Simon Haslam's Oracle Fusion Middleware blog

Postcard from Lisbon - Fusion Middleware Partner Summer Camps 2015

Last week I attended my second Oracle Fusion Middleware "summer camp" in Lisbon which this year, as you might expect, was themed around Oracle middleware cloud products. This is not a technical post - I have another Java Cloud Service (JCS) post in progress - but rather, how much it costs to go to the training, how you as an Oracle Partner might benefit from them, and whether you should aim to attend a future one.

Apparently this is the fifth summer camp now, though I have only attended the last two. They are organised by Jürgen Kress from the EMEA Oracle Middleware Partner team, under the umbrella term of "Partner Enablement", i.e. making sure partners have the skills and tools to sell and deploy Oracle products effectively for customers.

Oracle office, Lagoas Park, Lisbon
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Deploying SOA across Active-Active Data Centres

I've recently started on another active-active SOA infrastructure project and thought I'd share a few introductory notes since it's a relatively new topic in the context of Fusion Middleware.

Over recent years within Europe some customers have accepted a close geographic distance (e.g. 15 km) between data centres in return for a high bandwidth, low latency interconnect (typically ‘dark’ or dedicated fibre). This is to enable them to share normal production workload across both sites – so called "active/active" data centres – which is contrary to the traditional approach of having a highly segregated Disaster Recovery (DR) site (an "active/standby" topology).

Fibre connections within a DC (not DWDM ;-) ) 

This post discusses some of the subtleties of SOA active-active topologies which Oracle infrastructure architects must consider.

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How to create a Large Profile SOA 12c Repository running RCU in Silent Mode

One of the really nice features of SOA 12c is the ability to automatically create partitioned instance tables in the SOA repository. To do this you need to specify a LARGE "Database Profile" in RCU when you install the system:

Specifying Custom Variables in SOA 12c

(see http://docs.oracle.com/middleware/1213/core/RCUUG/rcu_screens.htm#RCUUG381)

Unfortunately none of the documentation that I found (even now, a year after SOA 12c was released) describes how to specify this when running RCU in silent mode.... this post tells you how to do it.

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Java Cloud Service - initial impressions for WebLogic architects and administrators

There's no doubt that "the cloud" is coming, even in the relatively conservative world of mission-critical Oracle platforms.

At the end of 2012 I took a trial of what was then "Java (or WebLogic) as a Service" (now known as "SaaS Extension"). Back then I wasn't hugely impressed - yes, I could deploy a simple web app, but the WebLogic environment was very heavily constrained and almost entirely hidden from the administrator - no WebLogic console, no WLST, minimal logs. As a result as soon as I tried to deploy something non-trivial, in this case Apache Roller (the software running this blog), I ran into all sorts of class white-list issues and with little debug information so I quickly gave up in despair!

Anyway here we are, over 2 years later, and Oracle's latest "Java Cloud Service" (JCS) is looking far more promising, so here are my initial impressions of what I've seen and read. First things first: JCS comes in 3 variants:

  • Java Cloud Service - SaaS Extension: essentially this is product I tried previously which is now targetted at extending Oracle's SaaS applications (including cloud-based Oracle Fusion Applications), presumably with relatively simple ADF apps.
  • Java Cloud Service - Virtual Image: this is a single instance WebLogic VM intended for development use and simple testing.
  • Java Cloud Service: the "full" version (Oracle doesn't seem to have a distinct name to differentiate it) which can be clustered and is designed for production workloads.

For this article I'm only going to focus on the last of these options, i.e. fully clustered WebLogic with root level access to the VMs but automated provisioning and management provided by Oracle! 

Pricing

Before we get into too much technical detail, let's get an idea of pricing for a single, production-grade environment.

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Should I use Oracle RAC for High Availability?

Almost all of my work involves high availability at one or more tiers, so options for Oracle Database resilience comes up regularly. Therefore I thought it would be worth writing down some of the considerations. 

Let's rewind for a moment: Real Application Clusters (RAC) was introduced in Oracle 9i to allow you to build powerful clustered database systems from of commodity hardware (typically x86 Linux servers running one or two dual core processors). RAC databases were designed to compete with the large single-instance databases running on SMP Unix servers made by IBM, HP and Sun - essentially shift spending from hardware to Oracle software (this was a long time before Oracle's acquisition of Sun Microsystems). In other words, RAC was primarily designed for scalability; high availability was a side effect.

Options & Prices

If you are looking at high availability options to protect Oracle databases here are your choices: 

  • Real Application Clusters (RAC) is the most sophisticated version of the Oracle Database and allows multiple instances to run concurrently on the same data on different nodes.
  • RAC One Node (RON) is a variant of RAC - the RAC cluster is still provisioned but a database is only allowed to be running one instance at any given time (except during switch-over during maintenance periods).
  • Enterprise Edition is the traditional single-instance Oracle Database which may or may not (typically not) be run on ASM.
Read more for whether you should use RAC or not to support your availability needs.[Read More]

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