Using Enterprise Manager to manage cloud services

Yesterday we talked about the virtues of Enterprise Manager. To honest the type of monitoring tool is not important but the fact that you have one is. One of the virtues that VMWare touts of VSphere is that you can manage instances on your server as well as instances in VCloud. This is something worthy of playing with. The same tool for your on premise instances also managing your instances in the cloud has power. Unfortunately, VCloud allows you to allocate virtual machines and storage associated with it so you only have a IaaS option of compute only. You can’t allocate just storage. You can’t deploy a database server unless you have a database deployed that you want to clone. You need to start with an operating system and build from there. There are benefits of PaaS and SaaS that you will never see in the VCloud implementation.

Oracle Enterprise Manager provides the same universal management interface for on premise and in cloud services. Amazon falls short on this. First, they don’t have on premise instances so the tools that they have don’t monitor anything in your data center, only in their cloud. Microsoft has tools for monitoring services plugins for looking at Azure services. It is important to note that you need a gateway server in the Azure cloud to aggregate the data and ship the telemetry data back and report it in the monitoring tool. There is a good Blog detailing the cost if IaaS monitoring in Azure. The blog points out that the outbound data transfer for monitoring can cost up to $17/month/server so this is not something that comes for free.

Today we are going to look at using Enterprise Manager as a management tool for on premise systems, the Oracle Public Cloud, Amazon AWS, and Microsoft Azure. We are going to cheat a little and use a VirtualBox instance of Enterprise Manager 13c. We are not going to go through the installation process. The books and blogs that we referenced yesterday detail how to do this. Unfortunately, the VirtualBox instance is available from edelivery.oracle.com. We are not going to use this instance but are going to use an instance for demo purposes only available internal to Oracle. The key difference between the two systems is that the edelivery instance is 21 GB in size for download and expands to provide an OEM 13c instance for testing while the internal system (retriever.us.oracle.com) has a 12c and 11g database installed and is 39.5 GB (expanded to almost 90 GB when uncompressed). Given the size of the instance I really can’t provide external access to this instance. You can recreate this by downloading the edelivery system, installing an 11g database instance, installing a 12c database instance, and configuring OEM to include data from those instances to replicate the screen shots that we are including.



If we look at the details on the virtual box instance we notice that we need at least 2 cores and 10 GB of memory to run this instance. The system is unusable at 8 GB of RAM. We really should bump this up to 12 GB of RAM but given that it is for demo purposes and for training it is ok if it runs a little slow. If we were running this in production it is recommended to grow this to 4 cores and 16 GB of memory and also recommended that you not use a downloaded VirtualBox instance for production but install from scratch.

The key things that we are going to do are walk through what it takes to add a monitoring agent onto the service that we are trying to monitor and manage. If we look at the architecture of Enterprise Manager we notice that there are three key components; the Oracle Management Repository (OMR), the Oracle Management Service (OMS), and the Oracle Management Agent (OMA). The OMR is basically a database that keeps a history of all telemetry actions as well as reports and analytics for the systems being monitored. The OMS is the heart of Enterprise Manager and runs on a WebLogic server. The code is written in Java and presents the primary user interface to the administrators as well as being the gateway between the OMR and the agents or OMAs. The agents are installed on the target systems and collect operating system data, database data, weblogic data, and all other log data to ship back to the OMR for analysis by the users.

It is important to note at this point that most PaaS and SaaS providers do not allow you to install an Enterprise Manager Agent or any other management agent on their instances. They want to manage the services for you and force you to use their tools to manage their instance. SalesForce, for example, only gives you access to your customer relationship data. You can export your contact lists to an csv file to backup your data but you can’t correlate the contact list to the documents that you have shared with these users. Amazon RDS does not provide a file system access, system access to the database, or access to the operating system so that you can install the management agent. You must use their tools to monitor services provided on their sites. Unfortunately, this inhibits you from looking at important things like workload repository reports or sql tuning guides to see if something is running slow or waiting on a lock. Your only choice is to deploy the desired PaaS or SaaS as a manual or bundled install on IaaS forcing you to manually manage things like backups and patching on your own.

The first thing that we need to do in Enterprise Manager is to log in and click on the Setup button on the top right. We need to define named credentials since we are going to connect to the cloud service using public and private ssh keys. We need to follow the Security pull down to Named Credentials.

We click on the Create icon in the top left and add credentials with public and private keys. If we don’t have an ssh key to access the service we can generate an ssh key using ssh-keygen which generates a public and private key and upload the key using the SSH Access pull down in the hamburger menu. Once we upload the ssh key we can use ssh -i keyname.ppk opc@ip_address for our database server. We will use this keyname.ppk to connect with Enterprise Manager and have all telemetry traffic transferred via the ssh protocol.


