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How to Simulate an Exalogic Machine for Training

February 13, 2012 Leave a comment Go to comments

In the new “Cloud Computing” era, Oracle is leading it’s private cloud offering with the new complete hardware and software platform for Enterprise applications, Oracle Exalogic. However, even within Oracle it can be quite difficult to gain access to an Exalogic machine, and getting to know the system just by reading the documentation is a daunting task. So this post will walk you through the steps of setting up a simulated Exalogic machine, in a virtual environment, that you can use for training purposes.

After completing these steps, you will have an environment where you will be able to make the same storage, network, operating system and software configurations as on the actual Exalogic machine. Of course, this will not be suitable for production, nor will any benchmarks have any relevance. It’s just something that you can use to get yourself familiarized with the machine. If you are new to the Exalogic machine, I suggest going over the Oracle Exalogic White Paper before continuing with the steps.

So, in order to build the system, you will need:

1. Oracle Virtual Box. Download it from here and install on your system if not already installed.

2. Sun Storage Simulator. This is a pre-built virtual machine simulating the actual Sun ZFS Storage Appliance that comes with the Exalogic Machine. It can be downloaded from here.

3. The Oracle Enterprise Linux image that is applied on every compute node in the Exalogic machine. You can get it from edelivery.oracle.com by searching for to “Oracle Fusion Middleware” – “Linux x86_64”, then click on “Oracle Exalogic Elastic Cloud Software 11g Media Pack” and download the two archives with “Base Image for Exalogic Linux x86-64” in the title. Also, you can choose to download the Solaris images from the same location.

4. Specific network Configurator for Exalogic. From the same link as in step 3 download “Oracle Exalogic 2.0.0.0.0 Configuration Utility for Exalogic Linux x86-64 and Exalogic Solaris x86-64 (64-bit)”

5. You can also download the Weblogic Server software and Coherence software from the same link on eDelivery.

Once you have downloaded the above tools, you can start building the “machine”, block-by-block:

Step 1: Installing Virtual Box

Run VirtualBox installation program and follow the instructions in the installation wizard.

Step2: Import the Sun Storage VBox

From the Oracle VM VirtualBox Manager click “File -> Import Appliance…” and go through the Import Appliance wizard choosing “Sun ZFS Storage 7000.ovf” file from the downloaded Storage Simulator. After the import, the appliance should show up in your VBox Manager:

Select the newly imported VM and click “Start”. After booting, configure the basics:

Host Name: Any name you want.
DNS Domain: “localdomain”
Default Router: The same as the IP address, but put 1 as the final octet.
DNS Server: The same as the IP address, but put 1 as the final octet.
Password: Whatever you want.

You can now access the appliance interface with a browser, accessing https://:215 , usually https://192.168.56.101:215 and login with” root” and the password provided above. After accepting a few default settings, you will see an overview screen of the appliance, just as you would see on an actual Exalogic machine:

Step 3: Creating a virtual machine for the first Compute Node

Usually a quarter rack Exalogic machine has 8 compute nodes, but for demonstration purposes it is enough to build only 2 computes nodes which will be used to cluster the Middleware components. To build a simulated compute node, we will first create a virtual box and then apply the Base Image for Exalogic Linux x86_64 on it, just like installing any Oracle Enterprise Linux.

To create the Compute Node VBox, go to the Oracle VM VirtualBox Manager and click “New”. Follow the instructions in the wizard by choosing a Linux – Oracle (64 bit) operating system, whatever name you want for the virtual machine (for example CN01) and choosing the memory resources you would like to allocate to this machine. This will hardly match the 96Gb of RAM on a real Exalogic compute node, but it will serve demonstration purposes just fine.

Step 4: Applying the Exalogic Linux x86_64 image on the simulated Compute Node

Make sure that both downloaded archives are in the same folder and then execute the runMe.sh script to merge the archives in a single file. You should obtain a “el_x2-2_baseimage_linux_1.0.0.2.0_64.iso” image file.

