Recently I’ve completed review of the FlashGrid Skycluster, an Oracle RAC deployed (in this particular test) on AWS Public Cloud IaaS, although Azure and GCP are also supported.

 

Flashgrid specializes for Oracle RAC, either on-premises or in the Cloud, where all three major Cloud providers are supported.

When you ask yourself what is so exciting about Oracle RAC in the Cloud, I’ll stress several points which the FlashGrid engineers had to solve to enable running Oracle RAC in the public IaaS Cloud.

 

Let’s start with the network.

Normally, when installing Oracle RAC on-premises you need to have several network interfaces available for VIP addresses, multicast, storage etc.

In the Cloud there is only one.

There are other important requirements that are not always easy to overcome in the Cloud such as latency, bandwidth, multicast support etc.

Some of the benefits of using a Oracle RAC in the Cloud vs on-premises are in capability to place nodes among availability zones or data centers.

To deal with all challenges and to setup network prepared for a RAC in the Cloud, Flashgrid has developed CLAN software that takes care about everything.

If you have ever tried to install Oracle RAC, you will appreciate existence of package that setup complete RAC network for you.

 

Second important component developed by Flashgrid is Storage Fabric which enables shared storage needed for Oracle RAC to work.

Difference between classical RAC storage (ASM) and Flashgrid implementation is in locality.

Namely, in case of Flashgrid, Read-local technology will read from the disk attached to the local node (e.g. NVMe or SSD) that should minimize network overhead.

Purpose of Storage Fabric component is to share local device across every node in the cluster which, when combined with Oracle ASM mirroring technology (either normal or high redundancy), should ensure HA.

In summary, by using PCIe speed of bus (reading from the local disk), write operations should also work faster.

 

More information related to CLAN & Storage Fabric you can find on the FlashGrid official website:

https://www.flashgrid.io/

 

Besides setup network and storage optimally, there is another important benefit of FlashGrid – Code as a template installation.

If you have already have experience with Oracle RAC, you know that with all preparations and testing, one month of training sounds not much at all to deploy Oracle RAC on production.

Despite all preparations you performed, you still have a good chance to end up with not properly/optimal configured network and storage.

Main reason for that lies in the fact that Oracle RAC installation is a team effort consisting of network administrators (public, private, multicast network…), storage administrators, sysadmins and DBAs.

In case of FlashGrid it is a one man show, and all you need to do is to follow wizzard that will lead you through the installation process.

The whole cluster installation will complete within two hours, after which you only have to install the Oracle database software and to create a database.

On the following pictures you can check how the whole process of Oracle RAC installation look like on AWS (as mentioned previously, Azure and GCP are also supported).

 

Behind the scene the whole infrastructure will be created.

Next slide will show CloudFormation layout, and how generated JSON file for one component look like.

 

In the next post I’ll present results that I got during performance testing.


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