Introduction Introduction to Oracle Exadata Best Practices for Exadata Deployment and Management

YouTube video

Overview of Exadata’s Powerful Features and Benefits

In this article, we will provide an overview of the processes, management tools, automation, and security features that make Oracle Exadata a powerful and efficient choice for data center deployments. Exadata is designed to reduce risk to businesses, improve operational efficiency, and provide a secure environment for data management. By following Exadata best practices, businesses can ensure a smooth deployment and maximize the benefits of this advanced hardware and software solution.

Understanding Exadata’s Operational Best Practices

To fully leverage the capabilities of Exadata, it is important to implement operational best practices. In this section, we will explore different ways to secure and monitor Exadata, check its health, and optimize database performance. We will also discuss methods for patching Exadata and provide a list of resources to help businesses implement these best practices.

Automation and Simplification of Administrative Tasks

Exadata automates and simplifies many administrative tasks, saving time for both database and system administrators. When delivered to the customer, Exadata comes fully pre-installed, pre-configured, pre-tuned, and pre-debugged. The entire technology stack, including the operating system, network infrastructure, grid infrastructure, and database, is already installed and configured. This means that the database instance is already running and ready to load application data, reducing the time and effort required for setup and configuration.

Exadata’s Validation Tools and Compliance Requirements

Exadata comes with a range of tools that validate the system against best practices and compliance requirements. These tools run at regular intervals to ensure that the system remains secure and compliant. Oracle also provides a dedicated support team, known as the Oracle Platinum Support team, which offers 24/7 monitoring for the entire Exadata stack. This support ensures that any issues or risks are addressed promptly, minimizing downtime and maximizing the performance and reliability of Exadata.

Enhanced Security Features of Exadata

One of the key advantages of Exadata is its superior security features. It is widely adopted by various industries, such as telecommunications, banking, retail, credit card companies, and insurance companies, due to its excellent performance and robust security offerings. Exadata is FIPS 142 and PCI DSS compliant, meeting the security requirements specified by these standards. These compliance requirements ensure that Exadata is suitable for a wide range of applications and environments.

File and Directory Integrity Checking with Advanced Intrusion Detection Environment

Exadata includes an advanced intrusion detection environment that performs file and directory integrity checking. This important security feature ensures that critical files are not altered or modified without detection. Additionally, Exadata employs secure boot technology, which verifies the integrity of the firmware and prevents malware from hiding embedded code in the boot chain. The Oracle Enterprise Linux distribution used in Exadata is also stripped down to the bare minimum, eliminating any security-compromising RPMs and libraries.

Secure Erase and Live Kernel Patching

Exadata provides a secure array solution that allows for the secure erasure of all data on both database and storage servers. This feature ensures that sensitive data is completely sanitized before the system is decommissioned or repurposed. Exadata also includes Ksplice, which enables live kernel patching, allowing urgent runtime security vulnerabilities or stability bugs to be addressed without rebooting the operating system.

Patching the Entire Exadata Stack

Regular patching is crucial to keeping the Exadata stack up to date and secure. Oracle makes it easy for users to stay updated by providing four free patching cycles per year via Oracle Platinum Support. In addition to these free updates, Oracle offers other methods of patching Exadata, providing flexibility and convenience. Following best practices by keeping the entire stack patched to the latest updates helps ensure the security and stability of Exadata deployments.

Best Practices for Database Server Hardening

In addition to securing the Exadata system, it is important to implement best practices for database server hardening. These practices include disabling direct login of privileged users on database nodes, enabling root login only during patching and upgrade events, and using tools like sudo or pbrun for performing privileged user tasks on the database nodes. It is also possible to implement state or SCAP standards across the database nodes to further enhance security.

Transparent Data Encryption and Database World

Oracle Exadata offers robust security controls for protecting sensitive data within the database. Transparent Data Encryption (TDE) is a widely-used method for encrypting data at rest in Oracle databases. TDE ensures that data remains encrypted within the database and prevents unauthorized access from the operating system level. Additionally, Oracle Database Vault provides powerful security controls to enforce separation of duties between database administrators and data owners, ensuring compliance with privacy and regulatory requirements.

Monitoring Exadata with ASR, OEM, and Other Tools

To effectively monitor and manage Exadata, Oracle provides several tools and features. Auto Service Request (ASR) is a call-home feature that enables proactive monitoring of Exadata for hardware faults. ASR automatically logs service requests with Oracle when predefined hardware failures occur, enabling quick resolution and minimizing downtime. Oracle Enterprise Manager (OEM) is another powerful tool for monitoring and managing Exadata. OEM provides a unified view of the entire Exadata stack and offers features such as patching, provisioning, and compliance management.

Support and Maintenance with Oracle Platinum Support

Oracle Platinum Support is the optional 24/7 support service offered by Oracle for Exadata deployments. This support includes monitoring of Exadata environments for faults in hardware, database, operating system, and network components. The Platinum Support team ensures rapid fault notification and resolution, minimizing downtime and ensuring the smooth operation of Exadata deployments. This support comes at no extra cost to customers, providing added value and peace of mind.

Exadata Health Checks and Performance Analysis

To ensure optimal performance and reliability, it is important to regularly check the health of Exadata and analyze its performance. Oracle provides two powerful tools, Exachk and TFA, for this purpose. Exachk performs comprehensive health checks on the entire Exadata system and database, while TFA collects diagnostic information for support. These tools are now incorporated into the Autonomous Health Framework, simplifying their deployment and maintenance. Upgrading to the latest version of the Autonomous Health Framework is recommended to take advantage of the latest features and improvements.

Conclusion: Maximizing the Potential of Oracle Exadata

By following the best practices outlined in this article, businesses can maximize the potential of Oracle Exadata. From initial deployment and system security to ongoing monitoring and performance optimization, Exadata offers a comprehensive solution for data center management. With Oracle Platinum Support and a range of powerful tools such as ASR and OEM, businesses can ensure the smooth operation and reliability of Exadata deployments. By leveraging the advanced features and benefits of Exadata, businesses can reduce risk, streamline operations, and achieve operational excellence in their data centers.