Import Logs to Logging Analytics & Preserving Log Sources

In the world of cloud computing there are often multiple ways to achieve the same or similar result. In Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI) logs are generated by the platform itself such as audit logs, OCI native services such as the Network Firewall Service, and custom logs from compute instances or your applications. These logs typically live in OCI logging where you can view them, or search them if required.

Collecting and storing logs is useful, however if you want to produce insights then you will need a way to analyse and visualise the log data. OCI Logging Analytics allows you to index, enrich, aggregate, explore, search, analyse, correlate, visualise and monitor all log data from your applications and system infrastructure.

From OCI logging there are two common ways in which logs can be ingested into Logging Analytics. The first is using a Service Connector to send logs to an Object Storage bucket, and an Object Collection Rule to then import the logs into Logging Analytics. The second option uses a Service Connector to send the logs directly to Logging Analytics. Both are valid options however require some consideration before use.

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Stack Monitoring for EBS

The Stack Monitoring service is a recent addition to the OCI Observability & Management family.

If you are running Oracle E-Business Suite (EBS) application today you will now be able to perform an auto discovery of all related resources in OCI Stack Monitoring. It will collect metrics specific for your EBS resources as well as ability to perform correlation across the EBS application and infrastructure stack as well as enable proactive alerting.

Components that will be auto discovered includes:

  • Concurrent Processing Node
  • Workflow Manager
  • WebLogic
  • Forms

Today, Stack Monitoring service supports EBS version 12.1 and 12.2 deployments hosted on OCI, On-Premise or Third Party Cloud (eg. AWS, Azure). 

In the example, I will show you how you can configure Stack Monitoring for EBS version 12.2.

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Agents for Observability & Management

To use Observability & Management (O&M) services, there is the option to deploy OCI agents depending on which service you wish to enable.

There are two types of agents that can be used.

  1. Oracle Cloud Agent (OCA) – This agent is deployed by default if you provision hosts via the OCI Compute Service. OCA has extensions and plugins which can be used to enable other features native to OCI Compute Services.
  2. Management Agent (OMA) – This agent is a standalone version where you can deploy to hosts or VMs:
    – That do not have OCA installed on OCI eg. OCI Database Services (eg. Oracle Base VM/BM, ExaCS).
    – On-Premise
    – Third Party Cloud (AWS, Azure etc..)

Please see the current O&M support we have for each agent:

OCI AgentLogging AnalyticsStack MonitoringDatabase ManagementOperations InsightsTarget
Oracle Cloud Agent (OCA)YesYes  YesOCI Compute VM / BM Host
Oracle Management Agent (OMA)YesYesYesYesOther VM Host (including on-premise and 3rd party cloud)

OMA Agent Install


In previous post, I have provided steps on how you can install the Oracle Management Agent.

OCA Agent Install

For this post, let me show you how easy it is to enable the O&M services for Oracle Cloud Agent (OCA).

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TLS Migration – A better way

HTTPS is essential as it protects the privacy of our data over the Internet. W3’s 2022 report shows nearly 80% of all websites use HTTPS as their default web protocol, up 6% on the previous year.

Getting started with HTTP/TLS is fairly straightforward. Obtain a CA signed certificate, configure it on your web servers and reverse proxy load balancers and you’re good to go. But how do you ensure your configuration stays up-to-date with current industry standards?

CyberSecurity is an arms race. As hardware and software evolves, so do the tools and techniques created to exploit them. This fierce race largely drives the innovation that we see in the industry today.

How does this relate to TLS? Since the inception of SSLv1 by Netscape in the 90’s there’s been many revisions, SSLv2, SSLv3, TLSv1.1, TLSv1.2 with the current version being TLSv1.3. TLSv1.1 was deprecated in 2021, with new versions being released approximately every 5 years. Given the rate at which exploits are discovered these release cycles will also need to keep pace.

For organisations this poses a number of interesting challenges because you can only control what TLS versions you support. Also if your website or API is public then it’s likely you have no control over the connecting client, or which TLS versions they’re able to use.

