Wednesday Apr 04, 2012

Easy Made Easier

    How easy is it to deploy a 2 node, fully redundant Oracle RAC cluster? Not very. Unless you use an Oracle Database Appliance. The focus of this member of Oracle's Engineered Systems family is to simplify the configuration, management and maintenance throughout the life of the system, while offering pay-as-you-grow scaling. Getting a 2-node RAC cluster up and running in under 2 hours has been made possible by the Oracle Database Appliance. Don't take my word for it, just check out these blog posts from partners and end users.

The Oracle Database Appliance Experience - Zip Zoom Zoom

Off-the-shelf Oracle database servers

Oracle Database Appliance – Deployment Steps

    See how easy it is to deploy an Oracle Database Appliance for high availability with RAC? Now for the meat of this post, which is the first in a series of posts describing tips for making the deployment of an ODA even easier. The key to the easy deployment of an Oracle Database Appliance is the Appliance Manager software, which does the actual software deployment and configuration, based on best practices. But in order for it to do that, it needs some basic information first, including system name, IP addresses, etc. That's where the Appliance Manager GUI comes in to play, taking a wizard approach to specifying the information needed.

    Using the Appliance Manager GUI is pretty straight forward, stepping through several screens of information to enter data in typical wizard style. Like most configuration tasks, it helps to gather the required information before hand. But before you rush out to a committee meeting on what to use for host names, and rely on whatever IP addresses might be hanging around, make sure you are familiar with some of the auto-fill defaults for the Appliance Manager. I'll step through the key screens below to highlight the results of the auto-fill capability of the Appliance Manager GUI.

    Depending on which of the 2 Configuration Types (Config Type screen) you choose, you will get a slightly different set of screens. The Typical configuration assumes certain default configuration choices and has the fewest screens, where as the Custom configuration gives you the most flexibility in what you configure from the start. In the examples below, I have used the Custom config type.

    One of the first items you are asked for is the System Name (System Info screen). This is used to identify the system, but also as the base for the default hostnames on following screens. In this screen shot, the System Name is "oda".

    When you get to the next screen (Generic Network screen), you enter your domain name, DNS IP address(es), and NTP IP address(es). Next up is the Public Network screen, seen below, where you will see the host name fields are automatically filled in with default host names based on the System Name, in this case "oda". The System Name is also the basis for default host names for the extra ethernet ports available for configuration as part of a Custom configuration, as seen in the 2nd screen shot below (Other Network). There is no requirement to use these host names, as you can easily edit any of the host names. This does make filling in the configuration details easier and less prone to "fat fingers" if you are OK with these host names. Here is a full list of the automatically filled in host names.
<systemname> <systemname>1 <systemname>2 <systemname>1-vip <systemname>2-vip <systemname>-scan <systemname>1-ilom <systemname>2-ilom <systemname>1-net1 <systemname>2-net1 <systemname>1-net2 <systemname>2-net2 <systemname>1-net3 <systemname>2-net3

    Another auto-fill feature of the Appliance Manager GUI follows a common practice of deploying IP Addresses for a RAC cluster in sequential order. In the screen shot below, I entered the first IP address (Node1-IP), then hit Tab to move to the next field. As a result, the next 5 IP address fields were automatically filled in with the next 5 IP addresses sequentially from the first one I entered. As with the host names, these are not required, and can be changed to whatever your IP address values are. One note of caution though, if the first IP Address field (Node1-IP) is filled out and you click in that field and back out, the following 5 IP addresses will be set to the sequential default. If you don't use the sequential IP addresses, pay attention to where you click that mouse. :-)

    In the screen shot below, by entering the netmask value in the Netmask field, in this case, the gateway value was auto-filled into the Gateway field, based on the IP addresses and netmask previously entered. As always, you can change this value.

    My last 2 screen shots illustrate that the same sequential IP address autofill and netmask to gateway autofill works when entering the IP configuration details for the Integrated Lights Out Manager (ILOM) for both nodes. The time these auto-fill capabilities save in entering data is nice, but from my perspective not as important as the opportunity to avoid data entry errors. In my next post in this series, I will touch on the benefit of using the network validation capability of the Appliance Manager GUI prior to deploying an Oracle Database Appliance.


A place where Perley Mears sounds off on topics relevant to his work at Oracle.


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