Tips and Tricks for Oracle Container Cloud Service (OCCS)

Some days ago I posted a longer getting started with OCCS webcast which should serve as a good introduction if you are new to OCCS. Also I posted about using OCCS with Grafana on Docker for network latency measurements.

In this article I will provide a number of tips and tricks I discovered while exploring  OCCS.

Keep in mind that OCCS is the newest addition in the Oracle Cloud portfolio. Everything I tried was stable so far. Note that this article – like all my other articles actually – reflect my opinion . Maybe some of the items below will help you to get your containers running easier!

This list is not complete yet and I will extend it as I discover new things around OCCS. Drop me a comment below if there is anything you want to be added here. I am curious about your own experiences.

OCCS Tips and Tricks

  • Do you have trouble logging into Oracle Cloud? I recommend to have a look at my other posting and check here.
  • The provisioning of the service (i.e. the underlying machine) seems to depend on the instance size. Small instances are provisioned in the range of several minutes. However in the Europe 2 data center I waited between 2h and 3h until the service was provisioned on a OC3 instance. Let me know if your experience is different e.g. the provisioning is faster in the US.
  • Starting up a container is much quicker than provisioning the underlying service.
  • The container console itself is surprisingly well hidden. It had to look into the tutorial to find it :-(. You can find it here:
  • If you want to start an OCCS container with a docker image that is started with a -d flag from the command-line, don’t worry. OCCS runs all containers as daemons, so you don’t have to provide this flag.
  • If something went wrong and you look for log output of your container, then check under
    Container / Name / View Logs.
  • Sometimes you will experience that containers are “flapping”. This means they are started but run into an error. Then they are started again, etc. Check the logs to find out what is happening and stop the container.– this posting will be continued once I discover more tips and tricks for OCCS.
  • If you run the classic example
    docker run hello-world

    the container will be restarted once it is finished, so technically it will be flapping. It is quite likely that OCCS will support a flag in the future to run special containers only once. Note that this is not the typical enterprise use case anyway but more more a first step of what devops try on the command-line.

  • You can use SSH to connect to the OCCS manager nodes, however you cannot connect to the worker nodes as of now. The manager node is running a very restricted VM environment with some essential tools like vi, cat, rm, cp etc. only. To connect to the master node use the private key that was generated when you set up the service and the following syntax:
    ssh -i privateKey opc@PUBLIC_IP
  • It would obviously be interesting if OCCS would offer services out of the box for the Oracle supported Docker images from https://github.com/oracle/docker-images.
  • The Container Console is using a self signed root certificate and therefore creating a browser warning. This is nothing severe but Oracle should document a way to install your own X.509 certs to avoid the warning.
  • From 10,000 feet OCCS might look vaguely similar to Kubernetes, but OCCS is not based on Kubernetes. Actually Kubernetes is more complex to set up and to operate. OCCS’ goal is “to provide an easy and powerful way for enterprises to run their containers on our service”.

At the end, your goal should be to be able to run your own Docker image on OCCS. Give it a try!

It’s a wrap: Oracle and Cloudera Big Data Training – On Premise and Cloud

Wow – We have done it! Weeks of preparation, reading, trying out tools, and hacking went into the preparation of this training course. Even during the OTN APAC tour I took some days off and worked from my Bangkok home office to prepare for the DOAG trainings day.

At the end it was totally worth it. I had 21 top notch DBAs and developers on the attendee list, also some 10 students attended. DOAG is running a good student program. For helping out a little bit students are allowed to attend sessions and the DOAG training day. Quite often I get a lot of them. 2 years ago I was running a full day multi-cloud training and every single student including their professor decided to attend my session – although they had the choice amongst 6 different trainings. Anyway, nice to be popular with the young people. Next time I will come in sneakers and wear that Cloudera T-Shirt. Also it became a bit of a challenge for Oracle to attract students. So I am glad to help 🙂

Fabulous news was that Edelweiss took over the Oracle part, so I was lucky to talk about what I love – the open source and Cloudera part.

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Edelweiss did her session via Skype. I was a bit sceptical and expecting technical problems because of the network latency but it went swimmingly. The conference room had good speakers, so I could play some music in the break and Edelweiss almost seemed to be present in the room but kind of invisible.

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Well now you know it. This is what is cool.

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A really great surprise was that everyone enjoyed the idea of working with VirtualBox and accepted labs that I prepared. Most people took them home to further play with the Big Data Lite instance.

