Archive for the 'Geo-Clusters' Category

Building a Stretch Real Application Clusters Configuration? Get The CRS Voting Disk Setup Right!

The topic of “stretch clusters” has been interesting to a lot of folks for quite some time. A stretch cluster is one where one or more cluster nodes, one or more portions of the SAN or both are geographically remote. Geographically remote could be within eye-sight (1-2km) or a long distance away. YottaYotta (Robin Harris of will notice that name) reached out to me (with hardware to offer) several years ago to set up a 3500km stretch cluster with three 10gR2 RAC nodes. Two of the RAC nodes were co-located and the third was put at 3500km distance using communications hardware that simulates the latency imposed by such great distance. And, yes, it is a valid simulation. It was an interesting exercise and with the YottaYotta distributed block server, the PolyServe (HP) and RAC were totally oblivious to the topology. It was a cool project, but that technology has had a difficult time catching on. In the interim, mainstream vendors have stepped up to offer stretch clustering technology and in the name of business continuity, folks are considering these sorts of solutions-but they are expensive. To that end, most shops would tend to buy, at most, a two-legged SAN. Therein lies the problem. Such a configuration could suffer a disaster on the leg of the SAN that has the majority of the CRS voting disks resulting in a total outage of the solution.

The remedy for this problem is to implement a third leg of storage for more voting disks to ensure an n+1 majority are available, but at what cost? The solution is to implement an inexpensive NFS share in which to host these additional voting disks. And, yes, you can use a simple low end Unix/Linux host as the NFS server for this purpose-so long as the host is running Solaris, AIX or HP-UX, or Linux. The following is a link to a paper that covers Oracle’s recommended/supported approach to this solution with Oracle Database 10g Release 2.

Using NFS for a Third CRS Voting Device

The paper is clear about the fact that using some plain Unix/Linux server to host NFS shares for Oracle files is limited to this specific purpose:

Oracle does NOT support standard NFS for any files, with the one specific exception documented in this white paper.

The paper appears to have a small contradiction about mount options-specifically stating that the noac option is required for Linux (see Figure 1) servers which seems to contradict Metalink 279393.1. I’ve sent an email to the authors about that. We’ll see if it changes.


I work for Amazon Web Services. The opinions I share in this blog are my own. I'm *not* communicating as a spokesperson for Amazon. In other words, I work at Amazon, but this is my own opinion.

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All content is © Kevin Closson and "Kevin Closson's Blog: Platforms, Databases, and Storage", 2006-2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Kevin Closson and Kevin Closson's Blog: Platforms, Databases, and Storage with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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