Google Mail Lab

The article will provide a user with information on Google Mail (GM) Lab.  Gmail has introduced a new feature in Gmail Labs.  This helps a user to search Google Docs and Internet from their Gmail account.

This feature will extend the regular mail search with the integration of Google Docs and Google Sites. The feature will return a user the most relevant documents and sites right in his/her Gmail. If a user wants to enable the particular feature then he/she can navigate to Google Labs settings and seek and enable the feature saying “App Search”.  after that a user can save the settings that he/she has made. 
Let’s see what is App Search is.  An App Search extends search with Google Docs and Sites results. It will find the most relevant docs and sites and show a user below the Gmail search results. This will be helpful for a user as in this manner a user will be able to find documents and pages from the other services in a quick manner.  In order to use Apps Search, a user can go to Settings and then Labs options in Gmail and then enable Apps Search lab.  In this way, Gmail Search will be changed to Search Mail and Docs from the Search Mail.  A user will then be able to easily search documents stored on docs and also search emails on Gmail.    Gmail is becoming a central location for performing all searches. 

There is a possibility that this feature might not work straightaway and a user will not be able to see results fro the Google docs account.  A reason behind this can be that Gmail might take some time to index all the files in the Google Docs and Sites account.

A user can easily enable the feature go to his/her Google Labs tab in Settings and then scroll down till he/she see a header for “Available Labs”. Under this header a user can enable the “Apps Search” feature and save the settings.

If a user wants to use Gmail to search then he/she should go to Home » Google » Search Email, Google Docs and Sites from Gmail Dashboard.

Oracle Enterprise Manager – components

The article will provide a user with information and guidance on the OEM’s components. 
Before we start looking into details of the OEM’s components, it is important to understand the Enterprise Manager’s target term.  Target is very central for the EM system and everything moves around various target models.

Target is a generic term that refers to any managed entity that is managed by Enterprise Manager. For each target there is a model of the target stored in the Enterprise Manager repository. There are various target types available out-of-the-box like target types for a WebLogic server, or target types for BPEL Process Manager. The target model contains all the properties needed for managing the target. For example, a model for the WebLogic server contains JMX URL and credentials to connect to JMX server. The target model also defines what metrics should be collected for a target, the associated thresholds for those metrics and the collection frequency for those metrics.

At a broad level, targets are of two types—the agent target, and the repository only target. Agent targets are the target models that get created as the end result of the discovery process. The agent and the repository maintain the definition and model of such targets. Metrics for such targets are collected by the agent and uploaded to the repository. The repository only targets are targets that get created only in the repository—they may get created as part of the discovery process or they may be created manually. All of the metric calculations of such targets are done in the repository. For example, WebLogic Managed Server is modeled as an agent target and WebLogic Domain and WebLogic Cluster are modeled as repository only targets.

Oracle Management Service (OMS)
OMS is a central process for Enterprise Manager. It provides a set of common services that help in the monitoring and management of a target. Some of those services are job scheduling, notification, etc. OMS collects data from all of the agents and, after processing, persists it into the repository. For other system management operations like backup recovery, OMS orchestrates the sequence of events that need to be triggered on the agent for a given target.  OMS also communicates with the agent over HTTP/HTTPS protocol and uses JDBC to persist data in the repository.

Oracle Management Agent (OMA)
The Oracle Management Agent process is a proxy process for Enterprise Manager that collects data from targets and sends it to the Management repository. Generally it is co-located on the same host where a target is running.  The agent keeps the target model synchronized with the actual target. It also collects monitoring and configuration information as per the target model, and uploads it into the Management repository via services exposed by the Management service. This collection of information is done as per the collection frequency defined by the target model. During collection, metrics are evaluated against the thresholds defined in the target model. In case metric values violate the thresholds, the agent generates an alert and sends it to the Management Server.

Please note that the agent executes all of the operations that are triggered from OMS, at the end of the operation the agent returns the status and output of such operations.  Apart from monitoring, the agent executes all of the operations that are scheduled from OMS, and returns the status and output of such operations, for example, the agent executes a start-stop operation scheduled from OMS and returns the status and output of that operation.

