Hu Yoshida

Continuous Business Operations For Oracle RAC

Blog Post created by Hu Yoshida Employee on Feb 6, 2019

From our friends at Merriam-Webster, the definition for “continuous” is:


con·tin·u·ous | \kən-ˈtin-yü-əs\

  1. Marked by uninterrupted extension in space, time, or sequence //The batteries provide enough power for up to five hours of continuous use.//
synonyms:continual, uninterrupted, unbroken, constant, ceaseless, incessant, steady, sustained, solid, continuing, ongoing, unceasing, without a break, permanent, nonstop, round-the-clock, always-on, persistent, unremitting, relentless, unrelenting, unabating, unrelieved, without respite, endless, unending, never-ending, perpetual, without end, everlasting, eternal, interminable



Understanding the definition of “continuous” is key because in this blog we will discuss “Continuous Business Operations” as it relates to those of you that must have continuous, uninterrupted access to data. You are running business applications that require strict zero RTO (Recovery Time Objective)/RPO (Recovery Point Objective) service levels, as these applications are mission critical and users *must* be able to access critical database information, despite datacenter failure due to catastrophic or natural causes. What types of businesses/services demand such levels of uptime? Think emergency call center services and medical/urgent care, and the impact it can have to the customers of their services – you, me, and our families… These are “life-critical” operations where the consequence of downtime could result in death.


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When operations are running on a database, two things can interrupt continuous operations; loss of a server or loss of the database. Oracle Real Application Clusters (RAC) provides customers with a clustered server environment where the data base is shared across a pool of servers, which means that if any server in the server pool fails, the database continues to run on surviving servers. Oracle RAC not only enables customers to continue processing database workloads in the event of a server failure, it also helps to further reduce costs of downtime by reducing the amount of time databases are taken offline for planned maintenance operations.


But what if the data base storage fails? This will take some time to recover, unless the data base is running on a virtual storage array that is supported by two physical storage arrays. With a virtual storage array, the data base can continue to run even when one storage array fails or is taken down for maintenance. This is a capability that is provided with the Global Active Device (GAD) feature of our VSP storage array. The combination of Oracle RAC and Hitachi GAD provides true continuous business operations.


Configuring, implementing, and managing such a system, with servers, switches, storage, Oracle RAC, and GAD, can take some expertise, time and effort. Hitachi Vantara can simplify this with a converged system specifically designed and validated for Oracle Real Application Clusters (RAC) databases and VSP GAD storage arrays. Our “Hitachi Solution for Databases – Continuous Business Operations” has three core components that enable your business with uninterrupted access to Oracle database:


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  1. Hitachi Unified Compute Platform, Converged Infrastructure (UCP CI) – this is the core infrastructure that Oracle RAC and associated software is run on
    • Hitachi Advanced Server DS220/DS120
    • Hitachi Virtual Storage Platform F and G series
    • Brocade G620 Fibre Channel Switches
    • Cisco Nexus GbE Switches
  2. Hitachi Global-Active Device (GAD) for dual geographic site synchronous replication, and configuring Oracle RAC for extended distances
  3. Hitachi Data Instance Director– used for orchestration and simplified set-up and management of Hitachi global-active devices.

“Hitachi Solution for Databases – Continuous Business Operations” topology diagram follows: Huyhn diagram.png
Hitachi Data Instance Director (HDID) provides for the automatic setup and management of global-active device, avoiding hours of tedious manual work. It also handles the swap operation when a failure in one of the sites is detected. HDID can also interface with the Oracle instances to orchestrate non-disruptive application-consistent snapshots and clones, in either or both of the sites, to enable point-in-time operational recovery following a database corruption or malware event. Note in the above diagram, the “quorum site” is a dedicated GAD cluster and management device that is shared between both sites to provide traffic management and ensure data consistency.


Find out more about how Hitachi Vantara can help your company achieve continuous business operations by joining our upcoming webinar on February 20th 9:00 am PT/12:00 ET. Experts from Broadcom, ESG, and my colleague, Tony Huynh, who helped me with this post will share their insights with you:


Register for our February 20thwebinar here Additional technical resources:

  1. Full reference architecture details
  2. ESG Lab Validation report
  3. What is Global-Active Device? – Video