Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Peoplesoft and virtualization templates

In a previous article of mine about Peopletools 8.53 RVP, I was asking about PSOVM continuity.
I think I overlooked an important document, I named the Prerelease notes (last update 6-OCT-2012).

Oracle's PeopleSoft PeopleTools 8.53 Prerelease Notes [ID 1494929.1]

1) Out there, we can read an entire chapter dedicated to PSOVM. However, a surprising statement is also there.
page 15 : "PeopleSoft will release production class templates for use on Exalogic-based machines and non-Exalogic-x86 machines"
Production use ? Really ?
Whether I'm really a fan of PSOVM for learning, study, demo and maybe for small development and test environment like for upgrade, I'd be rather skeptical about implementing it for production use.
What about all the given parameters settings ? Is it well tuned ? We also can spend a lot of time by adjusting all of these.
What about the environment settings ? It could be rather annoying to be stucked on something we did not set on our side, especially for production use where shops may have their own constraints, secure environments, audit security and so forth.
What about the size of the database ? Not sure how big organization will fit in such environment.
What about reporting, application and process scheduler size ?
...
Well, there's also the sentence "Dynamic scaling is incorporated into the template design, where middletier components can be added or removed quickly in an environment to provide elasticity to the system", also not sure how far will the elasticity look like.

Many questions can be asked by this one small statement. Do Oracle people want to "impose" their normalization ?

2) Speaking about Peoplesoft templates, something else page 43 of the same document is about Update Manager : "Making it quick and easy to download a current PeopleSoft Update Image with the VirtualBox technology"
You know, that coming new tool to apply only some desired patches without the need to apply all the prerequisites.
It will work through Peoplesoft templates for VirtualBox. Not that VirtualBox is a bad tool, not at all – it works perfectly fine, but build a production solution on it ? Because, yes, it would be part of production solution. Indeed, it will be used for patching, and in the end, production patching. Not for a play game.
Having a production on OVM is a different story - bare-metal VM - rather strong solution, but on VirtualBox which has to be installed on top of an OS ?
So, first have to find a server to install VirtualBox on, robust enough to host most likely 2 Peoplesoft templates (1 database server, 1 app/pia/batch server) to have good response time and performance wise. This has not to be installed on a personal computer or a laptop, this should be a proper and strong solution. It means on a dedicated server as part of the production infrastructure.
And again, we, as customer, have to work within the given Oracle environment with their own standard, policies...

So, first PSOVMs on a dedicated server (because of being a bare-metal virtualization software), then templates for VirtualBox on dedicated server as well (do not being disturb by some other tool or utilities), it will really become a nightmare to manage version between all these delivered environments.
Well, we could imagine a solution to build a server hosting OVM for the PSOVMs, and have an additional virtual machine with its own OS hosting itself VirtualBox to deploy the templates for Update Manager.
Of course, it will require a big server (strong CPUs, lots of RAM and disk spaces), and also a 2 layers of virtualization. But since Oracle is already suggesting it in the other way around (please see here), then what's really wrong ? Even though we don't share that point of view...

Virtualization is good, but is too much virtualization necessarily good as well ?
I feel like Oracle wants to take more and more control of what happens and how customers should work. Why do not directly say : "give us your environment in our cloud, we'll do all for you".

Don't take me wrong, I'm not against the changes, but adding layers and layers of tools in Peoplesoft architecture won't make it clearer and easier to manage as well as to come in.

So far on a Peoplesoft project, we have a system administrator, a database administrator, a Peoplesoft administrator, a sometimes web administrator. Right now if it really goes that way, we certainly have the need of one more resource, a virtualization software administrator. Ok, most likely some tasks can be done by one administrator. But still, we have certainly some additional cost of infrastructure.

I’d be keen to know how many shops will implement these solutions.

Nicolas.

2 comments:

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Unknown said...

Now that some time has passed since the availability of the the virtual system templates that allege to deploy a production level system, I would really like to hear from anyone with experience with these deployments - production or otherwise.

Is there any experience to be shared?