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Everything Oracle at Dell EMC

28 Posts authored by: DBAStorage

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Evolutionary “software-defined” IT, enabled by #EMC

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In this first of a 3-part blog series discussing announcements at the recent EMC World 2015 conference in Las Vegas, I want to focus on what is described as “software-defined”, that is actually rooted in the commoditization of hardware-based solutions.


As EMC’s Federation Chairman and CEO is known to say, “we live in interesting times”, we do indeed, the Software-Defined Data Center (SDDC) as first envisioned by VMware is becoming a reality – what does it mean for us? As DBAs and System Admins working in today’s traditional IT environments, we are familiar with Storage Arrays (VMAX, VNX, XtremIO) and Archive/Backup Appliances (Avamar, Data Domain, Isilon). So, let’s consider a traditional Admin’s journey to the SDDC.


With the advent of the Software-Defined Data Center, attention is shifting in IT from achieving consolidation and efficiency from Server Virtualization to making a fully automated, zero-downtime Cloud infrastructure a reality.


Today, EMC’s Federation Enterprise Hybrid Cloud (EHC) solutions are delivering on the promise of the Software Defined Data Center to those ready to explore and embrace a journey to IDC’s Third Platform of IT, we are also seeing some very interesting shifts in IT to embrace IT-as-a-Service (ITaaS) and Database-as-a-Service (DBaaS) using EMC’s EHC solutions and Oracle's Enterprise Manager 12c.


From a traditional IT standpoint, the introduction of vVNX Community Edition and virtual Data Domain (vDD) give you the possibility to establish known modes of IT with VNX and Data Domain being able to be deployed within your VMware vSphere infrastructure.


Particularly with vDD, the opportunity to establish Data Domain running as a VM in a remote location syncing back to a central Data Domain DD9500 opens up new architecture design possibilities for protection storage.


Further, with the availability of a FREE unlimited-use Community Edition of EMC’s ScaleIO, massively-scalable, software-defined storage software, you now have the opportunity to re-deploy existing hardware and establish a new storage paradigm within your data centers, at no cost for dev/test environments – how great is that!


Let me know your thoughts on these developments, there’s much more detail to come with the next two blogs in this series, not least the announcement of VCE’s VxRack rack-scale hyper-converged infrastructure and the preview of EMC’s DSSD – the future of rack-scale flash with microsecond latencies!


Moments with Jeff Browning

Posted by DBAStorage Mar 31, 2015

31st March 2015 marks the day our very own Jeff Browning leaves EMC, we've decided it should be a day for socializing the best Jeff Browning quotes and comments from his colleagues, friends and followers in the world of IT. For sure, Jeff will remain active in the Storage or Virtualization areas, maybe not being at EMC will open up new frontiers? I know he has an active interest in NoSQL and what will challenge Oracle Corporation in Database Management in the coming years.


He goes by the name @OracleHeretic on Twitter, inventor of the Monster VM claws


Monster Hero Banner 200 x 275.png

Personally, it's been a great pleasure to work with Jeff. Superlatives are handed out lightly these days, but Jeff is deserving of every one of them. It helps that Jeff is confident, talkative and interesting to listen to, he also is the embodiment of supporting the team in every way from teaching the basics of how to do technical things to believing that empowering people is what he is good at. From the day he interviewed me to join EMC to now, I have come to know Jeff as a friend of everyone in the Oracle Technical Marketing team at EMC, as a team there is a sense of losing a character and thought leader - not going to dwell on that as with all change comes opportunity for those of us who remain.


You are welcome to use the comments here to leave your good wishes and memories of working with Jeff or seeing him present at the biggest Oracle and Virtualization conferences in the world over recent years.





Here's a few lines I recall from just the last year, I will update this page as more ideas come to mind;


"Jeff is an enigma, you have to meet him to really appreciate his presence"


"I will let Jeff tell that story, nobody else can really do it the justice it deserves"


"Jeff is an industry luminary, we invited him to give this presentation not just anyone from EMC, you're lucky you got his blessing!"


All the best Jeff, it's been a privilege to work with you at EMC and I look forward to dinner at VMworld sometime soon!


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#EMC SAN Storage arrives in #Oracle #EM12c DBaaS!


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As the title suggests, this blog post is about the recent announcement that Oracle have now provided support for EMC SAN storage in Enterprise Manager 12c Database-as-a-Service (DBaaS).


One of the many reasons I enjoyed being a full-time Oracle DBA, and now continue to love being involved in Oracle Database Solutions at EMC is that every now and then something amazing shows up and it goes almost un-noticed when you might expect people to be throwing a party. Maybe not, it's only computer technology after all. As it has been a long time coming, let's give this particular functionality the visibility it deserves!

I’m talking about Oracle’s Enterprise Manager 12c (EM12c) DBaaS solution now including EMC storage; furthermore, that makes EMC VMAX and VNX the only SAN storage solutions integrated with EM12c – since the January update to EM12c R4, DBAs can now manage EMC storage pools assigned to them by their Storage Admins. This is HUGE!

Screen Shot 2015-02-23 at 12.20.45 copy.png


As Oracle has provided native support for EMC storage in EMC12c R4, all of this great new functionality is fully described in the documentation; from working with your storage admin to configure EMC VMAX or VNX storage pools, assigning them to you for use with ASM and you getting to manage how that storage is used.

Here are some parts of the documentation you should get familiar with, before going to see your EMC Storage Admin;


I believe Oracle’s Pete Sharman was the first to highlight this in his Snap Clone using EMC SAN and ASM blog post. Please go read that, it’s an awesome introduction to Oracle’s Snap Clone functionality available with the EM12c Cloud Management pack. Pete then goes on to mention that a lot of Oracle “customers want native support for SAN for cloning purposes, especially, the ones who run ASM on SAN. And they are quite a lot in number.” Yes they are, as you likely know EMC is the No.1 provider of SAN storage for Oracle Database.


I have to reproduce Pete’s next paragraph in full here, as this is truly a gift to you as an Oracle DBA using EMC Storage, and he describes it superbly:


Using Snap Clone on ASM and EMC storage provides the ability to create ‘live’ thin clones of databases that are on ASM. A live clone is NOT snapshot based but rather a live copy of the database, residing on copy-on-write storage technology that can be within the same cluster or indeed another one. Both single instance and RAC are supported – supported versions are or higher of the database, 11.2 and higher of the Grid Infrastructure code. This functionality works on both EMC VMAX (with TimeFinder VP Snap) and VNX storage appliances.


Find out more about TimeFinder VP Snap with EMC VMAX in the EMC White Paper - Implementing TimeFinder VP Snap for Local Replication


If you don’t have the luxury of using Oracle EM12c DBaaS, but do have EM12c, you can still get visibility on the configuration and performance of your EMC Storage with our free plugin. They have recently been updated to include VNX, VMAX and XtremIO and there’s a good article on that introduces the update.




Now I want you to setup a meeting with your Storage Admin and let me know how you get on. Having likely invested a lot of $$$ in Oracle’s EM12c DBaaS software, why not take the next step and work with your storage team and get the absolute best from your EMC storage solution too.


Let me know what you think, as your feedback and comments most often provide direction on what I should write about next. If it would be helpful, I am planning to post in more detail on the steps you should discuss with your Storage Admin to get this great new native solution up and running.

Many thanks to Oracle for recognizing the importance of EMC Storage to our mutual customers and to Pete Sharman for a very positive write-up of the functionality.

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Top 12 2014 @DBAStorage Blogs by Views on the EMC Oracle Community!

