How To: Manage your Oracle patch deployment life cycle using Oracle Support Patch Plans

Introduction

 

As part of my writing I often try to document and share best practices I develop on my day to day work, this one relates to formalizing the patch deployment process for your oracle environments. This approach is developed for organizations that have formal release cycles and have established procedures to take patches through test life cycles that; at a minimum, begin in a develop environment, followed by integration testing in a QA and culminate when patches are promoted to production.

I will try to keep this post brief so, at a high level, I have found that the best way to manage patches is to use the Oracle support portal patch & upgrades functionality to create a patch plan for each environment in the life cycle for either each major release or at least each quarter. This process is always initiated by the need to apply a patch so whenever no patches are necessary during a release or quarter no patch plans are created.

The two main benefits of this approach is (1) that it brings transparency into which patches have been approved for each environment, (2) it is a straight forward process that does not carry a lot of overhead. The way patches make it to a patch plan is when a project manager requests a patch to be applied or promoted to each environment in your life cycle, this in turn is monitored using standard project management mechanisms such as issue, task and test management.

 

Implementation

Creating your first patch plan is very simple, just take your first requested patch through the process outlined below.

 

  1. Login to http://support.oracle.com
  2. Click on the Patches & Updates tab
  3. Locate the appropriate version of your patch by specifying a patch number and operating system on the patch search interface

    Locate the appropriate version of your patch by specifying a patch number and operating system on the patch search interface

  4. Locate your patch on the search results screen and click on Add to Plan > Add to new …

    Locate your patch on the search results screen and click on Add to Plan > Add to new ...

  5. Locate the a valid target application server or host name using the search box
  6. Provide a patch plan name using your company’s naming standard and click create plan

    An example naming convention I have used in the past, this particular one allows system administrators to sort by date and to manage patch plans by product:

    – – – approved patches

    Provide a patch plan name using your company's naming standard and click create plan

  7. To add any additional requested patches to your plan go back to Patches & Updatesand select your plan from the Plans list and click on the Add Patch… button.

Having this patching plan makes it easy to manage patch deployment through your environments. As for the actual deployment of each patch, I am a command line geek and like the ability to make sure that each individual patch deployment works correctly by running OPatch for each individual package.

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Reference:

As part of my writing I often try to document and share best practices I develop on my day to day work, this one relates to formalizing the patch deployment process for your oracle environments …

Configuring OBIEE to run as a Windows Service

Introduction

One key step to configuring an enterprise deployment of Oracle Business Intelligence is to be setup your services to run in the background as Windows services and start automatically with your server.  By default the installer will create windows services for Oracle Process Manager (OPMN) and the Weblogic Node Manager, this leaves us with the need to configure services for the Weblogic AdminServer and the BI Managed Server.

Pre-requisites

  • Verify boot.properties files exist for both Weblogic Servers

    AdminServer:
    %mw_home%\user_projects\domains\bifoundation_domain\servers\AdminServer\security\boot.properties

    BI Managed Server:
    %mw_home%\user_projects\domains\bifoundation_domain\servers\bi_server1\security\boot.properties

  • Define the MW_HOME Variable
  • Edit %MW_HOME%\wlserver_10.3\server\bin\installSvc.cmd to redirect standard output to a file and to set the service name prefix to “Oracle_”

    Log Syntax:
    -log:”%MW_HOME%\user_projects\domains\bifoundation_domain\servers\%SERVER_NAME%-stdout.txt”

    Example Customization:

    set MW_HOME=%WL_HOME%\..\

    rem *** Install the service”
    %WL_HOME%\server\bin\beasvc” -install -svcname:”Oracle_%DOMAIN_NAME%_%SERVER_NAME%” -javahome:”%JAVA_HOME%” -execdir:”%USERDOMAIN_HOME%” -maxconnectretries:”%MAX_CONNECT_RETRIES%” -host:”%HOST%” -port:”%PORT%” -extrapath:”%EXTRAPATH%” -password:”%WLS_PW%” -cmdline:%CMDLINE% -log:”%MW_HOME%\user_projects\domains\bifoundation_domain\servers\%SERVER_NAME%-stdout.txt”

    Note: Make sure you replace beasvc and the subsequent space with Oracle_ on the section for -svcname

  • Change the environment script

    %MW_HOME%\user_projects\domains\bifoundation_domain\bin\setOBIDomainEnv.cmd

  • Edit %MW_HOME%\wlserver_10.3\server\bin\installSvc.cmd to ensure the correct Java memory arguments are utilized by your windows service

