Sunday Sep 30, 2012

Exadata X3, 11.2.3.2 and Oracle Platinum Services

Oracle recently announced an Exadata Hardware Update. The overall architecture will remain the same, however some interesting hardware refreshes are done especially for the storage server. Each cell will now have 1600GB of flash, this means an X3-2 full rack will have 20.3 TB of total flash ! For all the details I would like to refer to the Oracle Exadata product page: www.oracle.com/exadata

Together with the announcement of the X3 generation. A new Exadata release, 11.2.3.2 is made available. New Exadata systems will be shipped with this release and existing installations can be updated to that release. As always there is a storage cell patch and a patch for the compute node, which again needs to be applied using YUM.

Instructions and requirements for patching existing Exadata compute nodes to 11.2.3.2 using YUM can be found in the patch README. Depending on the release you have installed on your compute nodes the README will direct you to a particular section in MOS note 1473002.1.

MOS 1473002.1 should only be followed with the instructions from the 11.2.3.2 patch README. Like with 11.2.3.1.0 and 11.2.3.1.1 instructions are added to prepare your systems to use YUM for the first time in case you are still on release 11.2.2.4.2 and earlier. You will also find these One Time Setup instructions in MOS note 1473002.1

By default all compute nodes that will be updated to 11.2.3.2.0 will now have the UEK kernel. Before 11.2.3.2.0 the 'compatible kernel' was used for all compute nodes other than X2-8. For 11.2.3.2.0 customer will have the choice to replace the UEK kernel with the Exadata standard 'compatible kernel' which is also in the ULN 11.2.3.2 channel. Recommended is to use the kernel that is installed by default.

One of the other great new things 11.2.3.2 brings is Writeback Flashcache (wbfc). By default wbfc is disabled after the upgrade to 11.2.3.2. Enable wbfc after patching on the storage servers of your test environment and see the improvements this brings for your applications.

Writeback FlashCache can be enabled  by dropping the existing FlashCache, stopping the cellsrv process and changing the FlashCacheMode attribute of the cell. Of course stopping cellsrv can only be done in a controlled manner.

Steps:

  1. drop flashcache
  2. alter cell shutdown services cellsrv
    • again, cellsrv can only be stopped in a controlled manner
  3. alter cell flashCacheMode = WriteBack
  4. alter cell startup services cellsrv
  5. create flashcache all

Going back to WriteThrough FlashCache is also possible, but only after flushing the FlashCache:

  • alter cell flashcache all flush

Last item I like to highlight in particular is already from a while ago, but a great thing to emphasis: Oracle Platinum Services. On top of the remote fault monitoring with faster response times Oracle has included update and patch deployment services.These services are delivered by Oracle Advanced Customer Support at no additional costs for qualified Oracle Premier Support customers.

References:

René Kundersma

About

Blog of Rene Kundersma, Principal Member of Technical Staff at Oracle Development USA. I am designing and evaluating solutions and best practices around database MAA focused on Exadata. This involves HA, backup/recovery, migration and database consolidation and upgrades on Exadata. Opinions are my own and not necessarily those of Oracle Corporation. See http://www.oracle.com/technology/deploy/availability/htdocs/maa.htm.

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