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To celebrate 2014 being my first full year at EMC, I want to share again the blogs I prepared that got viewed the most. Last January, I had no idea that I would get to go to EMC World in Las Vegas, present at VMworld Europe in Barcelona and finish off the year presenting at the UKOUG Conference in Liverpool. It’s been amazing, so here’s a reminder of my 12 most viewed blogs of 2014;

#12      Introducing the EMC Enterprise Hybrid Cloud Solution!


#11      EMC Storage Integrator for Oracle Database 12c Multitenant Cloning


#10      Why you should be using EMC AppSync for Oracle


#9        Audio Podcast: Introducing EMC ScaleIO


#8        Wikibon on Converged Infrastructure For Oracle DBAs


#7        A technical overview of EMC Hybrid Cloud Solution with VMware for Oracle


#6        The New EMC VMAX3 Invites the Oracle DBA to the High-End Storage Party!


#5        Wikibon Says - Who’s BEST in Oracle Infrastructure?


#4        Supporting EMC XtremCache for Oracle Real Application Clusters


#3        Amazing unattended install of Oracle RAC 12c Grid Infrastructure with Vagrant!


#2        Introducing EMC ProtectPoint, with Oracle RMAN Integration!


#1        Let’s talk about Oracle FS1 and EMC XtremIO!


Throughout 2014, my intention has been to not only write about IT innovation at EMC, but also to provide technical overviews and details on implementing and supporting EMC solutions for Oracle. Very pleased to see some favourites of mine up there, with EMC ScaleIO, EMC XtremCache and EMC ProtectPoint featuring prominently.

Thanks must go to Larry Ellison for giving me the opportunity to write about his rather unusual comparison of Oracle FS1 and EMC XtremIO, and to you for taking it to #1!

2015 will likely be everything as BIG as 2014, while it’s not rocket science to predict 3 areas that Oracle DBAs should be expanding their horizons with, here’s my picks;


  • Software Defined Storage (both ViPR & ScaleIO)
  • Flash-Enabled Hybrid Storage Arrays (both VNX & VMAX)
  • Enterprise Hybrid Cloud (top infographic here)


I will certainly be writing more about these and other areas of interest to Oracle DBAs in 2015, hopefully you have enjoyed many of my contributions and I welcome your comments and feedback below.


Throughout 2014 I was looking at how I could get some visibility on a theory that Oracle DBAs should embrace Oracle NoSQL 3.0 as our route to Big Data – In December, the UKOUG Conference gave me the opportunity to present a session in Liverpool (slides are available here).  I hope to expand on that session this year and help Oracle DBAs avoid missing the boat to IDC’s 3rd Platform of IT!


All the best for 2015, Peter (@DBAStorage)


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[blog] A technical overview of EMC Hybrid Cloud Solution and Security Management #RedefineHC



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A Technical Overview of EMC Hybrid Cloud Solution and Security Management


In this third part of my overview blog posts on the EMC Hybrid Cloud solution, here I will focus on Security Management and the components that promote security and compliance.


From my earlier blogs, you will have come to understand that the EMC Hybrid Cloud solution integrates the best of EMC and VMware products and services and empowers IT organizations to accelerate implementation and adoption of a hybrid cloud, while still enabling customer choice for the compute and networking infrastructures within the data center.


The transition from either a physical or a partially virtualized infrastructure to a full hybrid cloud enables a transformative approach to providing security. While many of the same threats to physical environments still exist in the hybrid cloud model, there are new ways to mitigate those threats by using the powerful capabilities of the EMC Hybrid Cloud. Network segments and boundaries become more flexible as switches, routers, and load balancers can be provisioned as needed to ensure dynamically changing environments remain secure, no longer dependent on hardware procurement or provisioning.


EMC Hybrid Cloud takes advantage of the strong integration between EMC technologies and the VMware vCloud Suite. The solution, developed by EMC and VMware product and services teams includes EMC scalable storage arrays, integrated EMC and VMware monitoring, VMware software-defined networking and security, and data protection suites to provide the foundation for enabling cloud services within the customer environment.


EHC Components-500.png


The product components most relevant to addressing security and compliance requirements and controls are discussed below.


VMware vCloud Automation Center (vCAC) enables customized, self-service provisioning and lifecycle management of cloud services that comply with established business policies. vCAC provides a secure portal where authorized administrators, developers, and business users can request new IT services and manage existing computer resources from predefined user-specific menus.


VMware vCloud Networking and Security (vCNS) is a software-defined networking and security solution that enhances operational efficiency, unlocks agility, and enables extensibility to rapidly respond to business needs. It provides a broad range of services in a single solution, including virtual firewall, virtual private network (VPN), load balancing, and VXLAN-extended networks.


An alternative deployment option to vCNS is VMware NSX for vSphere. NSX is the next generation of software-defined network virtualization and offers additional functionality and improved performance over vCNS. This additional functionality includes distributed logical routing, distributed firewalling, logical load balancing, and support for routing protocols such as Border Gateway Protocol (BGP), Intermediate System to Intermediate System (IS-IS), and Open Shortest Path First (OSPF). Where workloads on different subnets share the same host, the distributed logical router (DLR) optimizes traffic flows by routing locally. This enables substantial performance improvements in throughput, with distributed logical routing and firewalling providing line-rate performance distributed across many hosts instead of being limited to a single virtual machine or physical host. NSX also introduces Service Composer, which integrates with third-party security services.


VMware vCenter Configuration Manager automates configuration and compliance management across your virtual, physical, and cloud environments, assessing them for operational and security compliance. It automates critical configuration and compliance management tasks, and supports configuration management across virtual and physical servers, VMware infrastructure, and multiple operating systems.


In addition, vCenter Configuration Manager integrates with vSphere to deliver the fundamental capabilities that support VMware infrastructure hardening, including deep configuration data collection, change tracking, and compliance assessment. Visibility into your compliance posture is provided through access to compliance toolkits that cover a broad range of standards, including security best practices, vendor-hardening guidelines and regulatory mandates.


Multitenancy and secure separation requirements in a cloud environment can range from shared, open resources to completely isolated resources, secure from any access. The EMC Hybrid Cloud solution provides the ability to enforce physical and virtual separation for multitenancy, offering different levels of security to meet business, security policy, and/or regulatory compliance requirements. This separation can encompass network, compute, and storage resources, to ensure appropriate security and performance for each tenant.


The solution supports secure multitenancy through vCAC role-based access control (RBAC), enabling vCAC roles to be mapped to Active Directory groups. vCAC uses existing authentication and business groupings. The self-service portal shows only specific views, functions, and operations based on the role within the business.


Physical resource separation can be achieved in vCAC to isolate tenant resources or to isolate and contain compute resources for licensing purposes, for example, Oracle. Virtual resource separation can be achieved between and within resource groups, depending on the level of separation required.


Virtualized compute resources within the hybrid cloud are objects inherited from the vSphere endpoint, most commonly representing VMware vSphere ESXi hosts, host clusters, or resource pools. Compute resources can be configured at the vSphere layer to ensure physical and logical separation of resources between functional environments such as Production and Test and Development (Test/Dev).


Valid concerns exist around information leakage and “nosy neighbors” on a shared network infrastructure. Consumers of the provisioned resources need to operate in an isolated environment and benefit from infrastructure standardization. To address these concerns, this solution has been designed for multitenancy.