Agents use a heartbeat mechanism to keep the Management Server informed about the health of agent. The agent communicates with the Management Server over HTTP/HTTPS protocol. In more secure setups, agents need one password to communicate with the management service.

Oracle Management Repository (OMR)
OMR is the persistence store for all EM data. All data related to target models, performance metrics and configuration metrics are persisted in the OMR. OMR also keeps historical data that can be used for analyzing the performance of the system over a period of time. Historical data related to configuration can be used to track configuration changes. OMR is built using an Oracle Database.
Some data from the Oracle Management Repository is exposed via public views and can be used for integration with external systems. The repository can be installed in a pre-existing database or a new database.

In this article, we will use the terms Oracle Management Repository and repository interchangeably.

Oracle Enterprise Manager – products managed by Enterprise Manager

The article will provide a user with information and guidance on the products that are managed by the Enterprise Manager. 

Enterprise manager is a system management product from the Oracle Corporation that provides a set of features for the comprehensive management of Oracle products like Oracle Database, Oracle WebLogic Server, Oracle SOA suite, Oracle Applications, and so on. Enterprise Manager also provides management support for non-Oracle products including databases like SQL Server, middleware platforms such as JBoss Application Server, IBM WebSphere MQ, and storage management system such as NetApp.

The data centers contain many types of IT resources from different vendors, and different technology platforms. There may also be homegrown products or applications in data centers. Enterprise Manager provides management support for most of the common resources, but there could be some resources for which there is no support out-of-box. Enterprise Manager provides a framework to extend management support for such resources. This provides an opportunity to users and third party vendors who can build custom management support.  Enterprise Manager also provides connectors to integrate with help desk products like BMC Remedy or HP Service Center. By integrating EM with these products, alerts on the EM side can be converted to tickets on the help desk side and resolution of those tickets can clear alerts generated on the EM side.

Enterprise Manager Architecture
The Enterprise Manager product is built using Java technology and an Oracle database. The Enterprise Manager product runs on top of Oracle Application Server and uses an Oracle Database as its persistence store. Enterprise Manager has three main components:
• Oracle Management Service (OMS)
• Oracle Management Agent (OMA)
• Oracle Management Repository (OMR)

For user interactions there is a centralized cosole that operates upon the Management Repository and uses services provided by the Management Server. This is a browser-based console.
In a typical setup, one management agent needs to be installed (on each host to be managed) that uploads data to the Management Server and that, in turn, persists the data in the repository. A system administrator can access this data or initiate or schedule an operation though the console.

If a user has read this article then he/she would have learnt about the products managed by Enterprise Manager.

Middleware Management with Oracle Enterprise Manager Grid Control – part b

The article will provide a user with information on Middleware Management with Oracle Enterprise Manager Grid control.  It will cover synthetic transaction and managing Enterprise Manager.

Synthetic transaction
There are times when all of the performance indicators are within acceptable ranges, but users still complain for about application performance. In order to troubleshoot issues,  the system administrators can log in to the application to try to simulate what the real users do. Users wil note that sometimes such problems are related to some specific geographic regions only.  An example will make this clear.  The customers in Europe cannot check out the shopping cart but customers in other countries are fine.

In order to monitor such issues a user can record typical user actions and then repeat those instructions from different geographical regions.  The Enterprise Manager provides a framework for such support where typical user behavior can be recorded and repeated from various geographical locations. A user can record the web transaction for checking out of the shopping cart and can repeat this synthetic transaction from various locations.   A user can also use the web transactions to check the availability for web applications. Enterprise Manager provides other mechanisms to check the availability of other resources.  Fore example a user can use TNSPING to check the availability of a database.

Managing Enterprise Manager
Enterprise Manager has a multi-tiered architecture; with the presentation layer on a J2EE server and content that is presented in HTML format. The Enterprise Manager console can be accessed through a browser that the system administrator can access remotely. Enterprise Manager is certified for all major browsers like Internet Explorer, Firefox, Netscape, Mozilla, etc.

