Sunday, August 14, 2011

Book Review: "Overview of Oracle Enterprise Manager Grid Control 11g R1: Business Service Management"

There are different console applications or flavors provided in Oracle Enterprise Manager (OEM):
  • OEM Database Control
  • OEM Application Server and Fusion Middleware Control
  • OEM Grid Control
The Business Service Management (BSM) capabilities of Oracle Enterprise Manager are available only in the Grid Control flavor.

In this book "Overview of Oracle Enterprise Manager Grid Control 11g R1: Business Service Management", it covers OEM's Business Service Management capabilities in great details as described in this article.

Business Service Management

Business Service Management (BSM) is a methodology for monitoring and measuring Information Technology (IT) services from a business perspective. It allows IT departments to operate by service rather than by individual manageable entity or target.

BSM software and services are provided by major vendors. Oracle Enterprise Manager (OEM) 11g is a product offering from Oracle that provides solutions to the typical IT infrastructure management issues.

Management Issues

Any enterprise IT infrastructure contains numerous disparate components that are geographically distributed across various data centers. These components include:
  • Hardware components
    • Such as servers hosting different applications, network switches, routers, storage devices, and so on
  • Software components
    • Such as operating systems, database servers, application servers, middleware components, packaged applications, distributed applications, and so on
To make things even worse, an IT infrastructure also have the following characteristics:
  • Hardware and software could be sourced from multiple vendors
  • Multiple versions of the same software product, from the same vendor, could be deployed across the enterprise
  • Newer technologies such as service-oriented architectures (SOA), virtualization, cloud computing, portal frameworks, grid architectures, and mashups within an organizations make troubleshooting and monitoring of business services very difficult
These heterogeneous, disparate and geographically distributed components give rise to the complexity of IT management issues.

The Needs

Facing these challenges, a successful management solution must:
  • Have the capability to model, monitor, administer, and configure higher-level logical entities that map to business functions
  • Provide different perspectives to get a comprehensive view of the health of the various business services and the underlying IT infrastructure
  • Be able to perform complex computations and scale very easily with a simple architecture and a small footprint
  • Take into consideration the geographical spread of the infrastructure landscape

The Solution

Oracle Enterprise Manager (OEM) is one of the industry leaders in the system management products arena. It provides the following capabilities:
  • A single unified platform for modeling and managing enterprise data centers
  • Comprehensive monitoring and management capabilities for the entire Oracle Grid within the enterprise
  • Discovery, monitoring, and management of various pieces of the IT infrastructure
    • Includes Non-Oracle Software Products
  • Supports both passive and active monitoring paradigms
  • Two distinct perspectives:
    • Target-based focus
      • This provides a highly specialized set of views exclusive for a specific target
    • Business service-based focus
      • This provides a holistic view that dwells on different targets within an enterprise and their interactions with each other to achieve a business objective
  • Capabilities of defining and tracking Service-Level Agreements (SLAs) of different business functions
The Grid Control architecture (see the Figure above) is distributed in nature and relies on the agents to collect data on the individual hosts. It includes the following components:
  • Oracle Management Agent
    • A piece of software installed on a host that collects information about the targets on the host or remote hosts. The collected data is then passed onto the management service.
    • In case of remote monitoring (vs. local monitoring), there is no automatic discovery support and the administrator must use the console UI pages to initiate the remote discovery.
  • Oracle Management Service (OMS)
    • This is the brain of the OEM. It acts as the centralized management solution and also acts as the server to which all the management agents upload the collected data.
    • The OMS provides current and future insights into business functions and services by looking at the historical data that is stored in its management repository.
  • OEM Console
    • This is the user interface that exposes all the management functionalities to the end user of OEM.
    • It provides views into each of the targets and also allows the user to initiate actions and configuration changes on these targets.
  • Oracle Management Repository
    • This is the central repository that is used by the OMS to store all data.
By distributing the data collection to individual agents the Oracle Management Service (OMS) is freed up to perform more important tasks.

The Book

In the book, it has used a travel portal as example to:
  • Illustrate the concepts of IT infrastructure management
  • Showcase OEM's BSM capabilities
  • Provide step-by-step instructions of using OEM
The travel portal provides various business services such as flight search, car rental services, and so on to the end users. It also consumes the payment gateway services from various business partners.

In the travel portal illustration, these services are configured as different service targets such as:
  • CarRentalService:
    • Modeled as a Generic Service target based on the TravelPortal-CarRental-System
  • FlightSearchWebSite:
    • Modeled as a Web Application service based on a Service Test from two different beacons
  • PaymentGatewayService:
    • Modeled as a Forms Application based on the PaymentGatewaySystem
  • TravelPortalSearchServices:
    • Modeled as an Aggregate Service comprising the CarRentalService and FlightSearchWebSite service targets

Resources

  1. Overview of Oracle Enterprise Manager Grid Control 11g R1: Business Service Management
  2. Oracle Grid Products
  3. Oracle Grid Engine
  4. Oracle Enterprise Manager
  5. Enterprise Manager Grid Control
  6. Oracle Enterprise Manager Cloud Control 12c: Best Practices for Middleware Management

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