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.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Customizing Redhat/Oracle Linux CDROMs, ISOs and USBs - Part 1

Redhat/Oracle Linux custom CDROMs, ISOs and USBs can be very useful... They speed up server installation with predefined kickstart files; they reduce distributions to the few hundreds of MB you really need; they provide easy customization for configurations that are not supported by anaconda's initial setup program or your distribution (e.g. here) and they might be enhanced with additional RPMs and custom scripts. This few posts demonstrate how to modify Oracle Linux ISOs and how to use them.

Obviously if you are dealing with a large number of servers and VMs, using RPM repositories with PXE, xenpvnetboot or templates is the way to go. But if you are dealing with only a few VMs on your laptop or with manual server installation, custom ISOs are simple and very fast. You can literally create one in less than 10 minutes. This first part will be presenting how to customize an ISO with a simple kickstart file. It will be using the Oracle Linux 7 Early Adopter ISO but other Redhat Based distributions and other releases are not much different...

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Installing Oracle Database 12.1 in Command Line and "Silent Mode"

Installing and configuring Oracle databases is probably the first task you will want to automate when you are a DBA. Well, it is not the most expensive, neither the most difficult and probably not even the worthiest. Be also careful, it might come at a very bad time if you are not in charge or did not already have automated your Operating Systems installation and configuration. Anyway, we can assume this operation has to be done frequently enough to start with it as an automation.

Every Oracle release and, sometimes Patch Set, come with a few changes. Oracle Database 12.1 is no exception to that rule! Before you get your installation fully automated and rely on your preferred tool to deploy them, this blog post will present the command lines you can use to perform a silent mode installation of Oracle on most operating systems

Monday, July 14, 2014

Alter Blog Open Resetlogs... to the Cloud

People have gone one step further to use Oracle with the cloud this year. For 6 months now, in addition to people using AWS and subscribing to SaaS, I've started to meet people looking at new public clouds including Microsoft Azure or even Oracle Backup Database Cloud -for now. I've also met people providing production private Platform as a Service with Oracle Databases. So that, I'm now thinking 2014 is a game changer for Oracle technology with the Cloud.

Don't get me wrong, there is no new magic cloud wands for Oracle. I don't believe there is anything like, you buy a few Exa-servers with some extra-packs or options and... woohoo: you run an extreme, elastic, secured, never stopping, self-service, pay-per-use Oracle Cloud. I don't think it is the case at all... But still, I'm very excited by what the Oracle cloud journey promises!