In part 1, we discussed few things that you should take care before implementation of a ZDLRA. In this post, we will discuss few more things that you should review before or at the time of implementation:
If you are getting two ZDLRAs (one each for primary and standby sites), there are two ways they can be deployed. One scenario is where all the primary databases (or the database that have no standby) backup to RA at the primary site and then the data is replicated from primary RA to RA at the standby site. This works well for the DBs that have no standby database. For the DBs where there is a standby database, there is a better architecture that can be deployed. In that scenario, primary databases backup to primary RA and the standby databases backup to standby RA. That saves you all the traffic over replication network. Oracle has published a whitepaper on how to do this configuration. Few of the instructions in this paper are a bit dated but it gives a good overall idea of how to do the implementation.
Keep an eye on the features supported for different DB versions. An interesting one is that real-time redo shipping from standby databases is supported on 12c+ databases only. It is not supported for 11g. There could be other similar things. MOS note 1995866.1 has these details.
Depending upon the ZDLRA software version being deployed, it may need a minimum version of EM and the ZDLRA plugin. MOS note 2542836.1 has these details.
Make sure after discovering the the primary and standby databases in EM, their primary-standby relationship is reflected.
Real-time redo sent to ZDLRA is compressed but the archive logs backup will be compressed only if you use compression in the RMAN command. It is always good to include backup archivelog command with daily incremental job to make sure that no archive log is missed.
Many of the environments have separate networks for backup traffic. Make sure the backup traffic to ZDLRA uses DB server’s backup network. If that is not the case, you may need to add an explicit route on DB server for ZDLRA client/VIP/scan IPs.
There are going to be different users that you will need to use: one OS user for deploying the EM agent, one DB user that will be used to run the backups. Depending upon your environment, it may oracle OS user, SYS DB user or could be some other named user created for this purpose.
In next few posts, we will discuss some of the issues I have faced while doing ZDLRA implementation for some customers.
PS: Fernando Simon has written some brilliant posts related to ZDLRA on his blog. I highly recommend to review all of them. Brilliant stuff.
A quick note about an error I faced while running root.sh on an Exadata machine. The configuration tools failed with the following error:
Error is PRVF-4657 : Name resolution setup check for "db-scan" (IP address: x.x.x.101) failed
I did nslookup on the scan name and it all seemed good. So why the error ? After spending another 5 minutes, I looked at /etc/hosts and there was it. Someone had populated /etc/hosts of DB nodes with all the hostnames entries including the scan name. Something like:
As /etc/hosts can return only one IP against a hostname whereas for scan, DNS is supposed to return 3 IPs, hence the problem. The solution is to comment out the scan name entries in /etc/hosts on all the db nodes and let the system do the name resolution via the DNS.
Zero Data Loss Recovery Appliance (ZDLRA) is Oracle’s solution for database backups. It has many advantages over other backup solutions that are available in the market. This post has a brief introduction to ZDLRA and few links for further reading. This is a quick post about few of things that you should keep in mind if you are planning to get a ZDLRA (RA in short). Of course, there is a lot more that is needed while executing the whole plan, but these are some of the basics:
The very first thing is capacity planning. Depending upon the number & sizes of the DBs that you plan to backup, you need to choose the required configuration. In most cases, an Oracle guy would be doing this for you but you should actively participate in the exercise by providing all the necessary information so that the calculations can be as accurate as possible.
Another things that plays an important role in deciding the capacity needed is the retention period i.e. period for which you would like to keep the backups in RA. More the number of days, more is the space that you will need.
Another important thing to consider is whether you are getting only one RA (for primary or standby site) or getting two of them i.e. one each for primary and standby site. Both scenarios need different type of configurations (including the bandwidth requirements between primary and standby sites) so it needs to be planned accordingly.
One more aspect you need to consider is long term retention. It could be Oracle Cloud object storage or some tape solution.
Once you have enabled DB backups to ZDLRA, you will need to stop all other backups. Plan that accordingly. Oracle provides way to run the legacy and ZDLRA backups together but that is for short duration i.e. when you are migrating from legacy backups to ZDLRA. That is not really a way to run 2 backup strategies together for long term.
In the next post, will talk about few more things that are important at the time of actual implementation.
Exadata storage software version 20.1 introduces a new feature called “Secure Fabric” for KVM based multi cluster deployments (Exadata X8M). It enables network isolation between multiple tenants (i.e. KVM VMs based RAC clusters). This feature aligns with Infiniband Partitioning on OVM based systems. There are customers who in such scenarios want that VMs of one RAC shouldn’t be able to see traffic of the other RAC VMs. This feature achieves that. Similar to Pkeys in IB switches, here it uses a double VLAN tagging system where the first tag identiefies the network partition and the second tag is used to denote membership level of the VM. Exadata documention has more details.
