“RAC” n “RAC” all night – Oracle RAC on vSphere 6.x

“I wanna “RAC” and “RAC” all night and party every day” – mantra of an Oracle RAC DBA.

Much has been written , spoken and probably beaten to senseless 🙂 about the magical “Multi-writer” setting and how it helps multiple VM’s share vmdk’s simultaneously for Clustering and FT used cases.

I still get question from customers interested in running Oracle RAC on vSphere about if we have the ability to add shared vmdk’s to a RAC cluster online without any downtime ? Yes we do. Are the steps of adding shared vmdk’s to an extended RAC cluster online without any downtime the same? Yes.


By default, the simultaneous multi-writer “protection” is enabled for all. vmdk files ie all VM’s have exclusive access to their vmdk files. So in order for all of the VM’s to access the shared vmdk’s simultaneously, the multi-writer protection needs to be disabled.

The below table describes the various Virtual Machine Disk Modes:

As we all are aware of , Oracle RAC requires shared disks to be accessed by all nodes of the RAC cluster.

KB Article 1034165 provides more details on how to set the multi-writer option to allow VM’s to share vmdk’s. Requirement for shared disks with the multi-writer flag setting for a RAC environment is that the shared disk is

  • has to set to Eager Zero Thick provisioned
  • need not be set to Independent persistent

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To be “RDM for Oracle RAC”, or not to be, that is the question

Famous words from William Shakespeare’s play Hamlet. Act III, Scene I.

This is true even in the Virtualization world for Oracle Business Critical Applications where one wonders which way to go when it comes to provisioning shared disks for Oracle RAC disks, Raw Device Mappings (RDM) or VMDK ?

Much has been written and discussed about RDM and VMDK and this post will focus on the Oracle RAC shared disks use case.

Some common questions I get talking to our customer who are embarking on the virtualization journey for Oracle on vSphere are

  • What is the recommended approach when it comes to provisioning storage for Oracle RAC or Oracle Single instance? Is it VMDK or RDM?
  • What is the use case for each approach?
  • How do I provision shared RDM (s)  in Physical or Virtual Compatibility mode for an Oracle RAC environment?
  • If I use shared RDM (s)  (Physical or Virtual) will I be able to vMotion my RAC VM ’s without any cluster node eviction?

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Oracle on vSAN HCI – VMworld 2017

Interested to find out how VMware HCI vSAN solution provides high availability, workload balancing, seamless site maintenance, stability, resilience, performance and cost effective hardware required to meet critical business SLA’s for running mission critical workloads?

Come attend our session at VMworld 2017 Las Vegas on Wednesday, Aug 30, 2:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. where Sudhir Balasubramanian and Palanivenkatesan Murugan will talk about the VMware HCI vSAN solution for Mission Critical Oracle workloads

This session will showcase deployment of Oracle Clustered and Non Clustered databases along with running IO intensive workloads on vSAN and also talk about seamlessly running database day 2 operations like Backup & Recovery, Database Cloning , Data Refreshes , Database Patching etc using vSAN capability.

Signup for our session here

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Streamlining Oracle on SDDC – VMworld 2017

Interested to find out how to streamline your Business Critical Applications on VMware Software-Defined Datacenter (SDDC) seamlessly?

Come attend our session at VMworld 2017 Las Vegas on Thursday, Aug 31, 1:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. where Amanda Blevins and  Sudhir Balasubramanian will talk about the end to end life cycle of an Application on VMware SDDC.

This includes provisioning, management, monitoring, troubleshooting, and cost transparency with the vRealize Suite. The session will also include best practices for running Oracle databases on the SDDC including sizing and performance tuning. Business continuity requirements and procedures will be addressed in the context of the SDDC. It is a formidable task to ensure the smooth operation of critical applications running on Oracle, and the SDDC simplifies and standardizes the approach across all datacenters and systems.

Signup for our session here

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VMworld 2017 Oracle Customer Bootcamps

VMworld 2017 Oracle Customer Bootcamps

On a mission to arm yourself with the latest knowledge and skills needed to master application virtualization?

reading book

VMworld Customer bootcamps can get you in shape to lead the virtualization charge in your organization, with Instructor-led demos and In-depth course work designed to put you in the ranks of the IT elite.

Oracle on vSphere
The Oracle on VMware vSphere Bootcamp will provide the attendee the opportunity to learn the essential skills necessary to run Oracle implementations on VMware vSphere. The best practices and optimal approaches to deployment, operation and management of Oracle database and application software will be presented by VMware expert Sudhir Balasubramanian who will be joined by other VMware and Industry Experts.

This technical workshop will exceed the standard breakout session format by delivering “real-life,” instructor-led, live training and incorporating the recommended design and configuration practices for architecting Business Critical Databases on VMware vSphere infrastructure. Subjects such as Real Applications Clusters, Automatic Storage Management, vSAN and NSX will be covered in depth.

Learn More



Cost: $725 / seat

Saturday August 26, 2017
8:00am to 5:00pm
(registration opens at 6:30am)

Mandalay Bay, South Convention Centre
3rd Floor Jasmine Rooms


Be sure to add the Bootcamp in step 4 of your VMworld conference registration, under Educational Offerings, after you’ve selected your conferences pass.

