Book Image

Middleware Management with Oracle Enterprise Manager Grid Control 10g R5

Book Image

Middleware Management with Oracle Enterprise Manager Grid Control 10g R5

Overview of this book

Today's IT environment is very complex, encompassing a myriad of technologies and middleware platforms. Many organizations have large and heterogeneous middleware platforms that power their enterprise applications and it is often a real challenge for administrators to meet agreed service levels and minimize downtime. Oracle Enterprise Manager allows administrators to manage the complete lifecycle of an entire application infrastructure for middleware and SOA applications. This book will help you kick-start the setup of Oracle Enterprise Manager Grid Control and master all aspects of middleware management supported by Oracle Enterprise Manager. This book, written by senior members of the Oracle team serves as the only hands on guide to provisioning middleware and implementing proactive monitoring to maximize application performance and compliance using Oracle Enterprise Manager. The book starts with an introduction to the challenges faced by middleware administrators in their everyday life, and how Oracle Enterprise Manager helps solve those challenges. This book will help you manage your middleware infrastructure and applications effectively and efficiently using Oracle Enterprise Manager. By following the practical examples in this book you will learn to proactively monitor your production middleware applications running on Oracle Application Server, Oracle WebLogic Server, Oracle SOA suite (such as Oracle BPEL Process manager), Oracle Server Bus, and Oracle Coherence. You will also learn different aspects to proactive monitoring and alert notifications, service level and incident management, diagnostics for production applications, lifecycle automation using out-of-the-box deployment procedures, and patching mechanisms. This book also helps you to master best practices for managing your middleware and SOA applications for optimal service performance and reduced down time.
Table of Contents (20 chapters)
Middleware Management with Oracle Enterprise Manager Grid Control 10g R5
About the Authors
About the Reviewers


Rob's Blackberry screams in the middle of the night. He picks it up with hesitation. He gets a text message from an automated system, telling him that there are serious issues in the applications that he supports, and users in Australia are facing problems as well. Rob is an administrator for middleware applications. He opens his laptop and starts looking at the issue. After hours of investigation he finds that the external web service their application depends on is not responding.

This might sound familiar. It's typical in the life of many of today's administrators. Welcome to the world of middleware management, where life starts with service violations and ends with the diagnostics of performance issues.

Most modern applications have become global, and run 24X7 and if you are a middleware administrator then probably your work has become 24X7 too. Today's applications are very complex and depend on several components that you, as an administrator, do not have control over. But you have the responsibility to make sure that the application meets availability and performance criteria. You probably want to avoid situations like Rob's and do away with sleepless nights. You probably want to be proactive and implement the right tools and methodologies so that you can avoid many of the interruptions to your applications.

Throughout this book, we will discuss how you can use Oracle Enterprise Manager to proactively monitor your middleware applications and the underlying infrastructure.

Before we do that, let us first drill down and examine the various complexities in modern applications.

Complexities in modern applications

Modern day applications are way more complex than predecessors such as client-server or mainframe applications. Technologies such as the Internet, Java Enterprise Edition (Java EE) and Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) have revolutionized the way that applications are built and integrated. They are multi-tier and run on heterogeneous platforms. They depend upon several resources within and outside of organizations. Today's resources may include an application running on a mainframe system, or an ERP system, or resources made available by a partner through the Internet, intranet, or extranet. As an administrator, you may not have control over these resources, or applications—however, you are responsible for their performance.

Some of the typical characteristics of modern applications are:

  • Deployed on an application server or middleware

  • Depends on databases and messaging providers

  • May depend on applications running on mainframe systems or legacy systems

  • May depend on external services available over the internet or extranet

  • May depend upon complex and long running business processes

  • May have complex routing or workflow requirements

  • May depend on a clustered caching service for faster data access

Also, today's applications have complex requirements with associated and specific requirements such as:

  • Availability

  • Service Level

  • Compliance and security

If you are a middleware administrator, you know that you have a lot of things to do! You have to wear several hats from time to time.

