OCFS2 for Linux Certified for E-Business Suite Release 12 Application Tiers

Oracle E-Business Suite environments can be scaled up to handle large numbers of concurrent users by load-balancing across multiple application mid-tier servers.  At Oracle, we run Oracle E-Business Suite Release 12 internally with a pool of approximately forty application tier servers.

The novelty of applying the same patch to every one of those servers individually wears off pretty quickly.  There's a easier way: you can share a single file system between all of your E-Business Suite application tier servers.  This allows you to apply patches once to the central filesystem, rather than maintaining each application tier server node individually.  This approach reduces maintenance overheads and shortens your patching downtimes. 
r12sharedfilesystem2.jpg
Starting with Release 12, you can even share the same file system between multiple E-Business Suite instances (although for obvious reasons, you should do this only for non-production instances).

Customers embarking upon this path inevitably ask, "Which shared filesystem do you recommend?"  The short answer is that we don't recommend any specific filesystem, but there's more to it than just that.  I've discussed the nuances of choosing a shared file system in this article.

That article explicitly stated that we do not certify specific file systems with the E-Business Suite.  That was true at the time that article was published, and is still generally true for most file systems.  However, your requests made it clear that we needed to take a closer look at Oracle Cluster File System (OCFS2) for Linux, so we did.

What's new?

Oracle Cluster File System (OCFS2) for Linux OCFS2 1.4 and higher is now certified and supported for Oracle E-Business Suite Release 12 application tier file systems. System administrators may deploy both the APPL_TOP and INST_TOP on Linux-based OCFS2 shared-disk cluster file systems.

Oracle E-Business Suite Release 12 certification tests with OCFS2-based application tier shared file systems used the following configuration:
  • Oracle Enterprise Linux Version 5 Update 4 (OEL5U4 64-bit) running OCFS2 1.4.4
  • Separate volumes for APPL_TOP and INST_TOP storage (INST_TOP was also tested and is certified with local storage)
  • Oracle E-Business Suite application tier mount options used: rw, _netdev, nointr
  • Mount option datavolume was not used in the application tier mounts
For detailed instructions on configuring OCFS2, see OCFS2: A Cluster File System for Linux: User's Guide for Release 1.4 on the Project: OCFS2 website.

What about EBS database tiers?

The E-Business Suite's database tier is built on the Oracle Database.  The Oracle Database is certified with OCFS2.   Therefore, OCFS2 is supported for the E-Business Suite database tier, too.  This applies to both Oracle E-Business Suite Release 11i and 12.

What's not certified or supported?

Oracle Cluster File System (OCFS2) for Linux is not certified with Oracle E-Business Suite Release 11i application tier file systems.

Oracle Cluster File System for Windows is not certified with application tier file systems for either Oracle E-Business Suite Release 11i or Oracle E-Business Suite Release 12.

How well does this work for you?

As with all new certifications, we're very interested in hearing about your experiences with this.  If you've experimented with OCFS2 for Linux for your Apps mid-tiers, please post a comment here or drop me a private email with your feedback.  I'll make sure that your comments get back to the OCFS2 team directly.

References
Related Articles

Comments:

Awesome news. Certainly removes some ambiguity from the "what are our options for shared application tier file systems?" question, and provides some comfort for organizations that have a bias against using NFS.

With the arrival of 11gR2, have you started getting queries about ACFS? :)

Regards,

John P.

Posted by John Piwowar on March 10, 2010 at 03:32 AM PST #

Hi, John,

Yes, we're pretty happy about completing this certification.

I'm afraid that the Fusion Middleware team has explicitly stated that they have no current plans to certify or support Oracle Application Server 10g components on the ACFS file system.

Oracle E-Business Suite Release 12 is built on Oracle Application Server 10g, of course. So, if the Fusion Middleware team doesn't support the use of ACFS with Oracle Application Server 10g, neither can the E-Business Suite division.

Customers interested in running Oracle Application Server 10g (and the E-Business Suite) on ACFS are encouraged to log SRs against the Fusion Middleware product to request this certification. If sufficient numbers of customers request it, they may consider it.

Regards,
Steven

Posted by Steven Chan on March 10, 2010 at 06:18 AM PST #

Hi Steven,

Happy to see you again. But, i have a big question, how can this be better technology, if alreay oracle EBS R12 is having Read-only Shared APPL_TOP in its place? can you guide me in detail.

BALAJI SRINIVASAN,
Delivery Manager Oracle Applications DBA.
Sony DADC| Bangalore

Posted by Balaji Srinivasan on March 10, 2010 at 12:25 PM PST #

Hi Steven,
This is certainly good news! I am sure that this certification was long awaited for by the community.

