This content is part of the Essential Guide: Oracle cloud architecture push spawns new tools, issues for users

Oracle Enterprise Manager 13c gives DBAs new cloud tools

The latest version of Oracle Enterprise Manager is designed to make life easier for DBAs working in the cloud. Oracle Enterprise Manager 13c has new features for the cloud.

Oracle Enterprise Manager Cloud Control 13c is the latest version of Oracle's centralized monitoring and management...

platform released at the very end of 2015. This version -- Oracle EM 13c, for short -- helps database administrators manage Oracle cloud deployments with some very helpful new features. While the Alta user interface skin retouch in EM 13c improves the aesthetics of the tool, it won't make life any easier for DBAs. It's the added functionality that makes the new version shine.

For example, many organizations are eager to reduce their systems infrastructure footprints, including ones in public or private cloud implementations. Oracle Database 12c introduced the Multitenant add-on feature to facilitate database consolidation through the deployment of container databases that can hold large numbers of working ones -- or pluggable databases, in Oracle's parlance. With Oracle Enterprise Manager 13c, Oracle added a Database Consolidation Workbench designed to help DBAs analyze and plan consolidation into Oracle 12c container databases as well as conventional non-container databases.

The workbench supports three phases of the consolidation process: planning, migration and validation. The planning phase examines historical resource utilization to help a DBA understand if existing hardware can adequately support the envisioned consolidation efforts. The migration phase automates the movement of databases within a cloud infrastructure, which can significantly reduce human errors. The validation phase uses Oracle's SQL Performance Analyzer tool to ensure that the consolidation won't result in decreased application performance or unplanned downtime.

The cloud enables IT departments to be agile and more responsive to business needs. Oracle Enterprise Manager 13c helps DBAs with that by providing a new "test master snapshot" feature as part of its Snap Clone tool. Snap Clone is a thin cloning technology for creating database clones that have reduced storage requirements compared with full copies; the snap clones can be useful for things such as development and test. The added snapshot feature in EM 13c streamlines the process of using Snap Clone to create test master databases and update them in sync with the source databases they're drawn from. It leverages Oracle's Recovery Manager (RMAN) software to do incremental backups that let DBAs pick a point in time to execute the cloning operations.

One of the great benefits of a cloud infrastructure, public or private, is the speed and ease in which new database environments can be created. However, from an administrative perspective, that can also be one of the great downsides to a cloud infrastructure. The convenience of the cloud often means that database environments reproduce like rabbits. Ensuring that the configuration of a growing number of database systems meets organizational standards can be a nightmare. This is where EM 13c's configuration drift management feature comes to the rescue. A DBA sets a predefined "gold" configuration and can then use Oracle Enterprise Manager 13c to compare production databases against the settings. Based on the comparison, the new feature shows which databases have drifted away from the baseline configuration across cloud deployments that can include thousands of database systems.

Oracle Enterprise Manager 13c also includes a Chargeback and Consolidation Planner Plug-in tool for organizations with private cloud infrastructures that need to be able to calculate chargebacks to business departments based on their Oracle resource utilization. The plug-in lets IT administrators define tiered pricing plans, so that they can charge for resource utilization during off-peak hours at lower rates compared to peak usage periods. They can also apply ad hoc pricing to customize chargebacks as needed. In addition, the plug-in includes a Charge Estimator that can use historical resource utilization metrics to calculate likely chargeback costs.

This is just a sampling of the new features in EM 13c -- there are a host of other ones, for use in managing both cloud and on-premises Oracle installations. It's time for companies that are still using older versions of Enterprise Manager to look into upgrading to the new one.

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