This was approached from a defense-in-depth perspective, which is demonstrated through:

  • Implementing virtual local area networks (VLANs) to enable isolation at Layer 2 in the cloud management platform and where the solution intersects with the physical network
  • Using VXLAN overlay networks to segment tenant and business group traffic flows
  • Integrating with firewalls functioning at the hypervisor level to protect virtualized applications and enabling security policy enforcement in a consistent fashion throughout the solution
  • Deploying provider and business group edge firewalls to protect the business group and tenant perimeters


EMC’s Enterprise Hybrid Cloud enables customers to enhance security by establishing a hardened security baseline across the hardware and software stacks that support their EMC Hybrid Cloud infrastructure. The solution helps to reduce concerns around the complexities of the underlying infrastructure by demonstrating how to tightly integrate an as-a-service solution stack with public key infrastructure (PKI) and a common authentication directory to provide centralized administration and tighter control over security.


The solution addresses the challenges of securing authentication and configuration management to aid compliance with industry and regulatory standards through:

  • Securing the infrastructure by integrating with a PKI to provide authenticity, non-repudiation, and confidentiality
  • Converging the various authentication sources into a single directory to enable a centralized point of administration and policy enforcement
  • Using configuration management tools to generate infrastructure reports for audit and compliance purposes


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EMC AppSync - Copy Management Software for EMC VNX, VMAX & XTREMIO



EMC AppSync is advanced copy management software for the EMC VNX, VMAX and XtremIO storage arrays that offers a better way to manage the protection, replication and cloning of critical applications and databases, including Exchange 2010 and 2013, SQL Server 2008 and 2012, Oracle 11g and 12c, FileSystems and VMware datastores on block and file storage. After defining service plans, application owners can protect, recover and clone their own data quickly using EMC replication technologies (such as VNX Advanced Snapshots, SRDF, TimeFinder and RecoverPoint). EMC AppSync also provides an application protection monitoring and reporting service that generates alerts if SLAs are not met or if a copy management job fails.



Application administrators using EMC AppSync spend less time learning and enable copy management quickly and easily. They can launch AppSync’s simple GUI from Unisphere and meet their SLAs. Many application owners and DBAs don’t understand much about storage technology, so we make it easy by following your applications and keeping the terminology as free of storage industry jargon as we can!





We’ve designed the product to be easy to use so users don’t have to learn a new technology. Unlike other products in this category, you won’t need to call in a technician onsite to help install, configure, or optimize your AppSync product. Simply visit the EMC Support page for AppSync and download the product!



AppSync service plans have tiered Recovery Point Objectives (RPO) and utilize multiple EMC replication technologies to achieve your goals (synchronous replication, asynchronous replication, snapshots, clones). This makes it simple for the IT and business teams to agree on a DR strategy.



When an application or database is assigned to a service plan, the application owner can instantly check the AppSync dashboard or receive email alerts to let them know if their SLAs are not being met.



Create service plans and then empower application owners and DBA’s to protect, restore and clone their own data. Application owners login to AppSync and only see their service plans. VMware datastore protection can be managed from vCenter, using the VMware VSI plugin, or directly from within AppSync.



Perform granular restore of your VMware datastores at two levels: virtual machine restore and file or folder restore from a virtual disk.


emc appsync.png



EMC AppSync offers a simple, self-service, and SLA-driven approach for protecting, restoring and cloning virtualized Microsoft and Oracle applications on VMAX & VNX deployments.


Simple to Setup and Use – AppSync has an EMC Unisphere-like interface and a lightweight deployment which saves time and complexity in setting up array-based copy management SLA-Driven Protectionalways know you are protected with AppSync’s tiered service plans and powerful RPO alerts.


Enable Self-Service – Application owners and VMware administrators can protect, restore and clone their own data, freeing time and resources for the storage administrator.


Integrated with EMC Replication Technologies – AppSync understands related EMC protection methods, such as VNX Advanced Snapshots, SRDF, TimeFinder and RecoverPoint.


See the attached AppSync 2.1 GA Highlights PDF for the latest new features, including added support for EMC's XtremIO All-Flash Array.


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A technical overview of EMC Hybrid Cloud Solution and Disaster Recovery


In this second part of my series of blog posts looking at the EMC Hybrid Cloud solution, I will consider how Disaster Recovery integrates into the EMC Hybrid Cloud solution and enables cloud administrators to select disaster-recovery (DR) protection for their applications and virtual machines when they provision their hybrid cloud.


The Disaster Recovery for EMC Hybrid Cloud solution enables EMC customers to build an enterprise-class, scalable, multitenant infrastructure that enables:

  • Complete management of the infrastructure service lifecycle
  • On-demand access to, and control of, network bandwidth, servers, storage, and security
  • Provisioning, monitoring, protection, and management of the infrastructure services by the line of business users, without IT administrator involvement
  • Maximum asset utilization
  • A single platform for business-critical and next-generation cloud application
  • services





The EMC Hybrid Cloud solution integrates the best of EMC and VMware products and services. The solution empowers IT organizations to accelerate implementation and adoption of the hybrid cloud while still enabling customer choice for the compute and networking infrastructure within the data center. The solution caters both to customers who want to further use their existing infrastructure and to customers who want to build out new infrastructures dedicated to the hybrid cloud.


The Disaster Recovery for EMC Hybrid Cloud solution builds on the proven design and integration of EMC RecoverPoint and VMware vCenter Site Recovery Manager to offer the following benefits in a hybrid cloud environment:

  • Continuous data protection for any point-in-time (PIT) recovery
  • Centralized recovery plans
  • Automated failover and failback
  • Non-disruptive testing
  • Planned migration


EMC VMAX or EMC VNX storage systems provide the storage at two data centers—a primary data center (Site A) and a recovery data center (Site B). The storage is presented to RecoverPoint appliances (RPAs) at both sites. The RPAs replicate changes from the primary site to the recovery site according to predefined recovery point objectives (RPOs) and recovery time objectives (RTOs). The storage is kept synchronized between the two sites in an active/passive manner, with synchronization and visibility coordinated by recovery plans in vCenter Site Recovery Manager.


VMware vCenter Orchestrator (vCO) is central to all of the customizations and operations used in this solution. vCO manages operations across several EMC and VMware products, including:

  • VMware vCenter Automation Center (vCAC)
  • VMware vCenter Server
  • VMware vCenter Site Recovery Manager
  • VMware NSX
  • EMC ViPR
  • EMC Avamar and EMC Data Protection Advisor™


The Disaster Recovery for EMC Hybrid Cloud solution integrates disaster recovery into the EMC Hybrid Cloud and enables cloud administrators to select disaster recovery protection for their applications and virtual machines when they provision their hybrid cloud. The following diagram shows the overall architecture of the solution.




The infrastructure is geographically dispersed across two separate data centers, each of which contains a separate RecoverPoint cluster, vCenter Server instance, and NSX Manager. All the critical components that support EMC Hybrid Cloud are placed on RecoverPoint protected storage and are managed from vCenter Site Recovery Manager for controlling failover, failback, planned migration, testing, and reprotection. Site Recovery Manager interfaces with both RecoverPoint and ViPR via the relevant EMC SRA. You use the vSphere Client to connect to Site Recovery Manager.


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A technical overview of EMC Hybrid Cloud Solution with VMware for Oracle


This is the first in a 4-part series providing an overview on the different aspects of EMC’s Hybrid Cloud solution with VMware for Oracle. This first article introduces EMC Hybrid Cloud and then describes how an Oracle Database as a Service (Oracle DBaaS) solution can be implemented on EMC® Hybrid Cloud 2.5 with VMware.


