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Creating a RAC 12.1 Data Guard Physical Standby environment (1)

I have just realised that the number of posts about RAC 12c Release 1 on this blog is rather too small. And since I’m a great fan of RAC this has to change :) In this mini-series I am going to share my notes about creating a Data Guard setup on my 2 node 12.1.0.2.161018 RAC primary + identical 2 node RAC standby system in the lab.

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!

The lab Environment

My environment consists of the following entities:

  • Primary Site
    • Oracle Linux 7.2 – UEK3 x86_64
    • Two RAC nodes: rac12pri1 and rac12pri2
    • Grid Infrastructure 12.1.0.2.161018 in /u01/app/12.1.0.2/grid
    • Single RDBMS home 12.1.0.2.161018 in /u01/app/oracle/product/12.1.0.2/dbhome_1
    • Non-container database NCDBA is administrator managed and running on both nodes
  • Standby Site
    • Oracle Linux 7.2 – UEK3 x86_64
    • Two RAC nodes: rac12sec1 and rac12sec2
    • Grid Infrastructure 12.1.0.2.161018 in /u01/app/12.1.0.2/grid
    • Single RDBMS home 12.1.0.2.161018 in /u01/app/oracle/product/12.1.0.2/dbhome_1
    • Standby database NCDBB is administrator managed and running on both nodes

I won’t focus on the creation of the RAC systems, I may have covered some of it in earlier blog posts and of course in the RAC Book.

I have deliberately kept it simple. Although most systems in real life use a dedicated (set of) NICs for Data Guard traffic I decided against it-I didn’t want attention being drawn away from the Big Picture. Similarly I am not touching on the option to create a second SCAN that Oracle allows us to create from 12.1 onwards. If you are interested in these topics kindly refer to my other blog posts.

Creation of the Primary Database

After both RAC systems are set up it’s time to start with the creation of the primary database. This is easy:

dbca -silent -createDatabase -templateName RACDB.dbc \
-gdbName NCDBA -sysPassword ... -systemPassword ... -storageType ASM \
-diskGroupName DATA -recoveryGroupName RECO -sampleSchema true \
-totalMemory 4096 -dbsnmpPassword ... -nodeinfo rac12pri1,rac12pri2

The template referenced in “-templateName” is my own – I always create templates to be license compliant. I covered how to create your custom database template on this blog as well.

I won’t go into detail here about the naming of my databases in a Data Guard configuration. What I learned the hard way was not to use a DB_UNIQUE_NAME that reflects the role. Imagine everyone’s surprise when they connect to a database named STDBY operating in the primary role after a switchover… For lack of better ideas I went ahead and enumerated the databases: my primary database is NCDBA and the standby is NCDBB.

After the database is created, it is started automatically by DBCA.

[oracle@rac12pri1 ~]$ srvctl status database -db NCDBA
Instance NCDBA1 is running on node rac12pri1
Instance NCDBA2 is running on node rac12pri2
[oracle@rac12pri1 ~]$

However, the newly created database isn’t patched (this is a known issue documented on Mike Dietrich’s blog for example).

SQL> select name from v$database;

NAME
---------
NCDBA

SQL> select count(*) from dba_registry_sqlpatch;

  COUNT(*)
----------
         0

No way around it – time to call datapatch:

SQL> alter system set cluster_database=false scope=spfile sid='*';

System altered.

SQL> exit

...

[oracle@rac12pri1 ~]$ srvctl stop database -db NCDBA
[oracle@rac12pri1 ~]$ sqlplus / as sysdba

SQL*Plus: Release 12.1.0.2.0 Production on Wed Dec 14 13:39:04 2016

Copyright (c) 1982, 2014, Oracle.  All rights reserved.

Connected to an idle instance.

SQL> startup upgrade
ORACLE instance started.

Total System Global Area 3221225472 bytes
Fixed Size                  2929552 bytes
Variable Size             771755120 bytes
Database Buffers         2432696320 bytes
Redo Buffers               13844480 bytes
Database mounted.
Database opened.
SQL>  exit

...

[oracle@rac12pri1 ~]$ cd $ORACLE_HOME/OPatch/
[oracle@rac12pri1 OPatch]$ ./datapatch -verbose
SQL Patching tool version 12.1.0.2.0 on Wed Dec 14 13:08:51 2016
Copyright (c) 2016, Oracle.  All rights reserved.

Log file for this invocation: /u01/app/oracle/cfgtoollogs/sqlpatch/sqlpatch_16313_2016_12_14_13_08_51/sqlpatch_invocation.log

Connecting to database...OK
Bootstrapping registry and package to current versions...done
Determining current state...done

Current state of SQL patches:
Patch 24315824 (Database PSU 12.1.0.2.161018, Oracle JavaVM Component (OCT2016)):
  Installed in the binary registry only
Bundle series DBBP:
  ID 161018 in the binary registry and not installed in the SQL registry

Adding patches to installation queue and performing prereq checks...
Installation queue:
  Nothing to roll back
  The following patches will be applied:
    24315824 (Database PSU 12.1.0.2.161018, Oracle JavaVM Component (OCT2016))
    24340679 (DATABASE BUNDLE PATCH: 12.1.0.2.161018 (24340679))

Installing patches...
Patch installation complete.  Total patches installed: 2

Validating logfiles...
Patch 24315824 apply: SUCCESS
  logfile: /u01/app/oracle/cfgtoollogs/sqlpatch/24315824/20676808/24315824_apply_NCDBA_2016Dec14_13_09_26.log (no errors)
Patch 24340679 apply: SUCCESS
  logfile: /u01/app/oracle/cfgtoollogs/sqlpatch/24340679/20713212/24340679_apply_NCDBA_2016Dec14_13_09_30.log (no errors)
SQL Patching tool complete on Wed Dec 14 13:15:08 2016
[oracle@rac12pri1 OPatch]$

This concludes part 1 – the database is now set up and running on the primary cluster. In the next part I’m going to describe how to prepare the primary and standby cluster for the Data Guard setup.