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Data and Resource Storage

Oracle RAC Cluster Tips by Burleson Consulting

This is an excerpt from the bestselling book Oracle Grid & Real Application Clusters.  To get immediate access to the code depot of working RAC scripts, buy it directly from the publisher and save more than 30%.

The next significant resource that an application would like to utilize is the data or storage resource. The data is available in a variety of forms such as structured databases, data files, XML documents and others. Storage is attached to various machines or servers in the form of directly attached file systems, or network attached file systems (NFS). By providing a robust storage array attached to multiple servers in the grid environment and creating a unified file system that is attached to multiple servers, the data or files can be made accessible to many servers and thereby to the user applications. Users get local access to such data. It also becomes easier for the users to reference the data in the grid.

In the case of structured database systems, the data can be made available in two forms: the Clustered Database and the Federation of Databases. In a clustered solution, the same data can be accessed by referring to any server in the cluster configuration. Federation of database is more like an association of data to form a comprehensive database. In a single query, a user application is able to access multiple database resources. At the same time, many grid software solution vendors are designing some kind of unifying software, which controls multiple data sources, and project a single data view for the application or user access.


In the recent past there has been a rapid growth in server-to-server and server-to-storage communication capability. 10GbEthernet and Inifniband technologies are becoming very common. With the availability of these high bandwidth and low latency communication channels, huge amounts of data are moved across the servers in the grid environment. Communication within the grid for the purpose of sending jobs and data required for those jobs is now faster. This facilitates the transfer of job execution to other machines in the grid. Bandwidth is a critical resource for effective communication and optimum functioning of grid.

Jobs and Applications

Even with all the reference to applications and transactions, ultimately the application is executed in terms of jobs and sub-jobs. As the application execution is split into multiple jobs, those jobs can effectively be moved to different processing centers in the grid. In the grid environment, processing centers are the servers or processors. Thus, a grid application that is designed or organized as a collection of jobs is quite suitable for the grid environment. These jobs can suitably be scheduled and executed within the grid and take advantage of multiple processing resources.

Schedulers/Resource Brokers

Schedulers are other key components in the grid environment. They are also sometimes called resource brokers.

The user may select a machine suitable for running his/her job and then execute a grid command that sends the job to the selected machine. More advanced grid systems would include a job scheduler of some kind that automatically finds the most appropriate machine on which to run any given job that is waiting to be executed. Schedulers react to current availability of resources on the grid. These schedulers, besides carrying the job to other machines in the grid environment, have the capability to understand the resource availability on the idle machines.

In the grid system, any machine that becomes idle would typically report its idle status to the grid management node. This management node would assign the idle machine the next job that is satisfied by the machine?s resources. Scavenging of CPU cycles is usually implemented in a way that is unobtrusive to the normal machine user. If the machine becomes busy with local non-grid work, the grid job is usually suspended or delayed. This situation creates somewhat unpredictable completion times for grid jobs, although it is not disruptive to those machines donating resources to the grid.


This is an excerpt from the bestselling book Oracle Grid & Real Application Clusters, Rampant TechPress, by Mike Ault and Madhu Tumma.

You can buy it direct from the publisher for 30%-off and get instant access to the code depot of Oracle tuning scripts.


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