Cloud / DBaaS Features

As discussed in a previous post, Enterprise Manager has been released, and one of the major areas of enhancements has been around the Cloud / Database as a Service (DBaaS) functionality. In this post, I’m going to drill into that in more detail, touching on:

  1. New Rapid Start Self-Service Portal and Catalog, providing out of the box high availability options for DBaaS
  2. New and improved rapid start kits
  3. New rapid database cloning
  4. Miscellaneous enhancements

That’s a lot to cover in one blog, so let’s get started!

New Rapid Start Self-Service Portal and Catalog

DBaaS has been an exciting area over the past few years. Obviously, it’s been an area where Oracle as a company has invested, and you can see DBaaS used as a theme across the database software, our hardware platforms and of course Enterprise Manager. Enterprise Manager provides the framework to monitor and manage your private cloud, and it also provides the tools to set up and run DBaaS in your private cloud.

Since Enterprise Manager Cloud Control 12c Release 1, we have provided an out of box self-service portal along with the notion of a very simplified self-service catalog. The scope of that self-service catalog has been greatly enhanced in the release. With the support for Oracle Data Guard, either physical standbys or Active Data Guard, we now allow customers a more comprehensive self-service catalog. The different service levels have been named after different metals (Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum), each with different definitions, as shown in the table below:

Service levels

For example, Bronze can be used to provide a single instance database service whereas if you look at the other extreme (which is Platinum) that can include a Real Application Clusters (RAC) database with multiple standbys. These standbys might include a near standby in the same data center as your RAC Database and a far standby in a completely separate remote data center. All of this helps you improve the high availability and disaster recovery goals you have for that database. In EM with the added support for Data Guard, you now have the ability with just a few clicks to provision the primary and multiple standbys across different data centers. The standbys can be either single instance or a RAC configuration.

In terms of versions that are supported, the most popular database versions are supported in these DBaaS offerings, including Oracle Database,, 11.2+ and 12.1.

There have also been some user interface changes that have been made. As you can see in the screenshot below, the request wizard has been simplified, so you provide simple details like the database name. There is a checkbox to allow you to add standbys, and if so, what are the database SID’s for the standby databases.

Service Catalog

New and Improved ‘Rapid Start’ Kits

Setting up DBaaS can be a time consuming exercise. There are a number of decisions to be made which then need to be reflected in Enterprise Manager itself, so to cut down on the time taken we introduced the notion of a rapid start kit. In the first release , Rapid Start kits were largely designed for DBaaS on Exadata. In EM, the scope of the kits has been increased greatly to allow much more flexibility and customization.

For those of you from a database background, you can draw a parallel with OneCommand that’s used for configuring Exadata. Rapid Start Kit is very similar to OneCommand – it uses one XML file which captures all the details required to configure DBaaS, from creating users and roles to enabling the Self-Service Portal. The XML file is parsed through a CLI command which then automates the whole environment. So the process you would normally use is:

  1. Use OneCommand to configure Exadata
  2. Discover the Exadata target in Enterprise Manager
  3. Run the Rapid Start Kit

Within 40 seconds you can go from nothing in Enterprise Manager to a fully functional portal. Once the kit is complete, you can directly login to the Self-Service portal and start requesting databases. The kit completely automates any setup that is required to build DBaaS in Enterprise Manager. This same concept is also being extended to the middleware side, so Middleware as a Service (MWaas) on Exalogic also now supports this rapid start kit notion.

Snap Clone with More Storage Options

For those that aren’t familiar with it, Snap Clone is a feature that enables thin cloning of databases (see my earlier post here for the issues it addresses). As I mentioned in my earlier post, Snap Clone is storage agnostic – which means it can support any storage vendor – and delivered through the same Self-Service Portal and Service Catalog that we use for native DBaaS.

With Snap Clone, we have traditionally used two approaches:

  1. A hardware solution, which is vendor specific. Currently, we support the Sun ZFS Storage Appliance and NetApp. In the hardware case, Enterprise Manager can directly connect to the storage appliance to perform all the operations it needs to clone a database.
  2. A software solution, which is vendor agnostic, meaning we don’t care if the database is on NAS storage, SAN storage etc. Up until EM, this solution leveraged the Solaris ZFS File System as an abstract layer. In other words, you needed one image of Solaris and ZFS. This could either be a physical image or a virtual image (OVM, VMWare or VirtualBox). This image acted as a proxy and talked to the different storage vendors and on top of this we could provide the thin cloning capabilities.

In Enterprise Manager, another component has been added to this software solution – CloneDB. CloneDB is baked into the database so you no longer need the Solaris layer. CloneDB leverages the directNFS capabilities of the database itself, so it has minimal prerequisites and is platform agnostic. So while we still support all the functionality we had in the hardware and software solutions previously, we now have a comprehensive cloning story with the addition of CloneDB to create rapid thin clones of databases.

Miscellaneous Enhancements

Apart from the major ticket items that I’ve touched on, there were a number of key customer requests which have also been added in the release:

  • Custom naming for database services – in previous releases you could enter a prefix for your database services and we would generate a unique name based on the prefix. Now you can provide your own user defined names for the database SID, service, schemas and tablespaces.
  • ‘Create Like’ for service templates – this can be very handy when you want to create different templates of different sizes. You can now clone an existing template and just modify the few parameters you want to change.
  • Profile Viewer – once you capture a profile, you can now click on the profile to see the details such as database files that make up that profile
  • Cleanup automation – with a single EMCLI verb you can now clean up an entire pool or zone, and even delete a user including its cloud artefacts
  • Support for multiple tablespaces in Schema as a Service – now you can not only define multiple schemas but you can also define multiple tablespaces for a request

So as you can see, there are a lot of enhancements in this release in the cloud arena!


After 22 years of working at Oracle in just about every role except Marketing and Support, I am now working as a Senior Managed Services Consultant with Data Intensity, specializing in Oracle Database technology, High Availability and Disaster Recovery solutions. I am also a member of the OakTable Network, and have presented at RMOUG Training Days, Hotsos Symposia, Oracle OpenWorld conferences, and other user group events. I have co-authored the Expert Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c and Practical Oracle Database Appliance books published by Apress, and am one of the authors of the Building Database Clouds in Oracle Database 12c book published by Addison Wesley.


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