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Donald K. Burleson

Oracle RAC Tips


In this section, we will cover the cluster environment and the steps involved in setting up an Oracle RAC system on the IBM AIX platform with RS/6000 servers.

Hardware / System Details

A minimum of two IBM servers capable of running AIX 4.3.3 or 5L is needed. When using AIX 4.3.3, the HACMP/ES CRM 4.4.x version of cluster software can be used. In this situation, only the raw devices for database files are supported.

However, when using the AIX 5L as the operating system, there are two combinations possible:

  • Raw devices with the use of HACMP/ES CRM 4.4.x cluster OSD.

  • GPFS – General Parallel File System with the use of HACMP/ES 4.4.x OSD.

The IBM High Availability Cluster Multi-Processing for AIX (HACMP) Version 4.4.x has been in use for quite sometime. HACMP is designed to detect system failures and manage failover, where necessary, to a recovery processor with a minimal loss of end-user time. HACMP 4.4.x offers improved usability, more flexible installation options, and additional hardware and software support for RS/6000 customers with mission-critical applications.

We examine the RAC setup in two ways:

  • Using the VSD using PSSP on RS/6000 SP systems.

  • Using HACMP/ES on RS/6000 and pSeries machines.

The VSD are to be used with a SP machine running AIX 4.3.3 and PSSP 3.2. PSSP stands for IBM’s Parallel System Support Programs. The HACMP/ES is used for the clusters of pSeries machines with AIX 4.3.3 and above.

For SP Environment

Hardware and Software requirements include:

  • An RS/6000 SP cluster system with switch connectivity. (An RS/6000 SP system with attached RS/6000 servers or IBM pSeries servers)

  • An SP Switch, SP Switch2, or a two-plane SP Switch2.

  • Disk drives supported with VSD - SCSI, SSA, and Fiber Channel Drives.

Software includes –

  • AIX Version 4.3.3 or later

  • AIX 5L Version 5.1 or later

  • PSSP

Software modules for supporting VSD

In a SP system, there are four basic physical components:

  • Frame: This is a containment unit consisting of a rack to hold computers together with supporting hardware, including power supplies, cooling equipment, and communication media, such as the system Ethernet.

  • Node: This is a complete RS/6000 server system comprised of processors (POWER3 or PowerPC), memory, internal disk drives, expansion slots, and its own copy of the AIX operating system. A node has no display head or keyboard so human user interaction must be done remotely.

  • Switch: This is the medium that allows high-speed communication between nodes.

  • CWS: The Control Workstation is a stand-alone AIX workstation with a display and keyboard, possessing the hardware required to monitor and control the frame(s) and nodes of the system.

For HACMP Environment

Hardware and Software requirements include:

  • RS/6000 servers and IBM pSeries Servers.

  • A pool of external disks with the following characteristics: SSA or Fibre Channel attachment.

  • Shared disks or Disk arrays.

  • A disk configuration allowing each disk to be accessible to any node in the cluster.

  • An IP network with sufficient bandwidth (recommend minimum of 100 Mb per second).

Software includes –

  • AIX Version 4.3.3 or later

  • AIX 5L Version 5.1 or later

  • HACMP/ES Version 4.4.1 or later - the nodes must be configured as members of the HACMP cluster.

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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