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Oracle DB Patching with EM 13.3

I got several interesting questions last week during my presentation about Oracle Enterprise Manager (EM) 13.3 and Exadata at the East Coast Oracle Conference 2019.

One of them was related on how to patch a DB home using EM 13.3 and I’ll try to show it on this post.

First, keep in mind that in order for EM to download patches it needs to be able to connect to the My Oracle Support (MOS) site using valid credentials. There’s an offline patching option well, I won’t cover that setup on this post though.

Once EM is able to communicate with the MOS site, it will automatically (EM job) download the latest patch recommendation for the managed targets. Let’s navigate to Enterprise -> Provisioning and Patching -> Patching and Updates.

Patches and Updates Home Page

The Patches and Updates home page is divided in 4 sections.

  • A) Quick Links will open a new page linked to MOS site
  • B) Patch Recommendation for the managed targets in EM
  • C) Patch Search allows you to search for specific patches
  • D) Plans created are shown in this section

Let’s take a look at the patch recommendations. They can be viewed by classification or target type.

Patch Recommendations

Click on the bar for Database Instance patches to go to the Patch Details page. As shown below the Details page provides an easy to read table with all the recommendations for that target type.

Patch Details Page

Select the patch from the table and automatically the patch details is populated below. In this example we are looking at the latest OJVM PSU for the 12.1.0.2 version.

At the top of the table you have several options:

  • Create a patching plan
  • Add the patch to an existing patching plan
  • Print the patching information
  • Download the patch (to you computer or to the EM Software Library)

I’m going to download this patch to the EM’s Software Library to apply it later.

Download Patches

Next, we need to create a Patch Plan. This plan will contain all the selected patches and will be analyzed against the Oracle Homes in order to find conflicts or potential issues.

Once the Patch Plan is created we can then click on it to navigate to the Patch Wizard. The first page page of the Wizard is the Patch Plan Information page, it allows us to see and amend the Patch Plan name and to grant access to other users and/or roles.

Plan Information Page

The Patches page provides information about the patches currently added to the Plan. You can add and/or remove patches here.

The Deployment Options page let’s you choose if you want to perform an “out of place” (recommended) or an “in place” patching. There are several caveats here:

  • You have to provide the new Oracle Home (OH) name if “out of place” patching is selected
  • You need to have enough free space for the new OH and for the staging directory
  • You need to provide both the normal and the privileged credentials for the host
Plan Deployment Options

The next step is the Patch Plan Validation. Basically EM will validate all the patches against the Oracle Home.

Analysis in Progress

If the validation is successful, you can proceed to deploy the patches to the Oracle Home.

Ready for Deployment

Finally, you have to select if you want to deploy the patch immediately or at a different schedule.

Deploy Confirmation

Wait for the procedure to apply the patches. Once the procedure finishes you will see the success page along with a link to view the details of the deployment.

Deployment Successful

Note that after the patches are successful deployed, the Plan will be locked. Also, you have the option of creating a template of the Plan so you can deploy it to different targets later.

Thanks,
Alfredo

OEM 13c Database Plugin 13.3.2 Caveat

I have done some testing on the OEM 13c DB Plugin 13.3.2 (PG) for the last several months. I highlighted some of the changes in this new version in a previous post:

During the last Dallas Oracle User Group (DOUG) conference I got couple of questions though. I will try to answer them as best as possible.

  • OEM 13c Top Activity page has been deprecated

I don’t know the reason why, but is a fact. Oracle is moving towards getting rid of the Top Activity page and replacing this with ASH analytics. As I keep mentioning… we are so used to Top Activity page and this will be a shocking factor for users.

We know that Internet browsers such Chrome, IE or Firefox will no longer support Adobe Flash starting next year. Oracle is now using JET instead of Flash. But the Top Activity page was solely using Flash.

There’s a trick though. Top Activity link will show at the end of the Performance Home page. So you can still access it (while your browser permits it).

  • ASH Analytics can’t be used for our monitoring screens

This was a really good question. There are many companies that have big screens in their command centers to monitor mission critical databases. The Top Activity page is always shown in those screens and is really handful by having a quick glance on the DB’s performance.

Top Activity page will refresh every 15 seconds but the highlighted time frame (5 minutes) always moves to the very end. This means that we only monitor the last 5 minutes every single time. We notices a different behavior with ASH analytics though.

When ASH analytics refreshes, the highlighted time frame won’t move to the very end. This means that we are only monitoring the same 5 minutes (static). See the picture below taken from my lab running 13.2 version:

ASH Analytics EM 13.2 version

I confirmed this behavior in 12c, 13.1, 13.2 and 13.3 versions of the DB Plugin. But there are good news. This didn’t happen in the latest 13.3 PG version using JET. The highlighted time frame always moves to the very end thus showing information of the last 5 minutes every time.

