Grid control is the way we manage large Oracle infrastructures, comprising many different databases on many servers -and, quite possibly, in many different server rooms. There is nothing stopping you from managing each database by logging onto it in SQL*Plus and tapping away your next SQL command… but it swiftly becomes impractical when there are dozens of databases to do it to!
The use of Grid Control provides a single point of management and control: visit it in your desktop’s web browser and you can control any number of servers and the databases that are running on them (it can manage middle tier servers, too, but that’s outside of scope here). Very convenient, very practical… fundamentally, it’s the only way to do it these days.
At the time of writing, the new 12c version is out (and the ‘c’ means we should refer to ‘cloud control’ rather than last season’s ‘grid control’!), but there is plenty of life in the 11g Grid Control yet: you’ll be installing it and using it for a good couple of years to come, I think, because businesses don’t suddenly switch to the latest and greatest of anything just because it has an exciting new version number.
In this article, therefore, I’m going to document how you install Oracle 11g R1 Grid Control (64-bit) and how you can use it to start constructing a larger Oracle infrastructure.
Before we start, know that this article expects you to know about, and to have created, a Kickstart server that is capable of performing both 5.x and 6.x O/S installations.
It will further assume you are not in a position to download Oracle patches and upgrades and that you want to experiment with this stuff on a completely free-of-charge basis.
Finally, I’ve written this article by running everything it describes on a desktop PC using virtualization with just 8GB physical RAM, a quad core CPU and about 60GB of real hard disk space. You do not need anything more substantial than that, but of course things will run faster and smoother if you happen to have a couple of spare PCs sitting around so that you can run everything on real, physical hardware. Either way, when I write about ‘building a server’, that can equally well mean creating a new virtual machine or pulling out an old Pentium 4 machine from the back of the cupboard, as you prefer.
I have to say up-front that Grid Control is a bit of a monster to install, involving at least four separate software installations -and the patience of a saint. The complete list of what you need is:
- An operating system -an , 64-bit, of course. (Incidentally, it has to be a version 5.x distro, because the Grid Control agent never successfully completes its configuration on a 6.x distro). 5.x distro
- A Java Development Kit (JDK) -at the time of writing, I used version 6, update 26. You are on your own if you want to use anything newer than that.
- The WebLogic application server -the only version that works for this is the 10.3.2 generic.jar download. (It’s also known as ‘WebLogic Server 11gR1′ and you’ll need to click the ‘see all files’ link to expose the generic download in the ‘Additional Platforms’ column). Don’t try any of the newer WebLogic server downloads available on that page: they won’t work.
- The 64-bit Linux Oracle 11g Release 2 database software (Grid Control uses a database as its repository; that can -and ought- to be an 11gR2 database, even though Grid Control itself is called ‘Grid Control 11g Release 1′).
- The Enterprise Manager Grid Control software itself. You want the 126.96.36.199.0 version for 64-bit Linux. There are three files in the set, each about 1.5GB in size.
The Basic Plan
In principle, installing Grid Control is easy. You just follow the masterplan, which has these key features:
- Install a clean, minimal operating system and then configure it correctly for running Oracle
- Install Oracle 11gR2 and get a database running on it
- Install Java
- Install WebLogic
- Install Grid Control
All of this can take place on a PC which has around 30GB of free disk space and 2GB RAM, but if you’ve got more than those quantities available, Grid Control can certainly make use of them.
Getting Started – Installing the OS
Happily, this is one of the easiest parts to accomplish, thanks to the Kickstart server technology you will have implemented before reading this! You simply need to boot your Grid server with a network boot ISO of your chosen distro, then direct it to your kickstart script to finish most of the job without any user intervention at all.
Make sure you use the Diznix Kickstart Configurator to get a suitable kickstart script to begin with, and don’t forget that Kickstart can only work if there is a DHCP server available somewhere on your network.
Once the main operating system process completes, run the palmerston.sh shell script that you’ll find in the root directory (i.e., issue the command sh /palmerston.sh) to finish things off. Palmerston will ask for a username/password for the account that is to own the Oracle software (usually referred to as “the oracle user”, but you can supply any name you like), and will ask you for a default database name (I suggest something like “griddb” for the purposes of this article).
Here’s a set of slides showing you the entire process, from start to finish:
The whole lot should take you less than about 10 minutes to complete -and once it has, you’re ready to get into the business of installing the Oracle 11gR2 software. So read on!