Thursday, February 28, 2013

Oracle enterprise reference architecture

Everyone who has been watching Oracle and the strategy from Oracle closely will have noticed that they have been growing by acquiring new products and companies and by developing new solutions. When you look at the current portfolio of Oracle you will notice that they can provide solutions in a wide range of fields. One of the daunting tasks for Oracle is providing an overall strategy and architecture to combine all those products and product lines into a reference architecture which can be used and deployed by architects at there customers and at system integrators. To help architects with this Oracle has developed the "IT Strategies from Oracle" or in short ITSO. ITSO helps customers to find there way in the wide range of products and solutions and build IT strategies and architectures based upon the Oracle best practices and blueprints.

The general starting point for ITSO is the overview image of the IT Strategies from Oracle from which you can drill into details. 

As you can notice in the above overview image the IT strategies from Oracle do consist out of 3 main components. These are: "Enterprise Technology Strategies", "Oracle Reference Architecture" and "Enterprise Solution Designs". To fully understand the the IT strategies from Oracle it is of vital importance to understand the meaning of the three main components and there role within the overal strategie from Oracle. 

Enterprise Technology Strategy
The Enterprise Technology Strategies or in short ETS is the integration of the vertical positioned technologies into the core part of the ITSA, the core part is the ORA within ITSA. Within the technologies mentioned in ETS you can find technology paradigms like SOA, BPM, EDA, etc. From within the ORA there is a connection made to the verticals within the Enterprise Technology strategy. 

Oracle Reference Architecture
The Oracle Reference Architecture or in short ORA. ORA is a logical architecture reference showcasing how to build and deploy enterprise class solutions. The purpose of ORA is to provide a reference architecture for designing, building, and integrating solutions based on modern technology from Oracle and other vendors. The reference architecture offers architecture principles and guidance based on recommendations from Oracle product development architects and field experts. Information provided by ORA gives architects an understanding of how to design solutions for the Oracle environment and best leverage its capabilities.

It is important to note that One of the key concepts of ORA is to be vendor neutral  and product agnostic. This means that within theOracle Reference Architecture core document no Oracle products are specifically promoted. Having stated this, there is an exception made by Oracle that they will name specific vendors and products in case that this is needed to clarify certain principals or to be used as an example.

Enterprise Solution Designs
The Enterprise Solution Designs or in short ESD is used to provide insight in specific industrie  perspective. It combines specific industrie requirements into solution designs  which leverage the information in the Oracle Reference Architecture and in the Enterprise Technology Strategy documents.

The entire stack of information provides architects working with Oracle products and/or developing architectures for enterprise grade solutions. This information can be valuable to craft a overall architect strategy which you can follow and use as guidance in creating a strategic roadmap for the future and set design principles for a team of architects. 

Social and location based marketing

The combination of social data and mobile location data can be a very big game changers for advertising. Combining the insight of what a person his interestes are and the location can help to promote new products and services in a very targeted fashion. To be able to retrieve the amounts of data needed and to process this data you will have to look at big-data solutions. In the below video IBM is showcasing the promotion of a new coffee place next to a theater. You can see how a specific group of people is selected based upon there location and based upon the interests that they express via social media.

Big data is creating opportunities for Communications Service Providers (CSPs) to establish new revenue streams. With big data technology, CSPs can analyze the location data generated by millions of mobile devices and use the resulting insights, along with offerings from business partners, to deliver customized services and offers that consumers want.

IBM is getting currently more and more attention on there big-data solutions and thinking. Specially for big-data IBM has created a specific big data hub site which can be interesting for everyone interested in big-data solutions and how to use them in a enterprise.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Oracle SQL in Eclipse

The Eclipse project started as a project for developing a development platform for Java code. Even though it is still focused arround Java a lot of additions have been build around Eclipse. Eclipse is as the project like to explain; "a community for individuals and organizations who wish to collaborate on commercially-friendly open source software. Its projects are focused on building an open development platform comprised of extensible frameworks, tools and runtimes for building, deploying and managing software across the lifecycle. "

You can find plugins for large number of languages and for a large number of development frameworks that can be enabled within Eclipse. One of the companies investing in the development of Eclipse plugins is Oracle and as Oracle is a database company they also made sure some code was donated to make Eclipse a SQL development environment. This however is somewhat unknown as Oracle mostly promotes the Oracle SQL Developer solution. However, when you only need to work on SQL code occasionally and do most of your development work in Eclipse this can be very handy. Or,... if you just like Eclipse more then you like Oracle SQL Developer.

To start using the Oracle database plugin for Eclipse you will to undertake the following steps.