    Old Code:
    call “%WL_HOME%\common\bin\commEnv.cmd”
    New Code:
    call “%WL_HOME%\..\user_projects\domains\bifoundation_domain\bin\setOBIDomainEnv.cmd”

  • Edit %MW_HOME%\wlserver_10.3\server\bin\installSvc.cmd to implement a workaround for the Windows limitation of the maximum length of the command line being 2KB
    • Locate the two instances where the script sets the value of the CMDLINE variable
    • Add the code below before each instance, this code will output the current value of CLASSPATH to a text file

      REM –
      REM output the class path to text file and change reference to file on CMDLINE variable
      REM this is a workaround to a limit on windows command line to 2KB
      echo %CLASSPATH% > %WL_HOME%\server\bin\classpath.txt

    • Replace the class path variable reference \”%CLASSPATH%\” with@%WL_HOME%\server\bin\classpath.txt as depicted in the example below

      set CMDLINE=”%JAVA_VM% %MEM_ARGS% %JAVA_OPTIONS% -classpath @%WL_HOME%\server\bin\classpath.txt -Dweblogic.Name=%SERVER_NAME% -Dweblogic.management.username=%WLS_USER% -Dweblogic.ProductionModeEnabled=%PRODUCTION_MODE% -Djava.security.policy=\”%WL_HOME%\server\lib\weblogic.policy\” weblogic.Server”

  • Read the Microsoft Support article on specifying the startup order of Windows Services
  • Using regedit, add the one group for each of the OBIEE processes to be started at the end of the list entry at:

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\ServiceGroupOrder

    Example groups:

    OBI Node Manager
    OBI AdminServer
    OBI Managed Server
    OBI OPMN

    This will sequence the startup of your services based on group

  • Note down the names of the OPMN and Node Manager Services from the registry

    Registry Location:

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\

    Sample Service Names:

    OracleProcessManager_instance1
    Oracle WebLogic NodeManager (d_obi_mw_wlserver_10.3)

  • For each of the two services above add a string value (right click the registry folder and follow New > String Value) named Group and provide the corresponding group value for each service (ie. HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\Oracle WebLogic NodeManager (d_obi_mw_wlserver_10.3)\Group=OBI Node Manager).

    This will work along with the ServiceGroupOrder configuration to ensure the startup order of your services

Implementation


AdminServer Service

  • Create a new script named %MW_HOME%\wlserver_10.3\server\bin\installAdminServer_svc.cmd and using the code below:

    SETLOCAL
    @echo off
    set MW_HOME=d:\obi_mw
    set DOMAIN_NAME=bifoundation_domain
    set USERDOMAIN_HOME=%MW_HOME%\user_projects\domains\%DOMAIN_NAME%
    set SERVER_NAME=AdminServer
    set PRODUCTION_MODE=true
    call “%MW_HOME%\wlserver_10.3\server\bin\installSvc.cmd”
    ENDLOCAL

  • Run the installAdminServer_svc.cmd script
  • Using regedit, verify that a service named Oracle_bifoundation_domain_AdminServer now exists under the following location

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\

  • Right click your service folder and follow the context menus New > String Value to add a new entry in your service folder, call your new string value Group and double click on it to add OBI AdminServer as a value. This will work in tandem with the ServiceGroupOrder configuration to ensure the startup order of your services.
  • Right click your service folder and follow the context menus New > Multi-String Value to add a new entry in your service folder, call your new string value DependOnService and double click on it to add the node manager service as a dependency, the node manager service must match the service listing you noted down as part of the pre-requisite preparation steps (ie. Oracle WebLogic NodeManager (d_obi_mw_wlserver_10.3)). Using this dependency value will cause Windows to verify that dependent services have been started before attempting to start this service.