EMC Hybrid Cloud enables customers to build an enterprise-class, scalable, multitenant infrastructure that enables:

  • Complete management of the infrastructure service lifecycle
  • On-demand access to and control of network bandwidth, servers, storage, and security
  • Provisioning, monitoring, and management of the infrastructure services by the line-of-business end users, without IT administrator involvement
  • Maximum asset utilization
  • Access to application services, such as Oracle DBaaS, from a single platform for both business-critical and next-generation cloud applications


EMC Hybrid Cloud Solution Stack-500.png



While many organizations have successfully introduced virtualization as a core technology within their data centers, the benefits of virtualization have largely been restricted to the IT infrastructure owners. End users, application developers, database administrators (DBAs), and business units within customer organizations have not yet fully experienced many of the benefits of virtualization, such as increased agility, mobility, and control.


Transforming from the traditional IT model to an IaaS model involves overcoming the challenges of legacy infrastructure and processes, such as:

  • Inefficiency and inflexibility
  • Slow, reactive responses to customer requests
  • Inadequate visibility of the requested infrastructure cost


The difficulty in overcoming these challenges has given rise to public cloud providers who have built technology and business models specifically catering to the requirements of end-user agility and control. Many organizations are under pressure to provide these same service levels within the secure and compliant confines of the on-premises data center. As a result, IT departments need to create cost-effective alternatives to public cloud services, alternatives that do not compromise enterprise features such as data protection, disaster recovery (DR), and guaranteed service levels.


These organizations must also manage a growing and fragmented database infrastructure. As well as supporting an increased number of production databases, DBA and development teams require multiple database environments to meet business needs such as developing and testing application features, reporting, and application troubleshooting.


Traditional virtualized environments, while improving provisioning times compared to physical environments, have not delivered a mechanism to self-manage the application development lifecycle using the IaaS model.


As IT organizations implement a hybrid cloud, they must consider the following factors:

  • Infrastructure must be quick to deploy so that business value can be recognized quickly.
  • The hybrid cloud infrastructure and operations must be designed to reduce costs through higher utilization and higher staff productivity.
  • Risk of downtime must be controlled through disciplined change control and careful management of component compatibility.
  • Support agreements must be established for all elements of the solution.
  • Software license compliance must be managed when deploying Oracle DBaaS.



Software Components


Let’s now look at the EMC Hybrid Cloud components, and additional software, when integrated can be used to enable Oracle DBaaS. The below diagram also shows an optional OEM Cloud Control component often used for managing and monitoring the Oracle Database.

EMC Hybrid Cloud key components with AppD for Oracle DBaaS-500.png



VMware vCloud Automation Center (vCAC) enables customized, self-service provisioning and lifecycle management of cloud services that comply with established business policies. vCAC provides a secure portal where authorized administrators, developers, and business users can request new IT services and manage existing computer resources from predefined user-specific menus.


VMware vCloud Application Director (AppD) is an application operations solution designed specifically to help application teams to accelerate and automate the deployment and updates of applications across the cloud. It integrates directly with vCAC using the same configured authentication providers, for example, Active Directory through SSO. Although it is a separate component, AppD is licensed as part of the vCAC Enterprise Edition.


VMware vCenter Orchestrator (vCO) is an IT process automation engine that helps automate the cloud and integrates the vCloud Suite with the rest of your management systems. vCenter Orchestrator enables administrators and architects to develop complex automation tasks in the workflow designer. vCO’s library of prebuilt activities, workflows, and plug-ins help accelerate the customization of vCAC’s standard capabilities.


EMC Hybrid Cloud is extended using VMware vCloud Application Director (AppD) for the design and publishing of application services to VMware vCloud Automation Center (vCAC). VMware vCenter Orchestrator (vCO), which integrates with vCAC, is used to deliver process automation when interfacing with third-party systems during infrastructure as a service (IaaS) provisioning.



Technology Solution


EMC Hybrid Cloud integrates the best of EMC and VMware products and services, and empowers IT organizations to accelerate implementation and adoption of the hybrid cloud while enabling customer choice for the compute and networking infrastructure within the data center. The solution caters to both customers who want to make more extensive use of their existing infrastructure and to those who want to build out new infrastructures dedicated to the hybrid cloud.


This solution extends the EMC Hybrid Cloud, adding a layer of model-based application provisioning through the integration of VMware vCloud Automation Center (vCAC) and VMware vCloud Application Director (AppD). We deliver Oracle Database as a Service (DBaaS) using a customizable self-service and lifecycle management framework, which provides a secure automated process for the database service user.


EMC Hybrid Cloud is designed to deliver multi-tenancy and secure separation of resources required in a cloud environment. Cloud requires the ability to isolate resources and deliver secure access. EMC Hybrid Cloud is structured so that each tenant can be:

  • Logically separated using vCAC Business Groups. The Oracle Business Group is assigned dedicated compute, storage, and network resources for software license compliance.
  • Physically separated in its own “resource pod”. Oracle is restricted to a dedicated vSphere HA/DRS cluster with its own servers, network, and storage resources.


VMware vCenter Orchestrator (vCO) integrates with vCAC to enable process automation when interfacing with third-party systems during machine provisioning. Using AppD accelerates and automates the deployment of Oracle Database as a Service (DBaaS) for both business units and developers. Combined with vCAC and vCO, it delivers a self-service lifecycle management framework to provide a secure, controlled, customizable, and repeatable process for the database service user.


By adding AppD to the EMC Hybrid Cloud framework, database and development teams can enjoy the following benefits:

  • Utilizing a reusable repository of services, databases, and applications that use standard configuration properties to meet strict requirements for IT compliance
  • Deploying and promoting the same application blueprint to and between different cloud providers and target virtual machine template configurations
  • Using existing SQL, shell scripting, and coding skills when building out complex Application Blueprints for deployment
  • Modeling virtual machine templates, services, and application components such as scripts, objects and binaries. This is particularly useful for application architects and designers who can build deployment blueprints with a drag-and-drop interface to combine services and automate deployments of multi-tier applications.


Further details on the EMC Hybrid Cloud Solution can be found in the attached EMC Hybrid Cloud Solution Overview.



Provisioning Oracle DBaaS on EMC Hybrid Cloud

Now with the above background in mind, it’s time to describe the structure and software requirements of EMC Hybrid Cloud that are used to enable an Oracle DBaaS solution.


The Oracle DBaaS solution has been built and validated on a number of iterations and configurations of the EMC Hybrid Cloud solution. The underlying physical environment is abstracted from the application layer by virtual and software-defined components. The below diagram is representative of the EMC Hybrid Cloud environments where AppD was deployed.

A reference architecture for EMC Hybrid Cloud extended with AppD-500.png



As mentioned, AppD integrates directly with vCAC and uses the vCAC-configured Business Groups and authentication providers, that is, Active Directory through SSO. When vCAC is registered with AppD, the Business Groups are synchronized. In this solution, the vCAC Business Group, “Oracle-Business-Group”, is registered as an AppD Cloud Provider.


The Tenant Resource Pod used by the Oracle Business Group is a dedicated vSphere ESXi HA cluster with its own compute, storage, and network resources. This improves service availability, and software license compliance is ensured by restricting where the virtual machines and software are running or installed.


The vCAC Service Catalog shows only the appropriate Oracle Database services published from AppD and allows only operations available to end users based on their role within the business.


