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Donald K. Burleson

Oracle RAC Tips

Failover Process

Whenever there is a failure in the primary node, and the application or database is disabled, the failover process is initiated by a script or agent. Failover in a host-based database system usually includes the following steps in sequential order:

  1. Detecting failure by monitoring the heartbeat and checking the status of resources.
  2. Reorganizing cluster membership in the cluster manager.
  3. Transferring disk ownership from the primary node to a secondary node.
  4. Mounting the file system on a secondary node.
  5. Starting the database instance on a secondary node.
  6. Recovering the database and the rollback of uncommitted data.
  7. Reestablishing client connections to the failover node (database).

Let us look at some examples of how a typical resource group is configured in a Sun failover cluster, a Veritas cluster server, and the Microsoft cluster service.

Examples

Sun Cluster 3.0 defines ‘Agents’ to describe a third-party application, such as Oracle or the iPlanet Web Server that has been configured to run on a cluster rather than a single server. No changes to these applications are needed in order to become cluster agents. They are merely “wrapped” with scripts that allow the cluster framework to understand how to start, stop, and monitor the health of the given service.

The Resource Group Manager (RGM) component of the cluster framework supports the registration and operation of applications. Resources that have dependencies on each other can be grouped together, so that in case of failure, the correct reconfigurations can be made without impacting any service not affected by this failure. The RGM also monitors the health of the application and determines when failures happen and how to react to them.

However, Sun Cluster 2.2 implements the concept of logical hosts to achieve failover of data services. A logical host is a group consisting of an IP name and address, and one or more disk groups. Configuring an application failover involves creation of a logical host. The logical host is the basic failover unit. Logical host definitions are created by the administrator and are associated with a particular data service (such as Oracle DB). The logical host has all the necessary information for a designated backup system to take over the data services of a failed node.

During the failover process, the logical host is migrated over to the backup node. Disk ownership is ensured and the appropriate data services are started up on the backup node. Clients continue to address the same logical host and associated data and services as they were doing before the failover. The only difference is that the logical host is now owned by the backup physical node, which has assumed the identity of the master node through the implementation of the logical host.

In the case of the Veritas Cluster Server (VCS), Service Group is the basic unit of failover. The service group fails over to a backup node when failure occurs at the primary node. Service groups consist of related resources that work together to deliver database service to clients. Service groups allow you to monitor and control service availability as a whole, as opposed to the individual items (servers, disks, software, etc.). The failure of one critical item in the service group will cause the entire group to failover to another system.

In the case of Oracle database implementation within the framework of Microsoft Cluster Service (MSC), the cluster group includes the following resources:

  • One or more virtual addresses, each of which consists of an IP address and network name.
  • The Oracle database server.
  • All disks used by the Oracle database.
  • A Net8 (or SQL*Net) network listener that listens on the virtual address (or addresses) of the group for connection requests to the databases in the group.
  • An Oracle Intelligent Agent configured to use one of the group’s virtual addresses (if Oracle Enterprise Manager will be used to manage the database).

The cluster group is the basic failover unit in MSC. Oracle provides failsafe manager tools to configure and manage the Oracle database failover service within the MSC framework.

As we noted in the above examples, the database instance has been freshly started once required resources are online. It is a mutually exclusive condition in which the database instance either resides on a primary node or on a backup node.


For more information, see the book Oracle 11g Grid and Real Application Clusters 30% off if you buy it directly from Rampant TechPress . 

Written by top Oracle experts, this RAC book has a complete online code depot with ready to use RAC scripts.  



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