BPEL PM and OSB operational management with Oracle Enterprise Manager 10g Grid Control

By Narayan Bharadwaj
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  1. Grid Control, BPEL, and OSB Overview

About this book

In the SOA world, managing distributed services and service infrastructures is critical. Oracle Enterprise Manager – an all-encompassing management product – facilitates increased management capabilities for databases, application servers, and packaged applications. BPEL PM and OSB are two compelling, market leading products that are driving Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) implementation across enterprises.

There is a lack of clarity around real-world operational use cases that would help operational administrators in their day-to-day tasks. Further, the documentation available online does not provide much information on administering BPEL PM and OSB with Enterprise Manager Grid Control efficiently.

This book will help you set up the framework for managing operational tasks from a central location using Oracle Enterprise Manager Grid Control in a step-by-step functional approach. You will learn to automate various operational tasks that are essential for the smooth running of Oracle SOA products in production, thus increasing the efficiency of your SOA projects.

This book shows how top-drawer management capabilities from Oracle Enterprise Manager Grid Control can be used to effectively manage your Oracle SOA environment. You start by discovering one or more BPEL and OSB components centrally. The book then explains how to monitor BPEL processes and OSB services, and how to get alerts on service availability and performance problems. It covers the management of BPEL and OSB infrastructure components and how to manage their configurations in a central repository. It follows a hands-on approach, showing you how to use an automated approach for deploying BPEL processes and OSB projects.

By the end of this book, you will have learned several techniques to set up a framework that will help you manage your SOA environment from a central location.

Publication date:
August 2010
Publisher
Packt
Pages
248
ISBN
9781847197740

 

Chapter 1. Grid Control, BPEL, and OSB Overview

Management of hardware, software, and application components is important. In bad economic times, it is critical to get the maximum return from software and hardware investments, and for that an enterprise needs a sound management strategy. A management solution not only helps increase returns on existing investments, but also controls the cost of owning these investments. Enterprises today cannot be successful without such a solution.

In the SOA world, management is even more critical, as it governs distributed services and service infrastructures. The value from SOA investments cannot be realized without a sound management strategy. Operational management is becoming the centerpiece of the SOA Governance framework in most enterprises. Unless there is visibility and control on production environments, SOA project costs will exceed the accrued benefits. Management cannot be a bolt on after the implementation; it has to be a strategic part of the overall solution. It is beneficial to start thinking about the management strategy upfront, and implement it in conjunction with the SOA integrations. Further, all aspects of management need to be analyzed, and the right ones need to be implemented for the SOA integrations in the enterprise. Some of the key management areas are infrastructure monitoring, synthetic monitoring, configuration management, deployment automation, and business process execution monitoring. All of these need to be considered for the success of SOA projects.

In this chapter, we will provide a brief overview of the following products that will be covered throughout this book:

  • Grid Control

    • Overview

    • Architecture and deployment

    • Download and install

    • Home page

  • Oracle BPEL Process Manager overview

  • Oracle SOA Suite overview

  • Oracle Service Bus overview

Grid Control

Enterprise Manager Grid Control provides a single interface for managing thousands of disparate targets such as operating systems, databases, application servers, and packaged applications. It determines overall target health, tracks target inventory, automates target deployments, and manages service levels. All the historic monitoring information is stored in a database, and aggregated over time. This is complemented with a reporting and dashboard framework, which provides a summary to administrators as well as IT managers. Grid Control supports monitoring and management of a wide variety of hardware, software, and applications, and is really the tool of choice for Oracle products. It has capabilities for monitoring third-party products as well, either natively, or through plugins and connectors. The Grid Control framework can be extended using either plugins or connectors. This is made possible by a software development kit that comes out of the box with Grid Control. A good example of a plugin is if you want to monitor a specific hardware component that is not supported by Grid Control, you can extend the framework and add logic to monitor your specific hardware component. A connector, on the other hand, can be used to integrate Grid Control with other systems such as incident management systems (for example, Remedy Helpdesk or Oracle Business Activity Monitoring (Oracle BAM)).

