Monday, November 26, 2007
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Monday, November 19, 2007
I originally planned to post photos during the show by organizing the shots on the BART ride home each night. Well, I didn't pull that off, so I edited all of them this past weekend. Here are some images from the conference.
Friday, November 16, 2007
These conversations pointed to a couple common issues. For example, several customers asked us about the proper enablement of the Siebel Application Response Measurement (SARM) framework for collecting performance data. Others asked about the best practices for defining service tests. Both examples indicate that there are gaps between our products' capabilities and our customers' understanding on how to best utilize them.
The above examples are just some of the topics that I plan to cover in the coming months. Now that OpenWorld is over, I am going to return to my regularly scheduled program of talking exclusively about application management. I will cover several categories of topics: application management practices, Oracle Enterprise Manager, and specific issues for managing packaged Oracle applications.
Thursday, November 15, 2007
During Larry's keynote, he reiterated that Oracle expects customers to adopt Fusion Applications at their own timeframe, and they could very well be running Fusion Applications side-by-side with existing applications during a multi-year transition period. This is the assumption that we have built into our appication management strategy. We want to enable customers to centralize the management of their existing applications on Oracle Enterprise Manager, plug in new Fusion components as they become available so that these components can be managed together with the older apps, and eventually retire their older applications and the management of these apps on Enterprise Manager.
I had Meet the Expert session immediately following the keynote, and one of the customers asked what needs to be done to prepare for Fusion Applications. There are really multiple dimensions to this questions. The general answer is to consider augenting existing applications using Fusion Middleware technologies that are available today to fulfill business requirements not met in the current applications. These Fusion Middleware components may include SOA, WebCenter, BI, Identify & Access Management, etc... From the application IT operationals perspective, it means planning ahead to manage all these new components together with the existing application, which is something that Oracle Enterprise Manager is designed to do.
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
10gR4 has quite a few exciting features that are geared toward application administrators. They include an upgraded and integrated transaction diagnostic tool for Siebel applications, an enhanced service test beacon for web-based applications, Application Diagnostic for Java (AD4J), integrated configuration management for SOA management, a new management pack for Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition (OBI-EE) and more. I will cover each of them in more detail in future postings.
As for my day, I spent most of the time at a customer lunch, a customer advisory board meeting, and the Enterprise Manager customer party. Basically, today was about listening to customer's feedbacks.
One of the notable discussions today was Campbell Webb's presentation on how Oracle IT uses Oracle Enterprise Manager to manage our IT infrastructure and applications. Customers always seem to be curious on how we use our own software internally, so his presentation generated quite a bit of interests. Working with our internal IT and OnDemand organization has become an integral part of our development process for many Oracle Enterprise Manager products. Oracle, being a pretty good size organization, provides a rather good test bed for validating our software. On top of that, we have engaged administrators in Oracle IT early in the product cycle to help design products and review our product plans. We hope that this "design for administrators by administrators" approach would result in better products.
Monday, November 12, 2007
On my own neck of the wood, OpenWorld really got started with the opening of DEMOground. That went fine. The real fun for the day was to head over to Marriotts to find out whether our hands-on lab equipment worked as we planned. That went fine too. Capacity utilization came way below our load test scenario. We probably had over-engineered this thing. Next came my session at 3 p.m. Would people show up? Well, they did. :) The PeopleSoft Management Pack session presented by my colleague Scott Schafer had good attendance as well, so OpenWorld was off to a good start for our application management products.
My talk was titled “Siebel Application Management - Tools, Tips and Techniques to Ensure Performance and Availability”. The key message of the presentation was:
1. Application Management is a process.
2. It covers all stages of an application's lifecycle.
3. Implementing the process properly, with the right tool, would increase the chance of success with application deployment.
I just got the presentation uploaded to the conference content management system, and I will be blogging more about the details of this presentation in the coming weeks and months. It has been a big long day. I am going to go to bed early so that I can get to Thomas Kurian's keynote in person tomorrow morning.
Sunday, November 11, 2007
This is the absolutely final demopod staff orientation meeting. Usual staff - reminders of no eating at booth, no email, no Internet surfing, make sure we scan people badges... No leather pants!? Now that's something new that I haven't heard before.
