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Oracle® Database 2 Day DBA
10g Release 2 (10.2)

Part Number B14196-02
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Overview of Disks, Disk Groups, and Failure Groups

You configure ASM by creating disk groups that become the default location for files created in the database. The disk group type determines how ASM mirrors files. When you create a disk group, you indicate whether the disk group is a normal redundancy disk group (2-way mirroring for most files by default), a high redundancy disk group (3-way mirroring), or an external redundancy disk group (no mirroring by ASM). You use an external redundancy disk group if your storage system already does mirroring at the hardware level, or if you have no need for redundant data. The default disk group type is normal redundancy.

A disk group consists of a grouping of disks that are managed together as a unit. These disks are referred to as ASM disks. An ASM disk can be a disk device, a partition, or a network-attached file.

When an ASM instance starts, it automatically discovers all available ASM disks. Discovery is the process of finding all disks that have been prepared for ASM by your system administrator, examining their disk headers, and determining which disks belong to disk groups and which are available for assignment to disk groups. ASM discovers disks in the paths that are listed in an initialization parameter, or if the parameter is NULL, in an operating system–dependent default path.

Failure groups define ASM disks that share a common potential failure mechanism. An example of a failure group is a set of SCSI disks sharing the same SCSI controller. Failure groups are used to determine which ASM disks to use for storing redundant copies of data. For example, if 2-way mirroring is specified for a file, ASM automatically stores redundant copies of file extents in separate failure groups. Failure groups apply only to normal and high redundancy disk groups. You define the failure groups in a disk group when you create or alter the disk group.


By default, when you create a disk group, every disk in the disk group belongs to exactly one failure group. For most systems, the default failure groups work well to prevent data loss.

See Also:

Oracle Database Administrator's Guide for additional information about failure groups, and for instructions on how to configure and use failure groups.