Oracle VM Management

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Manage a Flexible and Elastic Data Center with Oracle VM Manager using this book and eBook

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by Tarry Singh | July 2009 | Oracle

In this two-part article series by Tarry Singh, we will have a look at the meaty aspects of the Oracle VM Manager and explore it's management aspects.

The following topics will be covered in this article:

  • Getting started with the Oracle VM Manager
  • Managing Servers and Server Pools

 

Before we get to manage the VMs in the Oracle VM Manager, let's take a quick look at the Oracle VM Manager by logging into it.

Getting started with Oracle VM Manager

In this article, we will perform the following actions while exploring the Oracle VM Manager:

  • Registering an account
  • Logging in to Oracle VM Manager
  • Create a Server Pool

After we are done with the Oracle VM Manager installation, we will use one of the following links to log on to the Oracle VM Manager:

  • Within the local machine: http://127.0.0.1:8888/OVS
  • Logging in remotely: http://vmmgr:8888/OVS

Here, vmmgr refers to the host name or IP address of your Oracle VM Manager host.

How to register an account

Registering of an account can be done in several ways. If, during the installation of Oracle VM Manager, we have chosen to configure the default admin account "admin", then we can use this account directly to log on to Oracle's IntraCloud portal we call Oracle VM Manager. We will explain later in detail about the user accounts and why we would need separate accounts for separate roles for fine-grained access control; something that is crucial for security purposes. So let's have a quick look at the three available options:

  • Default installation: This option applies if we have performed the default installation ourselves and have gone ahead to create the account ourselves. Here we have the default administrator role.
  • Request for account creation: Contacting the administrator of Oracle VM Manager is another way to attain an account with the privileges, such as administrator, manager, and user.
  • Create yourself: If we need to conduct basic functions of a common user with operator's role such as creating and using virtual machines, or importing resources, we can create a new account ourselves. However, we will need the administrator to assign us the server pools and groups to our account before we can get started. Here by default we are granted a user role. We will talk more about roles later in this article.

Now let's go about registering a new account with Oracle VM Manager.

  1. Once on the Oracle VM Manager Login page click on the Register link.

    Oracle VM Management

  2. We are presented with the following screen. We must enter a Username of our choice and a hard-to-crack password twice. Also, we have to fill in our First Name and Last Name and complete the registration with a valid email address. Click Next:

    Oracle VM Management

  3. Next, we need to confirm our account details by clicking on the Confirm button. Now our account will be created and a confirmation message is displayed on the Oracle VM Manager Login screen.

    Oracle VM Management

It should be noted that we will need some Server Pools and groups before we can get started. We will have to ask the administrator to assign us access to those pools and groups.

It's time now to login to our newly created account.

Logging in to Oracle VM Manager

Again we will need to either access the URL locally by typing http://127.0.0.1:8888/OVS or by typing the following: http://hostname:8888/ OVS. If we are accessing the Oracle VM Manager Portal remotely, replace the "hostname" with either the FQDN (Fully Qualified Distinguished Name) if the machine is registered in our DNS or just the hostname of the VM Manager machine.

We can login to the portal by simply typing in our Username and Password that we just created.

Oracle VM Management

Depending on the role and the server pools that we have been assigned, we will be displayed with the tabs upon the screen as shown in the following table. To change the role, we will need to contact our enterprise domain administrator. Only administrators are allowed to change the roles of accounts.

If we forget our password, we can click on Forgot Password and on submitting our account name, the password will be sent to the registered email address that we had provided when we registered the account.

The following table discusses the assigned tabs that are displayed for each Oracle VM Manager roles:

 

Role

Grants

User

Virtual Machines, Resources

Administrator

Virtual Machines, Resources, Servers, Server Pools, Administration

Manager

Virtual Machines, Resources, Servers, Server Pools

 

We can obviously change the roles by editing the Profile (on the upper-right section of the portal).

Oracle VM Management

As it can be seen in the following screenshot, we have access to the Virtual Machines pane and the Resources pane. We will continue to add Servers to the pool when logged in as admin.

Oracle VM Management

Oracle VM management: Managing Server Pool

A Server Pool is logically an autonomous region that contains one or more physical servers and the dynamic nature of such pool and pools of pools makes what we call  an infinite Cloud infrastructure. Currently Oracle has its Cloud portal with Amazon but it is very much viable to have an IntraCloud portal or private Cloud where we can run all sorts of Linux and Windows flavors on our Cloud backbone. It eventually rests on the array of SAN, NAS, or other next generation storage substrate on which the VMs reside.

We must ensure that we have the following prerequisites properly checked before creating the Virtual Machines on our IntraCloud Oracle VM.