Step 1:
Start Eclipse and go to "Windows" - "Open Perspective" - "Other"

Step 2:
Selecting the option from step 1 will provide you with the screen as show below. Here you can select the perspective for database development.

Step 3:
The action performed in step 2 will open a new side menu on the left side of Eclipse and will show as the "Data Source Explorer".  At the Database connections menu right-click and select New.

Step 4:
Eclipse is providing a lot of database connection types. If you have installed the Eclipse Oracle additions you will also have the option for an Oracle database. Out of the box a lot of other database connection types are also provide as you can see in the below screenshot.

Step 5:
When you have selected the Oracle database option you will be provided with the below menu where you will have to enter de connection details for this specific database connection.

When you have successfully completed the actions in step 5 and have clicked finish you should now have a working connection and the options to start developing PL/SQL code and start executing commands against your Oracle database. Below is a screenshot showing your Eclipse Oracle SQL worksheet.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Prepare Oracle Linux for EM12C agent deployment

When you are deploying new Oracle Enterprise Manager agents on Linux hosts to monitor your servers it is good to know that there are some security related things that need to be changed to be able to install the agent correctly. During the installation it will be needed that the account on the target server is able to do a sudo.

To enable this you will need to add the account you will be using to install the agent to the sudo users. In our case we are going to add the Oracle Enterprise Manager agent to a hadoop node which has a user named hadoopnode0 under which the agent will be deployed. To be able to install the agent with this user we define a named credential in Oracle Enterprise Manager and state that it needs to execute its commands as the user root.

Before we continu we have to be sure that the user hadoopnode0 is added to the sudoers. For this you will have to edit the file /etc/sudoers and make some changes. Remember that this example is quite a quick and dirty example to get the agent on the host, in a large scale deployment you might want to consider an other strategie with specific usernames and specific sudo rights to it.

First change the following line so it is commented out:
Defaults    requiretty

into this:
#Defaults    requiretty

Next tho this we have to enable the option for visiblepw. This is by default disabled so we need to make sure it is enabled. Considering you have a fresh install change the following line:
Defaults   !visiblepw

Into this:
Defaults   visiblepw

Now add the user that you will be using to the file. In our case this is hadoopnode0 and we add a line for this user directly under the line for the root account.
root    ALL=(ALL)       ALL
hadoopnode0     ALL=(ALL)       ALL

After changing those settings you should be able to use the agent deployment options on the host in Oracle Enterprise manager. More details on how to deploy an agent can be found in the Oracle Enterprise Manager add discovered host blogpost

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Big-data for the internet of things

If you look at the future outlook of the technology industry you will notice that more and more analyst firms are talking about "the Internet of things". The Internet of things is the conceptual believe that in the future more and more devices will be connected to the Internet. This will include not only the devices that we currently connect to the Internet like workstations, smartphones, tablets and even audio equipment and television sets. In the conceptual idea of the "Internet of things" the idea is that we connect all electronic devices to the Internet. This will include your fridge, your washing machine, your lawn mower and even your light bulbs in your house.

The idea is that all devices should be able to communicate back in a calling-home principle and that you interact with them remotely. This is providing some great new opportunities for both the consumer as well as the producer of the equipment and others. Consumers will be able to interact differently with there equipment and will be more informed about things without the need to actively gather the information.  Producers will be receiving feeds of information about the use, mis-use and malfunctioning of the equipment they have sold and can use this to tweak new products more on real usage.

Some people will be in favor of such a "Internet if things" some will be against it. We will see legal battles on who is the owner of the data you send out via your device, questions around privacy and questions around liability. Whatever the outcome of those legal discussions we will see the "Internet of things" coming to out houses and we will start using it at some point.

The interesting part in the concept of the Internet of things is not purely the new products that will be developed and the new business opportunities that will arise from it. It will be for a large part about the new technologies that need to be developed to make the Internet of things work. If you keep a close watch on what is happening within the technology field you already see some things happening. Some of them are prerequisites for the Internet of things some are enablers and some are direct part of the concept.

One of the prerequisites for example is IPv6 a new version of the IP protocol. This is a new version of the protocol which allows more addresses to be assigned. For many Internet users this will be something they are not aware of however it is one of the prerequisites for the Internet of things.

A second movement in the technology industry is the rise of big-data. Not so much the rise of data itself however more the new way of how we handle the massive amounts of data. As we will be adding more and more devices to the Internet and they will be sending out data to consumers and to producers there will be the need of handling this vast amount of data in way that we can make sense of it. Having the option to handle vast amounts of data will be a key factor to success for businesses.