BI Managed Server Service

  • Create a new script named %MW_HOME%\wlserver_10.3\server\bin\installbi_server1_svc.cmd and using the code below:

    SETLOCAL
    @echo off
    set MW_HOME=d:\obi_mw
    set DOMAIN_NAME=bifoundation_domain
    set USERDOMAIN_HOME=%MW_HOME%\user_projects\domains\%DOMAIN_NAME%
    set SERVER_NAME=bi_server1
    set PRODUCTION_MODE=true
    set ADMIN_URL=http://localhost:7001
    call “%MW_HOME%\wlserver_10.3\server\bin\installSvc.cmd”
    ENDLOCAL

  • Run the installbi_server1_svc.cmd script
  • Using regedit, verify that a service named Oracle_bifoundation_domain_bi_server1 now exists under the following location

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\

  • Right click your service folder and follow the context menus New > String Value to add a new entry in your service folder, call your new string value Group and double click on it to add OBI Managed Server as a value. This will work in tandem with the ServiceGroupOrder configuration to ensure the startup order of your services.
  • Right click your service folder and follow the context menus New > Multi-String Value to add a new entry in your service folder, call your new string value DependOnService and double click on it to add the node manager service and Weblogic AdminServer services as a dependencies (ie.Oracle_bifoundation_domain_AdminServer ). Using this dependency value will cause Windows to verify that dependent services have been started before attempting to start this service.
  • Right click the service folder for OPMN and follow the context menus New > Multi-String Value to add a new entry in your service folder, call your new string value DependOnService and double click on it to add the node manager service and Weblogic AdminServer  and your new BI Managed Server services as a dependencies (ie. Oracle_bifoundation_domain_bi_server1). Using this dependency value will cause Windows to verify that dependent services have been started before attempting to start this service.
  • On the Administration Tools > Services application verify that all of the following services are configured to start automatically and, optionally, configure what actions are taking on failure starting each service.

    Oracle WebLogic NodeManager
    Oracle_bifoundation_domain_AdminServer
    Oracle_bifoundation_domain_bi_server1
    Oracle Process Manager (instance 1)

Setup Validation

  • Restart your windows server and monitor the order in which services are started
  • If you see issues with OPMN starting at the same time as your WebLogic servers you might need to try setting the AdminServer, BI Managed Server and OPMN  services to start manually and using the code below to create batch command file that is executed by a scheduled task each time the computer starts:

    net start Oracle_bifoundation_domain_AdminServer
    timeout 300
    net start Oracle_bifoundation_domain_bi_server1
    timeout 300
    net start OracleProcessManager_instance1

    This script would use the timeout DOS command to institute a five minute wait between each of the OBI services being started.

One key step to configuring an enterprise deployment of Oracle Business Intelligence is to be setup your services to run in the background as Windows services and start automatically with your server.  By default the installer will create windows services for Oracle Process Manager (OPMN) and the Weblogic Node Manager, this leaves us with the need to configure services for the Weblogic AdminServer and the BI Managed Server.

Customizing your DOS prompt

Being back on a windows shop I find the DOS prompt sort of gets in my way, I have customized it so that it will display my current path and then let met type on a new line with this command:

PROMPT Ignacio’s rocking at $P$G$_

The different formatting options for the command are:

$A & (Ampersand)
$B | (pipe)
$C ( (Left parenthesis)
$D Current date
$E Escape code (ASCII code 27)
$F ) (Right parenthesis)
$G > (greater-than sign)
$H Backspace (erases previous character)
$L < (less-than sign)
$N Current drive
$P Current drive and path
$Q = (equal sign)
$S (space)
$T Current time
$V Windows XP version number
$_ Carriage return and linefeed
$$ $ (dollar sign)

To make your changes permanent go to My Computer > Properties > Advanced > Environment Variables and create a new variable called PROMPT.

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Being back on a windows shop I find the DOS prompt sort of gets in my way, I have customized it so that it will display my current path and then let met type on a new line with this command…

How To: Download, install, configure and verify you have the latest version of Opatch

On this post we will discuss all the steps necessary to ensure you have the correct version of the OPatch patching utility for oracle software running on your system. If you find this post useful please or Share our site!

Environment Variables:

Set your ORACLE_INSTANCE path to a valid OBIEE 11g instance

Set your ORACLE_HOME path to the OBIEE 11g home (Oracle_BI1)

Validating Your Environment:

OPatch is installed by default, locate it go to the ORACLE_HOME path for your OBIEE installation:

\Oracle_BI1\OPatch

To verify your current session is correctly configured verify the installed version by running the following command:

opatch version

Minimum Required Versions:

OBIEE 11.1.1.5.0 -> OPatch version 11.1.0.8.3 or higher (do NOT use OPatch 12.x)

OBIEE 11.1.1.6.0 -> No OPatch packages available as of March 12, 2012

Downloading a Newer Version of OPatch:

To find and download the appropriate version of OPatch for yor system please go to ORacle Support and find the knoledge base article below:

Note 224346.1 – Opatch – Where Can I Find the Latest Version of Opatch?