  • Oracle VM Servers: These are available to deploy as Utility Master, Server Master pool, and Virtual Machine Servers.
  • Repositories: Used for Live Migration or Hot Migration of the VMs and for local storage on the Oracle VM Servers.
  • FQDN/IP address of Oracle VM Servers: It is better to have the Oracle VM Servers known as OracleVM01.AVASTU.COM and OracleVM02.AVASTU. COM. This way you don't have to bother about the IP changes or infrastructural relocation of the IntraCloud to another location.
  • Oracle VM Agent passwords: Needed to access the Oracle VM Servers.

Let's now go about exploring the designing process of the Oracle VM. Then we will do the following systematically:

  • Creating the Server Pool
  • Editing Server Pool information
  • Search and retrieval within Server Pool
  • Restoring Server Pool
  • Enabling HA
  • Deleting a Server Pool

However, we can carry out these actions only as a Manager or an Administrator. But first let's take a look at the decisions on what type of Server Pools will suit us the best and what the architectural considerations could be around building your Oracle VM farm.

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Architectural decisions around designing Server Pools

This section will not only guide us but also help us make the right architectural decisions around choosing the type of Server Pool for our Data Center. Designing a Data Center brings several challenges. Knowing how to not only architecturally design but also to orchestrate their roles within the substrate with embedded Oracle VM virtualization, helps us get closer to our goal of designing the Data Center or as we call it fondly Oracle VM farm. We will be using the term IntraCloud, which is nothing but the Private Cloud within the confines of your data center.

We obviously need to know how many servers we have and what role they will be playing within the Oracle VM environment. More capacity and more VMs will demand for more Oracle VM Servers in the Server Pool and therefore more hardware will be needed for that specific Server Pool. It is almost like adding more stateless servers to the Server Pool and thus creating an infinite array of servers in the Data Center. Simply said, these Server Pools are scalable and applications that are able to leverage the scalability will benefit the most out of such a scaled out Server Pool.

All that we need is extra or sufficient hardware capacity and we are ready to serve up more on-demand kind of workloads adaptively.

Now, let's take a look at the three kinds of Server Pools that we had mentioned previously in brief.

  • Separate configuration: Here we will have servers performing a single task, one or more physical host(s) will function as Oracle VM Server, one or more physical servers can act as Utility Servers, and one single hardware box can function as Server Pool Master.
    This is a typical configuration when a large number of servers are required in a large Data Center. We could be looking at Data Centers with several thousands of physical servers. In this way, large capacity can be addressed and the consumption of the 4-core resources such as CPU, Network, RAM, and Storage can be evenly spread across the large substrate of stateless Oracle VM Servers.
    As we can see in the following diagram, the array of stateless Oracle VM Servers and the Utility Servers can be very elastic by adding or pausing capacity on-demand.

    Oracle VM Management

  • .

  • All-in-one SMB box: This is a typical shop with few employees and a handful of servers that is looking to consolidate the current infrastructure with Oracle VM environment. It is a perfect case of building an IntraCloud environment where we can appoint one single server to conduct the following actions. It could be a Server Pool Master and a Utility Server, and also play the role of an Oracle VM Server to host the VMs.
    The ease of management and provisioning can be combined by smaller organizations to effectively optimize their already reduced staff members or Full Time Employees (FTEs).

    Oracle VM Management

  • Two-in-one SMB+ configuration: This is a typical configuration where a typical SMB shop, with approximately 20-50 Servers and about 5-8 FTEs, can deploy a single physical host to function as a Server Pool Master and as a Utility Server. The rest of the Servers can be consolidated to much fewer physical hosts, say 4-5 high-end servers, that can function as highly scalable Oracle VM Servers.
    This scenario, as mentioned, is a typical IT shop that has moderate workloads and consumption peaks occasionally and can be handled effectively by the scalable Oracle VM Servers. However, note that the Oracle Utility and Server Pool Master Servers are not simply single servers per se. They should be duly backed up and IT shops should consider looking to migrate applications or workloads towards the Cloud infrastructures, whether in-house, internal clouds, or private clouds (external, but yet within the private domains of the outsourcing parties).

    Oracle VM Management

Server pool creation

We have had a quick look at the servers that we can add to the Server Pool but we haven't seen how to create one. So let's go ahead and do that.

To create a Server Pool, click on the Create Pool button on the Server Pool's page on the top-right corner of the page.

Oracle VM Management

As mentioned, let's go ahead and login to the Oracle VM Manager portal as administrator, "Admin" and use the wizard to create a Server Pool by using our first Oracle VM Server as the Server Pool Master, the Virtual Machine Server, and the Utility Server.

