In our previous article,
we looked at the clustering possibilities on the ESX Server. In this article,
we will take a detailed look at the various possibilities for building clusters
across several physical ESX hosts. We will also look at the clustering possibilities across ESX hosts
and physical machines.
Clustering Oracle RAC Virtual Machines across ESX hosts
Here we will create and customize the
first node, create and customize the second node, and add shared disks and
network configurations. The first step of creating the machine is very much
similar to the last article, see diagram
1 of creating a VM.
You will create a VM, add two
network adapters and local storage for booting and swapping (I personally add
two local disks on SCSI0, my first controller. One for boot, I just customized
it and put everything under / ; this is a typical 10G disk and a 4G disk for
swap) and then go ahead and install the operating system (Windows, Linux or
The second node is created much
the same way as the first one.
Adding shared storage: Here we add
remote disks on a new SCSI controller, it is normally SCSI1. Then we go about
configuring the IP addresses. You can do that in advance as well. Just watch
out for the Solaris 10.3 where my NICs vanished after I added shared storage.
In this case, it might be wise to configure the ip addresses at the very end.
The disks must point to SAN LUNs. RDM or Raw Device Mapping must be in physical
For the sake of repetition, we will
quickly go through the steps of creating the first node:
I normally make resource pools and
set all the shares (CPU, Memory) to normal. Please refer to the ESX
administration manual for more details on resource pools. It is an excellent
means to allocate VMs to resource pools. If you don’t want resource pools, you
can just select your ESX host and start creating your VM on it.
Datastore: Choose for a local
datastore. You can create disks in advance and then allocate the *.vmdks to the
newly created VM. You can also create them via the “create VM wizard”.
Guest Operating System (OS): I
normally have a separate LUN reserved for VM templates and ISO disks. Here I
select the OS I need to install. If you already have Virtual Center then you can just create VMs from ready-baked VM templates. Should
you not have the templates, just go ahead and install the OS.
CPUs: Choose as many vCPUs as you
Memory: Depends on how much you
have on your ESX server. I prefer to keep them to 2G per VM but you can also
try on 1G per VM. Just make sure to tune your Oracle Memory management
Network Interface Cards (NICs):
Create two of them.
- Click OK and create your VM.
After creation, do the necessary
post creation tasks such as configuring your floppy, CD drive etc.
Installing Guest OS: We pointed
our Cdrom to the ISO files of our OS. Now its time to install it. Select the VM
and in the CD drive setting, check the boxes to be “connected”. Now, power on
the Virtual Machine, and continue with the installation. For Linux we have
detailed our installation of RHEL as well as Oracle Enterprise Linux. Please
follow those steps carefully as documented and you will have a successful
Now let’s see what we need to do to
create the second node. The best way is to clone the machine you just created. (Why
go to all the trouble to make machines.) If you are to test an 8 Node RAC on
your ESX, you might as well go ahead and do it smartly. That is why VMware ESX
Server is such an exciting platform to work on.
- Shut down node 1 and power it off.
In your VI client, select the VM01
(we will call it VM01 and VM02 for the sake of simplicity) and right click to clone
Name/Location: Choose VM02 and the
Datastore where both nodes should be stored as per your capacity planning.
Host or Cluster: Choose the second
ESX host (let’s call it ESXRAC02) for cluster setup.
Resource pool: Select a resource
pool, if you have created one or just add the machine to that new ESX host,
Datastore: Choose local datastore.
In any case, make sure that you have enough space to accommodate the new VM.
- Do not customize
- Select OK to create the clone
Note: Many users may not be able to clone
or may not find cloning the right way to go. I have a tip for those users. Did
you know that you could use the free VMware Converter to clone your VM on your
ESX or VMware Server/Workstation? Try it. In another article, we will throw in
some screen shots.
Adding Shared Storage
To add shared storage please use the
Select the newly created VM01 or
Click Add hard disk and then click
For disk space choose Mapped SAN
In the LUN choices, pick up an
unformatted LUN (Make sure you are doing all this as your SAN admin) and click
When selecting the datastore,
select local datastore and click next. (The RDM mapping is also stored in this
Select “physical compatibility
mode” and click next (You will notice in the edit settings tab that a new SCSI
controller SCSI(1: 0) is created when you create your Virtual Hard Disk). Add
all the disks to it. Ocr.vmdk, asmfile.vmdk, votingdisk,vmdk, asm01.vmdk,
Select new virtual device node and
choose the SCSI1:0, SCSI1:1, SCSI1:2, etc. for all your RAC files.
Click Finish to create all the
Select this new SCSI1 controller
and change the controller type to LsiLogic
In the same panel, change the SCSI
Bus Sharing to Physical (as in the print screen below).
Click OK (As mentioned in my
previous article, when starting my VM, I once got a few dialog boxes asking me
to change the type to LsiLogic. I acknowledged all the messages.)
Do the same steps for VM02 node.
All you have to do in this case is to point to the “existing vmdk” created from
our above-mentioned steps. Allocate the SCSI1:0, SCSI1:1 etc. to the disks in
the same manner as you did with the VM01 and now you have a fully configured
multi-ESX host Oracle RAC cluster ready to be installed with the RAC software.
After the multi-host configuration, your
configuration will look like this (courtesy VMware Documentation):
Here the remote storage is your SAN or
NAS. FC or Fiber Channel is used for SAN and you will also have additional HBAs
per ESX host.
In the next installment, we will explore
the Shared Storage considerations where one node is still on a physical machine
and the new node is on an ESX host. Are you thinking what I am thinking? Yes
indeed, migrating your Oracle RAC from physical to virtual might just be a
matter of deleting physical nodes while you are adding new nodes on the ESX
host! You can do it all yourself!