Oracle MVA

Tales from a Jack of all trades

Oracle Database Applicance With WebLogic Server (ODA X3-2)

with 5 comments

On april 3th the new ODA X3-2 was released. Sadly I was sick from april 1th on so I had to miss the launch, and I was so well prepared…  others had the scoop. Anyway, as an administrator that not only manages databases this release is pretty exciting since it brings not only virtualization but also WebLogic to ODA. This would make ODA a pretty good appliance for some of my customers, so I did a little investigation in the product.

This blogpost is the first result of that investigation. My main focus was the WebLogic part of the box. The questions that arose with me were either answered by documentation or by product management. Obviously that doesn’t guarantee that I understood everything correct 🙂 I left out references to documentation on  purpose, it would be smart for everyone interested in the product to hit the documentation thoroughly.

The most import slide in the slide deck I received about the ODA launch is this:


It does some pretty smart claims that can be verified easily. The three simplified statements call for some clarification. Here’s what my questions were, plus the answers I found:

Simplified provisioning / install

Q: Can we test any of this without ODA?

A: No, although I was able to get a virtual ODA in a virtual box environment. This is by no means supported and requires altering of the images that Oracle sends you. 

Q: So how do you configure this beast?

A: You install an image on the system with Oracle VM that you can download freely from My Oracle Support. This image contains oakcli which is the cli used to manage the ODA.

Q: Ah, Oracle VM. Where is the Oracle VM Manager?

A: there is none. oakcli deploys all your VM’s.

Q: ODA is 2 physical machines running OVM, where is the shared storage?

A: The only shared storage available is database shared storage, i.e. DBFS. ARGH… DBFS is already on my todo list! 

Q: So no HA features from OVM?

A: No.

Q: What about the VM’s that oakcli deploys, can I build my own templates?

A: No you cannot. Well, technically you can, but it’s not supported.

Q: what a minute, no custom templates? What about adding layered products to the VM?

A: No can’t do. Currently only WebLogic is supported.

Q: Well, if I can’t define my own templates, what about my WebLogic domain structure?

A: To my understanding that’s fixed too: one Administration Server on it’s own VM, two managed servers in one cluster (on two VM’s) and two Oracle Traffic Director (OTD) VM’s.

Q: What is the difference between that ODA-BASE VM and the other dom-u’s?

A: The ODA-BASE VM is the only one that can actually connect to the local disks directly. 

Q: So that means you should run databases preferably in the ODA-BASE VM ?

A: Yes.

investment model (a.k.a. licenses)

Q: How does this “pay-as-you-grow” thing work partition wise?

A: It is VM hard partitioning. Not Oracle trusted partition as on ExaLogic. And partitioning only works in multiples of two (2).

Q: So I pay per core, is hyper threading turned on?

A: Yes, but I didn’t find out yet what that means for your licenses….

Q: So I can scale up and down?

A: No. Oracle expects you to grow, not to scale down. You can scale down software, not licenses.

Q: What about this separate administration server?

A: License wise that should be treated as a managed server (= pay for it)

Q: And those OTD’s? Do I have to pay for them too?

A: No. OTD is included with WebLogic Enterprise Edition and WebLogic Suite.


Q: The JDK is in the middleware home, how does that work with upgrades?

A: Oracle will provide patches as needed.

Q: So how does a domain  upgrade work?

A: Currently not supported. So no maintenance version wise.

Q: An EM agent exists on every VM? Which version is that?

A: Currently there is not EM agent installed. Oracle plans to have the agent installed and support in next patch releases. This will be a 12c EM agent.

Well. That covers all my findings. Hope it helps you in your investigation of ODA.


Written by Jacco H. Landlust

April 5, 2013 at 9:34 pm

Posted in RDBMS, Weblogic

5 Responses

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  1. I like the Q&A format Jacco!

    A few minor updates:
    * If you are running ODA virtualised, as we would be for WLS, then you can actually scale down your licences (i.e. the licences used by VMs on ODA), but in practice this really means allocate them to another server (since you can’t usually remove licences from a CSI in a cost effective manner). For a physical ODA (i.e. running DB only) you can’t though.
    * You do effectively pay for OTD as you have to assign WLS licences to the cores used by the OTD VMs.
    * Hyper-threading does not come into the calculations for the required number of Oracle Processors licences, only cores.

    Finally, it’s unclear to me too which OVM templates will run on ODA and what modification non-ODA ones would need. Oracle are saying that anything certified to run on OVM will be able to run on ODA but, as you say, it might not be as simple as that.

    Simon Haslam

    April 5, 2013 at 10:06 pm

    • Thanks for your comment Simon.

      I didn’t realize that you would need to license the cores used by OTD with WLS licenses. I didn’t ask that either. mmm….

      This hyper threading thing is a mess. OVM actually sees a thread as a core, so pinning to 2 cores might actually mean you are pinning to two threads. Since a core can only do one thing at a time… you might have seen Mr. Closson’s posts about all that.

      Jacco H. Landlust

      April 5, 2013 at 10:11 pm

  2. Thanks Jacco and Simon for all the details. I would like to make a couple comments. 🙂

    1. For OTD part, yes, you will need to license WebLogic EE or Suite for using OTD in ODA environment. For example, If you set up a 2 node WebLogic cluster, you will have one VM for WebLogic Admin Server, two VMs for two managed servers; and one VM for OTD Admin server, 2 VMs for two OTD server instances. As total, you will have 6 VMs with 2vCPUs assigned on each. That means you will need to license 12 vCPUs / 2 = 6 cores of WebLogic.

    2. You can shut down OTD VMs if you don’t need to use them after provisioning. Then you will not need to license the OTD VMs. This follows Oracle 10-day rule.
    This is quite a strict rule and defined here in our licensing documentation (public):

    In the future version, Oracle will make OTD as optional during the provisioning process.

    3. For WebLogic clustering support, there are options of supporting 2 node, 4 node or 8 node cluster on ODA.

    Frances Zhao

    April 9, 2013 at 11:36 pm

    • Frances

      Thank you for your extra clarification.

      Maybe the article is a little bit negative, I truly and fully believe that the way ODA delivers middleware is the way to go for Oracle. I really think that predefined templates with automated procedures are best for most customers. Being a critic in details might be a bit Dutch 🙂

      Again, thanks for your clarification.


      Jacco H. Landlust

      April 9, 2013 at 11:44 pm

  3. […] Q: Can we test any of this without ODA? A: No, although I was able to get a virtual ODA in a virtual box environment. This is by no means supported and requires altering of the images that Oracle sends you. Read the full article here. […]

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