Create a Server Pool by following the Wizard:

On the welcome page, click on Next:

Oracle VM Management

On the Server Information page, we will enter the following information:

  • Server Host/IP: We need to enter our first Oracle VM Server here. We simply fill in the IP address of the VM Server that will act as the Server pool Master, Oracle Utility Server, and also the Virtual Machine Server. We type in our first available IP address which is 172.22.202.112. Alternatively we can also type in the hostname.domain.com, for instance OracleVM01.AVASTU.COM.
  • Server Name: This name should be unique. We choose the IP address here as we haven't yet added these servers in our DNS.
  • Agent Password: This password is used to access the Oracle VM Agent which in turn is used for accessing the Server Pool Master.
  • Server Username: We simply type in user root for the Utility Server. However, note that in production systems root users are normally locked down. In such a case, we will type in the system admin user name provided to us by the administrator.
  • Server Password: Type in the password for the Utility Server.
  • Server Location: This will typically be the location of our server in our Data Center. We have conveniently chosen the Avastu HQ as the location.
  • Oracle VM Management

After entering the required values, click on the Test Connection button to connect to the specified Oracle VM Server. If you can connect to the server successfully, click Next to go to the next page. Confirm the Server Pool Name, or we can enter a new name. In this case, we choose Avastu Pool. We click on the Next button once we are done entering the name of the Server Pool.

Oracle VM Management

In the next window, we confirm the information.

Oracle VM Management

We can check for any incorrect information here. After we click on the Confirm button, we will get a confirmation stating the creation of the Server Pool as shown in the following screenshot:

Oracle VM Management

We have thus successfully created a Server Pool. We can further continue to add more servers if we feel the necessity. We go ahead and do that right away. We add another server and we will use it primarily as the Oracle VM Server. Let's do that in a few quick steps right away. After carrying out the typical steps following the wizard, we end up adding another server and our Servers pane looks like the following screenshot:

Oracle VM Management

If we haven't assigned any users to this Server Pool, we can click on the Administration tab and allow users to this Server Pool. We had already created the user tarry, so let's assign him the role to manage this pool:

Oracle VM Management

Now if we click on the Server Pools tab, we can see that there are a total of two users managing this Server Pool.

Oracle VM Management

When we click on the Total: 2 link, we can see all of the users and their information. We will see more on Users and Groups later, as we move ahead in this article:

Oracle VM Management

In general, a Server Pool is named after the Server Pool Master, by default. To enable HA on the Server Pool, we will need all of the Oracle VM Servers in the Server Pool to have the following prerequisites:

  • All Oracle VM Servers must use the same shared storage.
  • Must be in the same OCFS (Oracle Cluster File System) cluster.
  • Must have version 2.1.2 or above.
  • Must have the same "Cluster root" for heartbeat purposes.
  • Cluster root should be mounted on /OVS while all other storage could be located on /OVS/uuid.
  • Mount points on /OVS to /etc/ovs/repositories. All storage must be mounted at /OVS and must be maintained in etc/ovs/repositories.
  • Cluster root at /OVS must be shared and not local using Oracle's cluster file system OCFS2 on SAN/iSCSI or NFS on NAS. Default local storage is OCFS2 but is not supported with HA.

If all of these pre-requisites are met then you can enable HA.

Oracle VM Management

Click Next and we will, depending upon the pre-requisites, get a message if HA is ready or not.

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Editing Server Pool information

We can make several changes to the Server Pool such as changing the Server Pool name, managing servers, and adding or removing users. Let's start by editing the Server Pool:

To select our Avastu Pool we can click on the Servers and Users link and edit the Servers and Users. Both of those will be tackled later in this article.

Oracle VM Management

For instance, if we take a quick look at our Oracle Utility, Server Pool Master, and Oracle VM Server, then we can see all of the properties of the machine here:

Oracle VM Management

Searching and restoring Server Pools

This too isn't much of a trouble but still a very handy tool when we are in search for machines or other resources that would be available, or even Server Pools if we are in a large Data Center which is firing up Oracle VMs by the second (A sure dream for many Oracle VM enthusiasts, I guess). All we have to do is a wildcard entry appended with a  % sign and we will have all of the machines displayed on the screen.

Restoring a Server Pool

If the Server Pool data on the Server Pool Master is damaged or corrupted, we can restore this data by synchronizing it with the data from the Oracle VM Manager database, an Oracle 11g Xpress Database.

To restore, we need to click on the Restore button and we are done.

When you restore a Server Pool, all of the data stored in the Server Pool Master will be deleted, and will be synchronized with the latest information from the Oracle VM Manager database.

HA fundamentals and enabling HA

HA is a crucial part of our Data Center strategy and it is crucial because hardware failure is inevitable. It is important to prevent disruption of service and ensure business continuity. When an Oracle VM Server is restarted the VMs resting on it are either restarted or migrated to other available hosts.

The management of HA is done from the Oracle VM Manager and we must first create clusters of Oracle VM Servers Pools and let Oracle VM Manager manage them. It is not possible to implement HA on an Oracle VM Server alone. We need to enable HA before using it.