You write about sharing the Application Tier File System across multiple instances of E-Business Suite: "although for obvious reasons, you should do this only for non-production instances".
I have written a weblog about this feature and found a number of reasons why one would be able to benefit from this, even in a production environment. See http://oraclever.blogspot.com/2009/12/e-business-suite-r12-shared-application.html for details about this. Can you share your opinion on sharing the ATFS across multiple E-Business Suite environments that (together) make up one Production Environment (for example when you separate the ASCP environment from the OLTP environment, according to Oracle's recommendation)?

Regards,
Arnoud Roth

Posted by Arnoud Roth on March 10, 2010 at 04:26 PM PST #

Hi, Arnoud,

Thanks for the reminder about your blog article. I remember reading it last December but didn't think to review it before announcing this certification.

I agree that there may be some circumstances where it might be appropriate to share a filesystem with a production instance. Your example of EBS + ASCP instances sharing the same filesystem is a good one.

That said, I have deep reservations about mixing and matching production and test instances, based on best practices where there's an airgap between the two classes of systems. I view that as a dangerous shortcut, one that depends upon a sysadmin's skill and knowledge to avoid corruption or changes to your production instance. Knowing human nature, with all of its inherent frailties and fallibility, I can easily see a sysadmin inadvertently forgetting that the production instance is affected by his or her changes to their "test" instance, and bringing everything down. Nightmare scenario.

When PROD and TEST are separated, there is no chance whatsoever of such mistakes from happening. I'm a belt-and-suspenders kind of guy, so that'd be the approach that I would take.

Regards,
Steven

Posted by Steven Chan on March 11, 2010 at 02:49 AM PST #

This is great news.

This will save big chunk of money spent on license every year...

Will be good if Oracle certify it for 11i as well.

Regards
Hardik

Posted by Hardik Desai on March 11, 2010 at 11:28 PM PST #

Hi, Hardik,

Thanks for your comment. The Fusion Middleware team has no plans to certify Oracle9i Application Server 1.0.2.2.2 on OCFS2, so it is unlikely that we'll ever see this for Oracle E-Business Suite Release 11i (EBS 11i is built on 9iAS 1.0.2.2.2).

Regards,
Steven

Posted by Steven Chan on March 12, 2010 at 05:51 AM PST #

Hi, Balaji,

The use of a shared file system allows you to maintain your application tier code in a single place, rather than redundantly for each application server. This latest certification is for OCFS2 for Oracle E-Business Suite Release 12 application tiers.

If you aren't sharing a central file system between multiple app servers, having a read-only shared APPL_TOP per server still means that you need to patch every individual app server individually.

Regards,
Steven

Posted by Steven Chan on March 17, 2010 at 01:57 AM PDT #

Hi Steve,

Good to see that OCFS is now supported.

I have one question though. If INST_TOP is not certified to be on OCFS shared filesystem, how do we ensure that concurrent manager log and out files are available on secondary node when the primary middle tier fails in a PCP environment?

thanks
Vasu

Posted by Vasu Balla on March 25, 2010 at 06:25 PM PDT #

Hi, Vasu,

I just realized that I hadn't closed the loop on this; my apologies for this slipping through the cracks.

We tested INST_TOPs on OCFS2; this is a certified configuration.

Regards,
Steven

Posted by Steven Chan on July 02, 2010 at 05:40 AM PDT #

hi,
we are planned to use

operating system : redhat 4.5 (64-bit) Operating system

Oracle database : 10G RAC

Oracle applictions : 12.0.6

cluster file system :OCFS2 1.2.8

voting disk, OCR :OCFS2 1.2.8

SAN : ISCSI environment

Nodes : 3

Parallel Concurrent processing:$APPLCSF, $APPLTMP in OCFS2 1.2.8

going to convert single instance to RAC USING Note.388577.1 - Configuring Oracle Applications Release 12
with 10g R2 RAC

in production Environment

is it possible

Posted by raj on July 21, 2010 at 08:17 PM PDT #

Hi, Raj,

This looks good to me. Good luck with your implementation.

Regards,
Steven

Posted by Steven Chan on July 22, 2010 at 03:29 AM PDT #

Steven,

Does mixed Platform on DB & Applications Tiers in CASE you will use OCFS2.

DB Tier (11gr2 RAC AIX 6.1)
Application Tier (12.1.2 OEL 5.x)

Getting some issues to run application try to find the certification matrix for OCFS2 but failed :(

Can you please help here?