Most chapters in this book cut across multiple versions of Grid Control. Concepts such as service-level management, infrastructure management, service-level dashboards, web application management, and configuration management are uniform across multiple Grid Control versions. That being said, this book will focus on Grid Control version 10.2.0.5, also referred to as 10gR5. This version was released on Linux platforms in February 2009, ported to other platforms during the rest of the year. Most of the chapters are valid for the prior version of Grid Control 10.2.0.4 (or 10gR4) as well. The notable exception is the third section that deals with managing the Oracle Service Bus. Enterprise Manager functionality for managing BPEL Process Manager is part of Grid Control 10.2.0.3 and above. The Oracle Service Bus management functionality was introduced with Grid Control 10.2.0.5.

Architecture and deployment

Grid Control has a three-tier architecture. The main components are the Oracle Management Server (OMS), the Management Agents (Agent), and the Oracle Management Repository (OMR). The central web-based console is available through popular browsers. The components are detailed as follows:

  • Oracle Management Server (OMS): This is the central engine, which accumulates information from all the distributed Management Agents. It provides the data for the web-based console, and persists the data in the Management Repository. Further, the OMS also executes the alerting rule logic, and the notification logic, as well as sending instructions to the agent for management tasks such as deployment.

  • Management Agent: The agent is a lightweight C-program running on a server or host. This program typically collects all the monitoring and configuration information for the host, and the other targets on that host such as database, application server, SOA suite, and so on. The agent is also suitable for running operations at the host level through scripts. This capability is useful for taking corrective action (when a threshold is violated), or performing complex patching, or other deployment tasks. There is also the option of having remote agents, the only drawback being that the host metrics will not be collected.

  • Oracle Management Repository (OMR): The repository is a preconfigured Oracle database that comes packaged with Grid Control. No separate license is needed for the OMR. The OMS contains current and historical monitoring and configuration information from various agents. It comes with prebuilt schemas and PL/SQL procedures and functions to aggregate the data over different time periods.

  • Central web console: The web console provides a window to all the rich information in the OMR. Each target type (for example, application server) has a home page with monitoring, alerting, configuration, and other specific information. The home page displays summary information across multiple targets. Reports and dashboards can be used to create custom views.

This book avoids going into deep discussions on deployments that are already addressed by product documentation or white papers. A basic knowledge of installing and configuring the Grid Control components are assumed. More information on architecture and deployment best practices is available on the Enterprise Manager pages on the Oracle Technology Network (OTN) at: http://www.oracle.com/technology/products/oem/ent_mgr/arch_dep.html

The following simple architecture diagram shows the main Grid Control components and their relationships:

Installing Grid Control

The latest version of Grid Control can be downloaded from OTN at: http://www.oracle.com/technology/software/products/oem/index.html

Grid Control documentation including installation, configuration, deployment modes, and so on can be found at: http://download.oracle.com/docs/cd/B16240_01/doc/nav/portal_booklist.htm

Once Grid Control is installed and configured, the SOA-related targets can be added. The prerequisite is to install a Management Agent (Agent) to the server that hosts the SOA Suite. More details on getting started with Grid Control SOA Management is available at the Oracle Technology Network (OTN) website: http://download.oracle.com/docs/cd/B16240_01/doc/em.102/e12650/toc.htm

Home page

After downloading and installing Grid Control, the first task is to view the home page of Grid Control. To view Grid Control home page on your local browser:

  1. 1. Navigate to http://<your_server_name>:<server_port>/emememem.

  2. 2. Login as sysman.sysman. Use the password you set during the installation.

Following is the Enterprise Manager 10g Grid Control entry point or home page. The home page rolls up all the important information (starting in the upper-left corner):

  • All Targets Status: This section shows the total number of monitored Oracle targets. The pie chart shows their overall SLA availability and corresponding open alerts. This summary page can be rolled up for any target type.

