Friday Dec 21, 2012

ASM Normal Redundancy versus High Redundancy on Oracle Database Appliance

The availability of normal redundancy configuration option for Automatic Storage Management (ASM) on Oracle Database Appliance starting with OAK version 2.4 allows for additional usable space on Oracle Database Appliance (about 6 TB with Normal Redundancy versus about 4 TB with High Redundancy). This is great news for many customers. Some environments, such as test and development systems, may benefit significantly as a result of this new option. However, the availability of Normal Redundancy option obviously should not be taken to mean that choosing Normal Redundancy may the best approach for all database environments. High redundancy would still provide a better and more resilient option (and may be a preferred choice) for mission critical production systems. It is therefore an option and not the default configuration choice. Many customers may choose to use Normal Redundancy for test, development, and other non-critical environments and High Redundancy for production and other important systems.

In general, ASM supports three types of redundancy (mirroring*) options.

High Redundancy - In this configuration, for each primary extent, there are two mirrored extents. For Oracle Database Appliance this means, during normal operations there would be three extents (one primary and two secondary) containing the same data, thus providing “high” level of protection. Since ASM distributes the partnering extents in a way that prevents all extents to be unable due to a component failure in the IO path, this configuration can sustain at least two simultaneous disk failures on Oracle Database Appliance (which should be rare but is possible).

Normal Redundancy - In this configuration, for each primary extent, there is one mirrored (secondary) extent. This configuration protects against at least one disk failure. Note that in the event a disk fails in this configuration, although there is typically no outage or data loss, the system operates in a vulnerable state, should a second disk fail while the old failed disk replacement has not completed. Many Oracle Database Appliance customers thus prefer the High Redundancy configuration to mitigate the lack of additional protection during this time.

External Redundancy - In this configuration there are only primary extents and no mirrored extents. This option is typically used in traditional non-appliance environments when the storage sub-system may have existing redundancy such as hardware mirroring or other types of third-party mirroring in place. Oracle Database Appliance does not support External Redundancy.

*ASM redundancy is different from traditional disk mirroring in that ASM mirroring is a logical-physical approach than a pure physical approach. ASM does not mirror entire disks. It mirrors logical storage entities called ‘extents’ that are allocated on physical disks. Thus, all “mirrored” extents of a set of primary extents on a given disk do not need to be on a single mirrored disk but they could be distributed across multiple disks. This approach to mirroring provides significant benefits and flexibility. ASM uses intelligent, Oracle Database Appliance architecture aware, extent placement algorithms to maximize system availability in the event of disk failure(s).

Friday Nov 16, 2012

An Unstoppable Force!

Building a high-availability database platform presents unique challenges. Combining servers, storage, networking, OS, firmware, and database is complicated and raises important concerns: Will coordination between multiple SME’s delay deployment? Will it be reliable? Will it scale? Will routine maintenance consume precious IT-staff time? Ultimately, will it work?

Enter the Oracle Database Appliance, a complete package of software, server, storage, and networking that’s engineered for simplicity. It saves time and money by simplifying deployment, maintenance, and support of database workloads. Plus, it’s based on Intel Xeon processors to ensure a high level of performance and scalability.

Take a look at this video to compare Heather and Ted’s approach to building a server for their Oracle database!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=os4RDVclWS8

If you missed the “Compare Database Platforms: Build vs. Buy” webcast or want to listen again to find out how Jeff Schulte - Vice President at Yodlee uses Oracle Database Appliance.

Tuesday Nov 06, 2012

Build vs Buy Webcast: November 8, 2012

Date: Thursday, November 8, 2012, 1:00 PM EST

You have a choice. Do you build your own database platform or buy a pre-engineered database appliance?

Building a high-availability database platform presents unique challenges. Combining servers, storage, networking, OS, firmware, and database is complicated and raises important concerns: Will coordination between multiple SME’s delay deployment? Will it be reliable? Will it scale? Will routine maintenance consume precious IT-staff time? Ultimately, will it work?

Enter the Oracle Database Appliance, a complete package of software, server, storage, and networking that’s engineered for simplicity. It saves time and money by simplifying deployment, maintenance, and support of database workloads. Plus, it’s based on Intel Xeon processors to ensure a high level of performance and scalability.