11:20 - at Marriotts Golden Gate Room
Now we'll find out whether our "Extreme Data Center Makeover" was successful. Turn on all the boxes. Good, everything comes on. Why is box #6 not responding? Oh, the network port is not lighting up. We got a bad port. Tried another port and it worked. Wait, some boxes are connecting to box #9 but not #1. What is going on? Routing table not set up properly on box #1. How did we miss this one? Anyway, look like all the servers are working, but some of the PCs are not picking up IP address from DHCP servers. Network admins called. Let's hope they fix it.
15:29 - at Moscone West Oracle Speaker Lounge
We are now less than 2 hours away from Larry/Safra's Sunday Night Keynote.
Just checked out the demopods and they are good to go.
18:50 - at Moscone North Keynote Hall
Well, the keynote was interesting. Every company has a human side story behind it, and Oracle is of no exception. Larry recounted many of the war stories of the early days, from how he convinced Bob Miner to start Software Development Labs, which later became Oracle, to selling relational database software to the CIA (before development got started of course), to getting his house foreclosed on when they were running out of money and had to cut his salary, to his first encounter with financial statements. The rather chaotic really made me wonder how the company became the success of what it is today. Amazing.
Got to head out to grab a bite to eat, go home, and get ready for tomorrow. It's showtime!
CNET also has a blog entry on the keynote - http://www.news.com/8301-10784_3-9814858-7.html?tag=head
Hands-on Lab Material – still need to get it to Kinkos; drop it off tomorrow on route to Moscone
Demos – done :)
1 day to go before it starts. 5 days to go before it ends.
Whew, only 2 demo staff members did not register. I guess we will have to smuggle them onto the DEMOground somehow. We had our final staff meeting during lunchtime to go through all the logistics – what to say, what to wear / not to wear, schedule, transportation, etc... It was a big meeting, as this OpenWorld is going to involve over 100 people just from the Enterprise Manager team. We totally ran out of food, which usually doesn't happen at lunch meetings.
Hands-on Lab Material – done; just need to get it to Kinkos
Demos – still working on it; will be done by Monday :)
2 days to go before it starts. 6 days to go before it ends.
Friday, November 9, 2007
Day minus 3 – Are we ready? Well, almost.
Hands-on Lab Equipment Preparation – check
Hands-on Lab Material – 1 done, 1 to go; where is the nearest Kinkos to Moscone?
Presentations – check
Demos – still working on it; will be done by Monday :)
Send customer party invites – check
Set up customer meetings – check
Set up partner meetings – check
Arrange meet the expert session – check
Arrange staff for demopods – check; oh, is everyone on this list registered?
Pick up my badge – check; wait, am I registered to be a speaker and DEMOground staff, or just speaker? What is this Employee Standard vs. Employee Plus pass anyway?
3 days to go before it starts. 7 days to go before it ends.
Tuesday, November 6, 2007
OpenWorld is once again around the corner. This year's event once again promises to be even bigger than last year's. If you are an application administrator or IT manager, here are several activities that may be of special interest to you:
S291919 - Top Down Application Management – Oracle's Blueprint for Managing from a Business Perspective (Moscone West, 2001 - L2, Rajiv Taori, 12:30-1:30 p.m.)
S291922 - Siebel Application Management: Tools, Tips, and Techniques to Ensure Performance and Availability (Moscone West 2001 - L2, Chung Wu, 3:15-4:15 p.m.)
S290704 - Case Study: Managing Oracle E-Business Suite, Using Enterprise Manager Pack (Moscone West 2014 - L2, Biju Mohan, 11:15 a.m.-12:15 p.m.)
S292003 - Enterprise Manager Application Management Pack for PeopleSoft Deep Dive (Moscone West 2012 - L2, Scott Schafer, 4:45-15:45 p.m.)
S291921 - End-User Monitoring: The Ultimate Judge of Application Performance and Availability (Moscone West 2001 - L2, Rajiv Taori, 9:45-10:45 a.m.)
S291924 - SOA Management: Runtime Governance of Your Composite Application Environment (Moscone West 2001 - L2, Nadu Bharadwaj, 4:30-5:30 p.m.)
S291925 - A New Approach to Diagnosing Java Application Performance (Moscone West 2001 - L2, Rajagopal Marripalli, 3:00-4:00 p.m.)
Meet the Expert Session – Informal Meetings with Product Staff
Application Management – All Apps (Moscone West Lookout #2) – 2:30-5:30 p.m.
Oracle E-Business Suite (Moscone West Lookout #2) – 1:30-3:30 p.m.
