8 Oracle Engineered Systems

Oracle offers three engineered systems designed specifically to run Oracle Database in a high availability environment:

8.1 Oracle Exadata Database Machine

The Oracle Exadata Database Machine is an engineered system, complete with preoptimized and preconfigured software, servers, storage, configured to current best practices, that provides an optimal solution for all database workloads, ranging from scan-intensive data warehouse applications to highly concurrent OLTP applications. It combines Oracle Exadata Storage Server Software, Oracle Database software, and hardware components to deliver extreme performance in a highly available and highly secure environment. Along with Oracle's unique clustering and workload management capabilities, the Database Machine is also well-suited for consolidating multiple databases onto a single grid.

Exadata Database Machine is designed for high performance, scalability and availability for OLTP, Data Warehouse applications, database consolidation, memory intensive workloads, and cloud computing. It is the only Engineered System focused on Oracle Database functionality and fully optimized for all database workloads using Exadata Smart Flash Technology, Exadata I/O Resource management, Exadata smart offloading capabilities and features. For the best combination of database performance, scalability and availability, use the Exadata MAA architecture.

The Oracle Exadata Database Machine hardware is fully redundant without any single points of failure. The Oracle software used on the Oracle Exadata Database Machine, used in conjunction with MAA best practices, yields a fault-tolerant system with the following benefits:

  • Continuous database availability across node and instance failures through the use of Oracle RAC

  • Data protection and continuous database accessibility across disk and cell failures through the use of Oracle ASM and the Oracle Exadata Storage Server Software

  • Prevents and automatically repairs data corruption using the Oracle ASM automatic repair mechanism, the built-in corruption checks within the Exadata storage, and the recommended database default settings (db_block_checksum, db_lost_write_protect).

  • Inspects and repairs hard disks with damaged or worn out disk sectors (cluster of storage) or other physical or logical defects periodically when there are idle resources with Exadata Automatic Hard Disk Scrub and Repair

  • Provides redundant and fault tolerant networking, cabling and server interconnectivity

  • Provides the ability to quickly reestablish database service if the Oracle Exadata Database Machine--or data center the machine resides in--is damaged, through the use of Oracle Active Data Guard or Oracle GoldenGate

For planned maintenance, Exadata Database Machine provides the following benefits:

  • Supports Oracle ASM, Oracle Clusterware, and Oracle RAC rolling upgrade and software changes

  • Supports Oracle Exadata Storage Server Software rolling upgrades for patches

  • Allows application and system changes with Data Guard and Oracle GoldenGate

  • Supports all of the online maintenance capabilities that are available in the Oracle Database

  • Provides tools and Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c support to automate patching Grid Infrastructure and Oracle Database software, database server operating system and firmware (dbnodeupdate.sh only), and all Exadata servers and InfiniBand switches (patchmgr only) in a rolling manner.

With Exadata Database Machine, your Oracle Database High Availability architecture choices are simplified and Exadata is applicable for all MAA reference architectures. See Chapter 7, "High Availability Architectures,"for details about the MAA reference architectures.

Exadata is the recommended platform for the MAA tiers and for database consolidation. Refer to the MAA white paper "High Availability Best Practices for Database Consolidation: The Foundation for Database-as-a-Service." at http://www.oracle.com/technetwork/database/availability/maa-consolidation-2186395.pdf.

The recommended Exadata MAA Architecture consists of three elements: 1) a production Exadata system (primary), 2) a standby Exadata system, and 3) an Exadata test or development system.

The second element can be an Active Standby Exadata system that is a replica of the primary that contains all the benefits of any Exadata Database Machine and the benefits described in Section 3.1, "Oracle Data Guard."

The third element can be a development/test Exadata system that is independent of the primary and standby Exadata systems, following the best practices described in Section 6.3, "Establish Test Practices and Environment."

It is recommended that you run Oracle's Exadata Health Check (exachk) monthly because it provides the most comprehensive configuration checks for Exadata software, network, and hardware components, and it reports any variance from MAA best practices. Other post-deployment and operational best practices specific to Exadata are described in Chapter 6, "Operational Prerequisites to Maximizing Availability," and the MAA white paper "MAA Best Practices for Oracle Exadata Database Machine." See My Oracle Support Note 1070954.1 for information about exachk.

The MAA configuration best practices will continue to be integrated and incorporated during the initial installation and deployment of the Exadata Database Machine and Exadata Cell.

See Also:

  • OTN Exadata MAA website: http://www.oracle.com/technetwork/database/features/availability/exadata-maa-best-practices-155385.html

  • MAA Best Practices for Oracle Exadata Database Machine (technical white paper) http://www.oracle.com/technetwork/database/features/availability/exadata-maa-131903.pdf

  • Oracle Exadata Database Machine Owner's Guide

  • Oracle Exadata Storage Server Software User's Guide

  • Oracle Exadata Database Machine on Oracle Technology Network at:


8.2 Oracle SuperCluster

The Oracle SuperCluster T5-8 and M6-32 are multi-purpose engineered system for consolidating a wide range of mission critical applications and rapidly deploying cloud services. The Oracle SuperCluster T5-8 and M6-32 utilize high performance technologies from Oracle Exadata Storage Servers and Oracle Exalogic Elastic Cloud combined with the T5-8 and M6-32 servers, ZFS Storage Appliance, InfiniBand technology, Oracle Solaris 11, and the unified systems management of Oracle Enterprise Manager Ops Center 12c. With the addition of the Oracle SuperCluster, Oracle continues to set the standard for engineered systems: maximizing customer value with leading performance in a complete and tested package. Oracle SuperCluster M6-32 scales flexibly up to 32 TB of memory and up to 32 SPARC M6 processors, which may be ideal for applications requiring in-memory processing.