Thanks,
Neel

Posted by Neel on July 23, 2010 at 01:45 AM PDT #

hi neel,
OCFS2 is designed for linux platforms. if u want to use RAC ,using same platforms for all dbTier,Appplication Tier, it is always best using same platform for EBS .then easy to tract if any problem arises

Posted by Raj on July 23, 2010 at 01:01 PM PDT #

Raj,

Thanks for the reply, I was going through the documentation and it does not say anyehere that I should use only "linux". You have mention "it is always best using the same platform for EBS" my question is does it work with mixed platform or not ? Does any one try in Oracle with mixed platfrom of not? Is there any certification matrix for OCFS2?

Reply will be appreciated.

thanks,
Neel

Posted by Neel on July 25, 2010 at 11:36 PM PDT #

Neel,

As stated in the article above, we have certified only "Oracle Cluster File System (OCFS2) for Linux OCFS2 1.4 and higher." We do not have any plans to certify OCFS2 on AIX at this point.

Regards,
Steven

Posted by Steven Chan on July 26, 2010 at 12:59 AM PDT #

Hello Steven,

Please disregard my previous question.

Let me give me more information on what is current configuration :

We have IBM P570 Server using lpar, hba and ethernet card are dedicated to each partition. ASM is on shared san storage between Node1 and Node2. Database is RAC but we are not using OCFS2 for Database Tier.

For Application tier we are using DEL PowerEdge 710, hardware raid for internal disk. 160GB shared disk (APPL_TOP/COMM_TOP) where we have OCFS2.

Q - Does mixed Platform on DB & Applications Tiers in CASE you will use OCFS2 on APPLIATION TIER only.

DB Tier (11gr2 RAC AIX 6.1)
Application Tier (12.1.2 OEL 5.5)

thanks,
Neel

Posted by Neel on July 27, 2010 at 12:39 AM PDT #

Hello, Neel,

The Oracle Support team handling your SR has also been in contact with me directly. At this point, I've asked them to continue this discussion via your logged Service Request. Please monitor your Service Request for updates on this.

Regards,
Steven

Posted by Steven Chan on July 27, 2010 at 04:36 AM PDT #

Thanks Steven.

Getting the answer on SR was difficult this is reason I've in on the blog. Anyway thanks again.

Cheers,
Neel

Posted by Neel on July 27, 2010 at 11:39 AM PDT #

hi Neel,
what are problems u facing using AIX and linux mixed. I see AIX and Linux seperately in RAC environment. Assumptions not yield result any time. Only Field work gives right decision

regards
Raj

Posted by raj on July 29, 2010 at 01:22 PM PDT #

hi vasu and chan
Inst_top not working in OCFS2 1.2.9 but it is not all necessary for PCP configuration put $APPLTMP and $APPLCSF paths in OCFS2 1.2.9 (i.e) seperate mount pts and $INST_TOP in local mount points(ext3) it is working fine.

regards
raj

Posted by raj on September 01, 2010 at 04:33 PM PDT #

hi chan,
I implement OCFS21.2.9 with R12 in Production Envirnoment as well as 10G RAC also in OCFS21.2.9.
RAC is already certified by oracle with OCFS2.
Regarding R12, if put INST_TOP in local mount pt(ext3) and COMMN_TOP AND APPL_TOP it going fine for every aspect. u can do normal works using operating system utilities like mv,cp, tar,nfs exportings folders commands on OCFS2.

Posted by raj on September 02, 2010 at 04:04 PM PDT #

Hi chan,
Please suggest me for low cost DRP site for production. It is urgent requirement

regards
Raj

Posted by Raj on September 02, 2010 at 04:06 PM PDT #

Hi, Raj,

I don't know what DRP stands for, so I'm going to have to try and guess what you're asking. Disaster Recovery?

If you're looking for assistance with creating a disaster recovery plan for your E-Business Suite environment, I would recommend contacting your Oracle account manager.

Regards,
Steven

Posted by Steven Chan on September 03, 2010 at 06:16 AM PDT #

Hi Chan,

u assumption is correct.I mean DRP "Diaster Recovery Plan "
At present we not able to contact Oracle account manager.

we r seeking low cost budget DRP. Pl give some suggestions to implement low cost budget DRP.

Regards
Raj

Posted by Raj on September 06, 2010 at 08:21 PM PDT #

Hi, Raj,

I would recommend against relying upon terse answers via blog entries for something as critical as a disaster recovery plan.

Such plans need to be based upon a detailed analysis of your business requirements, operating environment, and other factors. If you're unable to get assistance from your Oracle account manager in identifying Oracle Consulting expertise for this, I would recommend contracting with other third-party consultants or your hardware vendor for assistance with this project.