In the "past" big-data was the field of technology driven companies, companies like google, yahoo, Facebook and twitter where the early adopters and inventors of how to handle massive amounts of data. The new players in this field who need to beta grip on how the need to handle vast amounts of data will be companies who are not considered high-tech companies in the IT field. This will be for example companies who produce washing machines. Where in the past they needed to be experts in mostly mechanical and electric engineering ow they need to play there part in data handling.

If for example your washing machine starts calling back home to the producing company about all the sensor data it can produce this will be enormous. Think about sensor data of temperature, rounds per minute, water used, amount of clothing, menu selection by the user. All this data is of great importance to the producing company as they can turn the real world into a testing lab.

This provides a couple of challenges for such a company. How are they going to receive this information which is coming to them in a high velocity, how to store it, how to do analysis on the stored data and how are they going to get value out of it for both the company and the consumer.

Understanding how to handle big data coming for sensors and devices developed companies who normally are not into high-tech will be a key to success for those companies. The rise of the "Internet of things" will bring a rise in new technologies around data and within the need for experts in this field.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Understanding Gartner research methodologies

Gartner is one of the world's leading information technology research and advisory company. Commonly Gartner reports are read by CxO level executives and decision makers and they provide a good view of what is happening in the world of technology at this moment and what the upcoming trends are. The current Gartner market research is focussed around a number of methodologies. Understanding the methodologies can be important. It can be important if you are a technology vendor and Gartner is conducting research in your field. Due to the common audience of Gartner reports it can be a game changer if Gartner positions you favourable.

Next to this understanding the Gartner methodologies can be important if you are a CxO executive and want to make a decision and would like to make use of the reports from Gartner. Understanding the reports correctly and interpreting them correctly is in this case of vital importance.

A third group of people reading the Gartner reports are market analysts, technology analysts and entrepreneurs. Gartner reports are helping you to understand the current technology market and the way emerging technologies are heading.

Gartner describes it's methodologies as follows;
Our proprietary research processes allow us to see IT as it pertains to the evolving business landscape. Our research methodologies are based on our years of experience observing trends and scientifically mapping technology's progress against true delivery. 

 The success of our proprietary methodologies lies in distilling large volumes of data into clear, precise, actionable insight and advice so our clients can formulate plans or make difficult business decisions. 
The observations and recommendations delivered through our proven methodologies ensure that you make decisions about the business applications of IT with higher levels of confidence. 

Our clients make important multi-year technology investments in the face of uncertainty and risk. Our methodologies help our clients reduce and manage that risk, and enable them to succeed in their roles as they mobilize IT to contribute to their organization's business objectives.

The main research methodologies used by Gartner are; Hype Cycles, Magic Quadrant, MarketScopes, ITScores, Vendor Ratings, Market Forecasts, Market Share Analysis and IT Market Clocks. All are proprieatary to Gartner.

Hype cycles:
When new technologies make bold promises, how do you discern the hype from what’s commercially viable? And when will such claims pay off, if at all? Gartner Hype Cycles provide a graphic representation of the maturity and adoption of technologies and applications, and how they are potentially relevant to solving real business problems and exploiting new opportunities. Gartner Hype Cycle methodology gives you a view of how a technology or application will evolve over time, providing a sound source of insight to manage its deployment within the context of your specific business goals.

Magic Quadrant:
Who are the competing players in the major technology markets? How are they positioned to help you over the long haul? Gartner Magic Quadrants are a culmination of research in a specific market, giving you a wide-angle view of the relative positions of the market's competitors. By applying a graphical treat­ment and a uniform set of evaluation criteria, a Gartner Magic Quadrant quickly helps you digest how well technology providers are executing against their stated vision.

When markets are growing and IT solutions are stable, Magic Quadrants provide the best tool for understanding how the players are competitively positioned. But when new markets emerge and user requirements are in flux, solutions are often approached in wildly different ways, making a competitive positioning less useful. Mature markets present a similar challenge, as the differentiators among consolidating technology providers and solutions grow more difficult to discern.

Gartner ITScores are holistic sets of interactive maturity assessments designed to help CIOs and IT leaders evaluate the maturity of both the IT organization as a provider of IT services, and the enterprise as a consumer of information technology. Unlike other IT maturity assessments, a Gartner IT Score measures your organization's capabilities within the context of an enterprise culture, behaviors and capacity for leadership - factors that dramatically impact IT's effectiveness and it's ability to contribute real business value.

Vendor Ratings:
Clients use our well-defined methodology to rate IT technology providers—large, small, public or private. Gartner Vendor Ratings assess all the different aspects of a technology provider, such as its strategy, organization, products, technology, marketing, financials and support. These ratings are periodically revised to reflect changes in assessment when a significant internal or external event directly affects the provider.