If on Windows, you can merge the two files by running:

copy /B el_x2-2_baseimage_linux_2.0.0.0.0_6 4.iso.part0+el_x2-2_baseimage_linux_2.0.0.0.0_64.iso.part1 el_x2-2_baseimage_lin ux_2.0.0.0.0_64.iso

el_x2-2_baseimage_linux_2.0.0.0.0_64.iso.part0

el_x2-2_baseimage_linux_2.0.0.0.0_64.iso.part1

1 file(s) copied.

Go back to the Oracle VM VirtualBox Manager and select the newly created CN01 VBox, then click on Settings. Go to “Storage” and click on “Add CD/DVD Device”. In the popup, select “Choose Disk” and navigate to the base image iso file above. You should then see the image in the IDE Controller list:

Next, navigate to “System” in the left menu and make sure that the CD/DVD-ROM is selected in the Boot Order list and is the first bootable media in the list.

Next, start up the Virtual Machine and follow the Linux OS installation process. If instead of the below screen you get a “Your CPU does not support long mode. Use a 32bit distribution” message, then you need to enable VT-x support in BIOS, depending on your host machine.

Once you install the operating system on the first compute node, you use the Oracle VirtualBox manager clone facility to create a similar virtual machine (CN02).

Step 5: Use Exalogic_one-command to configure the network interfaces and IP addresses of the storage appliance and compute nodes

After unzipping the “Oracle Exalogic 2.0.0.0.0 Configuration Utility for Exalogic” archive, you will get a series of scripts, a spreadsheet called “el_configurator.ods” and, most importantly a readme.txt file. Follow the instructions in the readme to use the spreadsheet. If not sure how to fill the IP addresses in the spreadsheet, I suggest taking a look at the Exalogic Enterprise Deployment Guide at the default Network settings. Basically, you will have to assign IP addresses to your storage and compute nodes on three interfaces:

NET0 – Management interface /ILOM

BOND0 – simulating the Private Infiniband, for traffic between the compute nodes and the storage heads (ib0 and ib1)

BOND1 – Ethernet over InfiniBand (EoIB), for Ethernet traffic, on eth interfaces.

Once you have a correct filled spreadsheet run the scripts on a master compute node (usually the first, but can be any) to configure the network “within” your Exalogic simulated machine.

All done, all that is left to do now is to consult the Enterprise Deployment Guide on how to configure the storage project and shares, install the Weblogic server and configure a domain etc.Of course, the specific optimizations for Exalogic will not be applied in this training Weblogic domain.

A good idea is to use the Oracle VM VirtualBox Manager to export this setup to a backup by going to File -> Export Appliance.. and choosing the three VBoxes you’ve just created. You will then be able to port the entire Exalogic simulated machine or restore it easily.

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  1. April 22, 2012 at 4:05 pm

    Hi,

    Thanks for this interesting article, it was very helpful. As I’m actually preparing the Exalogic certification, I followed the instruction to build up my small simulation environment.

    MSA

    • radudobrinescu
      April 23, 2012 at 6:51 am

      Hi,

      I’m glad you found it useful. Good luck with your certification exam!

  2. June 5, 2012 at 11:55 am

    Hi,

    Found your article very informative. I’m a WebLogic administrator and would like to prepare for Exalogic certification. Have a few questions and it would help me if could reply:
    (i) Do you think it will be feasible to pursue Exalogic with my WebLogic background?
    (ii) Is the above simulation possible on a WinXP machine?

  3. June 6, 2012 at 9:01 am

    Hi,

    Thanks for your comment. To answer your questions:
    (i) I think it depends a lot on the line of work you are currently doing or would like to pursue, but on the overall, I would say yes. Oracle is pushing Exalogic and Exadata quite hard these days so probably these skills will become more valued as Exalogic will grow on the market. Also, I think the Weblogic optimizations for Exalogic are quite interesting from the Weblogic administration point of view.
    (ii) I believe you need a 64bit host OS. Basically, as long as you can get a 64bit OEL guest VM installed in VirtualBox, it should work.

  4. Mark
    July 3, 2012 at 1:08 pm

    Hi,

    For Step 4, is there a document that contains the root and/or oracle passwords once the Compute Node has been installed?

    • Mark
      July 3, 2012 at 3:03 pm

      Never mind, I found it. Thank you for this great article!

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