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ASM Fast Mirror Resync in 11g

Oracle 11g New Features Tips by Donald BurlesonJune 29, 2015

Oracle 11g New Features Tips

This feature utilizes the disk group attribute disk_repair_time to determine how long to wait before an ASM disk is permanently dropped from an ASM disk group after it was taken offline for whatever reason. The default of disk_repair_time is 3.6 hours. The time can be specified in minutes, hours and days (M?H?D). If a unit is not specified, hours is used by default. This means that if a disk of an ASM disk group becomes unavailable for only a short period of time, the server waits for the disk to become available again instead of forcibly removing it at once from the disk group as was the case with Oracle 10g. This can be very handy if a disk is temporarily inaccessible possibly because of a temporary cable disconnect.

Note: Fast mirror resynchronization of a disk group can be switched off by changing its attribute disk_repair_time to 0. 

In 10g, such a disk would be dropped from the disk group right away. This could cause unnecessary re-balancing operations with lots of I/O load and need to be fixed twice. The first time, ASM would rebalance the disk group after dropping the disk. Oracle would then re-stripe everything within the disk group which was striped across n disks before the drop of the disk across now n-1 disks. This re-balancing would have to take place a second time in order to re-stripe everything across again (n-1)+1 disks after re-adding the disk to the disk group later on. All these expensive I/Os can be prevented with the fast mirror resynchronization feature in 11g.

In the 11g scenario with fast mirror resync, the time which is needed to resynchronize a failure is reduced dramatically if the failure is only a transient failure and can be fixed within disk_repair_time. Only those extents which have been marked as modified in between need to be rebalanced after the failed disk has re-joined the disk group.

Figure 5:  Modified Extents being Resynced

The view v$asm_disk has a column REPAIR_TIMER which shows the number of seconds remaining until the disk is automatically dropped and 0 if not failed.

% Fast mirror resynchronization can dramatically reduce the time needed to            rebalance a disk group when a disk becomes available again in time after a            temporary disconnect.

The drawback of fast mirror resync is that in the time between the failure and the return of the disk, there is only one mirror of those extents left which are on the failed disk if the disk group uses normal redundancy.  This is a dangerous situation. Keep this in mind when creating ASM disk groups with normal redundancy.

% The use of ASM disk groups with normal redundancy in combination with fast             mirror resynchronization is risky. In case of disconnect of a second disk in the            disk group, all mirrors of extents might be lost at the same time. This effectively            could mean permanent loss of data.

% By default, there is vulnerability for the duration of 3.6 hours (190 minutes)

The view v$asm_file has the column redundancy_lowered as of 10gR2 which shows whether an ASM file has extents with not the appropriate number of mirrors for some reason:

SYS AS SYSDBA @ +ASM SQL> SELECT group_number, file_number,  REDUNDANCY_LOWERED FROM  v$asm_file;

------------ ----------- --------------------
           1         256 Y
           1         257 N
           1         258 N
           1         259 N
           1         260 N
           1         261 N
           1         262 N
           1         263 N
           1         264 N
           1         265 N
           1         266 Y

A possible reason for a lowered redundancy could, among others, be an inaccessible disk in the disk group. Another reason for lowered redundancy of extents could be a lack of sufficient disk space in the disk group or an insufficient number of fail groups required for the redundancy level. ASM files showing lowered_redundancy in v$asm_file are an indicator for vulnerability. Check to see if the disks are accessible and have enough fail groups for the redundancy level and if the ASM disk group is running out disk space.

This is an excerpt from the new book Oracle 11g New Features: Expert Guide to the Important New Features by John Garmany, Steve Karam, Lutz Hartmann, V. J. Jain, Brian Carr.

You can buy it direct from the publisher for 30% off.


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