Note that HA must be enabled for both the Server Pool and the Virtual Machines. If HA is not enabled on both of these, then it will not work and is essentially disabled. When HA is enabled and when we restart, shutdown, or delete the Oracle VM Server, we will be prompted to migrate the VMs to other hosts. If we don't do it ourselves, the Oracle VM Agent attempts to find the next available Oracle VM Server.

The Oracle VM Server selection by the VM Agent is done by the settings that are available on the Oracle VM Manager. They are:

  • Auto: As the name suggests, the available preferred server is selected automatically by the Agent.
  • Manual: Here an available VM Server is selected manually.

Auto is generally the default when creating the pools in case of no preferred VM Server available or the next available server. The VMs are shutdown and restarted when the next Oracle VM Server is made available to the resources.

If the Server Pool Master fails, HA fails as well as for the VM Servers running in that Server Pool. Let's look at different HA scenarios here:

  • We shutdown the VM Server: We will be prompted to do something with the VMs on that host. These VMs are required to be migrated to the other available hosts. If the VMs are not migrated, then they are restarted on the other hosts. So HA ensures that the VMs do not die with that VM Server.
  • Shutdown VM Server via Command line: Oracle VM Agent restarts the VMs on the next available server.
  • Oracle VM Server fails: If the VM Server fails then all of the VMs are restarted on the next available host.
  • VM Server fails and no VM Servers are available: All running VMs are started the moment an Oracle VM Server is made available to the pool.

Any VMs that are not HA enabled will be cleanly shutdown in case of any of these scenarios. The following figure explains a bit about what happens when an Oracle VM Server fails or is interrupted inadvertently.

Oracle VM Management

And in the following figure we can see the effect of rebooting or shutting down an Oracle VM Server in the pool. All of the HA-enabled VMs will be live migrated to the other available, preferred or plainly next available Oracle VM Servers.

Oracle VM Management

Deleting a Server Pool

Deleting a Server Pool is not that difficult either. All we have to do is go to the Server Pool page and click on the Delete button. Upon confirmation, we can select Remove all the working directories from the server pool if you have no intention of saving them. Not choosing this option means that the relevant directories and files are kept on the server.

Caution: Do make sure that no VMs or any other production activity is being conducted on the Server Pool. Choosing to delete means that we will delete all of the VMs and Servers in that pool!

Summary

As we have seen in this article, the management of Oracle VM is rather crucial to managing our Oracle cloud farm. Now we know how to get started with the Oracle Manager. The management of Servers and Server Pools is also a very important aspect. In this article, we have learned:

  • Getting started with the Oracle VM Manager
  • Managing Servers and Server Pools

In the next part of the article, we shall learn about managing VM Servers and Repositories, Groups, and Users. We will also learn how to restore Oracle VM Manager and to enable secure access to Oracle VM Manager.

If you have read this article you may be interested to view :

About the Author :


Tarry Singh

Tarry Singh, an Oracle OCP, has been a Sr. DBA and has worked with
Oracle technologies starting from Oracle database version 7.3 through 11g.
An industry veteran, whose career spans several industries such as Oil & Gas sector,
Maritime, and currently IT. He has worked for several Fortune 500 companies.
He is currently working for a large French multi-national SI vendor, Atos Origin,
as a Strategic Business Executive. Tarry spends his time talking to customers and
offering cost-effective solutions. He also monitors the emerging trends and is a
renowned industry veteran when it comes to Virtualization and Cloud Computing.

Tarry is also involved in several NGO projects across the world, the latest being
a €2 million technology project in Uganda which he leads as a Chief Technology
Consultant together with Hanze University in The Netherlands. Tarry has also
co-authored a research paper for IEEE called "Smart Metering the Clouds" where he
discusses the vision of developing a consolidated metering solution from a utility
perspective. This was published in June where he co-chaired the IEEE workshop and
is being read by millions across the world.

Tarry holds a Nautical Science graduate degree from India's LBS of Advanced
Research and Studies in Mumbai and holds many IT and non-IT related certifi cations
such as GMDSS, Firefi ghter, and so on. Having worked with more than 40
nationalities and having worked across the globe, Tarry has been able to develop
deep multi-cultural skills and has handled virtual teams with great passion and
tremendous control.

Tarry is a Dutch citizen based in the Netherlands. In his free time, Tarry conducts
market research and analysis with tremendous zest and is very well connected
with the investor community across the globe. Tarry has advised several fi rms in
executing their strategy and has helped them in M&A, product development, and
other areas. He also runs his popular Cloud Computing blog called "Sustainable
Global Clouds" at http://ideationcloud.com and writes passionately about
Mergers and Acquisitions, Business Strategies, Emerging Trends around Sustainable,
and Environmental-friendly technologies. Tarry has spoken at many large
international events and has been quoted by The Economist and several other
leading magazines.

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