  • All Target Alerts: Violations of thresholds for all metrics for the monitored targets, separated into Critical and Warning categories. Errors are Agent-related problems (Agent unreachable, cannot upload, metric collection error, and so on).

  • All Targets Policy Violations: Over 300 Oracle best practices (for example, open port on Application Server) are coded in as policies in Grid Control. The Agent checks these policies daily and flag the violations.

  • Target Search: Quickly access any target by simply typing in part of the target name.

  • Critical Patch Advisories for Oracle Homes: Push any security alerts that are vital to your systems. Set up a connection to meta link and automatically download patch information for monitored Oracle homes.

  • Deployments Summary: Enterprise Manager collects information on your entire configuration including software, patches (OS and Oracle software level), hardware, and so on. This is a rollup of all of the hosts, software, and OS(s) in your enterprise.

 

Grid Control


Enterprise Manager Grid Control provides a single interface for managing thousands of disparate targets such as operating systems, databases, application servers, and packaged applications. It determines overall target health, tracks target inventory, automates target deployments, and manages service levels. All the historic monitoring information is stored in a database, and aggregated over time. This is complemented with a reporting and dashboard framework, which provides a summary to administrators as well as IT managers. Grid Control supports monitoring and management of a wide variety of hardware, software, and applications, and is really the tool of choice for Oracle products. It has capabilities for monitoring third-party products as well, either natively, or through plugins and connectors. The Grid Control framework can be extended using either plugins or connectors. This is made possible by a software development kit that comes out of the box with Grid Control. A good example of a plugin is if you want to monitor a specific hardware component that is not supported by Grid Control, you can extend the framework and add logic to monitor your specific hardware component. A connector, on the other hand, can be used to integrate Grid Control with other systems such as incident management systems (for example, Remedy Helpdesk or Oracle Business Activity Monitoring (Oracle BAM)).

Most chapters in this book cut across multiple versions of Grid Control. Concepts such as service-level management, infrastructure management, service-level dashboards, web application management, and configuration management are uniform across multiple Grid Control versions. That being said, this book will focus on Grid Control version 10.2.0.5, also referred to as 10gR5. This version was released on Linux platforms in February 2009, ported to other platforms during the rest of the year. Most of the chapters are valid for the prior version of Grid Control 10.2.0.4 (or 10gR4) as well. The notable exception is the third section that deals with managing the Oracle Service Bus. Enterprise Manager functionality for managing BPEL Process Manager is part of Grid Control 10.2.0.3 and above. The Oracle Service Bus management functionality was introduced with Grid Control 10.2.0.5.

Architecture and deployment

Grid Control has a three-tier architecture. The main components are the Oracle Management Server (OMS), the Management Agents (Agent), and the Oracle Management Repository (OMR). The central web-based console is available through popular browsers. The components are detailed as follows:

  • Oracle Management Server (OMS): This is the central engine, which accumulates information from all the distributed Management Agents. It provides the data for the web-based console, and persists the data in the Management Repository. Further, the OMS also executes the alerting rule logic, and the notification logic, as well as sending instructions to the agent for management tasks such as deployment.

  • Management Agent: The agent is a lightweight C-program running on a server or host. This program typically collects all the monitoring and configuration information for the host, and the other targets on that host such as database, application server, SOA suite, and so on. The agent is also suitable for running operations at the host level through scripts. This capability is useful for taking corrective action (when a threshold is violated), or performing complex patching, or other deployment tasks. There is also the option of having remote agents, the only drawback being that the host metrics will not be collected.

  • Oracle Management Repository (OMR): The repository is a preconfigured Oracle database that comes packaged with Grid Control. No separate license is needed for the OMR. The OMS contains current and historical monitoring and configuration information from various agents. It comes with prebuilt schemas and PL/SQL procedures and functions to aggregate the data over different time periods.