An NFS share can be used to serve the Oracle Database binaries and any custom scripts or component files required. In different EMC Hybrid Cloud environments, this NFS share has been provided by:

  • A virtual machine within the Oracle Tenant Resource Pod
  • EMC Isilon® scale-out NAS storage
  • EMC VNX unified storage





EMC Hybrid Cloud enables customers, using the best of EMC and VMware products and services, to build an enterprise-class, scalable, multitenant platform for complete infrastructure service lifecycle management.


The solution delivers on the following principles:

  • Automation and self-service provisioning
  • Multitenancy and secure separation
  • Workload-optimized storage
  • Elasticity and service assurance
  • Operational monitoring and management
  • Metering and chargeback


Use of modular add-on components, such as AppD and vCO, enables Oracle DBaaS to be deployed in a dedicated business group running on EMC Hybrid Cloud. The key findings of this solution are as follows:

  • Designing EMC Hybrid Cloud with a dedicated Tenant Resource Pod for Oracle DBaaS improves management of Oracle licensing compliance.
  • vCO enables process automation throughout the machine provisioning lifecycle in vCAC from build to disposal.
  • Using AppD, DBAs and application architects can quickly build and publish blueprints with a drag-and-drop interface to automate the deployment of simple and multitier applications.
  • Application developers and service users can provision an Oracle Database directly from the vCAC Service Catalog.



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For #Oracle DBAs too - An Introduction to Storage Virtualization with #EMC ViPR!



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Recently I was fortunate to be able to present at VMworld Europe 2014 in Barcelona, delivering My US-colleague Jeff Browning's Oracle 12c Multitenancy vs OS-Level Virtualization (ala VMware) presentation (VAPP2272).

For a few years now at IT conferences there has been a lot of buzz around doing Hands-On Labs (HOLs). As I had some time after my presentation, I decided to take the opportunity and choose something that if I am honest I had yet to "fully appreciate" at EMC. And given the offer of an EMC vLab baseball cap, I chose "An Introduction to ViPR Software-Defined Storage". Have to say it was awesome, no marketing just a thorough technical overview and navigation of the many options available, from adding a 3rd party array to provisioning virtual storage to a cluster.

emc ViPR Platform-550.png

You may be thinking, why am I writing this on an Oracle Database-focused community? The answer is simple, Software-Defined Storage has become a reality and as with most things related to databases we as Oracle Specialists will need to understand it in some detail to get the best from it as it is deployed in our Data Centers - now is the time to start and I want to help you on your way.

If anyone tells you EMC vLabs lack depth or are not worth your time, they haven't taken a session - after nearly 2-hours, I was only half way through and unfortunately they were closing up for the evening.

Having not finished my introduction to EMC ViPR, I was delighted to recently read EMC's October 27th 2014, Rethink Storage blog post - ViPR Interactive Demo: Your Software-Defined Storage Playground.

Without even needing to register, the ViPR Interactive Demo enables you to explore the ViPR 2.1 interface, including the new ViPR integration with EMC XtremIO. This demo even includes EMC ECS Appliance - Brilliant, if I believed in Santa Claus, I would think it was a Software-Defined Christmas already!


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Oracle RAC DevOps with 800K IOPS & 21 GB/s Throughput with EMC ScaleIO


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Introducing… The ESG Lab Validation Report on EMC ScaleIO!


A recent ESG Lab Validation report on EMC ScaleIO details hands-on testing of EMC’s ScaleIO technology, with the intention to show how enterprise commodity hardware can be used to produce a “powerful and scalable converged storage and compute cluster”. Of particular interest to Oracle DBAs is the focus on “validating the performance scalability, elasticity, and reliability of a converged ScaleIO cluster in an Oracle Real Application Clusters (RAC) environment”.


As this is a fairly long article, let’s start with describing the highlights of the report that should be of most interest to Oracle DBAs


  • ESG Lab was able to use ScaleIO to easily create a high-performance converged infrastructure eight-node Oracle RAC 12c database using readily available enterprise commodity hardware, while eliminating the need for an expensive and complex SAN.


  • The performance of the converged infrastructure eight-node Oracle RAC 12c database was tested with the freely available SLOB benchmark toolkit and performed as well or better than other database appliances who’s hardware can cost at least twice as much as the enterprise commodity hardware deployed in the ScaleIO solution.


  • The converged infrastructure eight-node Oracle RAC 12c performance tests showed that the ScaleIO solution was capable of delivering low sub-one-millisecond response times in addition to very high IOPS and throughput.



The research starts with a survey asking respondents to select their Top Five Most Important Criteria in Selecting a Storage Solution. The answers to which, clearly show customers continuing need to reduce TCO, while increasing performance and easing management & implementation requirements.




Unsurprisingly, these are very much key criteria in the design of EMC’s ScaleIO – let’s first look at, what is EMC ScaleIO? And then, how it works?


EMC ScaleIO is software that creates a server-based SAN from commodity server direct-attached storage devices to deliver elastic and scalable performance with capacity on demand. ScaleIO converges storage and compute resources, with the capability to scale to potentially thousands of nodes. As an alternative to a traditional SAN infrastructure, ScaleIO can be used to combine available HDDs, SSDs, and PCIe flash cards to create a virtual pool of block storage with varying performance tiers. As storage and compute resources change, ScaleIO software automatically rebalances the storage distribution to optimize performance and capacity usage. ScaleIO is hardware-agnostic and supports physical and/or virtual application servers.


Fundamentally, ScaleIO creates a software-defined storage environment that allows you to exploit the unused local storage capacity in your servers for a scalable, high-performance distributed shared storage system that is fault tolerant.


Some technical details - ScaleIO consists of two major functional components: ScaleIO Data Client (SDC) and ScaleIO Data Server (SDS). The SDC is a block device driver that exposes ScaleIO shared block volumes to application servers. The SDC runs locally on any application server that requires access to the block storage volumes in the cluster. The local application issues an I/O request and the SDC fulfills it regardless of where the particular blocks reside. The SDS is a software component installed on each server that contributes local storage to the overall ScaleIO storage pool. The SDS serves incoming read and write requests from any of the SDCs within the cluster. The SDC possesses full knowledge of the data locations throughout the cluster and always directs I/O requests to their correct destination SDS, whether on the same server or any other server. This way, I/O operations are never directed through a central routing point, preventing bottlenecks.



Now you understand what EMC ScaleIO is and how it is implemented, we can return to my review of the ESG Lab Validation Report.


ESG Lab performed hands-on evaluation and testing of ScaleIO at EMC’s facilities, in Hopkinton, Massachusetts. Testing was designed to demonstrate how ScaleIO can be used to converge commodity hardware into a scalable, elastic, high-performance server SAN for use in an Oracle RAC environment using industry-standard tools and methodologies. ESG Lab also tested the reliability and self-healing capability of the ScaleIO cluster, details can be found in the report!


The hardware used for testing was 17 rack units (17U) of commodity hardware in a high-performance converged Oracle RAC database configuration running Oracle Linux 6.4;


  • 8 x Cisco UCS 240 M3 Servers
  • 1 x Mellanox 40Gb QDR Infiniband Switch
  • each server contained a dual 40Gb HCA for Ethernet connectivity, a 10Krpm SAS drive, a PCIe SLC Flash card, and six 2.5” cMLC flash drives




Using ScaleIO, ESG Lab was able to transform eight industry-standard servers and a single switch into a powerful, converged architecture capable of supporting a high-performance, highly available, Oracle 12c RAC environment. Further details on the configuration for this simple, elastic, ScaleIO cluster, leveraging enterprise commodity hardware are included in the ESG Lab Validation Report.


