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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