Building a New Storage Environment on Exadata

What We’re Trying to Prove
When customers deploy a new Exadata Database Machine, it will come pre-seeded with RAC-enabled database on ASM storage spanning the Exadata storage cells. This is one by Oracle’s ACS group during the installation, and we at Centroid worked alongside Oracle to build our configuration to meet the specs in our configuration template. In this post, I’ll demonstrate the steps required to “wipe it all out”, build a new set of Grid Disks, ASM disk groups, and finally, a RAC database with instances on each compute node. When finished, we’ll have an environment where we can test different Exadata storage features.
What We Won’t Do, and Why
I’m not going to destroy cell disks in these tests, although it would be a fun exercise. The primary reason for this is that I don’t at this point want to rebuild by RAC cluster – the OCR and voting disks are stored in the DBFS ASM disk group, stored on “DBFS” Grid Disks, which reside in the right spots on my cells disks, so in interest of showing other valuable information without risking re-install of everything, we’ll skip this for now. Perhaps in future blogs we’ll tackle this.
Test Goals
Before beginning to build our Grid Disks, we want to carefully plan how we want our subsequent testing to operate. There are a couple of tests and scenarios we know we want to accomplish:
  • We want set of “Data” Grid Disks, prefixed by “DATA”, to contain the majority of our ASM data.
  • We’d like to create an ASM disk group called “NOSSDATA” and on this ASM disk group, set cell.smart_scan_capable=FALSE. We’ll then test Smart Scan for segments stored in a tablespace on this ASM disk group.
  • We’d like to create an ASM disk group called “AU1MDATA” that has a 1Mb allocation unit, as well as a disk group called “AU8MDATA” for 8Mb allocation unit.
  • We’ll finish off the remainder of the physical storage for a RECO ASM disk group, created on a set of different Grid Disks.

Building Grid Disks

After deleting existing ASM disk groups and deleting our relevant Grid Disks, we need to create new ones based on our requirements above.

With these requirements in mind, we need to be careful about how we create our Grid Disks, how we size them, and the order in which we do things. We know we have a 29.125Gb Grid Disk created on every Cell Disk, and each Cell Disk is approximately 557Gb in size. We also know that our RECO Grid Disks should be approximately 100Gb in size, so the order in which we’ll create Grid Disks and the respective sizing will look like this:

  1. Create “DATA” sized at 200Gb
  2. Create “NOSSDATA” sized at 75Gb
  3. Create “AU1MDATA sized at 75Gb
  4. Create “AU8MDATA sized at 75Gb
  5. Create “REDO” sized at 100Gb






Now that we have all our Grid Disks created on all cells, let’s validate them:



And finally, let’s check one Cell Disks’s Grid Disks on one cell server and validate the byte offsets and sizes to make sure everything looks as expected:




Everything looks as planned, so let’s begin our ASM Disk Group builds.

Building ASM Disk Groups

Remember our test goals:

  • The “DATA_CM01” AMS disk group will be our primary disk group and contain the majority of our ASM Data. We’ll create this with a 4Mb AU size.
  • The “NOSSDATA_CM01” disk group will be configured with cell.smart_scan_capable=FALSE, and we’ll create this with a 4Mb AU size.
  • The “AU1MDATA_CM01” disk group will have a 1Mb AU size and be Smart Scan capable.
  • The “AU8MDATA_CM01” disk group will have an 8Mb AU size and be Smart Scan capable.
  • “RECO_CM01” will have a 4Mb AU size.

The scripts below show how to create ASM Disk Groups to match these requirements:






Now let’s check the ASM Disk Groups:



Building our DBM Database

Before beginning to build a new DBM RAC database on our Exadata Database Machine, let’s do a quick reboot to make sure our cluster is healthy and our ASM disk groups mount and are available. We’ll stop the cluster via crsctl first and then reboot each node:



After the reboot, let’s check CRS:



Now we’ll check CRS resources using “crsctl stat res -t” – we initially found that the ASM disk groups were not mounted on +ASM2 on cm01dbm02, but after mounting manually they came up. Part of the output below is truncated but take my word that the only resources not ONLINE are not “gsd” resources, which don’t start and are disabled on 11g:



Now that we know we have a healthy cluster, let’s launch DBCA and create our “DBM” database again. Below, I’ll only show important storage-related DBCA screens and assume the reader is familiar with using DBCA in 11gR2:





After the database is created, we’ll validate that everything is where it should be. The outputs below show the current database status and details:





Before continuing, we need to set cluster_interconnects on each instance to the appropriate InfiniBand IP address:



I found this requirement after seeing an abnormally high number of “gcs” and “ges”-related wait events during a Data Pump import I was doing for a different purpose. This finding led me examine log files in the original configuration of the database (/opt/oracle.SupportTools/onecommand/tmp/dbupdates.lst).

Examining this log file led me to some additional settings to configure, which are provided below:



When complete, we have a fully-functional RAC database on Exadata with brand new ASM disk groups and Exadata Grid Disks. In future posts, we’ll do tests on these different ASM disk groups.