It is worth noting, that underutilized servers with internal storage can also be repurposed and configured with ScaleIO – for example, to be used for dev/test database environments. A ScaleIO cluster is simple to create and can be managed easily by a single administrator, saving valuable time and minimizing operational expenditures.


As mentioned earlier, ESG made use of the freely available Silly Little Oracle Benchmark (SLOB) to efficiently generate random, single block, application-independent SQL queries. The SLOB benchmark is ideal for testing storage by stressing the physical I/O layer of Oracle through SGA-buffered random I/O without needing a separate application to generate workloads.


To assess maximum Read IOPS, ESG Lab tested the performance of an eight-node Oracle RAC database, with 400 sessions performing 100% 8KB SQL Reads, resulting in over 800,000 random 8KB I/Os Per Second.




Next, ESG Lab tested the performance of the eight-node Oracle RAC configuration using a workload that is more familiar to Oracle DBAs in a typical production OLTP environment with a mix of database queries and database updates. The SLOB configuration was reconfigured to produce a mixed workload consisting of 75% SELECT (reads) and 25% UPDATE (read/modify/write), resulting in a total of more than 565,000 I/Os per second.




Then, ESG Lab validated that the ScaleIO system can deliver the high throughput demanded by Oracle DBAs when performing database full table scans. For this test, a script was created to generate three concurrent parallel SQL queries against the tables in the Oracle RAC database. The eight-node environment consistently delivered Oracle Parallel Query table-scan rates of over 21 GB/sec.






According to the ESG Lab Validation Report, using ScaleIO and cost-effective commodity hardware, ESG Lab was able to create a high-performance Oracle RAC database that performed over 800K random SLOB SQL database reads per second, and scan three tables at a combined rate of over 21 GB/sec. This configuration was simple to manage, scaled linearly, and achieved equal or better performance at a hardware cost that ESG estimated to be about half of the hardware cost of an equivalently performing Oracle RAC converged solution on the market today.


I encourage all Oracle DBAs to read the ESG Lab Validation Report for EMC ScaleIO  in full – I have intentionally focused on the impressive Oracle 12c RAC IOPS and Throughput performance numbers, along with the considered 50% lower hardware TCO that can be achieved, this report contains a lot of information that will be of interest to Oracle DBAs, describing the configuration of ScaleIO, its elasticity and reliability features, including the ability of a ScaleIO cluster to self-heal by removing failing nodes and adding new nodes, while continuing to run database activity non-disruptively.


A final quote from ESG Lab “ScaleIO software leverages the freedom of choice and cost effectiveness of commodity hardware to converge new or existing compute, SAN, and storage resources into a single, scalable, building block to help solve IT’s most challenging problems” – that’s the flexible and reliable future that we all want to see, right?


Thanks to ESG Lab, Oracle DBAs have a very comprehensive validation report for EMC ScaleIO, that can be shared with all interested parties on how to make use of new commodity hardware, or reuse existing hardware for a future Server SAN environment – please use the comments section below, with any questions or comments you may have, as I would very much like to continue this conversation.

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EMC® Storage Integrator (ESI) for Oracle 12c Multitenant is an adapter for the Oracle 12c Multitenant pluggable database environment.


ESI for Oracle Database 12c Multitenant Cloning has two main components:

  • A copy offload adapter (plug-in) that allows you to create and delete writeable snapshots of a source database on a network file system (NFS) export.
  • A web service called the EMC High-level Storage Library Administration Console (EHAC).


Note: Configuring and Managing Network High Availability on VNX, on EMC Online Support, provides more information about configuring VNX storage.


EHAC provides a single point of management for storage administrators to manage user accounts, assign storage systems to users, and be the gateway for the adapter to access storage systems. With EHAC, administrators can manage storage space assigned to individual users by controlling read/write access to the storage pools for each storage system.




The EMC Storage Integrator for Oracle Database 12c Multitenant Cloning adapter includes an administration console that storage administrators can use to manage users, storage systems, and access control.


ESI for Oracle Database 12c Multitenant Cloning is distributed as a tape archive (tar) file that contains the following files and scripts:

  • A C object file that is compiled for 64-bit Linux
  • A shell script to run the Application Settings Utility (Swing UI)
  • A shell script to perform some validations to be run before installing the ESI plug-in
  • A Java jar (Java archive) file


EHAC is distributed as a Java enterprise archive (ear) file that complies with Oracle 12c Multitenant specifications for copy offload adapters. The ESI for Oracle Database 12c Multitenant Cloning adapter, as shown in the diagram, runs in the pluggable database (PDB) management framework and interacts with the JBoss application server that hosts EHAC, which in turn integrates with EMC file storage systems.

The ESI adapter is a software plug-in module, which resides on the Oracle 12c host machine and offloads operations to identify, create, and delete file system snapshots on behalf of the database. The adapter includes the EMC binary, which the Oracle database invokes, and also a set of scripts and a properties file. The adapter does not interact with storage directly, but depends upon the EMC Client Tool management component to interface with the storage array.


The EHAC ESI Web service provides a management utility that is installed on a server that is accessible to the Oracle database server and enables the storage administrator to configure arrays and pools and control access to them. The ESI adapter plug-in software interacts with EHAC to perform storage file system snapshot functions. EHAC stores user credentials and storage array details into the internal repository, the Storage System Database.


If you are interested to know more about the EMC Storage Integrator for Oracle Database 12c Multitenant Cloning, please contact your EMC Representative. Also, the Installation and Administration Guide is available at


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Introducing the #EMC Enterprise Hybrid Cloud Solution! #RedefineHC



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With its October 28th announcement, EMC is redefining Hybrid Cloud by delivering a new standard in IT for simplicity, choice, and agility. I wanted to share some of the highlights from that announcement and provide some links to more information.


I am going to assume you accept some form of cloud architecture is the future of IT, but let’s start with a question, why Hybrid Cloud?



IT organizations today strive to deliver services that support the changing needs of their business. To deliver the right services to enable modern business, IT must leverage private cloud because it is trusted, controlled and reliable, and public cloud because it is simple, low cost, and flexible. Getting the best of both worlds has been difficult, until now!



Introducing the EMC Enterprise Hybrid Cloud Solution…


EMC EHC Solution-500.png



The EMC Enterprise Hybrid Cloud Solution is intended to empower IT to be a broker of trusted cloud services with a set of fully-engineered solutions that enable choice – choice in the technology upon which the hybrid cloud is standardized – with Microsoft, OpenStack and VMware – together with choice in the public clouds a customer’s on-premise private cloud can interoperate with, delivering support for traditional and next-generation applications, with financial transparency so IT can prove its value to the business, and a seamless management experience.



Screen Shot 2014-10-28 at 16.56.17.png



Many IT organizations face increasing pressure to deliver services more quickly and for lower cost as the businesses they serve consider public cloud options; If you have already experienced the benefits of virtualized infrastructure, but have not yet shifted to a cloud operating model for managing and delivering IT services, then EMC Enterprise Hybrid Cloud is for you!



The EMC Enterprise Hybrid Cloud solution is based on a flexible reference architecture that includes VSPEX and Vblock Converged Infrastructure and leverages the EMC VNX and EMC VMAX storage platforms.  The exact product configuration depends on a customer's existing environment, the scale of the cloud they intend to build, and the objectives they have for their private/public cloud implementation.  In addition to the EMC Enterprise Hybrid Cloud foundation, the deployment can provide backup (with EMC Avamar/EMC Data Domain), continuous availability (with EMC VPLEX), disaster recovery (with EMC RecoverPoint), and access to public cloud resources (with VMware vCloud Air or other EMC Cloud Service Provider partners).