This is another reason to upgrade to the latest version of EM.

  • You can only use DB 19c as a repository if you are using the latest DB plugin

Yes. OEM 13c PG was released with full 19c support. So, the best thing to do is to upgrade to 13c PG version if you want to monitor or use 19c as your DB repository.

Hope this helps to address your questions.

Thanks,
Alfredo

The Strange Case Of A Missing Agent Gold Image

If you are running Oracle Enterprise Manager (OEM) 13c, you should (must) be using Agent Gold Images (GI). They provide an easy way to manage the lifecycle of you OEM agents from a fancy dashboard.

The problem came while removing a Gold Image Versions in OEM 13.3PG. Guess what? The whole Gold Image disappeared!!!

This is not the expected behavior for this. The point here is that there were agents still subscribed to the GI. So even trying to create a new GI won’t allow us to subscribe those agents as they were still subscribed to the GI that was missing.

Using some Sherlock Holmes’ skills found that the GI was in fact still present in the OMR tables. You can use the query below to see all the GI currently living in your system.

SELECT image_name FROM MGMT$EM_GAI_ENTITIES;

What about the agents still subscribed to this GI?

SELECT * from EM_GI_AGENT_SUBSCRIBE WHERE gold_image_series='<GI Name>';

OK, so there should be something wrong here. After working with Oracle Support they found the issue and provided a patch. Please refer to Patch 28817766.

Apply this patch on top of your OEM 13.3 PG and you should see the GI again. If you are not able to see the GI, then create a new one with the same old name. Everything should look fine after that.

Happy patching!
Alfredo

Bye Bye Flash!

Formerly named Macromedia Flash (now Adobe Flash) player was really popular in the 2000’s. I remember learning it to add animation to Web Sites I was developing during my college years. Flash has also been the target of hackers to insert viruses, hence posing several security concerns to enterprises and home users.

In the IT world, change is the only constant. So, is time to move on to the next thing.

Adobe Flash is widely used in several Oracle sites. My Oracle Support, Oracle Business Intelligence EE, Oracle Enterprise Manager Cloud Control, etc.
Google just announced that it will stop supporting Flash in Google Chrome at the end of 2020.

https://blog.google/products/chrome/saying-goodbye-flash-chrome/

That means that you will loose all those fancy graphs in your browser. Well, not quite. Oracle started to provide patches and upgrades to get rid of Adobe Flash and use JET instead.

We still have more than a year for this to happen, but is the perfect time to start planning to switch. Is this already in your plans?

Thanks,
Alfredo

OEM 13c – Summer 2019 Announcements. You can manage ATP and more!!

Here are some exciting announcements for OEM 13c.

First, keep in mind that you should upgrade your OEM 13c to the latest version (13.3PG). I discussed some new features of this version in a previous post.

Now to the good news.  

1. Oracle Database 19c has been certified as a OEM Repository Database (OMR). This means that is time to upgrade your repository to a long term support release.

  More info : EM 13.3C: Certification of 19c Database as an EM Repository Database and as a Managed Target (Doc ID 2541711.1)    

2. Oracle EM 13.3.2 Bundle Patch (BP) is available. You must keep up with patching if you don’t want to encounter issues down the road.  

More info: Enterprise Manager Cloud Control Database Plugin 13.3.2.0 Bundle Patch Bug List (Doc ID 2554474.1)    

3. The latest EM 13.3.2 BP 3 has support for Oracle Autonomous Database (ATP-D). So, if you are running ATP in dedicated mode and you want to use OEM to manage your DB, is time to patch!!

More info: https://blogs.oracle.com/oem/oracle-enterprise-manager-cloud-control-13c-release-3-db-plugin-133200-with-bundle-patch-3-is-now-available-in-self-update    

Thanks,
Alfredo

Oracle Enterprise Manager 13.3 problems discovering Exadata targets

If you are on the latest Exadata plugin for EM 13.3 (well, even the 13.2 version of the plugin). Be aware that there’s a bug where if the Exadata nodes’ names are longer than 7 characters, you cannot discover them.

EM just throws a weird error with below legend:

SEVERE: makeTargetsXml for each rack#: 1 e=java.lang.StringIndexOutOfBoundsException: String index out of range: -1 

The solution is to apply the latest (March 2019) Bundle Patch to the agents running on the Exadata’s compute nodes.

