Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c gears up for the private cloud

The updated management software now allows administrators to set up long-term workflows

For the latest update of Oracle Enterprise Manager, the company has taken additional steps to help organizations set up their own private clouds, using Oracle systems, software and even non-Oracle products.

"Our goal is to is to allow enterprises to take any [Oracle] platform and offer it as a service," said Sushil Kumar, vice president of product strategy and business development.

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Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c Release 3, released Tuesday, comes with new workflow capabilities and new connectors for managing additional Oracle products and systems.

Oracle Enterprise Manager was originally created to deploy and manage groups of Oracle databases. Over the years, Oracle has extended the software to manage the Oracle Application Server and third-party software packages from Microsoft and others, through the use of plug-ins and connectors. Today, the Oracle Enterprise Manager Extensibility Exchange, a sort of app store for the software, offers more than 135 add-ons for third-party programs.

In addition to aiding in the deploying and managing software, Oracle Enterprise Manager also offers a number of operational health metrics, based on information collected by agents installed on the same server as the software being monitored.

To help organizations set up cloud services for internal use, Oracle has been adding more features to Oracle Enterprise Manager.

In this version, reporting capabilities for charge backs have been enhanced in the software. Organizations running internal clouds may want to bill individual business units for their cloud usage. Earlier editions of this software could provide reports of usage by processor, storage, database queries and other metrics. This version allows organizations to create their own usage reports based on other metrics provided by the software, which then can be used as the basis for internal billing.

An activity planner has been added, which will allow administrators to set up workflows to automate a series of tasks, such as updating a set of databases. "The change activity planner helps administrators plan, execute, tracks and report on long-running operations," Kumar said. The software uses the built-in operational health metrics as a way to determine that individual steps of a workflow have been completed.

Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c Release 3 also improves on a new capability introduced in the last version, the ability to build and manage a Java-based PaaS (platform as a service).The prior version of the software required administrators to provision and coordinate multiple WebLogic servers in order to build a service. This update eliminates that step.

"In a physical environment people had to pre-deploy the WebLogic software on the machines, and then Enterprise Manager could dynamically create the domains," Kumar said. A domain is any one of a number of logical containers that WebLogic creates to hold applications. "It goes one step further in that you do not have to pre-deploy the software."

The software adds more support for Oracle engineered systems. It now allows administrators to control multiple Exadata racks as a single entity. It provides the first full support for the Oracle Exalytics in-memory data analysis system. In addition to WebLogic, Oracle Enterprise Manager now can work with Oracle's other application servers, Glassfish (which Oracle acquired in the Sun Microsystems purchase) and Tuxedo (acquired in the BEA Systems purchase).

Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c R3 will also "fully support" the newly released Oracle 12c database, Kumar said. Oracle 12c was released last month with little advance notice from Oracle, and features a number of new advanced capabilities, such as multitenancy.

Kumar, however, would not discuss in detail how Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c R3 supports Oracle 12c, noting that Oracle will make another announcement within a few weeks. "We have all the capabilities for supporting database 12c," he said, including the ability to control individual tenants in the database, as well as the ability to manage Oracle 12c itself in the same way it manages prior versions of the database.

When asked about Oracle's reluctance to go into details about Oracle Enterprise Manager's support of the new Oracle database, Ovum principal analyst Tony Baer noted that, while the Oracle Enterprise Manager officially supports the database, the company may still have yet to work out all the particulars of assuring the management software works with the database across all possible scenarios, a large undertaking given the complexity of the new database and the wide variety of possible deployment scenarios.

Joab Jackson covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Joab on Twitter at @Joab_Jackson. Joab's email address is Joab_Jackson@idg.com.

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