DB administration simplification
Oracle-friendlier solution helps with standardization, patching
As organizations grow, their application and database scenarios can become more complex, and it becomes increasingly important for IT to standardize the deployments of these environments. Standardization not only reduces mistakes by ensuring that each deployment is done exactly the same way, but it decreases deployment time. Fortunately, solutions are available to assist with the process, such as GridApp’s database automation management solution, Clarity 3.5, aimed at companies running Oracle, Oracle RAC (Real Application Clusters), and to a lesser degree, SQL Server.
Installing Clarity is fairly straightforward: Install the Clarity Manager management server and the repository database (if you’re going to have one). Of course, you also must upload all of the software you’re going to manage, be it Oracle, SQL Server, or RAC, as well as any patches you’re going to push out.
The next step is to start adding servers to “grids” (these aren’t performance grids, it’s just the name GridApp uses for the top-level storage containers). Then install management agents on them by simply pushing them out from the Clarity server. Now you’re ready to create your templates.
Templates are the basis for everything you’ll do in Clarity. Configuring them is easy as they’re XML-based, so it’s really no problem to create any number with both dynamic and static options. This is a very powerful function, especially for RAC deployments, which are complex and fraught with potential pitfalls. Being able to specify that certain options get implemented with specific values is not only incredibly important, it’s a huge time-saver.
Once I had my templates created, I was able to provision a primary instance of a new RAC cluster in just a few minutes via the management server UI. Provisioning the next node was even easier because Clarity is smart enough to know what can and can’t be changed when you add a node to an existing cluster. Thus, some options are static no matter how you configured them in the template. As a result,
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Notably, Clarity can’t provision SQL Server clusters, which is indicative of its relatively limited SQL support.
I was pleasantly surprised by how easy it was to add nodes. However, I have to criticize the fact that you must go through the wizard each time. You can’t schedule deployments, and you can’t run them unattended. Don’t get me wrong; the time savings are still significant, it’d just be nice to have a one-click solution. Additionally, I don’t like that you can’t prevent someone from deploying Oracle or SQL Server on a managed box; Clarity will just tell you that it’s been done after the fact.