Attend this Webcast to hear customer stories and discover how the Oracle Database Appliance:
  • Increases ROI by reducing capital and operational expenses
  • Frees IT staff by reducing deployment and management time from weeks to hours
  • Takes the worry out of supporting mission critical application workloads

Register For this WebCast today!

Monday Nov 05, 2012

Normal Redundancy (Double Mirroring) Option Available

The Oracle Database Appliance 2.4 Patch was released last week and provides you an option of ASM normal redundancy (double mirroring) during the initial deployment of the Database Appliance. The default deployment of the Oracle Database Appliance is high redundancy for the +DATA and +RECO disk groups. While there is 12TB of raw shared storage available, the Database Backup Location and Disk Group Redundancy govern how much usable storage is presented after the initial deployment is completed.

The Database Backup Location options are Local or External. When the Local Backup Option is selected, this means that 60% of the available shared storage will be allocated for the Fast Recovery Area that contains database backups and archive logs. The External Backup Option will allocate 20% of the available shared storage to the Fast Recovery Area.

So, let’s look at an example of High Redundancy and External Backups.

  • Disk Group Redundancy – High --> Triple Mirroring to provide ~4TB of available storage
  • Database Backup Location – External --> 20% of available shared storage allocated to +RECO
  • +DATA = 3.2TB of usable storage, +RECO = 0.8TB of usable storage

What about Normal Redundancy with External Backups?

  • Disk Group Redundancy – Normal --> Double Mirroring to provide ~6TB of available storage
  • Database Backup Location – External --> 20% of available shared storage allocated to +RECO
  • +DATA = 4.8TB of usable storage, +RECO = 1.2TB of usable storage

As a best practice, we would recommend using Normal Redundancy for your test and/or development Oracle Database Appliances and High Redundancy for production.

Wednesday Oct 10, 2012

Is Oracle Database Appliance (ODA) A Best Kept Secret?

There is something about Oracle Database Appliance that underscores the tremendous value customers see in the product. Repeat purchases. When you buy “one” of something and come back to buy another, it confirms that the product met your expectations, you found good value in it, and perhaps you will continue to use it. But when you buy “one” and come back to buy many more on your very next purchase, it tells something else. It tells that you truly believe that you have found the best value out there. That you are convinced! That you are sold on the great idea and have discovered a product that far exceeds your expectations and delivers tremendous value! Many Oracle Database Appliance customers are such larger-volume-repeat-buyers. It is no surprise, that the product has a deeper penetration in many accounts where a customer made an initial purchase.

The value proposition of Oracle Database Appliance is undeniably strong and extremely compelling. This is especially true for customers who are simply upgrading or “refreshing” their hardware (and reusing software licenses). For them, the ability to acquire world class, highly available database hardware along with leading edge management software and all of the automation is absolutely a steal. One customer DBA recently said, “Oracle Database Appliance is the best investment our company has ever made”. Such extreme statements do not come out of thin air. You have to experience it to believe it.

Oracle Database Appliance is a low cost product. Not many sales managers may be knocking on your doors to sell it. But the great value it delivers to small and mid-size businesses and database implementations should not be underestimated. 

Monday Aug 06, 2012

Oracle Database Appliance Value Proposition for Small and Mid-size Businesses

Today most customers want their databases and systems to be always available (always on!). No one, whether it is a customer, an employee, a partner, or anyone else, wants to deal with a down system. The “seven second rule” that summarizes customers’ patience threshold is all well known in the internet driven world. In today’s fast paced world with a plethora of information and product sources available at one’s fingertips, the general level of consumer patience is greatly reduced. High availability and good performance is ever more important. But many a times, customers leave their HA and performance needs unfulfilled. Why? Because they think,

1. For middle sized businesses reliable HA hardware is expensive

2. There are significant upfront costs in setting up HA systems

3. HA systems are just hard to implement

4. There is substantial on-going management cost associated with HA systems, etc. 

If a small or medium sized business used the “traditional approach” to assembling and building HA systems, then it may indeed be true that it is simply out of reach for many of these customers to deploy real HA systems.

The Oracle Database Appliance addresses this problem for these small and medium sized businesses. Not only is the Oracle Database Appliance hardware more cost effective, it is extremely easy to deploy (the deployment process takes about 1 hour total). The pay as you grow licensing model for software really directly addresses the high up-front cost issue. You can buy the highly available, robust Oracle Database Appliance at a fraction of the cost you would incur if you put a system of such capabilities together yourself. Not only that, you only pay for what you need in terms of software licensing. And you still enjoy the capability to scale WHEN you need more capacity, without the need to dump old hardware and migrate to a new hardware! I think, there cannot be a greater value proposition than this.