Middleware administrator — a man with several hats

Unlike a database administrator or UNIX system administrator — a middleware administrator has to be knowledgeable in several areas and perform a lot of tasks to keep applications up and available. You have to know how the application works and understand its dependencies. The most trivial applications have database access, and hence you must be proficient in database technologies such as JDBC and SQL. You have to understand messaging systems and key technologies such as various web services and Service Oriented Architecture (SOA). Most applications employ different security mechanisms, such as using an LDAP Server, thus you have to know the basics of security infrastructure.

With modern application complexities, you have to be agile and you need the right sets of tools and practices.

If you are a middleware administrator then you know how your life goes! Some of the typical tasks that middleware administrators perform are as follows:

  • Monitors performance of production environment middleware and associated applications

  • Diagnoses production issues

  • Plans for production deployment

  • Installs/provisions software

  • Tracks and applies patches

  • Performs trend analysis and capacity planning for future growth

  • Brings into compliance standards such as the Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL)

You may ask the question — how do you juggle between these tasks? What is the optimal ratio of these tasks? There are no right answers here. This is actually based on your organization. We have seen administrators just struggling to keep up with monitoring the production middleware platform and making it highly available. This typically happens if you do not use the right tools and practices. Administrators spend most of their morning running several scripts to verify the health of their middleware platform. If you spend your entire morning checking the health of your middleware platform, then it is highly unlikely that you will be able to perform all of your tasks in your eight hour daily job!

Another challenge is that many organizations do not have full-time people who are middleware administrators. In some organizations, the database administrators or developers take on additional responsibilities for middleware administration. If you are part of such an organization then it is really challenging for you to perform all aspects of middleware management without the appropriate management tools.

Key challenges faced by administrators

To compete, organizations are trying to keep their costs low. This is putting greater burdens on the IT infrastructure, which must remain agile to make the company's applications highly available. As a middleware administrator, you have more responsibilities and less resources for keeping your infrastructure running and maintaining the service levels of your applications. Middleware administrators, in particular, are faced with a number of challenges that come with managing a complex application architecture. Some of the key challenges are:

  • Inability to manage multiple installs of a middleware package from a single management console

  • Lack of visibility to other tiers in the applications

  • Managing application performance to meet service levels and application diagnostics

  • Compliance to standard practices such as Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL)

To cope with these challenges, you have to choose the right management tools to manage your middleware infrastructure. There are several tools available in the marketplace. However, if you are using Oracle Fusion Middleware; Oracle Enterprise Manager is the right choice to manage your complete application infrastructure. Oracle Enterprise Manager not only provides great tools to manage your Oracle databases but it also provides comprehensive functionalities to manage your middleware infrastructure and enterprise applications.

Throughout this book, we will provide an insight on how to manage applications running on Oracle Fusion Middleware and third-party application servers.

What this book covers

This book will help you to manage your middleware infrastructure and applications effectively and efficiently using Oracle Enterprise Manager. You will learn how you can proactively monitor your production middleware applications running on Oracle Application Server, Oracle WebLogic Server, Oracle SOA suite such as Oracle BPEL Process manager, Oracle Server Bus, Oracle Coherence, and so on. You will learn different aspects of proactive monitoring and alert notifications, service level management and incident management, diagnostics of production applications, lifecycle automation using out-of-the-box deployment procedures, patching mechanisms, and so on. You will learn the best practices that you can use to make your middleware infrastructure highly available.

Chapter 1:Enterprise Manager Grid Control will introduce the key concepts of Oracle Enterprise Manager Grid control. You will learn about the Grid Control architecture and terminology, basic concepts, and entities. The lifecycle of a managed target in Grid Control.

Chapter 2:Installing Enterprise Manager Grid Control discusses installing Grid Control and its key components. You will also learn about various Grid Control versions, platform support, and installation options, tricks for mass deployment of Grid Control, high availability setup for Grid Control, and some guidelines on what install/setup mode the user should use.