An Engineered Solution.PNG.png



Customers that are ready for EMC Enterprise Hybrid Cloud will have a clear vision and a strategy for delivering cloud services internally.  Customers that are motivated but not yet ready can leverage EMC's IT Transformation Workshop or Cloud Advisory service offerings.  These are designed to help customers to clearly define their cloud implementation objectives.



EMC EHC Services.PNG.png


EMC also offers comprehensive professional, support and educational services built specifically to accelerate and optimize hybrid cloud deployments.


EMC Enterprise Hybrid Cloud Architecture and Design Service—This service is delivered after the EHC sale and will discover requirements for specific integration needs based on the client’s environment.


EMC Enterprise Hybrid Cloud Implementation Service—This service will deploy an operational solution environment, including 3 deployed IaaS solution blueprints. The service includes 30 days of operational support to assist with knowledge transfer.


EMC Enterprise Hybrid Cloud Operational Services—With these services, EMC ramps up operational management by running a client’s EMC Enterprise Hybrid Cloud environment for them. EMC can either provide a managed service with complete turn-key management within agreed SLAs, or provide an operate and transfer service.


EMC Enterprise Hybrid Cloud Education Services—EMC helps build client skills to run their EMC Enterprise Hybrid Cloud solution.  A free e-Learning Foundation course is available that describes the solution architecture and benefits, as well as a 5-day hands-on instructor-led Operations course focusing on management and orchestration.



Having expended 40,000 engineering hours in the lab, building, testing and proving the solution (so that our customers don’t have to), EMC believes the simplicity, breadth of predefined services, choice and speed of deployment make EMC Enterprise Hybrid Cloud make a superior solution. The net result of that testing is over 100 workflows that enable predefined services out-of-the-box with EMC Enterprise Hybrid Cloud.


EMC is providing simplicity and the widest spectrum of choice available for hybrid cloud deployments today. Choice in:


  • The cloud operating system upon which EMC Enterprise Hybrid Cloud is standardized – Microsoft, Openstack, VMware.


  • The public clouds that can deliver additional services to EMC Enterprise Hybrid Cloud


  • The underlying infrastructure upon which the solution is built – Vblock, VSPEX or Build Your Own (BYO)


While other vendors can deliver on one of these characteristics, EMC believes its Enterprise Hybrid Cloud solution is unique in delivering across all of them.

Screen Shot 2014-10-28 at 17.06.22.png

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#Wikibon says 42% chose #EMC as having the best storage offerings in #Oracle environments!


Wikibon Survey Says - #VCE - Most important Converged Infrastructure Vendor in #Oracle Environments


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In this article I will discuss the findings of the latest research by Wikibon Infrastructure Leadership for Oracle Intense Environments.

Many of you will know Wikibon from seeing Stuart Miniman and Dave Vellante in theCube SiliconANGLE videos and their hosting IT industry interviews at all the top IT conferences, they also deliver some of the most compelling research surveying IT infrastructure and database professionals. I have previously written comment on their research concerning Converged Infrastructure as it relates to Oracle DBAs and they are famed for their Server SAN Market Definition.

In Wikibon’s recent survey of Oracle infrastructure professionals, when asked the question “What’s the single most important capability or factor for Infrastructure in an Oracle environment?”, 42% of respondents selected either Reliability or Availability.






While that should come as no great surprise, many Oracle DBAs working in some of the most demanding database environments in the world will recognize that same Reliability and Availability as the cornerstones on which EMC has built and sustained its reputation over the life of the flagship EMC Symmetrix VMAX enterprise storage array!

In my 15 years as a Production Oracle DBA, there were two predominant server products. In the earlier years, Sun Solaris was the dominant Oracle platform, with Sun Enterprise servers. Followed in more recent years with HP ProLiant Servers, running Windows Server and different flavors of Linux.

Throughout this time, EMC VMAX Storage has been the predominant high-end storage platform, described by the company today as “the world’s most powerful, trusted, smart, and agile family of storage products”.


Coming back to the Wikibon research, they make the following observations;

  • Overall reliability for Oracle systems is a function of availability, recoverability & consistent performance
  • Storage functionality and design are the most important factors in Oracle availability
  • With IO performance, overall storage costs and backup/recovery together representing 26% of the selections

This is powerful stuff, as it emphasizes the importance of storage infrastructure in Oracle environments, which brings me on to what Wikibon describes as “the most striking findings of the survey”.Asking the question, “which vendor has the best storage offerings in Oracle environments?” – the Wikibon survey results show EMC rated BEST with 42%!


Confirming my own experience that HP ProLiant servers are currently leading in server infrastructure, with IBM and Dell making up a further 42%, it is certainly interesting to see the importance of converged infrastructure showing in the survey findings.






Interestingly, with a question about the most important server for Oracle environments “Over one-quarter of the sample chose a converged infrastructure platform as their most important server, with VCE Vblock at 16%, Oracle at 10% and NetApp FlexPod at 1%”.

Let's recap the main findings in this Wikibon survey;

  • EMC has the richest and most highly regarded set of Oracle infrastructure functionality compared with other vendors.
  • EMC has by far the greatest storage mindshare, with 42% of the participants selecting EMC as having the best storage offerings in Oracle environments.
  • EMC also headed the converged infrastructure vendors with VCE block at 16% of respondents selecting it as the most important server.
  • Wikibon would recommend that EMC be included for all RFPs for Oracle infrastructure environments.

In a subsequent article, I will look closely at the comments that respondents gave when asked “what does leadership in storage for Oracle environments mean to you?” – go ahead and read the research for yourself if you can’t wait, there’s some great findings in there too.



Great job Wikibon – another significant contribution to our understanding of the Oracle Infrastructure marketplace as viewed by database professionals!

DDBA_p0.pngA Fun Look at the new Gartner Magic Quadrant for Deduplication Backup Target Appliances!


Data Domain - Inline Deduplication


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A fun look at the new Gartner MQ for deduplication backup target appliances - call me a cynic, but no #EMC?


Gartner says “Many customers have used Data Domain to replace tape completely", how about you? #EMC


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When I first saw the above tweet from my colleague Umberto Galtarossa at EMC, I looked at it in disbelief – here we go again, I thought, Gartner have created yet another category (either too narrow or broad) that does not properly reflect EMC’s contribution! Call me a cynic, but that feeling started with the recent first-ever Magic Quadrant for Integrated Systems that curiously omitted EMC VSPEX!


Back to my dilemma, how could yet another new  Gartner Magic Quadrant for Deduplication Backup Target Appliances not include EMC?  Then, I remembered how Twitter handles images; clicking on the image revealed the answer – EMC’s Data Domain solution is so far into the Leaders quadrant not to have appeared in the first trimmed image, paranoid moi!





Let’s first consider the Gartner definition for this new and separate category;


The deduplication backup target appliance market is defined as a group of disk appliances that are built as backup targets for heterogeneous backup software applications. Such an appliance is defined as one that is optimized for the backup workload, has native deduplication and often compression capabilities, and acts as a disk target for external backup servers or application-native backup engines. The native deduplication and compression capability does not come from a commercial backup software solution.



That definition is both clear and specific in that it describes the now established market for disk-based backup targets, with appliance-based deduplication and identifies compression as an essential additional feature. Distinguishing this category from Enterprise Backup Software, the definition also requires that the native deduplication and compression capability is not a separate software solution, as with EMC Avamar.



