMware Experts Event – Brocade and VMware Technology and the VMware Solutions Lab” by Marcus Thordal
  • “VMware Integrated Containers and Oracle” by Simon Guyennet
  • “VMware Executive Presentation – The CPBU, vSphere and Friends, and the Experts Program” by Mike Adams
  • “VMware Experts Event – Pure Storage – Technical Session #2” by Somu Rajarathinam & Ron Ekins
  • “High Availability and Disaster Recovery in the SDDC” by Feidhlim O’Leary
  • “Management & Monitoring – Blue Medora and Oracle on vSphere” by Alain Geenrits
  • “License Audit” by Daniel Hesselink
  • “vSphere HA or Oracle RAC, SRM or Data Guard, they are all complimentary when Oracle is run in the SDDC” by Sudhir Balasubramanian

The business proposition from VLSS is super interesting. To put it simply they offer an insurance policy for your Oracle compliance. If you are running Oracle workloads on VMware, or any other platform for that matter, you should definitely look at this!

Since I’m currently going down the rabbit hole with Docker, the vSphere container stuff was pretty interesting. Both what is already GA and what is coming… 🙂

At the end of the last session we recorded a short video question/answer session, which will probably come out in a montage at some point. Kind-of scary and fun mixed together. From there we had a quick tour of Global Support Services (GSS), before heading back to the hotel. Before I knew what happened the last day was done!

In the evening a group of us went out to eat, then it was back to the hotel to chat more about tech, how the workshop had gone, life, the universe and everything. 🙂

I’ll do a proper wrap-up post when I get back home with all the real thank you messages in it, but suffice to say thanks to everyone for making this happen and letting me be a part of it.



VMware Workshop : Day 2

Another late night and another morning feeling like a zombie! 🙂

The agenda for “VMware Expert Database Workshop Program Oracle Edition” day 2 looked something like this.

  • “The Best Oracle Support Team on Earth – Global Support Services Oracle Team” by Yvonne Murphy and Gabi Rosell
  • “Oracle on vSphere Licensing” by Dave Welch
  • “vRealize Automation and Oracle” by Jad El-Zein
  • “vRealize Automation and Oracle mini Workshop” by Jad El-Zein
  • “vSphere Core Storage Fundamentals” by Andres Scherr
  • “vSphere Core – vCPU Scheduler & Memory allocated to Virtual Machines” by Valentin Bondzio
  • “Troubleshooting in Virtual Environments for DBs from the GOS\vNUMA” by Valentin Bondzio
  • “Modern Converged Storage, & VSAN & VVols” by Andres Scherr
  • “Oracle on vSphere on Pure Storage Cloud based Labs – Day 2”

It was another full-on day. Lots of content. Lots of questions. Lots of answers. I really hope when I get home I can make sense of the notes I took during the day! 🙂

In the evening we went out to a bar in the town and got food and drink for those that do. During the food there was music and Irish dancing by Tanel Poder? 🙂

We got back to the hotel at about 22:00, so the obvious thing to do was go to bed. Unfortunately I stayed up until after midnight chatting about tech again! It’s going to be a tough day tomorrow! 🙂



VMware Workshop : Day 1

Having a late night before an intensive day in a lab is not a great idea. I woke up feeling like the living dead. We got in a bus and were driven a few miles to the VMware office in Cork to start the “VMware Expert Database Workshop Program Oracle Edition”.

The basic agenda for the day was as follows.

  • “Introductions and Program Overview” by Don Sullivan & Mohan Potheri
  • “The Basics of vSphere and the SDDC for Oracle” by Mike Corey
  • “VMware Executive Welcome to Cork” by Karen Egan
  • “Pure Storage Executive Welcome” by Carl McQuillan
  • VMware vSphere Core & SDDC – vMotion, The Decoupling of the Server and the Host” by Valentin Bondzio
  • “Oracle on VMware ‘One Woman’s Journey'” by Yvonne Murphy
  • “Pure Storage – A Technical Session #1” by Somu Rajarathinam and Alex Infanzon
  • “Oracle on vSphere on Pure Storage Cloud based Labs” with Mohan Potheri, Dean Bolton, Sudhir Balasubramanian

The whole day was really interactive. We were asking questions and giving opinions throughout the sessions. Between the sessions I was working through a list of questions with various speakers. This was really a combination of trying to learn new stuff, confirm stuff I already know and updating some of my out of date knowledge.

In the evening we headed out to dinner and I spent a lot of time talking to Valentin Bondzio and taking notes on my phone. 🙂

We headed back to the hotel and spent a long time continuing the conversations of the day. I was planning on an early night, but if you give me the opportunity to geek out I’m going to take it, so it was another late night! 🙂

It was a great first day. I wrote loads of notes and cleared a lot of my questions. Everyone at VMware and Pure Storage were super helpful, to a big thank you to everyone! I’m looking forward to tomorrow!



VMware Workshop : The Journey Begins

I mentioned a few days ago I would be attending the “VMware Expert Database Workshop Program Oracle Edition”. That trip started today.

I got up at silly o’clock to get my taxi to the airport. As usual I had some problems sleeping, worrying about potentially missing my early flight. Thanks brain!

The airport was really crowded. There were queues to the queues to the queues. I find it really irritating when you tweet about it and get a, “I’m sorry, we really care!”, type of message. Nonsense! If you cared you would staff accordingly! You know the schedule of the planes. Sort yourself out!

One of my colleagues happened to be on the same plane, on his way to see family, but he arrived at the airport a little later than me, so didn’t make it through to the gate until boarding time. That was a pity as I wanted to impress his wife with my witty repartee, whilst he squirmed waiting for me to start swearing and generally being obnoxious. Despite views to the contrary, I can behave when I need to. 🙂

The flight to Cork was only about 70 minutes, so it was shorter than the queues I had already stood in!

Once at Cork I was met by the driver and a few minutes later Frits Hoogland turned up. We headed to the hotel and sat down in the lounge chatting about Docker, Ansible and Vagrant while we waited for our rooms to be sorted. We arrived hours before the official check-in. 🙂 After a while we were joined by Martin Klier and the conversation continued.

Once our rooms were ready we headed up to them for a while, before getting together in the evening to meet everyone and get some food. After the food we stayed up in the hotel lobby until about midnight chatting about tech. It was good fun, but probably a bad idea since we had an early start planned for the next day! 🙂



WebLogic 11g, Forms, ADF, Oracle Linux and VMware

Following on from my recent batch of “what I’m doing at the moment” style posts, I just thought I would mention some of the infrastructure I’ve been installing and configuring recently…

We are still part way through a migration from Oracle Application Server to WebLogic 11g. There are many applications to migrate and test, fortunately not by me, but they fit into two main categories.

Some of our high profile applications of each type are already running in production on WebLogic and the general feedback has been very positive. I guess most of this comes down to the hardware refresh. 🙂

There are still a few more apps to migrate, but everything is pretty close to the end of testing now, so hopefully it won’t be long before we can say a not-so-fond farewell to Oracle Application Server!

All of these WebLogic installations are running on top of Oracle Linux 6 inside VMware virtual machines. So far we’ve seen nothing untoward about this setup and I would have no reservations about recommending this approach to others.

If you have any questions/concerns about Oracle Linux, you might want to read my Oracle Linux : Frequently Asked Questions article. If you have any concerns about Oracle’s stance as far as VMware support goes, you might want to read this.



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.