The other major challenge that customers have in deploying HA systems is that they may not currently have the skills within their staff to implement high availability solutions. Again, Oracle Database Appliance addresses this problem directly. With the Database Appliance the need for local HA expertise is significantly diminished. The processes associated with the entire life cycle of the product from deployment to patching to diagnostics data collection and maintenance are all streamlined and substantially automated. Customers can deploy, operate, and manage their Database Appliance environments without deep technical skills. Further, dealing with mundane things is not necessary either and the staff can focus on more important, strategic work!

What is more is that due to a standard configuration and pre-tested software and hardware, the processes associated with the deployment, management, maintenance, and diagnostics are extremely reliable and predictable. This virtually eliminates the risks typically associated with building HA systems. Now SMBs can deploy HA systems to compete in today’s world, do so at a fraction of the normal cost, and be confident that their investment can generate immediate returns.

 

Thursday May 31, 2012

Oracle Database Appliance Setup Poster Updated

The newly updated Setup Poster for Oracle Database Appliance is now available at http://docs.oracle.com/cd/E22693_01/doc.21/e35554.pdf

This updated poster is a comprehensive source of information for anyone planning to deploy Oracle Database Appliance. It includes two main sections (which are conveniently printed on the two sides of a single 11x17 page)

1. Preparing to Deploy Oracle Database Appliance
2. Oracle Database Appliance Setup

The Preparing to Deploy Oracle Database Appliance section provides a concise list of items to plan for and review before beginning deployment. This includes registering Support Identifiers, allocating IP addresses, downloading software and patches, choosing configuration options, as well as important links to useful information.

The Oracle Database Appliance Setup section provides a step by step procedure for deploying and configuring Oracle Database Appliance. This includes initial powering up of Oracle Database Appliance, configuring initial network, downloading software and completing the configuration using Oracle Database Appliance Configurator (GUI)

 

Thursday May 24, 2012

Oracle Database Appliance Unplugged @ Northern California Oracle Users Group

The Oracle Database Appliance is Simple, Reliable, & Affordable.  Still skeptical about the 'reliability'?

Join Sohan DeMel, Vice President, Product Strategy and Business Development, at the Northern California Oracle Users Group to demonstrate the fault-tolerance of the Oracle Database Appliance.

 A recent addition to Oracle’s Engineered System category, the Oracle Database Appliance offers customers a fully integrated system of software, servers, storage and networking in a single box that delivers high availability database services for a wide range of applications. Oracle Database Appliance has fault-tolerance built-in: The hardware is fully redundant. Oracle RAC protects against server failure and database instance failure. Oracle ASM triple mirroring maintains data redundancy. Storage multi-pathing and network bonding are built-in. In this demo-based presentation, members of the audience will be invited on-stage to literally unplug the Oracle Database Appliance – pull-out power cords, pull-out network cords, pull-out server trays, and pull out disks, all while the database is processing SwingBench transactions on the big screen.

When: May 31, 2012

Where: The NoCOUG Spring Conference

Go to the NoCoug.org web site for more information and to RSVP to this very exciting presentation and conference!


Tuesday May 22, 2012

Oracle Database Appliance Best Practices Webcast - May 23, 2012 10 a.m. PT / 1 p.m. ET

Simplify Database Management with Oracle Database Appliance Deployment Scenarios

Business users increasingly demand 24x7 availability of their data while IT departments face the challenge of ensuring maximum availability while operating with limited budgets.

By deploying Oracle Database Appliance organizations can benefit from a reliable system that significantly reduces the time spent on routine system administration and maintenance, lowering operational costs, and allowing IT personnel to focus on higher value activities. Using proven deployment best practices, midsize customers and enterprise departments alike can quickly integrate Oracle Database Appliance into their backup, test, development, and production environments. And since Oracle Database Appliance is based on Intel® Xeon® processors, organizations can ensure a high level of performance and scalability.

Join Oracle Database Appliance experts Tammy Bednar, David Swanger, and Intel expert Fabrizio Giamello for this live Webcast and learn how to:

  • Achieve a high quality of service at the lowest cost
  • Reduce up-front investment in hardware and software
  • Implement best practices across a multitude of deployment scenarios

Register today and get answers to your questions live from the experts.