Market Forecast:
How do you quantify the impact of a market’s business drivers? Is a market growing, retreating or flat? The best answers come from an analysis of both supply and demand, comparing technology investment trends in the provider community with the spending trends of end users. It’s a unique picture you get from Gartner, based on our relationships with thousands of end users and providers. And it’s a view you can’t get anywhere else.

Market Share Analysis:
Understanding market share is one of the most important metrics used by executives in any business. Through our Market Share Analysis methodology, clients see how share is allocated among 400 technology providers in 37 key markets. Our detailed analysis of how provider revenue is allocated reveals what types of solutions are succeeding, which are trailing and where opportunities exist for providers to take additional share.

Market Clocks:
The useful life of every technology product or service has an end, beyond which it will be more cost-effective to retire and replace the asset than to continue maintaining it. Gartner IT Market Clocks are decision frameworks that provide a full life cycle view of technology assets - whether capabilities, products or services. They help you better evaluate the technology assets you are responsible for, so you can prioritize IT investments and build technology road maps that support business plans.

How Linux is built

Linux is already for years a big player in the server market. A large number of servers running on Linux help millions and millions of people in there daily lives without even knowing that they interact with Linux. More recently Linux is coming in phones and in devices. More and more workstations are becoming Linux or Linux based. It is already for years no longer the exclusive domain of developers and coders. A good moment to look back at how the Linux kernel and your linux solutions are build and where they come from. In the below video you will get a quick introduction, the video is made by TheLinuxFoundation.

Friday, February 08, 2013

Oracle Enterprise Manager add discovered hosts

When deploying Oracle Enterprise Manager in your datacenter you need to populate it with targets, targets being hosts or installations on hosts. As we have shown in a previous blogpost you can make use Auto Discovery in Oracle Enterprise manager which uses NMAP to do a scan on a range of IP addresses to find new hosts which will be candidates to be added to Oracle Enterprise Manager.

As you can see in the diagram below there are a couple of steps included in the process of adding new targets to Oracle Enterprise Manager. When you have discovered new candidates to be added as anew target you will have to add them in step 2.

Add targets from Auto Discovery Results gives your a couple of options. Add Non-Host targets, Add Discovered Hosts and Ignore Discovered targets. Below we will show you how to use the results from the auto discovery option in Oracle Enterprise Manager to add discovered hosts.

From the main menu you need to select "setup", "Add Target" and then "Auto Discovery Results". This will bring you the screen as shown below.

From this menu you can start the promotion of a discovered host into a target in Oracle Enterprise manager. For this you have to select the line representing the discovered host you want to promote and click the "promote" button in the top menu bar. This will bring you to the screen shown below.

From this screen on you will be guided into a 3 step process for adding your target to Oracle Enterprise Manager. This will include installing the agent on the newly discovered target. step one being "host and platform" as shown above. The next step is the installation details as shown below.

Within the installation details screen you will have to define the installation base directory for your agent. import to note is that you have to also provide named credentials. It is needed that the named credentials you provide are representing an account on the target server that is able to write to this directory.  After completing this step and providing all the details you can go to the next phase where you will be presented with an overview of all details you have provided in the steps before. This screen is shown below.

As you can see I have not provided any pre-installation scripts or post-installation scripts. However when adding new targets to Oracle Enterprise Manager in a controlled environment in your enterprise there might be additional steps required when placing a host under Oracle Enterprise Manager control. For example, updating your CMDB, if you have automated scripts for this you can start them here directly which will reduce the manual work you have to do after that. When done you can click the "Deploy Agent" button which will start the process of installing the agent on the new host and register the machine in Oracle Enterprise Manager.

After clicking the "Deploy Agent" button you will be presented with a screen where you can monitor all the steps that are taken by the installer and where you will be notified about any error that might occur during the 3 steps of the installation process. The steps are; "Initialization", "Remote Prerequisite Check" and "Agent Deployment". If you do not encounter any issues you will be presented with the result shown below.

Thursday, February 07, 2013

Oracle Enterprise Manager Configure Auto Discovery

There are a couple of ways on how to add new hosts to Oracle Enterprise Manager. One of the methods you can use is the auto discovery option. When using this option Oracle Enterprise Manager will start scanning a specific range of IP addresses to identify hosts.  This might in some cases where you have to discover and add a large range of new hosts be the ideal way of doing things. To start a auto discovery porcess within Oracle Enterprise manager you have to start with selecting the menu option "Configure Auto Discovery" which can be found under "Setup" and then "Add Target".