Enterprise Manager product family
The Oracle Enterprise Manager product family is a group of similar systems management products and it includes:
• Oracle Enterprise Manager Database Control: This type of Enterprise Manager gets installed with the installation of a database. This product can manage one database, associated listeners and the host where database is installed.
• Oracle Enterprise Manager Application Server Control: This type of Enterprise Manager gets installed with the installation of an Application Server. This product can manage one Application Server or an Application Server Cluster or an Application Server Farm and the host where it is installed.
• Oracle Enterprise Manager Grid Control: This type of Enterprise Manager needs its own installation. This product can manage all of the resources in a data center.

If a user has read this article then he/she would have learnt about synthetic transaction , managing enterprise manager and enterprise manager product family.

Middleware Management with Oracle Enterprise Manager Grid Control – part a

The article will provide a user with information on Middleware Management with Oracle Enterprise Manager Grid Control.  It will present information on scheduling and automatic provisioning.
Oracle Enterprise Manager can provide help with Middleware Management. 

Many data center operations are repeated at fixed interval and on multiple IT resources. For example, database backup is performed every day at midnight for all of the database servers in a data center. Typically, system administrators write some scripts and use some scheduling mechanism like crontabs to perform these operations. Monitoring of such operations across multiple servers is expensive; the system administrator needs to check logs on each server and maintain scripts on each server and so on.
Enterprise Manager also provides a scheduling mechanism and, using that mechanism, the user can execute an operation on multiple resources as per the defined schedule. The outcome of all such operations, across multiple resources, is saved in the Enterprise Manager repository and the system administrator can see all of the results from one central console. Besides that, events like the success or failure of an operation can be sent out as notifications via standard notification mechanisms like email, SNMP trap, and so on.

Automating provisioning
Initial provisioning of new IT resources is an expensive operation; the system administrator needs to install the Operating System, all required software like the database, J2EE server, all required patches, and the business applications. After this, the system administrator needs to configure the software and applications. Enterprise Manager provides support for building gold images from existing IT resources, and provisioning new IT resources from the gold image. Using the gold image, the system administrator can easily provision a new IT resource by cloning it from an existing IT resource.  Enterprise Manager also provides a software library where the gold images of Operating Systems, software, and so on, can be stored for future use.

Information publishing
System administrators do need to publish data related to their data center; like resource utilization data, configuration compliance data, inventory of resources, and so on. Also, a lot of the data publishing activity has to be repeated at every fixed interval, for example, resource utilization data needs to be published at the end of every month.

Enterprise Manager has a reporting and publishing framework to build and publish reports in HTML format that summarize the data available in the Enterprise Manager repository. Report generation can be scheduled and the generated reports are also saved in the repository. These reports can be automatically sent out by emails as per the schedule defined by the system administrators.  There are many useful out-of-the-box reports that the system administrator can use to publish performance data, configuration compliance data, and so on. System administrators can also customize or build new reports through the intuitive user interface.

If a user has read this article then he/she would have learnt about Middleware Management with Oracle Enterprise Manager Grid Control.

Oracle Enterprise Grid Control – key features part b

The article will provide a user with information and guidance on the Oracle Enterprise Grid Controls’s key features.

Some of the key features have already been explained in my previous article i.e., Oracle Enterprise Manager Grid Control – part a.  Let’s have a look at some more key features of Oracle Enterprise Grid Control.

Unmanned monitoring
Enterprise Manager monitors IT resources around the clock and it gathers all performance indicators at every fixed interval. Whenever a performance indicator goes beyond the defined acceptable limit, Enterprise Manager records that occurrence. For example, if the acceptable limit of CPU utilization for a server is 80%, then whenever CPU utilization of the server goes above 80% then that occurrence is recorded.
Enterprise Manager can also send notification of any such occurrence through common notification mechanisms like email, pager, SNMP trap, and so on.

Historical data analysis
All of the performance indicators captured by Enterprise Manager are saved in the repository. Enterprise Manager provides some useful views of the data using the system administrator that can analyze data over a period of time. Besides the fine-grained data that is collected at every fixed interval, it also provides coarse views by rolling up the data every hour and every 24 hours.