The minimum Exadata software version needed to enable this feature is 20.1. This release comes with RoCE switches firmware version 7.0(3)I7(8).
Starting Jun 2020, OEDA supports this configuraion and this feature can be enabled in OEDA itself. To enable it in OEDA, under Cluster Networks click on the Advanced button and you will see the Enable Secure Fabric option.
Once this option is enabled, you will see VLANs enabled for the private network. While doing the deployment, OneCommand will take care of the configuration needed.
As per documentation, at present there is no way to enable it on existing systems except doing a re-deployment.
There are two common scenarios when we may need this:
An existing DB node has crashed and is unrecoverable (due to some failure and non-availability of any backups. Though some of the things may need to be done even if the backups were available).
We have an existing Exadata rack that is virtualized. Now there is a new DB node and the existing clusters need to be extended to include the VMs on this new node.
I recently faced the first scenario where a virtualized DB node crashed and wasn’t recoverable. A bare metal DB node restore is a relatively simple procedure where we just have to reimage the node, create the needed directories, users etc and add it to the RAC cluster. In case of virtualization, the creation of VMs is an additional step that needs to be done. That makes it slightly more complex.
So the scenario is that we have an Exadata quarter rack where DB node1 has issues and needs to be reimaged and reconfigured. There are multiple VMs (so RAC clusters) created. As one of the DB node has gone down, each RAC cluster is running with one less instance. This failed node will need to be cleaned up from the RAC configuration before adding it back. Here are the steps that we need to follow to restore it back:
Reimage the node using an ISO and make it ready for creation of User Domains (aka VMs)
Create the required VMs
Create the required users, setup ssh with other nodes
Clear the failed node configuration from existing RAC clusters
Add the newly created VMs back to the respective RAC clusters
Now let’s discuss these steps in detail.
Reimage : The simplest way to reimage an Exadata node is to connect the ISO (We can download the ISO for the version we need from MOS note 888828.1) using ILOM, set the next boot device to CD-ROM, reboot/reset the node and let it boot from CD-ROM. Most of the installation part is automated and doesn’t ask any questions. Once it is done installing, ipconf starts in interactive mode and asks for all the information like Name servers, NTP servers, IP addresses and hostnames for various network interfaces etc. Once done, it will boot into the Linux partition. Since we need to virtualize the node, we need to switch it to OVS by running a script called /opt/oracle.SupportTools/switch_to_ovm.sh. It will reboot the node to OVS partition. Next step is to run reclaim /opt/opt/oracle.SupportTools/reclaim.sh -free -reclaim to reclaim the space used for bare metal partition. At this moment we are done with the reimaging part. To use ILOM in a browser and be able to access the console, we need a Java enabled Windows/Linux system. And if there is a firewall between that system and the server, this link lists the ports that need to be allowed in the firewall.
VMs creation : Next step is the creation of VMs. We will use OneCommand to achieve this. In this case, we had the original XML file used for deployment. Now we need to edit that configuration and remove the existing node’s details from it. We can import the XML into OEDA, make the required changes and save the configuration files. This needs to be done carefully as a simple mistake like a duplicate IP may cause issues with the ASM/DBs running on the other node. Once this is done, we can download the OneCommand patch (MOS note 888828.1) and run the create VMs step of OneCommand. As we have only one node in the XML file, so it is not going to touch the existing configuration.
Create users : Now we need to create the users on the newly created VMs. OneCommand’s create users step can be used here. It will create users on all the VMs. There are some things that we need to do manually here. First thing is to remove binaries from Grid & DB home. As we are going to use addnode.sh to add new nodes to existing RAC clusters, so binaries are going to be copied from an existing node. Then we need to change ownership of Grid & DB home directory tree to oracle:oinstall. Also for each VM, we need to setup passwordless ssh with the respective other VM (& vice versa) that is going to be part of the cluster.
Clear failed node config : Next we need to clear the failed node’s configuration from each of the RAC clusters. That is pretty much the standard stuff we do in RAC.
Add the new nodes : This again is just the standard addnode stuff we do in RAC.
I have used the terms VM and Node interchangeably here but the context should make it clear if I am referring to the physical node or a VM. There is another method to do this using OEDACLI and it is documented in Exadata documentation. That automates a lot of these things. Check this link for the details.