Oracle SuperCluster is ideally targeted to existing SPARC database customers or customers preferring a multi-purpose engineered system that hosts a combination of various database releases (Oracle 10g and up compared to only Oracle 11g and up for Exadata) and application servers. Oracle SuperCluster has additional shared storage with ZFS storage cluster that can be used for non-database files and has virtualization support through Oracle VM Server for SPARC and Oracle Solaris Zones. Exadata Database Machine is still the recommended database machine; however Oracle SuperCluster provides other functionality for your application tier if you require a multi-purpose solution.

Oracle SuperCluster is recommended for the MAA service level tier architectures especially if a multi-purpose database and applicaition processing system is required. Oracle SuperCluster M6-32 provides the largest in-memory footprint of any Oracle engineered system. Additionally if non-database files need to be protected in the case of full stack failover or switchover, you can use a combination of Data Guard with ZFS storage remote mirroring. It is also recommended to run Oracle's Exadata health check (exachk) monthly because it provides the most comprehensive configuration checks for Exadata software, network, and hardware components, and it reports any variance from MAA best practices See My Oracle Support Note 1070954.1 for information about exachk.

8.3 Oracle Database Appliance

The Oracle Database Appliance is an engineered system consisting of hardware and software that saves customers time and money by simplifying deployment, maintenance, and support of high availability database solutions. Built with Oracle Real Applications Clusters (Oracle RAC) and Oracle Automatic Storage Management best practices, it offers customers a fully integrated system of software, servers, storage and networking in a single box delivering high availability database services for a wide range of home grown and packaged OLTP and Data Warehousing workloads. It comes as a 4RU (rack unit) server appliance that consists of two server nodes and 18TB raw storage and 800GB of SSD capacity running on Oracle Linux with an optional expansion shelf to double the storage to 36TB raw and 1.6TB of SSD.

Building highly available systems can be difficult and complex and may require advanced integration skills that many organizations don't have and be risky and error-prone with no vendor accountability. The Oracle Database Appliance is simple, reliable, and affordable.

  • Simple

    To deploy and use the Oracle Database Appliance, simply unpack it, plug in the power cord, plug in the network cables, and run the Oracle Appliance Manager installation to create a clustered, highly available database. The Oracle Database Appliance and its specially engineered software enables "one button" patching for all the elements of the software stack - firmware, operating system, clusterware, storage manager, and database software.

  • Reliable

    The Oracle Database Appliance is built on the Oracle software stack which is completely integrated along with the storage that include 600 GB SAS Hard Disk Drives between the two server nodes that can be triple-mirrored or double mirrored to provide highly available shared storage. This appliance also contains SAS Solid State Drives for redo logs, triple-mirrored to protect the Oracle database in case of instance failure. The appliance manager in conjunction with Oracle Automatic Storage Management (ASM) automatically configures, manages, and monitors the disk for performance and availability. The Oracle Appliance Manager provides alerts on performance and availability events as well as automatically configures replacement drives in case of a hard disk failure.

  • Affordable

    The Oracle Database Appliance can minimize licensing costs while providing a capacity-on-demand platform for deploying databases by initially licensing as few as 4 cores for the bare metal option – additional cores can be activated at any time. Virtualization provides additional licensing flexibility by providing isolation between databases and other workloads by leveraging Oracle VM hard partitioning.

The Oracle Database Appliance is an ideal database appliance for customers who value simplicity and who seek to avoid the complexity, costs, and risks in deploying a highly available database solution. The Oracle Database Application is also ideal for database customers who do not require Exadata Database Machine's additional performance and scalability with its Exadata software capabilities and additional availability (rolling patch upgrades vs "one button patching for all the elements of the software stack). Customers can now benefit from high availability (HA) database solutions without having special skills or HA expertise.

Oracle Database Appliance is an option for the MAA service level tier architectures when a standard platform with high consolidation density for smaller environments is required. The recommended Oracle Database Appliance MAA Architecture consists of three elements: 1) a production Oracle Database Appliance system (primary), 2) a standby Oracle Database Appliance system, and 3) an Oracle Database Appliance test or development system. It is recommended that you run Oracle health check (orachk) for its comprehensive configuration checks on operating system, Grid Infrastructure and database settings. See My Oracle Support Note 1268927.2 for information about orachk.

For more information about Oracle Database Appliance, refer to http://www.oracle.com/technetwork/server-storage/engineered-systems/database-appliance/index.html