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Oracle Enterprise Manager gets a makeover

Oracle has completed its round of 10g Release 2 updates with the new release Oracle Enterprise Manager.

Oracle completed its round of 10g Release 2 software updates yesterday with the newest version of Oracle Enterprise Manager (OEM).

The new version of the software management suite adds high-level dashboards that help to correlate and analyze the relationship between database processes and business services. It also offers the ability to manage deployments of Java 2 Platform, Enterprise Edition from Oracle competitors IBM and BEA Systems.

OEM 10g Release 2 also builds on automated provisioning and patching features. sat down with Jay Rossiter, vice president of systems management products, to find out why Oracle thinks these new provisioning and capabilities will prove beneficial to DBAs.

What does 10g Release 2 offer in terms of new enhancements to provisioning capabilities?

Jay Rossiter: In R2, what we did from a feature/function point of view is we built out a lot of the automation capabilities in the platform. Provisioning, which is the ability to either provision images of software or images of configurations, was a big focus here. There's a variety of things we already do there in the provisioning area. But just starting at the core, [R2 offers the ability] to provision a multi-node rack database in five steps.

Oracle also talks about the ability to do "bare metal provisioning" in Release 2. What does this term mean?

Rossiter: Bare metal provisioning is being able to image Linux systems. The idea behind this is that you can have pretested libraries of software with the operating system and with patches. You can pretest it and say, 'I know this thing works.' You can throw it in a library somewhere then take raw commodity boxes and then say, 'Image the boxes with this software operating system pretested combination.' It's important because it lets you then create standards within a company or certified recommendations from Oracle of combinations of software and operating systems.

Could you describe any new enhancements to patch management capabilities?

Rossiter: What we've done is we've tied Enterprise Manager back to Oracle, so that somebody at Oracle can post on our support/meta links site that there are critical patches to be downloaded. It's kind of like what you have on your desktop, except it's a different problem doing something to mission-critical, multi-tier back-end software. You might have to shut stuff down, you might have to alert people to it or you might have to register it in some logs for compliance reasons. It's a little more complicated [than desktop patching], but conceptually you want to be able to do the same thing.

Can you give me a brief history of Oracle Enterprise Manager?

Rossiter: We've actually been shipping Enterprise Manager for about 10 years. It's been around for many releases. We started with the database, obviously, in the mid-'90s and then gradually built up the functionality and also the breadth of what the product does. When the 10g database came out and the 10g app server came out in early 2004, we revamped the entire product set. We actually rewrote a lot of it. We really designed it for more of a grid kind of architecture. So, 10g R1 was kind of the first release of the new code base of the product, but with the same operational functionality we had been doing for a number of years.

Oracle often uses the phrase "Grid Control" when talking about OEM. What exactly is Grid Control?

Rossiter: The term Enterprise Manager is our brand flow, our overall management family of products. Grid Control is our central deployment of Enterprise Manager, which is used to manage multiple systems, enterprises and grids. [OEM consists] of several pieces and several deployment models.

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