Registration is open, seating is limited! Lunch and breaks provided.

Looking forward to seeing you all there!

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Oracle Database 12c on VMware vSAN — Day 2 Operations and Management

Oracle Database 12c on VMware vSAN — Day 2 Operations and Management

Customers deploying production Oracle workloads have stringent requirements to support and maintain critical database operational tasks such as Backup and Recovery, Cloning, Data Refresh for Development/Test environment and Patching. These operational tasks are also known as Database Day 2 Management Operations.

With the rapid adoption of VMware vSAN™ for business-critical workloads due to highly scalable , available , reliable and high performance HCI solution. It is essential to provide features and tools for seamless Day 1 and Day 2 Operations.

vSAN offers a range of tools and features for Day 1 and Day 2 Operations. VMware vSphere® web client provides administrator with the capability to manage their infrastructure in a unified way for deploying, provisioning, health check, and performance monitoring. vSAN 6.0 and above has improved snapshot capability, which provides users with enterprise-class snapshots and clones that can be used for Oracle database cloning use cases.

The Oracle Real Application Clusters on VMware vSAN reference architecture addresses common business challenges that CIOs face today in an online transaction processing (OLTP) environment that requires availability, reliability, scalability, predictability and cost-effective storage, which helps customers design and implement optimal configurations specifically for Oracle RAC Database on vSAN.

The Oracle Database 12c on VMware vSAN 6.2 All-Flash reference architecture addresses common business challenges that CIOs face today in an OLTP and decision-support-system (DSS) environment that requires predictable performance and cost-effective storage.

Having addressed the Day 1 operations including deployment and provisioning of critical Oracle workloads on VMware vSAN, this operation guide focuses on the Day 2 Operations of Oracle on vSAN including backup and recovery, database cloning, database refresh for test and development environment and database patching.


VMware vSAN snapshot and clone technologies are primarily used for providing support to Oracle Day 2 Operations. VMware vSAN snapshot and clone technologies used with inherent Oracle tools provide efficient Day 2 Operations for business-critical Oracle database.

Check out the recently published Oracle Database 12c on VMware vSAN — Day 2 Operations and Management  operation guide that provides solutions and operation procedures for Oracle Database Day 2 Operations including below key oracle database tasks using vSAN snapshots and clones:

  • Backup and recovery
  • Cloning
  • Data refresh for development and test environment from production
  • Patching

While the operation guide provides above solutions natively for the Oracle database on vSAN environment. There are backup vendors who provide Oracle application-level integration along with VADP (VMware vSphere Storage APIs – for Data Protection) API integration, which can help in ease of backup/cloning, greater levels of manageability and control in vSphere environment including vSAN. These third-party backup solutions can also be used for these use cases.

Further, with the announcement of VMware Ready for vSAN program that offers partners a set of tools, resources, and processes needed to certify Data Protection products with VMware vSAN. This certification program will provide confidence with the partner data protection solutions deployed in VMware vSAN environments for seamless operation.

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The Art of P2V and Oracle ASM

“Come with me if you want to live” – famous words from the Terminator series.

It’s also the very reason IT companies are adopting the ‘Virtualize First’ policy to reap all of the benefits of virtualization and move away from the soon to be legacy bare metal architecture world and ‘save a bunch of money’ , just as the Gecko said.

As part of the Virtualization journey, one of the tools VMware Professional Services (PSO), Partners and Customers use to migrate applications from physical x86 servers (Windows & Linux) to VMware Virtual Machine (VM) is using the VMware Convertor tool, the process known as P2V (Physical to Virtual). It transforms the Windows- and Linux-based physical machines and third-party image formats to VMware virtual machines.

One of the most common question I get talking the VMware field, Partners & Customers as part of my role is ‘Can I use VMware Convertor to migrate Oracle databases from physical x86 running  Linux / Oracle OVM running Linux to VMware vSphere platform ?’ , the answer, famous 2 words , ‘it depends !!’ .

Let me explain why I said that.

Database Re-Platforming

Oracle databases, being the sophisticated ‘beasts of burden’, there are many key factors to be kept in mind when we embark on an Oracle database re-platforming exercise, either between same / different system architectures, bare metal to bare metal / physical to virtual architecture, some of them include:

  • source and destination system architecture
    • are we moving between like architectures (x86 to x86)
    • are we moving between from a big endian system to a little endian system (Solaris / AIX / HP-UX to x86)
  • size and operating nature of the database (terabytes / production, pre-prod, dev, test etc)
  • database storage (File system / Oracle ASM)

More information on Handiness can be found in the link below

So, if your use case is moving Oracle databases from a big endian system to a little endian system (Solaris / AIX / HP-UX to x86), Stop Right here, you cannot use the VMware Convertor tool to migrate databases between RISC Unix and Linux x86. You need an Oracle Plan and Design exercise to migrate Oracle databases between these 2 systems.

Keep reading if you are replatforming Oracle database between x86 platforms i.e. Physical server / Virtual machine (VMware vSphere / Oracle OVM) to VMware Virtual Machine (VMware).

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