  • Central web console: The web console provides a window to all the rich information in the OMR. Each target type (for example, application server) has a home page with monitoring, alerting, configuration, and other specific information. The home page displays summary information across multiple targets. Reports and dashboards can be used to create custom views.

This book avoids going into deep discussions on deployments that are already addressed by product documentation or white papers. A basic knowledge of installing and configuring the Grid Control components are assumed. More information on architecture and deployment best practices is available on the Enterprise Manager pages on the Oracle Technology Network (OTN) at: http://www.oracle.com/technology/products/oem/ent_mgr/arch_dep.html

The following simple architecture diagram shows the main Grid Control components and their relationships:

Installing Grid Control

The latest version of Grid Control can be downloaded from OTN at: http://www.oracle.com/technology/software/products/oem/index.html

Grid Control documentation including installation, configuration, deployment modes, and so on can be found at: http://download.oracle.com/docs/cd/B16240_01/doc/nav/portal_booklist.htm

Once Grid Control is installed and configured, the SOA-related targets can be added. The prerequisite is to install a Management Agent (Agent) to the server that hosts the SOA Suite. More details on getting started with Grid Control SOA Management is available at the Oracle Technology Network (OTN) website: http://download.oracle.com/docs/cd/B16240_01/doc/em.102/e12650/toc.htm

Home page

After downloading and installing Grid Control, the first task is to view the home page of Grid Control. To view Grid Control home page on your local browser:

  1. 1. Navigate to http://<your_server_name>:<server_port>/emememem.

  2. 2. Login as sysman.sysman. Use the password you set during the installation.

Following is the Enterprise Manager 10g Grid Control entry point or home page. The home page rolls up all the important information (starting in the upper-left corner):

  • All Targets Status: This section shows the total number of monitored Oracle targets. The pie chart shows their overall SLA availability and corresponding open alerts. This summary page can be rolled up for any target type.

  • All Target Alerts: Violations of thresholds for all metrics for the monitored targets, separated into Critical and Warning categories. Errors are Agent-related problems (Agent unreachable, cannot upload, metric collection error, and so on).

  • All Targets Policy Violations: Over 300 Oracle best practices (for example, open port on Application Server) are coded in as policies in Grid Control. The Agent checks these policies daily and flag the violations.

  • Target Search: Quickly access any target by simply typing in part of the target name.

  • Critical Patch Advisories for Oracle Homes: Push any security alerts that are vital to your systems. Set up a connection to meta link and automatically download patch information for monitored Oracle homes.

  • Deployments Summary: Enterprise Manager collects information on your entire configuration including software, patches (OS and Oracle software level), hardware, and so on. This is a rollup of all of the hosts, software, and OS(s) in your enterprise.

 

Oracle BPEL Process Manager overview


Business Process Execution Language (BPEL), short for Web Services Business Process Execution Language (WS-BPEL) is an executable language for specifying interactions with Web Services. Processes in Business Process Execution Language export and import information by using Web Service interfaces exclusively. Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Business_Process_Execution_Language

Major vendors such as Oracle, Microsoft, and IBM are onboard with the BPEL standard, which has become the orchestration standard of choice. Oracle acquired a small company called Collaxa in 2005, which had an implementation of the BPEL standard, then renamed the product to BPEL Process Manager and made it the foundation of the SOA Suite. This also became the strategic technology product under the Fusion Middleware umbrella, as well as the Fusion Applications umbrella. Oracle Applications Unlimited (E-Business Suite, PeopleSoft, Siebel, Retek, and so on) use several different workflow technologies such as Oracle Workflow, but the roadmap for all these workflow technologies is to converge into the common BPEL standard, based on the Oracle BPEL Process Manager product. In short, this technology has huge implications not only for the overall middleware market, but also for the packaged applications market. Oracle, with its huge installed base in both the markets, especially after the acquisition of BEA in 2008, is focused on expanding the already large adoption of BPEL within its customer base.