Configuration management
Enterprise Manager gathers configuration data for IT resources at regular intervals and checks for any configuration compliance violation. Any such violation is captured and can be sent out as a notification. Enterprise Manager comes with many out-of-the-box configuration compliance rules that represent best practices; in addition to that, system administrators can configure their own rules.
All of the configuration data is also saved in the Enterprise Manager repository. Using data, the system administrator can compare the configuration of two similar IT resources or compare the configuration of the same IT resource at two different points in time. The system administrator can also see the configuration change history.

Managing multiple entities as one
Most of the more recent applications are built with multi-tiered architecture and each tier may run on different IT resources. For example, an order booking application can have all of its presentation and business logic running on a J2EE server, all business data persisted in a database, all authentication and authorization performed through an LDAP server, and all of the traffic to the application routed through an HTTP server.

If user wants to monitor such applications thta he/she has to monitor all the underlying resources.  A user should note that Enterprise Manager provides support for grouping such related IT resources and by using this support a system administrator has an opportunity to monitor all related resources as one entity and all performance indicators for all related entities can be monitored from one interface.

Service level management
Enterprise Manager provides necessary constructs and interfaces for managing service level agreements that are based on the performance of IT resources. A user can use this to measure service levels and expected service levels. An example will hep in understanding this.  A service representing a web application can have the same average JSP response time as a service indicator, the expected service level for this service is to have the service indicator below three seconds for 90% of the time during business hours.

Enterprise Manager keeps track of all such indicators and violations in the context of a service and at any time the user can see the status of such service level agreements over a defined time period.

If a user has read this article then he/she would have learnt about Oracle Enterprise Manager Grid Control’s key features.

Oracle Enterprise Manager Grid Control – key features part a

The article will provide a user with information and guidance on Oracle Enterprise Manager Grid Control.  The key concepts of Oracle Enterprise Manager Grid control will be explained.  

The key features of Enterprise Manager Grid Control are provided below:
o Comprehensive view of data center
o Unmanned monitoring
o Historical data analysis
o Configuration management
o Managing multiple entities as one
o Service level management
o Scheduling
o Automating provisioning
o Information publishing
o Synthetic transaction
o Manage from anywhere

Let’s have a look at key features of Enterprise Manager Grid control.

Enterprise Manager Grid Control is used for monitoring and managing products in the data centre. 
• Enterprise Manager Grid provides a management interface which can be used to manage an HTTP server, J2EE server and a database
• Enterprise Manager provides an interface for different administrations tasks.   Some of these tasks include patching, configuration compliance, back-up recovery, etc.  In addition to basic monitoring, Enterprise Manager provides a unified interface for many other administration tasks like patching, configuration compliance, backup-recovery, and so on.

Comprehensive view of the data centre
By providing a comprehensive view of the data centre, it provides an opportunity to an administrator to view all the applications, servers, databases, network devices, storage devices, and so on, along with performance and configuration data.  The Enterprise also provides a user with information on the resources that require urgent attention and also information for the resources that are likely to require urgent attention.
If a user views data center then he/she will be able to view entities that are monitored, entities that are up and down and also entities that have performance alerts.  This will provide an opportunity to a user to drill down to fine views from the top-level view. 
The data in the top-level can be split into the categories as mentioned below:

Performance data
The performance data can provide a user with information on how an IT resources is performing.  This can include the current status, performance indicators.  It can also cover any violation of the performance thresholds. 

Configuration data
The configuration data can provide a user with information on changes in configuration and it will also include violation of configuration conformance.  The configuration data includes the configuration parameters and configuration files captured from an IT resource.
An example will make this easy to understand.  If a policy says that only a certain port should be open on some servers, Enterprise Manager captures any violation of that policy.

Status of scheduled operations
Enterprise manager provides a user with an opportunity to view the status of the scheduled operations.  The scheduled operations can include system administration task (i.e, taking a backup of a database server or some batch process that moves data across systems). 

Enterprise Manager provides a user with listing of all hardware and software resources with details like version numbers. It also captures the finer details of software resources.

If a user has read this article then he/she would have learnt about Oracle Enterprise Manager Grid control and also some of the key features of Oracle Enterprise Manager Grid Control.