At the end we covered a whole lot of content in a long day:

From Open Source / Cloudera Stack 

From Oracle Big Data Products

Oracle Big Data ApplianceOBIEEOracle Data Integrator (ODI)Oracle Big Data Discovery

A distributed system is the one that prevents you from working because of the failure of a machine that you had never heard of

This quote is part of my tech quote explained series from Java One / Open World 2016. Actually it is the special edition for the OTN appreciation day 🙂

Leslie’s Quote that I heard at Java One 2016:

“A distributed system is one that prevents you from working
because of the failure of a machine that you had never heard of.”

Leslie Lamport

Explanation:

The following explanation is mine, not Leslie Lamport’s. Besides, yes, Leslie is the guy who is known for LaTex and his work on the Paxos algorithm.

There are many rather theoretical publications about distributed systems, but Leslie’s definition nails it. Distributed systems produce all kind of surprises! They are never boring. Latency issues or network failures may trigger timeouts or split brain conditions. System failures, availability zone outages or the complete failure of a data center region challenge your availability concept. If everything goes terribly, terribly wrong, you better have a good contingency plan within close reach.

Nowadays we offload some of these challenges to modern cloud architectures. On a PaaS or SaaS level you simply stop worrying about it, because somebody else solves the problem for you. On a IaaS level things are obviously more interesting. The popular circuit breaker pattern – the one that is now mentioned in seemingly every blog or presentation (I also wrote about it in my cloud book ) – goes back to the Netflix Cloud OSS and the research done in over 50 open source projects.

Antifragility means that you grow by doing the things that stress you. Like you when you grow your biceps when going to the gym. Modern cloud architectures run an armada of chaos monkeys, chaos gorillas and latency monkey that simulate system or data center failures in production environments and inject random latencies in networks. Due to this developers are challenged to write resilient code and architects architect for constant failure. The kind of failures Leslie mentioned in his quote.

Don’t miss the other quotes of this series, e.g. regarding app servers vs. monoliths, and about SaaS and Cloud APIs.

APIs, and Clouds: Please Explain the Joke!

Some people have asked what the sentence on my laptop sticker means. I was gifting some of these stickers at the OTN Tour Latam 2016. Maybe it is a bit of a academic / nerdy joke. So let me explain.

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The Posh (and boring)

Once upon a time there were people rich in money but poor in humor driving around in their second cars (typically a small Mercedes, a small BMW or a small Audi) with a sticker on it saying that their first car is a huge Mercedes, Porsche or Bentley. Let’s not waste too much time talking about these people here.

Australia

The cooll stuff as often started in Down Under. Some people with a lifestyle instead of a job came up with a cool car sticker, that basically said it is much nicer to have a small boat and go to the sea for diving than wasting money on a second car. E.g. see here for a rather fun version.

Google

Then (to the best of my knowledge) Google made fun out of it, riding the cloud computing wave with a sticker that said “My other Computer is a Data Center“. Meaning that if you use the cloud you can have a whole data center.

Cloud Computing and APIs

Let’s get a bit more specific: What I pointed out half decade ago (yes, that time when everybody was just laughing about that topic) in my Cloud Computing book is the following: The true beauty of cloud computing is not that you access a compute instance in somebody else’s data center – this is what you could simply get by outsourcing. Guys, it’s more that your whole data center is software. Your whole data center is an API!

With cloud computing the difference of placing a cloud instance in Sydney or Frankfurt is just one single parameter in an API call – that comes at no extra cost. Same for placing it in datacenter 1 in Frankfurt or datacenter 2. So you get geo-redundancy for free! Now go and try this at home.

Also there is no difference in using 100 instances for 1h or using 1 instance for 100h. So you have a massively parallel, distributed supercomputer at your fingertips for a few pennies. Try this in your DC.

I guess now you get an idea what sticker means and why it says API. At the end it is all about APIs. And we haven’t even started to talk about the possibilities of PaaS, SaaS, HaaS, or API Management 🙂 Btw, sometimes I think most marketing people do a really bad job causing FUD instead of promoting tech.

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Let me know if you spot more of these stickers out there and send me pics :-)!

Interview: The (Emerging) Role of the Cloud Architect

I did an interview in San Francisco hosted by Bob Rhubart with some well known folks of the industry including Sten Vesterli, Ronald Luttikhuizn, Simon Haslam, Arturo Viveros, and Ron Batra about the role of the cloud architect.

IMHO we won’t see many people with the job title Cloud Architect on their business card. It’s increasingly important and disruptive tech, every architect, team leader and CIO has to deal with it, however it’s tech that you as a professional have to understand. The cloud changes a lot if you do it right, read my article about cloud benefits.

Enjoy listening to the interview.bob