Oracle Database Appliance – Appliance Manager

The Oracle Database Appliance is sold to allow customers to quickly deploy and Oracle RAC environment using Oracle’s best practices for deployment. And it is true that in less than 2 hours (thats excluding all things that needs to be done in preparation like physically getting the ODA in an data center, connecting cables, configuring network switches and firewalls and getting all the required IP addressess), you have a 2-node Grid Infrastructure cluster running with a RAC database running on it. The deployment process is done using the Oracle Appliance Manager, which is a java based wizard (GUI) which lets you enter all required information to get an ODA deployed.

Unfortunately we (at least administrators and people that implement things like this) know that these kind of one-button promises always come with some predefined settings that may be not what we want. In this post I will tell you what the Appliance Manager is doing in the background and what can (and as far as I understand is allowed by Oracle) be changed to have the deployed 2-node RAC configuration on an ODA comply with your company’s standards.

ODA Appliance Manager

Offline Preparation

The successful deployment of an ODA (actually not only for ODA’s) depends on the preparation and information gathering that needs to be done in front. You need all the necessary IP addresses, hostnames and other network related information. You can fillout this information at the time you are going to deploy the ODA, but in my opinion it is better to prepare this configuration up front.

To prepare the configuration you can download the offline ODA Appliance Manager which has exactly the same wizard screens as the Appliance Manager that is used on the ODA. (download it Oracle Appliance Manager – for demo/configuration only).
Using the offline Oracle Appliance Manager, you can fillout all information and save this as a configuration (parameter) file on your own desktop.

Configuration File (parameter file)

If you use the offline Oracle Appliance Manager tool, after filling out all wizard screens, you should save the configuration to file. When you open this configuration file with an text editor you will see all the values that you have entered in the Appliance Manager in a <KEY>=<VALUE> format. What you’ll also notice that there are some predefined and generated parameters like CLUSTERNAME and SCAN_PORT that cannot be seen or changed with the Appliance Manager.

Fortunately, because the configuration file is a plain text file, you can edit these parameter by hand. Unfortunately, although these manually altered parameters are intact when you load the configuration file for deployment, some parameters are put back to their initial predefined/generated value just after you click the “install” button on the ODA Appliance Manager.

Here are the parameters that you can change and which will not be overwritten on actual deployment:

  • SCAN_PORT   (defaults to 1521)

Here are some parameters that you can change but will be overwritten at actual deployment:

  • CLUSTERNAME (pregenerated as <DBMPREFIX>-c)
  • PRIV_NAMES (pregenerated as <DBMPREFIX>1-priv0 and <DBMPREFIX>2-priv0)
  • HA_NAMES (pregenerated as <DBMPREFIX>1-priv1 and <DBMPREFIX>2-priv1)

Actual deployment

If you created an configuration file using the offline Appliance Manager, you should copy this file to the SC0 (first node) of the ODA. After you have copied this file to the ODA you have to use a oakcli command to copy this configuration file to the deployment environment of the ODA. Use the following command:

/opt/oracle/oak/bin/oakcli copy -conf <configuration file>

This command will copy the configuration file (a plain file copy) to a file named onecommand.params in the directory /opt/oracle/oak/onecmd. This file is actually used by the deployment steps and the parameters as listed above will be changed right after you click the “install” button.

After you executed the above oakcli copy -conf command, you can start the Oracle Appliance Manager to start the deployment process.

/opt/oracle/oak/bin/oakcli deploy

You can then browse for you own configuration file and load it into the Oracle Appliance Manager. When you click through all screens, you will see the configuration that you have prepared earlier. At the summary step of the Appliance Manager you click the “install” button to start the deployment steps. In the background the Appliance Manager will start a script named GridInst.pl which executes all 25 deployment steps. You can follow the progress of the the deployment and the status of each step with the Appliance Manager and if you click the “Show Details” button, you see the logfile of all the deployment steps. The name of this logfile is also shown left the “Show Details” button and is named STEPS-0-24-<date/timestamp> and is located in the directory /opt/oracle/oak/onecmd/tmp.

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2 Responses to Oracle Database Appliance – Appliance Manager

  1. Tom Felner says:

    I am currently investigating if the uids and gids of the various users in the params file can be changed. We also have an Exadata and the equivalent Java tool (called exaconf) does allow customizing them, while the ODA tool does not. Can I change it nevertheless and will it stay? Have you tried that? Or do you have an Oracle resource that speaks to this? We want to have our own uids/gids across our namespace to allow login via Kerberos etc.

    • marcel says:

      Hello Tom,

      I haven’t tried to change the UIDs and GIDs for the users and groups, but they are specified in the config/parameter file you can genrate by the offline appliance manager so you could change them in there. However as I have mentioned in my article some of the parameters are overwritten again just before the ODA is actually deployed so if they the deployment process is actually using these different settings you will have to check.

      Another thing to think about is the references to the UIDs and GIDs in files like /etc/multipath.conf and perhaps some OAK related config files used when a disk is replaced. I cannot find (but I only did a quick check) any hard references to the UIDs or GIDs..
      I also took a look at the UIDs/GIDs used in the tar files that are part of the bundle patches, but these tar files contain the username and group of a (probably) developer at Oracle (smurala/g900) so the username/group of these files are set to a valid username/group when you “unpack” the bundle patch on your ODA.

      It would be safest option to ask Oracle Support and see what they say about this, but it could be that they haven’t tried it themselfs. And there is always a risk thay something breaks with the release of a future bundle patch.

      Regards,

      Marcel

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