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AWR Data Warehouse Repository using Autonomous Database

In Oracle Enterprise Manager (OEM) there is the ability to host an AWR Data Warehouse which enables you consolidate all your detailed performance data of all your database and store in a central location.

This enables you to do long-term analysis trend across your AWR data to determine, performance, capacity impact on the databases in your IT estate.

In OEM 13.5, Oracle now supports the AWR Warehouse repository for Autonomous Data Warehouse.

If you don’t have the infrastructure or capacity to store AWR data on-premise, you can now send your data to the Autonomous Data Warehouse (ADW) in Oracle Cloud (OCI).

There are enormous benefits to using Autonomous Data Warehouse (ADW). One of many benefits is that you can scale up/down cpu and storage whilst the database remains online.

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Ingesting Logs into OCI Logging Analytics (via Agent Based Deployment)

Logs are often voluminous can be challenging to navigate through, but it can be a gold mine of valuable data to help administrators troubleshoot and identify issues or trends for operational activities.

To overcome the burden of manually eye-balling millions or (even billions) of rows in log records, bringing that data into OCI Logging Analytics (which is part of the Observability & Manageability Portfolio) will allow administrators to get quick insights, to reduce the time to isolate issues, minimising downtime and prevent impact to end users.

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Configure to completion a site-to-site VPN tunnel on OCI using the VPN Wizard

There is plenty of information out there about connecting from an on-premises network to OCI. But if you want to see a step-by step-procedure that configures to completion an actual VPN you will have a hard time finding it. And rather than writing about it, this time I will actually show it.

OCI VPN Wizard

This link will take you to the list of OCI’s verified CPE (Customer Premises Equipment) devices. If your On-Premises CPE is in this list then the VPN configuration should be very easy. In my case, the router I used is not in the list. It is a SOHO (Small Office-Home Office) type of router. For this configuration the on-premises network is my Home-Office LAN. For routers not on the list, there is an option called “other”. OCI offers a lists of supported configuration parameters for VPN connections that you can use for “other” types of routers. Here is the link to these parameter. And I explain them in the video. I hope that you find it useful:

https://tinyurl.com/OCI2HomeVPN

Enhance the security of your website with Oracle Cloud Infrastructure’s Web Application Firewall

Oracle recently introduced a Web Application Firewall (WAF) to further enhance and secure Oracle Cloud Infrastructure offerings. The Oracle Cloud Infrastructure WAF is based on Oracle Zenedge and Oracle Dyn technologies. It inspects all traffic destined to your web application origin and identifies and blocks all malicious traffic. The WAF offers the following tools, which can be used on any website, regardless of where it is being hosted:

  • Origin management
  • Bot management
  • Access control
  • Over 250 robust protection rules that include the OWASP rulesets to protect against SQL injection, cross-site scripting, HTML injection, and more

In this post, I configure a set of access control WAF policies to a website. Access control defines explicit actions for requests that meet conditions based on URI, request headers, client IP address, or countries and regions.

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Using Public/Private Key Authentication for Oracle IDCS

In a recent blog post, I added a throwaway reference to the use of signed assertions as a better mechanism for interacting with the Oracle Identity Cloud Service REST APIs than the use of Client id/secret, though qualified it with ‘if you want to handle the additional complexity in your consuming client’.  Reflecting upon this, I thought that perhaps it was worth trying to explain this ‘additional complexity’, since the use of signed assertions have a number of benefits; primarily that it does not require an exchange of sensitive information, as the private keys used to sign the assertion never need to leave the machine on which they are generated. In this blog post, I will delve deeper into what is required to leverage this authentication mechanism, for both clients and users.

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Autonomous Digital Assistant to Human Agent seamless Handoff

In earlier articles, I discussed Autonomous Digital Assistantprovisioning a Digital Assistant, building skills and making it multi-lingual. In this post, I would like to take the discussion forward to address certain scenarios where there is a need for Human Intervention when the Bot cannot handle the conversation and instead redirect the chat to a human agent.

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