This is the first step in a guided process. The main steps of the Oracle Enterprise Manager auto discovery option are shown here below.

On the setup page select the "Host and Oracle VM Manager Discovery Using IP Scan" option. This is the option that will help you to scan a range of IP address to find hosts that can be added to Oracle Enterprise Manager.

In the below shown "Host Discovery (agentless)" screen select the create option to create a new scan.

This will bring you to the page where you can specify the details of the scan. In the "Host Discovery Specification" screen you will have to enter a name for your scan and an optional description. Next to this you will have top add an agent to the scan. This will be the agent that will be performing the scan. This means that, if you have segregated your network in zones, you might want to give it some extra thought before selecting just a random agent.

After selecting an agent you will have to state the IP range you want to scan. In the example below I will be scanning the IP addresses up until You can use a number of options to specify IP ranges or hostnames. From the Oracle Enterprise Manager manual you can read the following options:

Select the agent in the IP Ranges for scan table, and enter the IP ranges to scan. You can specify any or even all of the following:
  • One or more absolute hostnames, each separated by a space; for example:
  • One or more IP addresses, each separated by a space
  • A range of addresses; for example: 10.0.0-255.1-250. Note that IP addresses and IP ranges must be separated by a comma; for example: 10.0.0-255.1-250
  • Classless Inter-Domain Routing (CIDR) notations; for example:
Separate each value with a space; for example: 10.0.0-255.1-250,254

Next to adding the information on the "Scan Details" tab you will have to specify some details under the "Job Details" tab. On this tab, as shown below you will have to enter the credentials used to perform the scan from the host where the agent is used. You will have to have configured the sudo privileges to enable the host to perform the scan.

After setting the correct credentials you can click the "Save and Submit IP Scan" button to start the scan. This will schedule the scan. The scheduled scan and the final results will be shown in the overview screen as shown above where you will be able to zoom to the details of the discovered hosts. 

As you can see in the above screenshot the discovery job has completed with success. By using the results of this scan you can take next steps to add the discovered hosts to Oracle Enterprise Manager.

Monday, February 04, 2013

Oracle database 12C DBaaS in ExaData

The new major release of the Oracle database will be Oracle database 12C which is in line with the current Oracle trend to cloudify all current products and ensure that all new products are ready for the cloud. Meaning that the anounchment  made on Oracle OpenWorld 2012 for the Oracle database 12C (Cloud) was not a supprise for the most of the attendees of the conference.

However the fact that Oracle is turing to a model for multi-tenancy in its databases is a twist not all of the attendees might have seen coming. The interesting thing might also be that it was stated that Oracle was already working on a cloud / multi-tenancy database for a long time. What was not announced specifically was that the the new Oracle database 12C will be included in the new versions of the exadata. This is to be expected however it could also have been that a specific version of 12C would be introduced to be working inside the exadata.

The current Oracle statement is the following:
Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c DBaaS is platform agnostic and is designed to work on Exadata/non-Exadata, physical/virtual, Oracle/non Oracle infrastructure(hardware and OS) platforms and it’s not a mandatory requirement to use Exadata as the base platform.

Oracle database 12C will be the Oracle foundation for Database as a Service DBaas. an interesting article by Gagan Chawala on the Oracle website is already provding some insights into how DBaaS can be developed with keeping in mind Oracle Database 12C.

Secondly the article is showing the history of the database within Oracle to show you how we came to the current point in time with the Oracle database technology.  Do find the slide screenshot below:

Next to the fact that the Oracle database 12C will be shipping in upcoming versions of the ExaData is also rumored however not confirmed officially that Oracle VM will be a part of the new versions of ExaData to provide even more options to slice and dice a ExaData and make it usable in a multi-tenancy model. Having a multi-tenancy is an outstanding request from hosting companies for a long period of time already. 

Linux kernel panic init Not tainted

During the installation of a test server I suddenly got some strange messages while trying to switch between users. After a logout of the system I was unable to login as any user. In a last desperate attempt I rebooted the machine with the result that there was now directly after the machine started a kernel panic message. In my case the message consisted out of the following:

Kernel panic - not syncing: Attempted to kill init!
PID: 1, comm: init Not tainted 2.6.39-300.26.1.el6uek.i686 #1

This error can have many causes however in my case it turned out to be a typo while changing some settings to selinux when I wanted to disable it. To disable selinux under Oracle linux you will need to change the configuration file /etc/selinux/config and change the


into the line:


during this process I did make a typo resulting in the kernel panic. To resolve such a kernel panic you can boot into rescue mode with the install CD and mount your filesystem. After mounting the filesystem correct the mistake and reboot the machine again and you are good to go.