RACing ahead with Oracle on VMware – Part 6

Preparing for a 2-node Oracle 10gR2 RAC on RHEL 4.2 Linux with VMware

A Brief Pep talk: Year 2005 and Oracle RAC

The year 2005 has been a great year for the IT industry,
mainly the Web but for databases too. Oracle had a very busy year with
acquisitions and its continued support and contribution to Open Source
Community (like membership on Eclipse Board, JDeveloper was released free).

To top it all, it has been a RAC
year for Oracle
. Oracle had just about a flat year in revenues and it was RAC
that was the hero. So, you see RAC is getting more and more attention and is
being adopted more rapidly than ever. I see RAC deployment, with help of
Virtualization technologies such as ESX Server, only to soar higher
in 2006.

In this article, we will go through the preparation and
planning. We will take time to study the groundbreaking technologies like OCFS2
and ASMlib and breeze through the ESX Server in general.

Will VMware and RAC ever work in Production?

Will VMware and RAC ever work in production? An obvious question with a
simple answer: YES! VMware came out with ESX Server for production and
until ESX Server 2.5.x versions (which I use occasionally on my Regular blog and other Oracle blog to discuss such
developments in more detail to illustrate its usefulness with Virtual Center
Interface) no one even considered running Oracle RAC under VMware
in production.

There were memory limitations (maximum 3.6 G for ESX 2.5), and only two
virtual SMPs. Recently VMware announced its ESX Server 3 (which is already in
Beta) and Virtual Center 2, which will cause the world to not only take notice and
be totally blown away by its sheer capacity to accommodate real enterprise
mainframe class software like Oracle RAC. Why? Just see for yourself; these are
my favorite enhancements

  • 4-Way Virtual SMP
  • 16GB RAM for Virtual Machines!
  • Hot Virtual disk Adding
  • NAS / iSCSI support

I have not seen this, but VMotion
support for Clustered Setups would top it all off! Imagine no downtime at all! How
can you argue with that? You can have two 32G RAM and 4 CPU boxes and run a
highly available Mission Critical Oracle RAC with enough money left to setup a
mirrored SAN somewhere else and have an amazing 5-Nine score for the rest of
your (business) life! Read more of those enhancements here .

So what all do I need for Linux and Oracle RAC on VMware?

Getting Linux

You can either get Centos (which is a complete rebuild from
SRPMS of Red Hat Linux) for free here or get an
evaluation version of RHEL 4.2 "Red Hat Enterprise
Linux AS
." Download them all and keep them as *.iso. You can just plug
in the *.iso into your Vmware CD/DVD drive.

Getting Oracle 10gR2 Software

Get a free OTN subscription if you don’t have
one and then download the following

Getting OCFS2 for Oracle 10g Release 2

Download OCFS2 , learn more about this project
and don’t forget to read the documentation. As
you can see, you do not need to downgrade your kernel due to the availability
of the these

OCFS tools are a must too. The ocfs2console is
an excellent and handy GUI utility. You can however, do everything via the
command line interface if that suits you as well.

Getting Oracle ASMLib 2.0

Oracle recommends using ASMlib and we will go
about getting those packages right away. We will be needing the ASM Library, tools
and drivers.

Drivers for kernel Drivers for kernel

Library and Tools

Getting Additional Tools

I mentioned in my first
about getting Putty, VNC or NoMachine ( I have some instructions for
installing NoMachine here,
although I still don’t see any binaries for the RHEL4 version here ). These
are handy tools to log on to the Virtual Machines directly. I personally find
logging on via the VMware console or via the remote console (an application
that you can download if you are using GSX Server or ESX Server) a little too

Getting VMware

Although our intention is just to test and learn Oracle RAC, we will not
exclude the possibility of using an underutilized PC/Laptop or even a Server,
or putting those test servers in your test environment to some real use, by trying
ESX Server on them. If you have bought a dual core AMD PC with 2Gig RAM, you
might just be ready to give the ESX Server a spin.

Tarry Singh
Tarry Singh
I have been active in several industries since 1991. While working in the maritime industry I have worked for several Fortune 500 firms such as NYK, A.P. Møller-Mærsk Group. I made a career switch, emigrated, learned a new language and moved into the IT industry starting 2000. Since then I have been a Sr. DBA, (Technical) Project Manager, Sr. Consultant, Infrastructure Specialist (Clustering, Load Balancing, Networks, Databases) and (currently) Virtualization/Cloud Computing Expert and Global Sourcing in the IT industry. My deep understanding of multi-cultural issues (having worked across the globe) and international exposure has not only helped me successfully relaunch my career in a new industry but also helped me stay successful in what I do. I believe in "worknets" and "collective or swarm intelligence". As a trainer (technical as well as non-technical) I have trained staff both on national and international level. I am very devoted, perspicacious and hard working.
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