Visit this website for more details – http://www.oracle.com/openworld/2007/application-lounge.html
J4 – Application Performance Management / Service Level Management
D8, J7 – Application Management
J8 – SOA Management
B48 – Oracle E-Business Suite Management
P13 – PeopleSoft Management
Refer to this document for more details – http://www.oracle.com/openworld/2007/focus/focus-on-enterprise-management.pdf
Monday, November 5, 2007
The task was equivalent to an Extreme Makeover, Data Center Edition. In less than two weeks, we had to transform a collection of 10 “bare metal” servers into the equivalent of a mini-data center, complete with 85 client workstations. We had to deploy Oracle E-Business Suite, Siebel CRM, Oracle Fusion Middleware, Oracle Enterprise Linux, Microsoft Windows Server, and Oracle Enterprise Manager into the environment.
Even though this project was really about setting up equipment for a training lab, we ran into the same kind of challenges that administrators face on a daily basis. First, there was the schedule. OpenWorld starts on 11/11, and it would start whether our environment was ready or not, so that target date ain't moving. On the other hand, our hardware arrived one week late! So we were way behind schedule before we even got started.
Second, we didn't get the hardware we expect to get. The vendor provided us with CD-ROM drives in our servers, and we had DVD media for our software. These are some of the latest multi-core Dell server boxes. Putting CD-ROM drives in these boxes is like putting cassette tape deck into a brand new Mercedes Benz! The CD-ROM media that we ended up getting was also the wrong one – 32 bit instead of 64 bit, and we didn't find out until we called in a developer to figure out why we could not run E-Business Suite's RapidInstall. These mismatches wasted some of our time, which we could not afford to lose.
Third, there was the unforeseen situation. A 5.6 earthquake hit the San Francisco Bay Area on one night while we were going to system test our client-server connection. That disrupted our work for the night as we didn't feel safe working in a mid-rise building not knowing whether there would be more shaking to come. More time was lost.
Oh yeah, we ran into some “unintended features” in our software as well.
These are just a couple of the server, network and software problems we ran into. The actual list is quite a bit longer than this. Let me put it this way, I feel your pain as administrators.
I did learn a few things from this experience, and I will cover them in a follow up post.
Sunday, November 4, 2007
Welcome to the Application Management blog. My name is Chung Wu, and I work at Oracle Corporation. I want to use this blog as a way for me to share what I have learned about managing applications through my professional work, talk about recent developments, and solicit your ideas and feedback. Since this is the first installment of the blog, and there seems to be varying definitions on Application Management, I am going to begin by first defining what I mean by Application Management and making the case on why it is important. If you agree or disagree with the points that I made, let me know. I want your feedback.
Application Management is the discipline within systems management that focus on managing the availability, performance, security, deployment, change and configuration of applications. It is a specific class of management discipline because of the unique demands that applications place, which cannot be met by traditional server, network and storage management.
Application Management is critical because applications are the first line of contact between end-users and the computing infrastructure. When a problem occurs, the first place that end-users see the problem usually is the application. For example, an application that freezes up may be caused by a lost of network connection to the database, yet the end-user may only see it as the applications' problem.
Furthermore, Application Management is critical because applications are critical. As people rely on applications to accomplish their tasks, and more and more business processes are getting digitized, application problems reduce people's productivity and may even lead to direct lost of business. For example, if an eCommerce application that acts as the online storefront of a retailer goes down, customers may switch to another vendor to make the purchase, resulting in lost of business for the retailer.
Since there are different classes of applications, the specific application management problems for a particular application differ as well. For example, for desktop applications such as OpenOffice, Mozilla Firefox and Adobe Photoshop, deployment may mean getting the physical files of the software packaged copied onto each of the PC and run their installers to get them properly registered with the operating environment. On the other hand, deployment of a web browser-based Enterprise Business Application such as Siebel CRM may entail distributing the Siebel server software on a cluster of servers, installing the schema of the application on a client/server database, and moving all the customizations that are stored in files and database from development/test environment to production environment. The client PCs that not touched at all during deployment, since the application is delivered to end-users via a web-browser.For now, I shall focus this blog on managing Enterprise Applications that typically come with a multi-tiered architecture.
Before I conclude, I also need to (Oracle's lawyers made me to :-) ) make a disclaimer about this blog - The views expressed on this blog are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Oracle. I also provide no warranty, guarantee, explicit nor implied, now or in the future, etc... etc... yade yeda ya... Read my stuff at own your risk. You get the idea. ;-)