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Using virt-install/KVM and kickstart to create lots of identical VMs quickly

In preparation for an upcoming talk about Oracle 12.2 I am planning on getting my feet wet with the Oracle 12.2 Sharding option. It seems to be a very interesting subject to get into, but like all new subjects, they can be intimidating at first due to their complexity. So why not use the instructions someone has already written down?

Oracle has a nice series of articles about Sharding. I found the Sharding landing page in the Maximum Availability Architecture section on OTN. For the purpose of this blog post I’m intending to follow the “Oracle Sharded Database Deployment with Active Data Guard using CREATE SHARD method for On-Premises – Cookbook”, available from the aforementioned landing page.

New Events for Data Guard and Synchronous Redo Transport in 12c (2)

After the baseline has been established in the first part of this series it’s time to measure the effect of the network in this part. The second test will introduce an interesting feature: Using Linux’s own Traffic Shaper/Quality of Services module I will add a delay of 100ms to the Data Guard network interface card (NIC) to slow things down a little.

WARNING: this is of course a lab or VM-only situation. I can’t exert control over wire quality in my (own) switches, hence some software magic is needed on my virtual ones. This post is intended to be merely for educational purposes, not for use at work.

I am continuing to use the 2 node RAC primary database on Oracle Linux 7 with UEK 4 and an identical RAC to host my standby database.

New Events for Data Guard and Synchronous Redo Transport in 12c (1)

I may have said it before but I consider presenting and teaching a great way to expand one’s knowledge: first of all it requires me to really understand a subject. Secondly, when presenting, you get lots of interesting questions that can turn into blog posts like this one.

Lately I have been asked about the impact of synchronous log shipping to a physical standby database. I was sure there was an effect to be observed, depending most likely on the network latency between systems but I didn’t have any evidence I could pull out of the hat to back up my thoughts. So what better than trying! I also read that some of the events have changed in 12c, and wanted to make them visible. My environment is based on the 2 node RAC primary/2 node RAC standby configuration I wrote about in my previous posts.

Since their initial setup I upgraded the cluster to for Clusterware and RDBMS.

Creating a RAC 12.1 Data Guard Physical Standby environment (4)

In the previous three parts of this series a lot of preparation work, needed for the configuration of Data Guard, was performed. In this part of the mini-series they all come to fruition. Using the Data Guard broker a switchover operation will be performed. A couple of new features in 12c make this easier. According to the “Changes in This Release for Oracle Data Guard Concepts and Administration” chapter of the 12.1 Data Guard Concepts and Administration guide:

When [you, ed.] perform a switchover from an Oracle RAC primary database to a physical standby database, it is no longer necessary to shut down all but one primary database instance.

I have always wanted to test that in a quiet moment…

Creating a RAC 12.1 Data Guard Physical Standby environment (3)

In the previous two parts of this series you read about my lab environment and the preparations on the network side as well as the database. In this part I’ll cover the database duplication. Again, this won’t be a short post …

NOTE: As always, this is just a demonstration using VMs in my lab, based on my notes. Your system is most likely different, so in real-life you might take a different approach. The techniques I am using here were suitable for me, and my own small scale testing. I tried to make sure they are valid, but you may want to allocate more resources in your environment. Test, test, test on your own environment on test kit first!

Step 1: Create an initialisation file

The next step is the preparation of an initialisation file. I am taking NCDBA as the sample and transfer it over to rac12sec1:

Little things worth knowing: when a transient ASM disk failure cannot be fixed in time

In the previous blog post I used libvirt and KVM in my lab environment to simulate a transient disk failure and how to recover from it. This post takes this example a step further: I am simulating another disk failure, but this time won’t pretend I can fix the issue and put it back. In other words, I simulate the effect of the disk_repair_time hitting zero.

Most of what I am covering here is an extension of the previous post, I’ll mention the main detail here for your benefit, but would like to invite you to revert to the previous post for more detail.

The idea is to show you the output of the ASM alert.log and result of the lost disk in the V$-views.

As with the previous post, the code examples in this one are for demonstration purposes only!

Little things worth knowing: transient ASM disk failures in 12c

For quite some time we have been treated nicely by ASM when it comes to transient disk failures. Since 11.1 (if memory serves me right), transient failures won’t cause an ASM disk to be dropped immediately. This is good, because it can potentially save a lot of time! When a disk is dropped from an ASM disk, a rebalance operation is unavoidable. And there is more than a chance of another one following it, because ultimately you want to add the disk back to the disk group. Well, to be fair, this is only applicable for normal or high redundancy disk groups.

The feature I just described very briefly is referred to as ASM Fast Mirror Resync, and documented in the ASM Administrator’s Guide in section Administering Oracle ASM Disk Groups.

Installing Oracle RAC on Oracle Linux 7-part 2

In the first part of the article series you could read how a kickstart file made the installation of Oracle Linux 7 a lot more bearable. In this part of the series it’s all about configuring the operating system. The installation of Grid Infrastructure and the Oracle database is for another set of posts.

There are quite some differences between Oracle Linux 6 and 7

Upgrading clustered Grid Infrastructure to from

Oracle is out, after lots of announcements the product has finally been released. I had just extended my cluster to 3 nodes and was about to apply the July PSU when I saw the news. So why not try and upgrade to the brand new thing?

What struck me at first was the list of new features … Oracle’s patching strategy has really changed over time. I remember the days when Oracle didn’t usually add additional features into point releases. Have a look at the new features and that would possibly qualify to be 12c Release 2…

In summary the upgrade process is actually remarkably simple, and hasn’t changed much since earlier versions of the software. Here are the steps in chronological order.


I don’t know how often I have type ./ruinInstaller instead of runInstaller, but here you go. This is the first wizard screen after splash screen has disappeared.

RAC 12c enhancements: adding an additional SCAN-part 1

Based on customer request Oracle has added the functionality to add a second SCAN, completely independent of the SCAN defined/created during the cluster creation. Why would you want to use this feature? A few reasons that spring to mind are:

  • Consolidation: customers insist on using a different network
  • Separate network for Data Guard traffic

To demonstrate the concept I am going to show you in this blog post how I

  1. Add a new network resource
  2. Create new VIPs
  3. Add a new SCAN
  4. Add a new SCAN listener

It actually sounds more complex than it is, but I have a feeling I need to split this article in multiple parts as it’s far too long.

The lab setup