I would recommend that you do more research on disaster recovery architectures, capabilities and approaches. One possible starting point is here:

http://www.oracle.com/technetwork/database/features/availability/maa-090890.html

Regards,
Steven

Posted by Steven Chan on September 07, 2010 at 02:14 AM PDT #

We are implementing r12.1.2 and originally used a gfs2 filesystem which did not perform well so we are in the process of removing it. We are implementing 2 application tiers a load balancer and shared filesystem. I see in an earlier blog that oracle internally is using nfs. In your opinion at this time is it better for us to use nfs or ocfs2. The os is redhat 5.5
We are not implementing RAC.
Thanks

Posted by Deborah Schuster on September 09, 2010 at 12:24 PM PDT #

Hello, Deborah,

Our official position is that we support the use of any filesystem that's transparent to the E-Business Suite. I don't have sufficient personal experience with the performance of NFS vs. OCFS2 to make any informed recommendations.

I would recommend conducting benchmark comparisons of the two options in your environment to assess which one meets your needs better.

Regards,
Steven

Posted by Steven Chan on September 10, 2010 at 01:27 AM PDT #

Hi chan,
Here, customer requirement is like that RAC is primary and dataguard in stand-alone. I am searching thoroughly in OTN and blogs. But, I not getting sufficient documents. Pl suggest and guide for implementing RAC primary and dataguard is stand-alone.

Regards
Raj

Posted by Raj on September 12, 2010 at 07:48 PM PDT #

Hi Steven

Will EBS be certified if you put OCFS2 on top of ACFS?

Regards
Vaughan

Posted by Vaughan on September 13, 2010 at 05:57 PM PDT #

Hi, Vaughan,

I don't think anyone has tested this in the E-Business Suite division. First question: can OCFS2 run on ACFS, independent of the E-Business Suite? I'm afraid that I don't know (I don't have visibility into OCFS2 + ACFS compatibility -- those products are not owned by the E-Business Suite division, so we don't test compatibility in my group).

You should log a Service Request with the OCFS2 team to validate this If they say yes, then the answer for the E-Business Suite depends upon the tier. Our Fusion Middleware team has explicitly stated that they will not certify or support Fusion Middleware components on ACFS today. This rules out ACFS for the E-Business Suite middle-tier.

Therefore, ACFS is certified only for the database tier for the E-Business Suite. If the OCFS2 team states that their product can run on ACFS, then that will be supported for the E-Business Suite's database tier, too.

Regards,
Steven

Posted by Steven Chan on September 14, 2010 at 03:21 AM PDT #

Now, since 11gR2 is certified with EBS R12 , Is ACFS certified to use for shred app tier on Oracle EBS 12 on Linux ?

Posted by Abhijit Kulkarni on October 06, 2010 at 09:47 PM PDT #

Hi, Abhijit,

I'm afraid that the Fusion Middleware team has explicitly stated that they
have no current plans to certify or support Oracle Application Server 10g
components on the ACFS file system.

Oracle E-Business Suite Release 12 is built on Oracle Application Server
10g, of course. So, if the Fusion Middleware team doesn't support the use
of ACFS with Oracle Application Server 10g, neither can the E-Business Suite
division.

Customers interested in running Oracle Application Server 10g (and the
E-Business Suite) on ACFS are encouraged to log SRs against the Fusion
Middleware product to request this certification. If sufficient numbers of
customers request it, they may consider it.

Regards,
Steven

Posted by Steven Chan on October 07, 2010 at 02:16 AM PDT #

A follow-up to my previous comment:

As it turns out, the Fusion Middleware division handles these types of things a bit differently than the E-Business Suite division. They don't handle this via Service Requests in Fusion Middleware Support.

Customers interested in lobbying for this certification should contact their Oracle account manager and direct them to this Oracle Internal website:

http://aseng-wiki.us.oracle.com/asengwiki/display/StratOffc/New+Configuration+Support+Requests+for+Customer+Requests

Note that this site is accessible only to Oracle employees.

Regards,
Steven

Posted by Steven Chan on November 01, 2010 at 07:03 AM PDT #

Hi Steve,

I hope you can spare me a couple of minutes for advice?

I implemented R12 on Linux RHEL 4 x86_64 a couple of years back. This was a shared appl_top using 4 node RAC and for APPLCSF (fndreviver PCP etc) only, I used ocfs2 1.2.9

I am still, (even after re-reading your older blogs etc) unclear as to whether this is a supported, or certified (or both) combination?

Is OCFS2 1.2.9 on RHEL4 x86_86 supported for APPLCSF log files?