Enter EMC Data Domain Deduplication Backup Appliances!


Gartner quite rightly states “EMC has achieved strong commercial success with its Data Domain deduplication backup appliances.” And that “The Data Domain series offers a wide variety of configurations, and competitive deduplication capabilities and ingest speeds.”


Further, Gartner highlights that “EMC's Data Domain has become the overall benchmark for deduplication backup appliances, because of its strong adoption and functionality.”



What’s in it for the Oracle DBA?


If we go back some years, EMC Data Domain deduplication and compression capabilities were exploited by presenting the appliance to servers as an NFS target. This enabled the functionality to be used by Oracle backups, but only on arrival at the appliance and somewhat inefficiently using an NFS mount.


Then EMC introduced a game-changing advanced integration solution for Oracle DBAs – EMC Data Domain Boost for Oracle Recovery Manager, known as DD Boost for Oracle RMAN.


EMC Data Domain Boost for Oracle Recovery Manager delivers complete control of Oracle backup and disaster recovery, enabling DBAs to have confidence in self-administered recovery from local or DR sites. DD Boost for RMAN enables Oracle database administrators (DBAs) to manage their backup, operational recovery, and disaster recovery processes without dependence on backup or storage administrators.


In addition, DD Boost for RMAN accelerates backup performance, up to 50 percent faster than NFS, enables more backups with existing resources, and simplifies administration.


Implementing DD Boost for RMAN simply requires installing the DD Boost plug-in on the Oracle server, and then the DD Boost plug-in interfaces with the Oracle Media Management Layer (MML) API, exactly as you may have done with other Enterprise Backup Software, such as IBM Tivoli Storage Manager.



Distributing the Deduplication Process


Prior to DD Boost, Oracle Recovery Manager would send all data, unique or redundant, to a Data Domain system for deduplication processing, as shown below.





With DD Boost, Oracle servers send only unique data segments to the Data Domain system. DD Boost for RMAN significantly increases performance by distributing parts of the deduplication process to the DD Boost plug-in on the Oracle server, as shown below.




Somewhat surprisingly, but none the less correct – by sending only unique data to Data Domain, DD Boost in fact decreases the load on the Oracle server since sending data is significantly more CPU and memory intensive than executing parts of the deduplication process locally.

In addition to Oracle server performance improvements, the amount of data transferred over the network is greatly reduced – again, improving an issue that Oracle DBAs are acutely aware of.


With all these benefits in mind, implementing EMC Data Domain with DD Boost for RMAN has enabled some customers to move to a daily full backup strategy for many of their larger databases that do not significantly change day-to-day.


In cases where that is not an effective strategy, EMC Data Domain Boost for RMAN is compatible with Oracle Block Change Tracking (BCT). With DD Boost for RMAN configured, BCT enabled, when an incremental backup is run, the RMAN script will direct the backup to read the BCT tracking file to identify blocks that have changed within each datafile since the last backup. Then, only these data segments are copied to the Data Domain system, without the need to scan all database data files.


Finally, Gartner also says, “Many customers have used Data Domain to replace tape completely in their backup infrastructure.” - Armed with Gartner's new MQ for Deduplication Backup Target Appliances, now is the time for DBAs to discuss database backup infrastructure with your Backup Admin team!


Comments / Questions?


Visit the EMC Online Store for more details on EMC Data Domain configurations and to request a quote.


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Over the last 3-5 years, flash technology has become a standout performance-enhancing storage option for the most demanding and mission-critical enterprise applications and databases.  With an industry-leading full range of flash options – from the storage array to your database and application servers – we believe this makes EMC your most powerful partner in flash technology!


Given that flash technology can now be used to power performance improvement across the full spectrum of an Oracle DBA’s areas of responsibility, this article is intended to introduce you to EMC’s flash strategy.





EMC’s flash strategy is “flash everywhere”—flash based on your application needs and the specific considerations of your workload. EMC’s flash storage architecture allows additional data services to provide functionality that’s just not possible with spinning disks. EMC provides a full portfolio of solutions to directly address your specific workload and application needs.





XtremIO All-Flash Array



Get breakthrough shared-storage benefits for Oracle database acceleration, consolidation, and agility. Plus scale-out, consistent low latency and IOPS, and data services like deduplication, compression, space-efficient snapshots, and encryption, and an amazing system administration experience.


Flash is fast, but it introduces caveats that need to be addressed with the right architecture so that organizations can take advantage of the potential of flash. EMC XtremIO enterprise storage, EMC’s purpose-built all-flash storage array, is built from the ground up to take full advantage of flash.


XtremIO’s scale-out architecture is designed to deliver maximum performance and consistent low-latency and response times. More importantly, XtremIO’s architecture delivers in-line, always-on data services that just are not possible with other architectures.


XtremIO’s in-line data services bring out the value of flash: always-on thin provisioning, in-line data deduplication, in-line data compression, flash-optimized data protection, in-line data at rest encryption, and instantly available snapshots—features that are always-on and architected for performance at scale with no additional overhead.

All this while achieving a competitive cost of ownership, XtremIO’s architecture addresses all the requirements for flash-based storage including achieving longevity of flash media, lowering the effective cost of flash capacity, delivering performance and scalability, and providing operational efficiency and advanced storage array functionality.
res that are always-on and architected for performance at scale with no additional overhead.


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VMAX, VNX and Isilon Hybrid-Flash Arrays


Get advantages like Fully Automated Storage Tiering (FAST) software that automatically copies frequently accessed data to Flash, and moves other data across your existing storage tiers.


Hybrid storage arrays allow a little flash to go a long way, but flash alone isn't enough. You can use software like EMC FAST to change the economics of deploying storage. EMC FAST automatically moves the most performance-hungry applications to a tier of flash while allowing lesser referenced data to move to a lower cost spinning disk tier of storage, providing a blended mix of performance and low cost.


While historically EMC VNX, EMC VMAX, and EMC Isilon, have previously been HDD-based solutions, you can now deploy these powerful storage platforms in hybrid configurations.

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XtremSF, XtremCache and



Take advantage of flash in your data center. ScaleIO provides convergence, scale, and elasticity, while maximizing performance. EMC XtremCache delivers turbo-charged performance for individual database servers and their applications.


You can also implement flash at the server level via Peripheral Component Interconnect Express (PCIe) or Server Solid State Disk (SSD) as location storage devices. This reduces latency and increases input/output operations per second (IOPS) to accelerate a specific application component.

EMC XtremSF’s PCIe flash hardware delivers sub-100 microsecond response time. Configured as local storage, you can leverage XtremSF to increase specific workloads or components of workloads such as database index or temp space.
storage devices. This reduces latency and increases input/output operations per second (IOPS) to accelerate a specific application component.


By adding software, you can also use server flash as a caching device. EMC XtremCache software complements hybrid storage arrays. By integrating XtremCache with EMC’s fully automated storage tiering (FAST), organizations can increase performance without sacrificing the advanced data services of a hybrid storage deployment.


Explore Server Flash - XtremCache »


Explore Server SAN - ScaleIO »


As you can see, EMC gives you the flexibility to deploy flash where needed across your

Oracle database environments, depending on your performance, cost, capacity, and protection requirements.


In a future article, I will consider specific use cases and solutions for Oracle DBAs to further understand how EMC’s industry-leading flash technology described in this article can be used to dramatically improve your Oracle database performance.

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