What is Oracle Grid Infrastructure – A Free Tutorial

What is Grid Infrastructure? (Hint: It is not Grid Control.)

It is still possible to run an Oracle database without Oracle Grid Infrastructure. But is it sensible?  And, if you want to use ASM – which we strongly recommend – you need GI!

In this tutorial you will learn how Grid Infrastructure can replace (or complement) third party products for RAID, network management, and high availability. At the same time, using these facilities can improve performance dramatically. Grid Infrastructure is the way Oracle is moving, and we want to show you that it is not necessarily complicated and can indeed make your life simpler. It can also save you money.

Content: live demonstrations of configuring and using Grid Infrastructure services with release 11g.

Audience: DBAs looking for entry level knowledge of what Grid Infrastruture can do.

Presenter: John Watson, Oracle Certified Master DBA

This free training is segmented into several separate lessons:

  1. Introduction (1:35)
  2. Why All Administrators Need to Know Grid Infrastructure (3:27)
  3. Intro to Network Administration with Grid Infrastructure (3:18)
  4. Demonstration – Network Administration with Grid Infrastructure (5:46)
  5. Network Administration with Grid Infrastructure Q & A (3:28)
  6. Grid Infrastructure Licensing Tips (1:21)
  7. Grid Infrastructure Storage Management, ACFS, the Cloud File System (5:00) (click on video below)
  8. Demonstration: ACFS, Cloud File System, Storage Management (4:02)
  9. High Availability with Oracle Grid Infrastructure (10:50)
  10. SQL Net Listening Architecture and SCAN (4:26)
  11. Conclusion: Planning for Oracle 11g / 12c Grid Infrastructure (1:16)

Date: Feb 21, 2013

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Grid Infrastructure Storage Management, ACFS, the Cloud File System

>> John:  To proceed to my next major topic. Network management can now just be brought within the Grid Infrastructure environment. But in some ways even more powerful than that is the storage capability. Storage as well can move into Grid Infrastructure domain. 




When we talk about storage, we have what’s called – Oracle now calls it the Cloud File System, the Cloud FS, ACFS previously known as the ASM Clustered File System. ACFS or now it’s being remarketed the Cloud File System. 




ACFS in some ways it’s a file system like any other. But it does have some very nice features. It can do replication, snapshots, and encryption. Their application really does work across a wide area of network. So that we write and we can use it as a regular file systems to our word processing documents, our Excel spreadsheets, anything you like, scales limit must be of course on one site automatically replicate to another site. 




The snapshot capability that’s very similar. The technology is very similar in concepts to Solaris ZFS snaphots. ACFS will allow you to create a snapshot up to – several dozen snapshots are possible and then it will give you a really consistent copy of the file system with an efficient creation mechanism based on copy on update. Very similar to how ZFS works. 


It also with the latest release has encryption. It does conform to the various federal [01:48 inaudible] required for encrypting data on disc, transparently of course. The encryption happens to and from the path to disc. So if your data is protected on disc, even if the machines are discarded, the data is still protected. But because it’s transparent, it will approve the applications and see the data. 


These are nice facilities. So when I say that ACFS in some ways is a file system like any other, yes. But it can do these things you cannot do for example with EXT3 for instance or NTFS. NTFS can do replication now, but I don’t think you can do some of the other capabilities. 




Also of course Grid Infrastructure storage provides storage for your databases and that’s ASM which has been around since 10g release 1. It was a bit unreliable with 10g release 1 but it has been around for many, many years now. I do not want to spend time unless anyone’s particularly interested and chat here in the message. I don’t particularly want to spend time talking about using Grid Infrastructure for storing database files. We have had a separate series of webinars to deal with that. 


So just in summary, of course Grid Infrastructure is used for storing database files and the storage is extremely fast and reliable. And [03:00 inaudible] to prove to you why it outperforms third party products, should any of you be interested. 


Speaking of replacing third party products, how do we position Grid Infrastructure? 


Just as with the network capabilities, the network capabilities didn’t do anything that you couldn’t have done before. But maybe that is it in a more convenient fashion, maybe they can do it more cheaply. It’s the same with storage. Third party products can do what ATFS can do. 




Plus ATFS can also replace third party products. It can replace cluster file systems. It can replace network file systems. All you file service, your NFS servers, your Windows SMB or samba file servers – we can replace all of those. It can replace hardware RAID. Many large environments will of course be using samba storage and your underlying storage will be striped to mirror [03:56 inaudible] coming from some sort of storage array. 


Grid Infrastructure can do the striping and mirroring for you. The advice on this is somewhat indeterminate and very much site specific. I could say Grid Infrastructure will replace your hardware RAID. At most sites I’ll be saying the Grid Infrastructure will work with it. If you already have a SAN capable of doing striping and mirroring will allow Grid Infrastructure on top and that double layer striping can give you fantastic performance. 


So it can replace RAID or work with RAID. 




It becomes an alternative then to your SAN and network attached storage and so it can replace [04:38 inaudible] or NFS sharing mechanisms. For network attached storage, it can replace the RAID systems you have in the background if you wish to. And it may indeed give you cost savings because of that. That of course would require a certain amount of investigation. We couldn’t guarantee that.


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