Many thanks
Neil

Posted by Neil on December 07, 2010 at 06:48 AM PST #

Hi, Neil,

A couple of points of variance between your configuration and the configuration that we certified:

1. As noted in the article above, we certified Oracle Enterprise Linux Version 5 Update 4 (OEL5U4 64-bit) running OCFS2 1.4.4.

You're on OCFS2 1.2.9, so that's at a lower level than the version that we certified. If you report any issues to the OCFS2 team, their first recommendation will be to upgrade to OCFS2 1.4.4 (or higher).

2. We tested OCFS2 with EBS APPL_TOPs and INST_TOPs. I don't think we tested APPLCSF located on OCFS2 volumes.

I don't think that's particularly notable, but once again, if you report an issue with your configuration, the first recommendation may be to relocate your APPLCSF to local storage to see if the problem reproduces in that modified configuration.

Regards,
Steven

Posted by Steven Chan on December 08, 2010 at 12:32 AM PST #

Current structure: Ebusiness suite R12 (12.0.0.6) with 10.2.0.4 database

Installation type : Multinode installation

Database Node 1: Database and Concurrent manager(primary application node)
================

Operating system : RHEL 4.0 (32 bit)
Database : 10.2.0.4
Application : Application tier is owned by this node and running concurrent manager process
Install top : San mountpoint local to this system
$APPLCSF/$APPLTMP: San mountpoint local to this system

Application node 1: Runs forms , 10gAs , Apache, root services
==================

Application : Application tier is nfs mounted from database node for shared appl_top.
install top : San mountpoint local to this system

Application node 2 : Hosting selfservice application runs apache
=====================

Application : Application tier is nfs mounted from database node for shared appl_top.
install top : San mountpoint local to this system

Implementation plan:
====================

Database Tier:Implementing 3 node RAC for the database using 11g RAC and ASM
=============

Application Tier:Implementing PCP and Shared file system OCFS2
================

RAC node 1: RHEL 5.5 (64 bit)
==========
RAC : 11g RAC installation on RHEL 5.5 (64 bit) with ASM
DB OH : 10g databases are going to run on 11g RAC
/Application : Shared file system OCFS2 - Need this for running concurrent managers
Install top : SAN mountpoint local to this system
$APPLCSF/$APPLTMP: Shared file system OCFS2 - For concurrent manager logs

All three RAC nodes are going to have the above structure.

Application Node 1: Runs forms , 10gAs , Apache, root services
===================

Application : Shared file system OCFS2 for shared appl_top.
install top : SAN mountpoint local to this system

Application node 2 : Hosting selfservice application runs apache
====================

Application : Shared file system OCFS2 for shared appl_top.
install top : Shared file system OCFS2

How does this plan look?

And Need opinion about the following :

keeping the concurrent manager on database node(rac nodes) and sharing the node for application (or)
Move the concurrent manager processes to the application node (away from rac nodes) and implement PCP . So that rac nodes will be used by databases. Sorry if it is too much info.

Posted by mlr on December 08, 2010 at 02:37 AM PST #

MLR,

I would recommend implementing PCP for your concurrent manager setup, since you're planning to run RAC.

Aside from that, upon a superficial scan, your physical architecture looks fine. You should note that this blog isn't really the best vehicle to assess whether a particular configuration meets your requirements, though. I'd recommend reviewing this with someone who understands both the technology as well as your operational and business plans.

Regards,
Steven

Posted by Steven Chan on December 09, 2010 at 06:39 AM PST #

Hi Steven,

Is OCFS2 compatible RHEL5 & is it certified.
If we use a shared application file system, does it cause a single point of failure if the storage/primary node goes down due to hardware failure ?
What preventions are in place to avoid such single point of hardware failure.

i'm a newbie to shared application file system.

Posted by guest on December 20, 2012 at 01:44 AM PST #

Is there any plan to release OCSF2 lib's for RHEL 6?

Posted by lohith on June 17, 2013 at 03:29 PM PDT #

Hello, Guest, Iohith,

My apologies for the delay in responding to these questions; these got lost in our queue for some reason.

All consolidated storage systems are vulnerable to becoming single points of failure. You should consult with your storage vendor to discuss failover and disaster recovery architectures.

All versions of OCFS2 1.4 and higher are certified with their respective Linux releases. I don't have much visibility into this team's release plans, but if they have released OCFS2 for OEL 6, then we would consider that certified with the E-Business Suite. The usual support coverage for RHEL would apply.

Regards,
Steven

Posted by Steven Chan on August 05, 2013 at 08:37 AM PDT #

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