The availability of business-critical applications including the databases serving those applications is an important element of every IT strategy. Hence, Oracle constantly enhances the database’s features and solutions such as data protection, high availability and disaster recovery to provide the highest enterprise value. As a result, Oracle has built upon its enterprise experience with tens of thousands of customers across every region and industry in the world to develop an all-encompassing set of high availability blueprints and validated solutions that are called Oracle Maximum Availability Architecture (MAA).
Oracle MAA is a collection of architecture, configuration, and life cycle best practices and blueprints. It provides Oracle’s customers with valuable insights and expert recommendations which have been validated and tested working with enterprise customers. This is also an outcome of ongoing communication, with the community of database architects, software engineers, and database strategists, that helps Oracle develop a deep and complete understanding of various kinds of events that can affect availability or data integrity. Over the years, this led to the development and natural evolution of an array of availability reference architectures.
MAA reference architectures are solutions designed to reduce downtime for planned and unplanned outages for databases. They are applicable to databases in all different tiers of high availability service levels; starting from databases that can tolerate some data loss and higher recovery time to most demanding databases used by enterprise customers which essentially require zero data loss and downtime. These validated reference architectures balance cost, efficiency and SLAs and have been implemented in tens of thousands of Oracle customer’s environments. The capabilities of the reference architectures generally carry forward from one tier to the next so that customers can upgrade to the next level of SLAs transparently. Only some of the advanced options in the Platinum Tier require customization of dependent applications. Refer to the below graphic for the different MAA tiers and their capabilities.
These MAA reference architectures use a wide array of HA features, configurations and operational practices. Some of the key features help Oracle’s end customers to achieve primarily four goals –
Continuous Availability – ensures database and storage are configured to tolerate failures and applications can transparently failover services to maximize availability
Data protection – secures data integrity in the database and backups by automatically preventing, detecting and repairing block corruptions (both logical and physical)
Active Replication – allows applications to leverage replicated sites in an Active-Active HA solution to provide disaster recovery protection and workload distribution
Scale-Out – enables applications to scale out by adding database compute nodes (RAC), storage (ASM and Exadata) and databases (Active Data Guard, GoldenGate or Sharding)
Oracle’s customers can mitigate not only planned events – such as hardware elasticity, software updates, data schema changes, and major software upgrades, but also unplanned events – such as hardware failures, software crashes due to bugs and disasters.
Oracle’s customers also have various deployment choices (as seen above) on which they can customize these HA solutions. The insights, recommendations, reference architectures, features, configurations, best practices, and deployment choices combine to form a holistic blueprint which allows customers to successfully achieve their high availability goals with differing degrees of built-in automation depending on the platform.
Oracle has applied 20+ years of experience in regard to solving some of the toughest HA problems for its customers. In reality, the work is far from done as there is always scope for improvement and enhancements. This blog will be a platform for feedback on Oracle’s HA products and also keep Oracle’s customers posted on the newest developments and features.
In the meantime, for more information, please feel free to visit our Oracle High Availability and MAA home page or follow us on twitter.