Installing OPatch:

To install OPatch once you have downloaded the appropriate version follow the steps below:

  1. Rename your current OPatch directory (ORACLE_HOME\OPatch)
  2. Copy the zip file to your ORACLE_HOME
  3. Unzip the zip file
  4. Verify that the upgrade succeeded

    cd OPatch
    opatch version

File System Access:

OPatch will update the local Oracle Inventory so the user account running OPatch must have acces to the location of the OUI Inventory, to verify this you can run the following command:

opatch -lsinventory

Patch Directory Location (PATCH_TOP):

If you have a centralized location where you store code / releases it is a good idea to create a directory called PATCH_TOP to store patches as they are applied to each environment (DEV, QA, STAGE, PRD).

On this post we will discuss all the steps necessary to ensure you have the correct version of the OPatch patching utility for oracle software running on your system.

How to stop / start individual OBIEE 11g System Components from the OPMN

obia-tech-components-wd
Sometimes I have a configuration change to make or need to restart a specific system component in one of my servers, here is a list of stop / start commands for each of the system components:

BI Service:

opmnctl stopproc ias-component=coreapplication_obis1

opmnctl startproc ias-component=coreapplication_obis1

Javahost:

opmnctl stopproc ias-component=coreapplication_obijh1

opmnctl startproc ias-component=coreapplication_obijh1

Presentation Service:

opmnctl stopproc ias-component=coreapplication_obips1

opmnctl startproc ias-component=coreapplication_obips1

Scheduler Service:

opmnctl stopproc ias-component=coreapplication_obisch1

opmnctl startproc ias-component=coreapplication_obisch1

Cluster Service:

opmnctl startproc ias-component=coreapplication_obiccs1

opmnctl stopproc ias-component=coreapplication_obiccs1

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Sometimes I have a configuration change to make or need to restart a specific system component in one of my servers, here is a list of stop / start commands for each of the system components…

How to: Install the Oracle Web Tier / Oracle HTTP Server

This post will guide you through the steps to deploy Oracle Web Tier 11.1.1.2.0. This instance will later be upgraded to 11.1.1.5.0 by applying PatchSet 1 (12395155) and configured to serve as a front end for WebLogic as part of an Oracle Business Intelligence environment. If you find this post useful please or Share it!

Pre-Install Tasks

Implementation

  • Run the setup.exe file to start your installation
  • Click next on the welcome screen

    Click next on the welcome screen

  • Select the Install and Configure option and click next

    Select the Install and Configure option and click next

  • Verify that all pre-requisite tests are successfull and click next

    Verify that all pre-requisite tests are successfull and click next

  • Specify the location of your oracle middleware home and the name of your new web tier oracle home directory

    Specify the location of your oracle middleware home and the name of your new web tier oracle home directory

    Note: The WebLogic server must already be installed in the same middleware home you specify.

  • Select to configure instances of Oracle HTTP Server and Oracle Web Cache, also select to associate these components with your weblogic domain

    Select to configure instances of Oracle HTTP Server and Oracle Web Cache, also select to associate these components with your weblogic domain

  • Enter the host name and port of your weblogic domain and then enter the domain’s admnistrator credentials

    Enter the host name and port of your weblogic domain and then enter the domain's admnistrator credentials

  • Confirm the instance name, location and component names and click next

    Confirm the instance name, location

  • Enter a password for the administrator of your new web cache instance

    Enter a password for the administrator of your new web cache instance

  • Allow the installer to perform automatic port configuration using the default port numbers for services

    Allow the installer to perform automatic port configuration using the default port numbers for services

  • Provide your Oracle Support credentials, this will register this instance so that it will be available for support and, if specified, allow you to receive security updates via e-Mail

    Provide your Oracle Support credentials, this will register this instance so that it will be available for support and, if specified, allow you to receive security updates via e-Mail

  • Review theconfiguration presented in the summary screen is correct and click Install to begin the process.

    Review the configuration presented in the summary screen is correct and click Install to begin the process.

  • Review the information on the completed install progress screen, make a note of the install log location and click next.

    Review the information on the final summary screen, make a note of the install log location and click next.