Chapter 3:Enterprise Manager Key Concepts and Subsystems expands further on key entities, subsystems that we introduced in Chapter 1. Besides expanding on those we'll use these subsystems to answer work areas that we outlined in Chapter 1.

We'll also provide the reader with some best practices for using each subsystem.

Chapter 4:Managing Oracle WebLogic Server defines the typical management needs for WebLogic environments and will apply solution areas learned from Chapter 3.

We will have some example exercises on how to set up monitoring and management for WebLogic Server's environment.

We'll also list some of the best practices on how to manage a WebLogic Server.

Chapter 5:Managing Oracle Application Server defines the typical management needs for an Oracle Application Server environment and will apply solution areas learned from Chapter 3.

We will have some exercises on how to set up monitoring and management for an Oracle Application Server environment. We will discuss some of the key features such as deployment and patch automation.

We will also list some of the best practices on how to manage monitoring and management for the Oracle Application Server environment.

Chapter 6:Managing Forms and Reports Services and Applications provides an introduction to Forms and Reports Monitoring. You will learn about both Forms Server and Forms Application Monitoring. You will also learn about Forms Server Cloning using Enterprise Manager Deployment Procedures.

Chapter 7:SOA Management—BPEL Management firstly discusses the business/IT alignment introduction. Then the chapter explains what additional management requirements it puts on middleware administrators.

Also, in this chapter we'll define the typical management needs for SOA/BPEL environments and will apply solution techniques learned from Chapter 3. We'll also explain how to handle additional management requirements coming from the business/IT alignments.

We'll have some exercises on how to set up monitoring and management for SOA/BPEL.

Chapter 8:SOA Management—OSB (aka ALSB) Management will provide an introduction to Oracle Service Bus and managing Oracle Service Bus. We will learn automated deployment of OSB applications and managing configurations for OSB environment. We will also list some of the best practices for managing SOA/OSB environments.

Chapter 9: Managing Identity Manager Suite discusses Oracle Fusion Middleware Identity Manager Suite that enables the users to manage identity and access for enterprise applications. In this chapter, we'll discuss how to manage Oracle's Identity Manager Suite with Enterprise Manager.

Chapter 10:Managing Coherence Cluster discusses Oracle Coherence that is an in-memory caching solution that enables organizations to predictably scale mission-critical applications. In this chapter, we'll discuss the monitoring, configuration management, and provisioning aspects of Coherence Cluster.

Chapter 11:Managing Non-Oracle Middleware discusses managing third-party middleware. We will learn about discovering and monitoring of IBM WebSphere, JBoss, Apache HTTP Server, ApacheTomcat, and Microsoft middleware such as Microsoft IIS. We will also learn how to do service level management of applications running on third-party middleware.

Chapter 12:Java and Composite Applications Monitoring and Diagnostics discusses how to diagnose Java applications using Oracle's Enterprise Manager product family such as Application Diagnostics for Java (AD4J) and Composite Application Monitor and Modeler (CAMM). CAMM allows you to diagnose performance issues in composite applications whereas AD4J allows you to diagnose issues such as memory leak and application in Java applications and the underlying JVM.

Chapter 13:Building your Monitoring Plug-in contains detailed steps on how to extend Grid Control functionality. It'll have a step-by-step instructions for building a monitoring plug-in for Sun System Web Server.

Chapter 14:Best Practices for Managing Middleware Components Using Enterprise Manager discusses some of the best practices for middleware management that you can apply while using Enterprise Manager Grid Control to manage your middleware applications.

Who this book is for

Most people think of Oracle Enterprise Manager Grid Control as a database administration tool and are not aware of the middleware management capabilities it offers. This book helps you learn the middleware management functions and the features offered by Oracle Enterprise Manager. If you are a middleware administrator or aspire to be one, then this book is for you. This book will help database administrators, developers, and system administrators who are supporting applications that run on Oracle Fusion Middleware. If you are a system architect, application developer or application support person then this book will help you to learn different perspectives on middleware and application infrastructures.


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