Oracle Enterprise Manager Review

The Lifecycle Management Pack has allowed the organization to have an almost real-time view of security and compliance across every single database within the estate.


Valuable Features

Over and above the monitoring, alerting and incident framework, all of which are excellent, I would say the Lifecycle Management Pack is of most value to us.

Improvements to My Organization

For a particular client, they had a large database estate with over 750 databases and it wasn't actually possible to measure their compliance position against their own security standard at any given time. They had a view of a few systems, but the collection and aggregation of data was manual intensive and time consuming.

The Lifecycle Management Pack for Enterprise Manager has allowed the organization to have an almost real-time view of security and compliance across every single database within the estate. This was also based on their own internal security standard which has been created in Oracle Enterprise Manager via pre-packaged and customized compliance rules.

Room for Improvement

I think with the documentation there could be improvements. Although the core database compliance functionality is well documented some of the other areas of compliance aren't for example the Real Time monitoring rules. Also, further information on how compliance rule data is collected from repository to agent would be helpful and would assist when digging into the Oracle Enterprise Manager repository for building BI reports using BI Publisher.

Use of Solution

I've been using it for four years.

Deployment Issues

Understanding how to build custom compliance rules was probably the area which took most time but that was still relatively simple. Also, while using the product this area was refined in 12.1.0.4 release with Agent Side rules, we started using this feature in 12.1.0.3 with Repository Side rules.

Stability Issues

We have had no issues with the stability.

Scalability Issues

There have been no issues scaling it.

Customer Service and Technical Support

Customer Service:

Technical Support:

On the whole, technical support was good. Some of the very niche questions I had regarding some of the internal workings and collection of data took a little while longer to get answers for, but, to be fair, I always managed to find an answer to those queries.

Previous Solutions

For managing estate-wide security compliance, the only previous option was a scripted solution which was costly and not scaleable.

Initial Setup

Deployment of Oracle Enterprise Manager is straightforward as the documentation is good and the issues in deployment are rare. The challenge comes in ensuring that you configure all the relevant aspects of Enterprise Manager prior to rolling out agents and using the product in anger. This isn't necessarily an issue with the product, but rather the mindset of how sometimes it's deployed. I've assisted in a number of projects which was to retrospectively fix Oracle Enterprise Manager deployments.

Implementation Team

Having assisted on many Oracle Enterprise Managers implementations and seen the common mistakes, I wrote an article about it for the Oracle Scene Magazine Issue 57 (http://tinyurl.com/hxe4q9n). In summary, it's about planning what you want Oracle Enterprise Manager to do in helping you manage your IT estate and then undertaking the necessary configuration. Too often, people put little thought or effort into understanding what the product can do and just start rolling out management agents and then undertake a period of protracted reconfiguration.

ROI

Don't underestimate the time you invest in deploying and managing Oracle within your wider IT estate. The Lifecycle Management Pack needs to be seen as an essential purchase with Diagnostics and Tuning Packs. You may be able to create some 'home brew' solutions for software deployment, compliance and configuration management, but it will be light years behind what the LCMP can do and it's something that will continually be developed and improved.

Other Advice

Oracle Enterprise Manager is an Enterprise Management tool and should be treated as such. It's not a glorified DB console. Companies should look to configure it in a way which takes away all the low-level, least value-add activities that DBAs have to do on a day-to-,day basis. As an organization look at the value the product could bring and deploy it as you would any other software asset.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: We implement Oracle products for our clients.
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