Monday Apr 30, 2012

What is Oracle Database Appliance?

Oracle Database Appliance is an “always on” database system. It does not have to go down if a component fails. Component failures are accounted for and the configuration is built with redundancy and single point of failures in mind. Further, it is a very simple system to deploy and operate.

If you are familiar with Oracle technologies, then technically, the best way to look at the Oracle Database Appliance may be to think of it as a two node Oracle Linux RAC cluster in a single box with shared storage and networking all included in the box. It is built and configured with redundancy to achieve continuous availability in the event of component failures. It addresses all single points of failures within the system.

ü Pre-built

ü Pre-configured

ü Pre-tested

ü Pre-validated

ü Pre-tuned

The current software stack (as of April, 2012) consists of Oracle Linux 5.8 (with the UEK kernel), Oracle Grid Infrastructure 11.2.0.3, and Oracle Database 11.2.0.3. On your Oracle Database Appliance, you can run Oracle RAC databases, Oracle Single Instance databases, or Oracle RAC One (active – passive) databases, or a combination of these.

Oracle Database Appliance is extremely simple to deploy. When you receive your appliance unit, you simply put the appliance in a computer rack, (or you can place it on a table, or in a closet), then you plug in the power and network connections to the Database Appliance and power on the Oracle Database Appliance. You then input the information for your configuration (system names, database names, database size, etc.) and for all practical purposes you just issue a single command to complete the deployment of your Oracle Database Appliance. That command is “oakcli deploy” that you issue from Linux system prompt. More on that will be covered later. The command initiates the entire process of setting up the OS, installing Oracle software, creating the initial database, and optionally setting up a cloud file system volume (a shared file system), configuring Oracle Auto Service Request, etc. as you watch the progress on your screen.

The multiple weeks’ worth of effort previously required in configuring an HA database is no longer necessary! The actual deployment process in fact takes less than one hour. And at the end of that one hour you have a fully functional cluster and a fully usable database available for your application to use.

Customers typically complete their deployments on the day they open the box and put the appliance in the rack. What is really interesting is the side benefit of this ease of use which results in lower chances of errors in configuration. The risks and uncertainties involved in setting up the HA system have virtually disappeared. And that means a lot for users. Now they can go ahead and buy an Oracle Database Appliance knowing that they can have a fully functional highly available database system on the day that it arrives!

Oracle Database Appliance, an Introduction

Even a couple of years ago, if you were building and deploying an Oracle RAC database system, which is basically a highly available database environment, you would start with careful planning and then  assemble all the components - the servers, the storage, the networking components from various vendors, and you would connect them together. Then you would look into what you needed for the software, whether there were any compatibility and interoperability issues in your chosen stack, whether you needed firmware, operating system, clusterware, or database patches and so forth.  And after all this work, you would look into the best practices for your configuration from these different vendors to make sure that your planned configuration was going to be compliant with those best practices. All of this resulted in weeks, if not months, worth of work and cost significant money and resources. And unfortunately, there was still no real assurance that you may not have missed something. Right?

The Oracle Database Appliance completely solves that problem! It attacks the complexity issue head on. It creates a huge value proposition for customers. HA is no longer complex!

In the past customer shied away from HA because it was complex. It was harder to deploy HA systems. They were costly and it took a long time to fully deploy a true HA configuration. Customers did not have the expertise to deploy HA systems.

Complex = Harder + Costlier + Longer

At the same time the need for HA systems continued to increase rather dramatically. In today’s fast paced world, your customers do not wait for a down system to be repaired and brought up. They move on the next vendor whose system is up. High availability is not a luxury but a necessity today.

Downtime = Lost Revenue + Lost Productivity

In addition, if your systems are down frequently and you start losing customers because of this, consider the loss based on the customer lifetime value! That can be really significant.

With the Oracle Database Appliance, you buy a highly available system and not try to build one. You deploy the entire system easily in 1 day instead of three months. You use it instead of constantly try to keep it up. You manage it effortlessly … and you focus on your business.

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The Oracle Database Appliance saves time and money by simplifying deployment, maintenance, and support of high-availability database solutions. This blog is dedicated to sharing updates about the Oracle Database Appliance from your product team.

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