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 RACand 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?
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
When Exadata X8M was released during the last Open World I made one post about the technical details about it. You can check it here: Exadata X8M (this post received some good shares and reviews). If you read it, you can see that I focused in more internal details (like torn blocks, one side path, two sides read/writes, and others), that differ from the normal analyses for Exadata X8M.
But recently I was invited by Oracle to participate exclusive workshop about Exadata X8M and I needed to share some details that picked me up. The workshop was done directly from Oracle Solution Center in Santa Clara Campus (it is an amazing place that I had an opportunity to visit in 2015, and have a rich history – if you have the opportunity, visit), and cover some technical details and with the hands-on part.
Unfortunately, I can’t share everything (I even don’t know if I can share something), but see the info below.
In my previous post, I showed how the clone to tape occurs for ZDLRA. But as explained, the clones occur through the scheduler and follow some rules. For full backup, as an example, it clones the last available.
But sometimes, it is needed to call the clone for some specific backup, maybe to do long-term storage to follow some regimentation/law. And if we leverage this for the clone, jobs can maybe take to long, or clone more that you need.
As you saw in my last post, the configuration to enable clone to tape for ZDLRA it is not complicated, but you need to take care of some details to avoid errors. Besides that, ZDLRA relies on OSB to do that (when configured with native tape support) and this has some details that you need to be aware of.
In this post, I will show how the clone to tape works for ZDLRA. And how you can check some details about OSB.
With ZDLRA you can clone your backups to tape using two ways. The first is using third-party software and the second is using Oracle Secure Backup (OSB). This integration from ZDLRA and OSB is the native way to do that.
Cloning backups to tape will help to offload backups from ZDLRA (reducing the space usage if you need to sustain long recovery windows), and add another layer of protection (since you can put tapes in a third site).
Here I will show how easy is to configure the OSB backup and how to integrate it into your backup policy.