Oracle expands systems management suite

Oracle's new Enterprise Manager 11g Ops Center can watch servers, operating systems, and virtual containers

In an effort to ease the complexity of system administration, Oracle has expanded its Enterprise Manager software to include servers, operating systems, networking gear and virtual environments, the company announced Tuesday.

The new release, called Oracle Enterprise Manager 11g Ops Center, "is the part of Enterprise Manager that manages the bottom part of your stack," said Steve Wilson, Oracle's vice president for systems management.

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The software is an update of Sun Microsystems' XVM Ops Center. (Oracle acquired Sun in January.) For this release, Oracle integrated the XVM capability into its Enterprise Manager suite and added more features. The Enterprise Manager is Oracle's suite of management tools for its own software, incorporating tools for managing databases, middleware and Oracle applications.

With this software, a single Web console can be used to manage an organization's Oracle hardware and software, and even entire pre-packaged Oracle systems such as Exadata and Exalogic, Wilson said.

The console can manage both Sun SPARC and x86 servers; operating systems including Oracle Solaris, on both x86 and SPARC; and Oracle Linux, Red Hat Enterprise Linux, and Novell SuSE on x86. For virtualization, the software supports the Oracle Virtual Machines on SPARC and Solaris Containers on x86 and SPARC.

The software can also be used to manage Sun-developed storage units and networking equipment. Specifically, it monitors ZFS (Zettabyte File System)-based storage appliances. Also it monitors Oracle's Infiniband and Ethernet switches, which also came from Sun.

By consolidating these management tools, Oracle is also hoping to cut debugging time for administrators. If a server is not responding, the problem could be with the database, the server, the OS or the switch, Wilson explained. "You could spend hours debugging this and not make progress," he said. This software allows the administrators to check all the layers of the stack from a single view.

The system software can detect when components fail. If a fan, a memory stick or a power supply fails, it can alert an administrator. When a component fails, Ops Center can also automatically fill out a trouble ticket for the customer to submit to Oracle support service, Wilson said.

The software could also help with large-scale deployments. For instance, for an organization that purchases a large number of servers, the software can automatically recognize them on the network and then follow a user-defined workflow to update the firmware, install operating systems and associated patches, and set up virtual machines on these servers, Wilson explained.

"We believe we can dramatically drive down the time to resolve these problems by having this automation built into the management tools," Wilson said.

The software will be available next week, Wilson said. Oracle is holding a series of webcasts to explain the offering further.

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

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