  • Review the information presented in the final summary screen, make a note of component urls and click finish to finalize the initial install and configuration process

    Review the information presented in the final summary screen, make a note of component urls and click finish to finalize the initial install and configuration process

Configuring a new loopback adapter in windows


 

  1. Start > Control Pannel> Add  Hardware
  2. Click next on the Welcome screen
    Click next on the Welcome screen
  3. When ask if you have connected your hardware, specify yes
    When ask if you have connected your hardware, specify yes
  4. In the next dialog select Add new hardware device
    In the next dialog select Add new hardware device
  5. On the following screen select Network Adapters
    On the following screen select Network Adapters
  6. Select Microsoft > Microsoft Loopback Adapter from the list
    Select Microsoft > Microsoft Loopback Adapter from the list
  7. Select next in the following screen to install your loopback adapter
    Select next in the following screen to install your loopback adapter
  8. Click finish to complete this section of the installation process
    Click finish to complete this section of the installation process
  9. Find your newly created adapter by going to Start > Control Panel > Network Connections
    Find your newly created adapter by going to Start > Control Panel > Network Connections
  10. Right click your new connection and select Properties
  11. Select the Internet Protocol on the second section of the screen and click properties
    Select the Internet Protocol on the second section of the screen and click properties
  12. In the IP properties dialog configure a static IP address following the example belowIP Address: 10.10.10.35 Subnet Mask: 255.255.255.0
    In the IP properties dialog configure a static IP address following the example belowIP Address: 10.10.10.35 Subnet Mask: 255.255.255.0

Once you have configured a static IP address you will have completed the configuration of your new loopback adapter.

For instructions on configuring your hosts file to correctly use your loopback adapter when installing Oracle products see this post.

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This short reference article will guide readers through the configuration process for a loopback adapter, this is a pre-requisite for most Oracle server software installs…

Real Time Operational Business Intelligence with GoldenGate

Oracle Golden Gate ArchitectureOracle Corporation’ (ORCL) acquisition of Golden Gate Software on July of 2009 was a big step for Oracle in its quest to build a open and heterogeneous product line that will be more appealing to enterprise customers with complex OLTP and data warehouse environments. You can find a detailed presentation of the considerations that were taken into consideration regarding this acquisition here. In the data warehousing space this is a welcome addition to the earlier acquisition of Sunopsis (now Oracle Data Integrator) a Extract-Load-Transform alternative to traditional ETL tools such as Informatica and IBM Information Server (DataStage) that plays nice in heterogeneous database environments and is significantly easier to use, and more stable than the displaced Oracle Warehouse Builder (OWB). Key areas where Golden Gate can be of use in a heterogeneous database environment:

  • Simplifying disaster recovery by maintaining near-real time copies of transactional databases
  • Change Data Capture and extraction and staging for data warehouse environments
  • Real-Time operational business intelligence by means of a message queue and a Business Activity Monitoring (BAM) or Business Process Management (BPM) solution

 

Under the last scenario events can be fed into real time alerts or dashboard Key Performance Indicator’s in real time in addition to triggering additional events when the event is orchestrated via an enterprise bus. Here’s a link to a step by step installation and configuration demo at Oracle Technology Network (OTN). Stay tunned for additional product reviews and OBIEE tips and tricks that are coming soon and check my review of Oracle Data Integrator here..

Sunopsis seven years after it’s acquisition

Oracle Data Integrator (ODI) Logo

Oracle Data IntegratorOn October of 2006 Oracle acquired Sunopsis a sofware company whose flagship product was one of the up-and-coming players in the datata warehousing arena. Sunopsis for easy integration in environments with multiple database systems and differentiated itself by adopting an Extract-Load-Transform architecture that decreased the learning curve for database developers that were immediately able to create transformation using familiar SQL syntax. By utilizing the computing power in the target database Sunopsis’ ELT architecture potentially decreased the need for additional computing power in a dedicated ETL server. Fast forward five years and Sunopsis is now Oracle Data Integrator, it is a key component of the Fusion Middleware Data Integration product line and it’s looking good, a few features that large enterprise customers will find interesting are:

  • SOA enabled an can deploy and consume web services for data transformation and integration
  • Integrates well into your data cleansing (names, addresses) and Master Data Management framework
  • Out of the box CDC functionality with a Publish-and-Subscribe model implemented either via triggers or log mining (Oracle and DB2)
  • As previously stated, by utilizing the source and target database’s computing power ODI decreases it Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)

It seems as if the merging of Oracle Warehouse Builder and Sunopsis’ functionalities has been beneficial to the end product and, in general, to the enterprise customer. Now it remains to be seen how aggressively Oracle”s sales force can take market share from ODI’s top competitors IBM Information Server and Informatica PowerCenter. Stay tunned for additional product reviews and, of course, OBIEE and Business Intelligence updates…