Meet _enable_NUMA_support: The if-then-else Oracle Database 11g Release 2 Initialization Parameter.

Since the release of Oracle Database 11g I have made a few posts about Oracle NUMA awareness and the _enable NUMA_support parameter. There is an index of most of those posts here.

This is a really short blog entry about a little-known fact about the Oracle Database 11g Release 2 ( default value for the _enable_NUMA_support initialization parameter in the Linux x86_64 port. The following is the if-then-else logic. There aren’t many initialization parameters (that I know of) that have so much logic around the default assignment.

At instance boot time, the booting foreground process performs “discovery” to see if there are Exadata Storage Servers available. If you strace instance startup you’ll see the following:

open(“/etc/oracle/cell/network-config/cellinit.ora”, O_RDONLY) = -1 ENOENT (No such file or directory)

Also at boot time the numa libraries are dynamically linked and API calls are used to determine how many NUMA nodes there are. If there are more than 4 NUMA nodes and Exadata Storage is discovered the _enable_NUMA_support parameter is set to TRUE.

I have systems that attach to both Exadata and NFS storage at the same time. I have databases that reside entirely in both storage types as well. For maintenance reasons I needed to sever away the Exadata storage. That’s why the above discovery call suffered ENOENT. That changed my default setting for _enable_NUMA_support and  in doing so my performance numbers changed dramatically because I was not explicitly setting _enable_NUMA_support = TRUE on the Sun x4800 system I was testing. The Sun x4800 is 8-socket Nehalem EX and 8-socket EX is something you don’t want to do without Oracle NUMA awareness. Well, at least not if the instance will be running on all processors.

I doubt any of you would ever run into this, but I thought it was worth a blog entry.

5 Responses to “Meet _enable_NUMA_support: The if-then-else Oracle Database 11g Release 2 Initialization Parameter.”

  1. 1 Noons December 2, 2010 at 8:51 am

    It certainly is! Thanks heaps, Kevin.
    Not running SUN’s Nehalem-based systems, but we’re coming up to the end of life of our AIX boxes and a change of architecture may be in the cards. Starting to collect info on SUN at the mo.

  2. 2 kevinclosson December 2, 2010 at 3:32 pm

    Well, not all Nehalem-EX based systems are created equal. Not by any stretch of the imagination so do your homework. And I know you will, Noons.

    Thanks for stopping by.

  3. 3 Amir December 3, 2010 at 5:07 pm

    Hi Kevin,
    Just out of curiosity, most of your blogs centered around Linux. Do you work with Solaris for x86 at all? Also, have you run any benchmarks of 11gR2 running on Linux versus Solaris x86 on a like-for-like machine?


    • 4 kevinclosson December 3, 2010 at 8:34 pm

      Hi Amir,

      I have done a good amount of OLTP testing on Solaris 11 Express on Nehalem EX (a.k.a Exadata X2-8). I have also done that apples comparison you ask about. The only thing I can say about the performance differences I’ve seen between Linux x64 and Solaris 11 Express x64 is that they are very small and flip-flop both ways for different sorts of processing. There is nothing cut and dried. The same could not be said about the old Solaris x86 bits.

      I don’t speak for Oracle, but anyone with an internet connection can Google the many public statements Oracle has made about their commitment to SPARC. So, your choices are broad.

      In my mind it is just a matter of preference. If you are a Solaris shop. Run Solaris. If Linux makes sense, run Linux.

  1. 1 Log Buffer #209, A Carnival of the Vanities for DBAs | The Pythian Blog Trackback on December 13, 2010 at 4:34 am

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