Sunday, May 31, 2015

Building an Oracle Linux Amazon Web Services AMI with Packer

No need to explain why Amazon Web Services is a nice platform to run Oracle. The largest IaaS Cloud Provider is one of the few Oracle Authorized Cloud Environments. You can Bring Your Own "Oracle" Licenses (BYOL) on AWS EC2 or RDS. You can pay for what you've provisioned because it is considered as a hard partitioned Platform.

Obviously, there are some drawbacks including the one pointed by Marc Fielding on Pythian's Blog or the fact you cannot run RAC. But it is, for sure, a nice playground to run Oracle technologies, your applications on Oracle or any Oracle applications including JD Edwards, Peoplesoft, Oracle E-Business Suite and many more... In addition, Amazon RDS for Oracle offers an attractive pay-per-use and "per-hour" model for Oracle Database SE1.

On the other hand, Oracle Linux is probably the best operating system to run Oracle, on AWS EC2 like on any x86_64 Platforms: it requires one-only rpm to be ready for most Oracle software; it is free and you don't need to support all your instances the same way as described in the Service Levels section of "Oracle Linux and Oracle VM Support Policies". Last and not least, it is 100% compatible with Redhat Enterprise Linux and you can even get AMIs from Oracle on the AWS Marketplace.

This blog presents and easy and fast way to create an Oracle Linux AMI from the Open Virtual Format (OVF) with AWS VM Import/Export... It relies on Virtualbox, and Kickstart.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Customizing Redhat/Oracle Linux 6 ISOs

Performing a complete Redhat/Oracle Linux installation when booting from an ISO is very neat. This is an easy and consistent method to quickly start virtual machines with Packer for VirtualBox, VMWare or Parallels.

You can find a complete example of how to do it with Redhat/Oracle Linux 7 in "Customizing Redhat/Oracle Linux CDROMs, ISOs and USBs". However, I had to use this method with release 6 of Oracle Linux this week and, as you can expect, some of the parameters have changed. That's why I've documented how to do it also with Release 6. It should not take you more than 15 minutes to customize your own ISO file and 5 minutes to perform a new installation...

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Puppet on Oracle Linux 7: Master and Agent Installation

Automation is changing the server management game. Not only, you can now deal with hundreds of servers from a single access point but you can also evaluate impacts, schedule changes and make sure servers stay aligned over time. This can drastically increase system and application service levels by reducing the way they differ one from the other.

When it comes to managing Oracle workloads, Puppet is one of the few automation frameworks of choice. It is easy to use, widely adopted and you can find predefined modules for Oracle on Puppet Forge. It addresses most of the challenges you will face with (1) templates and golden images that are difficult to evolve once deployed ; (2) all-or-nothing software packagers like yum that don't allow fine grained customization required by real applications and (3) custom scripts that are difficult to managed in non-standardized environments.

This article outlines the steps required to install a Puppet Master Server as well as a Puppet Agent on Oracle Linux 7.

Monday, August 11, 2014

How to Install Oracle Linux 7 with Kickstart, PXE and Dnsmasq

Assuming you've synchronized an Oracle Linux 7 repository and you publish it from an HTTP server, you are just missing dnsmasq and a few files to perform an installation of Oracle Linux 7 with Kickstart and PXE. It will not take you more than 15 minutes to configure the whole thing...

dnsmasq is the perfect tool for that. It includes a DHCP server, a basic TFTP server and it is very simple to configure.

This article shows an example of configuration. It explains the few files that are required and come from the distribution. You should be able to add or modify the other files manually to get the work done...

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Introduction to Oracle Linux 7 Network

Oracle Linux 7, like RHEL7 and CentOS7, comes with some drastic changes in the network management stack. The former network service is gone and NetworkManager replaces it for real. Commands, we've been using for years like ifconfig, route or netstat are deprecated... The main benefit from those changes is that the network management is now unified. Besides, nmcli and firewall-cmd enable to modify and persist most configurations directly from the command line. This ease automation and changes...

We'll have to learn a lot! We'll need to forget a lot too... and that is probably more difficult considering most of us will have to maintain release 7 with other releases for a while. This blog post helps starting with Oracle Linux 7 network. It also helps moving back and forth between Oracle Linux releases...

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Speeding Up Oracle Linux 7 Updates with "Delta RPMs"

Linux configuration management and updates can be time-consuming when taken seriously. If your servers are spread across different areas, a nice alternative to deploying several yum repositories consists in building delta RPMs or .drpm to reduce the network traffic and speed up updates. Those files are treated by yum to rebuild rpm from their previous version. This blog shows the steps associated with relying on delta RPMs to update Oracle Linux 7. Because it relies on RPMs and it distributes them for free too, those steps should also work as is with CentOS7.

In Oracle Linux 5 and 6, delta RPMs required the yum-presto plug-in. Starting with version 7, it comes with the base release. It does not really change the game, but it make the setup simpler. This article shows how to synchronize and create a repository. It explains how to setup an Apache HTTP server and how to setup yum clients to use with .drpm files.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Customizing Redhat/Oracle Linux CDROMs, ISOs and USBs - Part 2

The first part of this article explains how to add a kickstart file to an Oracle Linux 7 ISO and how to modify the boot menu to manage that file without editing the boot command. Another reason for customizing an ISO, is to add or replace RPMs it contains. You may want to add a RPM you've built on your own, like the latest Oracle database engine RPM or one/few you've got from third parties. This is exactly what this second part is about... And, as you'll figure out, this is easy!

Obviously those kinds of changes can deeply alter your ability to distribute the ISO and have implications above the technical stuff. You should probably avoid spreading customized distribution or at least check for yourself what you can do and what cannot. Nevertheless, customizing ISO can really speed up some of your installation and, for that reason, is worth understanding.