Category Archives: Exadata

Category about Oracle Exadata. List of posts.

ZDLRA + MAA, Protection for Gold Architecture

The Gold architecture for MAA is used to emphasis the application continuity. All the possible outages (planned or no) are protected by Oracle features. Here we are one step further and start to design using multi-site architecture. Data Guard, RAC, Oracle Clusterware, everything is there. But even with these, ZDLRA is still needed to allow complete protection.

The image above taken from https://www.oracle.com/a/tech/docs/maa-overview-onpremise-2019.pdf.

With the MAA references, we have the blueprints and highlights how to protect them since the standalone/single instance until the multiple site database. But for Gold we are beyond RPO and RTO, they are important but application continuity and data continuity join to complete the whole picture.

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ZDLRA + MAA, Protection for Silver Architecture

The MAA defined Silver architecture for database environments that use (or need) high availability to survive for outages. The idea is having more than one single instance running, and to do that, it relies on Oracle Clusterware and Engineered Systems to mitigate the single point of failure. But is not just a database that gains with this, the Silver architecture is the first step to have application continuity. And again, ZDLRA is there since the beginning.

As you can see above, the Silver by MAA blueprints improves compared with Bronze architecture that I spoke at the last post. But the basic points are there: RPO and RTO. They continue to base rule here. And the goals are the same: Data Availability, Data Protection, Performance (no impact), Cost (lower cost), and Risk (reduce). More technical details here at the MAA Overview doc.

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ZDLRA + MAA, Protection for Bronze Architecture

Oracle Maximum Availability Architecture (MAA) means more than just Data Guard or Golden Gate to survive outages, is related to data protection, data availability, and application continuity. MAA defines four reference architectures that can be used to guide during the deploy/design of your environment, and ZDLRA is there for all architectures.

Image above taken from https://www.oracle.com/a/tech/docs/maa-overview-onpremise-2019.pdf.

With the MAA references, we have the blueprints and highlights how to protect them since the standalone/single instance until the multiple site database. The MAA goal is to survive an outage but also sustain: Data Availability, Data Protection, Performance (no impact), Cost (lower cost), and Risk (reduce).

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MAA, Blueprints and On-Premise Architecture Reference

The Oracle Maximum Availability Architecture (MAA) is the correct way to protect your Oracle database environment (and investment). It covers from a simple single instance to Exadata/Engineered Systems RAC and a multi-site database with Data Guard protection. But do you know that to reach the MAA (whatever the architecture level that you are protecting) you need to use ZDLRA?

So, I will start a series of posts to cover the MAA and ZDLRA. Discussing what you need to do (and how) to reach the maximum level of availability as is at the MAA architecture (as defined in the documentation and best practices: Oracle Maximum Availability Architecture (MAA) Blueprints for On-PremisesMAA Best Practices – Oracle Database, and Maximum Availability with Oracle Database 19c).

Why ZDLRA?

The question is why ZDLRA is needed? The point from ZDLRA is that it can (and needed to be used) to protect and reach zero RPO to all architectures. ZDLRA is more (much more) than just a backup appliance, is the core of every MAA design. You can’t reach zero RPO without using it.

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ZDLRA, Patch/Update the Recovery Appliance

The process of patch ZDLRA is not complicated, but it is important to be aware of some details. The most important is from where you are until where you want to go. This is crucial because it will define what commands you will need to execute.

If you read the previous post about the process, you can notice that I was running the ZDLRA 12.2 version, and forwarded to 19.2 version. In that case, I needed to use the upgrade path since I was changing the major release and the racli commands had the “upgrade” parameter.

In this post I will show how to do a simple update (or patch apply) for ZDLRA, this means that I will remain inside the same major release for recovery appliance library. Some steps and checks are the same.

Whatever you need to do (patch or upgrade), the startup point it is the note 1927416.1 that cover the supported versions for ZDLRA. There it is possible to find all the supported versions for the recovery appliance library as well as the Exadata versions. Please, not upgrade the Exadata stack with a version that is not listed on this page.

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Exadata and ZDLRA, Patch Exadata Stack

The process to patch Exadata stack and software changed in the last years and it became easier. Now, with patchmgr to be used for all (database servers, storage cells, and switches) the process is much easier to control the steps. Here I will show the steps that are involved in this process.

Independent if it is ZDLRA or Exadata, the process for Engineering System is the same. So, this post can be used as a guide for the Exadata patch apply as well. In 2018 I already made a similar process about how to patch/upgrade Exadata to 18c (you can access here) and even made a partial/incomplete post for 12c in 2015.