BPEL Process Manager 10.1.2 was the first release after the Collaxa acquisition. Currently, the product is available as part of the Oracle SOA Suite 10.1.3.x. This is a fairly mature release of product, and has enjoyed widespread adoption among customers interested in implementing an SOA strategy. This is also the foundation of the next generation Oracle Fusion Applications.

 

Oracle SOA Suite overview


Oracle SOA Suite 10.1.3.x consists of three components—Oracle BPEL Process Manager, Oracle Enterprise Service Bus (OESB), and Oracle Web Services Manager (OWSM). Additionally, it also includes Oracle Service Bus (OSB), Oracle Business Activity Monitoring (BAM), and the Rules Engine.

Oracle built an Enterprise Service Bus (OESB) as the plumbing layer to frontend the BPEL-based business processes. The Service Bus is used as the mediator layer to transform messages in different formats to common canonical formats, and route to the backend BPEL processes, or other services. It is a step up from the point-to-point Enterprise Application Integration (EAI) methodology that involves frequent changes at both ends of the integration.

Oracle SOA Suite 10.1.3.x is a single installable, and is extremely easy to install and configure with Oracle JDeveloper. As the common IDE to develop BPEL-based business processes, and OESB-based services it provides a great platform for developers and architects to implement SOA projects.

 

Oracle Service Bus overview


Oracle Service Bus is a proven, lightweight and scalable SOA integration platform that delivers low-cost, standards-based integration for high-volume, mission critical SOA environments. It is designed to connect, mediate, and manage interactions between heterogeneous services, legacy applications, packaged applications and multiple enterprise service bus (ESB) instances across an enterprise-wide service network. Oracle Service Bus is a core component in the Oracle SOA Suite as a backbone for SOA messaging. Source: http://www.oracle.com/technologies/soa/service-bus.html

With the acquisition of BEA, the AquaLogic Service Bus (ALSB) joined the Oracle family as well. ALSB was renamed to Oracle Service Bus (OSB) post acquisition. On July 1, 2008, Thomas Kurian, the Senior Vice President of Fusion Middleware, announced the strategic roadmap for Oracle middleware and BEA products. He announced that OSB would be the strategic service bus going forward, with its wide customer adoption, and advanced product capabilities.

 

Summary


With a single management solution to manage SOA services and infrastructure, and products, Grid Control reduces the complexity of an SOA environment. Grid Control is an enterprise-wide solution, so care must be taken to make it into a strategic product. The installation and deployment is not a trivial task. However, it is imperative to set up the management framework to meet the needs of the enterprise.

Grid Control has traditionally been viewed as a database management solution, but this book will highlight the necessity of using this solution for SOA environments.

In this chapter, we looked at some fundamental concepts of the target products, as well as the management solution. In particular, we discussed Enterprise Manager Grid Control as an important management solution. Briefly, we discussed the installation, documentation, and architecture of Grid Control. Then we discussed the SOA products BPEL PM and OSB. We introduced the basic concepts for both products, and a brief background for each.

This was simply an overview of these products. A good administrator should have basic working knowledge of Oracle BPEL PM, SOA Suite, and Service Bus. This book will focus on the next step, which is to manage these products from Grid Control.

The next few chapters will walkthrough hands-on exercises to set up and perform management tasks.

About the Author

  • Narayan Bharadwaj

    Narayan has spent more than ten years in the enterprise software business in various functions – from software consultant to database administrator to developer and finally product manager. More recently, Narayan was a Group Product Manager in the Oracle Enterprise Manager product line where he was responsible for middleware and SOA management areas. At Oracle, Narayan oversaw a period of major technological acquisitions that greatly complemented the flagship Grid Control product. He was responsible for bringing the Management Pack for SOA to market and creating awareness (and revenue) in the middleware and SOA domain regarding operational pain points and solutions. He has authored white papers on SOA management, spoken at several industry events including Oracle User Groups, Oracle Open World, and so on.

    Narayan has a technical bachelor's degree from the Indian Institute of Technology and an MBA from the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley. He lives in San Mateo with his wife and two year-old son.


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