More info on below MOS note:  

Exadata Discovery Fails With “No New Component Is Discovered. Click Cancel” (Doc ID 2477624.1)  

Another good excuse to keep your EM system up to date.  

Happy patching.  

Thanks,
Alfredo

Oracle Enterprise Manager 13.3.2 Database Plugin New Features (Flash and JET)

Oracle EM 13.3 PG was released April 28th 2019. This new (plugin only) release contains 8 new plugins including a new version of the DB plugin.

After installing these plugins we noticed several changes in behavior for the DB targets.  

  1. All pages that used Adobe Flash now use Oracle JavaScript Extension Toolkit (JET)
  2. Top Activity and Emergency Performance pages were completely removed from the Performance menu  

At the beginning was weird to use just ASH analytics instead of Top Activity page but all the key information is there.   There’s an option to revert 3 JET pages back to Flash if needed.

This can be done through emctl commands. All this information can be found on MOS 2422790.1  

Also, if you really need the old Top Activity page you can still access it using a direct URL link.

For this follow MOS 2528627.1 for more details.  

Thanks,
Alfredo

Unable to Extend OEM 13.3 Domain to Add an Additional OMS

While trying to add an additional OMS to the current OEM 13.3 GCDomain using the provisioning console there’s an error in the Install homes step.  

The error contains the following message:

Caused by: oracle.sysman.oii.oiif.oiifb.OiifbEndIterateException:
oracle.sysman.oii.oiif.oiifb.OiifbEndIterateException: SEVERE:Values for the following variables could not
be obtained from the command line or response file(s):
MYORACLESUPPORT_USERNAME(MyOracleSupportUsername)
Silent install cannot continue.

This issue is related to Bug 28290139 and the workaround can be found in MOS 2432095.1 After performing the workaround the OMS addition job needs to be executed from scratch. This resolves the issue.  

Thanks,
Alfredo

Oracle Autonomous Data Warehouse – What is it?

Oracle Autonomous Data Warehouse (ADW) is one of the so-called DB as a Service (DBaaS) or probably we should call it Data Warehouse as a Service (DWaaS) with the difference that this service is completely automatic and autonomous.  

This service is comprised by an Oracle Database (of course) already pre-configured for analytics, data lakes and data warehouse workloads. This Oracle Database (PDB) has 18c features running on Exadata hardware. Oracle Exadata software is 18c with features like In-Memory delivered from the cell server.  

There’s a service console that helps to manage the ADW services.

On top of this, Machine Learning (ML) tools help with data analysis and data models.   Development tools like SQL Developer are useful to create objects, load data and more.  

Let’s now talk about tasks that happen automatically:  

Automatic statistics gathering during direct-path load operations

Automatic tuning

Automatic Partitioning

Automatic In-Memory

Automatic Indexing (soon)

Automatic Compression

Automatic Tablespace Management

Automated backups and patching  

ADW is also capable of repair itself. Machine Learning is used to detect anomalies and uses pattern recognition to determine if this problem is already in the problem knowledge-base. If is a known problem, it will apply the fix automatically.  

On the security side all the information is encrypted at rest. This means that backups and all data in the tablespaces is encrypted using TDE.

The connectivity between ADW and the rest of the world is secured be default. Oracle provides a wallet file that contains all the connectivity information required to login.

If you open this file you’ll notice that all connectivity is being done through SSL.

 (security=(ssl_server_cert_dn=… 

Provisioning is quite easy using the service console.   From the main dashboard you can click on “Create a data warehouse” button.

Select the Workload type between Autonomous Data Warehouse ADW or Autonomous Transaction Processing ATP loads.
 
 
 
 
Next you choose a compartment where the ADW database is going to live. For this example I’m going to choose ADWTest01 compartment. It is not recommended to use the root compartment.
 
 
 
 
Then we are going to set the Display and Database names. For this example, I’m choosing 1 OCPU and 1 TB of storage. Keep in mind that ADW is elastic, this means we can add more OCPUs and Storage on the fly without the need for downtime.
 
 
 
 
 
From the Administrator Credentials section we are going to set the ADMIN account password.
 
 
 
 
 
Next is license type. You can choose to use a license that you already own or subscribe to a new one.
 
 
 
 
Last but not least is the Tags section. You can add a tag to this ADW database to better manage it inside your tenancy.
 
 
 
 
Let’s now click Create Autonomous Database and wait few minutes for OCI to provision it.
 
 
 
 
The orange ADW icon will turn green once the ADW database is fully provisioned.
 
 
 
 
In my next post I’ll cover how to connect o the ADW database and how to load data to it.
 
Thanks,
Alfredo