The process will be very similar and can be done in rolling and non-rolling mode. In the first, the services continue to run and you don’t need to shutdown databases, but will take more time because the patchmgr applies server by server. At the second, you need to shutdown the entire GI and the patch is applied in parallel and will be faster.

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ZDLRA, Patch the Recovery Appliance

The proceed to patch/upgrade ZDLRA is not complicated, but as usual, some details need to be checked before starting the procedure. Since it is one engineering system based at Exadata, the procedure has one part that (maybe) needs to upgrade this stack too. But, is possible to upgrade just the recovery appliance library.

Whatever if need or no to upgrade the Exadata stack, the upgrade for recovery appliance library is the same. The commands and checks are the same. The procedure described in this post cover the upgrade of the recovery appliance library. For Exadata stack, it is in another post.

Where we are

Before even start the patch/upgrade it is important to know exactly which version you are running. To do this execute the command racli version at you database node:

[root@zeroinsg01 ~]# racli version
Recovery Appliance Version:
        exadata image: 19.2.3.0.0.190621
        rarpm version: ra_automation-12.2.1.1.2.201907-30111072.x86_64
        rdbms version: RDBMS_12.2.0.1.0_LINUX.X64_RELEASE
        transaction  : kadjei_julpsu_ip2
        zdlra version: ZDLRA_12.2.1.1.2.201907_LINUX.X64_RELEASE
[root@zeroinsg01 ~]#

With this, we can discover the ZDLRA version running (12.2.1.1.2.201907 in this case), and the Exadata image version (19.2.3.0.0.190621).

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Exadata and ZDLRA, Disable HAIP

HAIP (High Availability IP) is not supported for the Exadata environment but can occur (if you did not create the cluster using OEDA) that HAIP became in use. And this particularity true for ZDLRA. So, during the upgrade from the previous version (12.2) to a higher version, it is needed to remove HAIP.

Usually, when we upgrading from 12.2 to 18c the HAIP is removed from Exadata. If the upgrade is from 12.1, and HAIP is there, it continues and is not removed by the upgrade process. If you are using HAIP and your GI is 12.1, this procedure as-is described here can’t be used (need some adaptation), because of some requirements from ASM+ACFS+DB. But since this is a preliminary step from a GI upgrade, the focus is to disable and remove it from GI.

The HAIP is not needed for Exadata because by architecture the InfiniBand network already defines (per server) two IP’s to avoid the single point of failure. So, it is not needed to create an additional layer (HAIP and virtual IP), that does the same that already exists by network design.

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ASM, REPLACE DISK Command

The REPLACE DISK command was released with 12.1 and allow to do an online replacement for a failed disk. This command is important because it reduces the rebalance time doing just the SYNC phase. Comparing with normal disk replacement (DROP and ADD in the same command), the REPLACE just do mirror resync.

Basically, when the REPLACE command is called, the rebalance just copy/sync the data from the survivor disk (the partner disk from the mirror). It is faster since the previous way with drop/add execute a complete rebalance from all AU of the diskgroup, doing REBALANCE and SYNC phase.

The replace disk command is important for the SWAP disk process for Exadata (where you add the new 14TB disks) since it is faster to do the rebalance of the diskgroup.

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ASM, Mount Restricted Force For Recovery

Survive to disk failures it is crucial to avoid data corruption, but sometimes, even with redundancy at ASM, multiple failures can happen. Check in this post how to use the undocumented feature “mount restricted force for recovery” to resurrect diskgroup and lose less data when multiple failures occur.

Diskgroup redundancy is a key factor for ASM resilience, where you can survive to disk failures and still continue to run databases. I will not extend about ASM disk redundancy here, but usually, you can configure your diskgroup without redundancy (EXTERNAL), double redundancy (NORMAL), triple redundancy (HIGH), and even fourth redundancy (EXTEND for stretch clusters).

If you want to understand more about redundancy you have a lot of articles at MOS and on the internet that provide useful information. One good is this. The idea is simple, spread multiple copies in different disks. And can even be better if you group disks in the same failgroups, so, your data will have multiple copies in separate places.

As an example, this a key for Exadata, where every storage cell is one independent failgroup and you can survive to one entire cell failure (or double full, depending on the redundancy of your diskgroup) without data loss. The same idea can be applied at a “normal” environment, where you can create failgroup to disks attached to controller A, and another attached to controller B (so the failure of one storage controller does not affect all failgroups). At ASM, if you do not create failgroup, each disk is a different one in diskgroups that have redundancy enabled.

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