Once we have the credentials valid in the cloud account we can create the ssh access through Enterprise Manager. To do this we to to Setup at the top right, Security, Named Credentials. We then click on the Create button in the middle left to start entering data about the credentials. The name in the the screen shot below failed because it begins with a number so we switched it to ssh2017 since 2017ssh failed the naming convention. We are trying to use host access via ssh which is done with pull down menu definitions. The system defaults to a host access but we need to change from host to global which does not tie our credentials to one ip address. We upload our public and private key as well as associate this with the opc user since that user has sudo rights. We can verify the credentials by looking at the bottom of the list. This should allow us to access our cloud host via ssh and deploy an agent to our cloud target.

Note that we created two credentials because we had a step fail later. We created credentials for the opc user and for the oracle user. The opc credentials are called ssh2017 as shown in the screen shots. The oracle credentials are called oracle2017 and are not shown. The same steps are used just the username is changed as well as the name of the credentials.






If we want to install the management agent onto our instance we need to know the ip address of the service that we are going to monitor as well as an account that can sudo to root or run elevated admin services. We go to the Enterprise Manager splash screen, login, select the Setup button in the top right and drill down to Add Target and Add Target Manually. This takes us to the Add Target screen where we can Install Agent on Host. To get rid of the warnings, we added our cloud target ip address to the /etc/hosts file and used a fully qualified and short name associated with the ip address. We probably did not add the right external dns name but it works with Enterprise Manager. When we add the host we use the fully qualified host name. We can find this by logging into the cloud target and looking at the /etc/hosts file on that server. This gives us the local ip address and a fully qualified host name. Once we have this we can enter a directory to upload the agent software to. We had to create an agent directory under the /u01/app/oracle directory. We select the oracle2017 credentials (the screen shots use ssh2017 but this generates an error later) we defined in the previous step and start uploading the agent software and configuring the host as a target.





Note that we could have entered the ip address rather than going through adding the ip address to /etc/hosts. We would have received a warning with the ip address.

When we first tried this we got an error during the initialization phase that opc did not own the /u01/app/oracle directory and had to create an agent directory and change ownership. Fortunately, we could easily resubmit and enter a new directory without having to reenter all of the other information. The deployment takes a while because Enterprise Manager needs to upload the agent binaries, extract, and install them. The process is updated with status so that you can see the progress and restart when errors happen. When we changed the ownership, the installation failed at a later step stating the opc did not have permission to add the agent to the inventory. We corrected this by installing as oracle and setting the /u01/app/oracle/agent directory to be owned by oracle.

When we commit the ip address or host name as well as the ssh credentials, we can track progress as the management server deploys the agent. We get to a point where we note that the oracle user does not have ssh capabilities and we will need to run some stuff manually from the opc account.



At this point we should have an enterprise manager connection to a cloud host. To get this working from my VirtualBox behind my AT&T Uverse wireless router I first had to configure a route on my broadband connection and set the ip address of the Enterprise Manager VirtualBox image to a static ip address. This allows the cloud instance to talk back to the OMS and store data in the OMR.



The next step is to discover the database instances. This is done by going through a guided discovery on the host that we just provisioned. It took a few minutes to sync up with the OMS but we could verify this with the emctl status agent command on the target host. We add the target manually using the guided discovery and select database services to look for on the target.




At this point we should have a database, listener, and host connected to our single pane of management glass. We should see a local database (em12c) and a cloud based database (prs12cHP). We can look at the host characteristics as well as dive into sql monitoring, database performance, and database management like backup and restore options or adding users to the repository. We could add a Java Cloud Service as well as link these two systems together and trace a web page request down to a sql read and look at what the longest latency component is. We can figure out if the network, java memory allocation, or databse disk is causing the slowest response. We can also look at sql tuning recommendations to get suggestions on changing our sql code or execution plans using the arw report and sql tuning utilities in Enterprise Manager.

In summary, we can connect to an on premise server as well as a cloud server. We can’t connect to an Amazon RDS instance because we don’t get file system level access to push a client to or a root user to change the agent permissions. We do get this with IaaS on Oracle, Compute servers on Azure, and EC2 on Amazon. We also get this with PaaS on Oracle and potentially event Force.com from SalesForce. No one give you this ability with SaaS. It is assumed that you will take the SaaS solution as is and not need to look under the covers. Having a single pane of glass for monitoring and provisioning services is important. The tool should do more than tell you how full a disk is or how much of a cpu is loaded or available. It should dive into the application and let you look at where bottlenecks are and help troubleshoot issues. We could spend weeks diving into Enterprise Manager and the different management packs but we are on a journey to look at PaaS options from Amazon, Microsoft, and Oracle.

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