This document describes how the Cisco Unified Computing System™ (Cisco UCS
®) can be used in conjunction with EMC VNX unified storage systems to implement an Oracle E-Business Suite solution. Cisco UCS provides the compute, network, and storage access components of the cluster, deployed as a single, cohesive system. The document also showcases the boot-over-SAN capabilities of Cisco UCS that reduce the mean time to recover from hardware failures with little or no interruption to the Oracle E-Business system, depending on the topology. The result is an implementation that addresses many of the challenges that mission-critical environments in data centers face today, including the need for a simplified deployment and operational model, high performance with flexibility, and lower total cost of ownership (TCO).
Leadership from Cisco
Cisco is the undisputed leader in providing network connectivity in enterprise data centers. With the introduction of the Cisco Unified Computing System, Cisco is now equipped to provide the entire clustered infrastructure for Oracle Database, E-business Suite, fusion middleware, and several other Oracle software products. Cisco UCS provides compute, network, virtualization, and storage access resources that are centrally controlled and managed as a single, cohesive system. With the capability to centrally manage both blade and rack-mount servers, Cisco UCS provides an ideal foundation for Oracle deployments.
This document is intended to assist solution architects, system and storage administrators, database administrators, sales engineers, field engineers, and consultants in the planning, design, deployment, and migration of Oracle E-Business systems to Cisco UCS servers. It assumes that the reader has an architectural understanding of Cisco UCS servers, Oracle E-Business Suite, and storage and networking concepts.
The purpose of this document is to demonstrate best practices in setting up Oracle E-Business Suite R12 with multiple application and web servers using shared APPL_TOP concepts and database software. While the paper focuses mainly on multiple web servers and SAN boot capabilities to achieve stateless computing, it can be further extended as needed by deploying Oracle RAC and Ebusiness Suite R12 configurations to further reduce any single point of failure in the system.
All components in an Oracle E-Business Suite implementation must work together flawlessly, and Cisco has worked closely with EMC and Oracle to create, test, and certify a configuration of Oracle E-Business Suite on the Cisco UCS. This paper provides an implementation of Oracle Database consistent with industry best practices. For back-end SAN storage, the environment included an EMC VNX storage system. Also, VNX capabilities were harnessed to use NFS in a multitier Oracle applications install.
Introducing Cisco UCS
Cisco UCS addresses many of the challenges faced by database administrators and their IT departments, making it an ideal platform for Oracle Real Application Clusters (RAC) implementations.
The system uses an embedded, end-to-end management system that uses a high-availability active-standby configuration. Cisco UCS Manager uses role and policy-based management that allows IT departments to continue to use subject-matter experts to define server, network, and storage access policy. After a server and its identity, firmware, configuration, and connectivity are defined, the server, or a number of servers like it, can be deployed in minutes, rather than the hours or days that it typically takes to move a server from the loading dock to production use. This capability relieves database administrators from tedious, manual assembly of individual components and makes scaling an Oracle RAC configuration a straightforward process.
Cisco UCS represents a radical simplification compared to the way servers and networks are deployed today. It reduces network access-layer fragmentation by eliminating switching inside the blade server chassis. It integrates compute resources on a unified I/O fabric that supports standard IP protocols as well as Fibre Channel through Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) encapsulation. The system eliminates the limitations of fixed I/O configurations with an I/O architecture that can be changed through software on a per-server basis to provide needed connectivity using a just-in-time deployment model. The result of this radical simplification is fewer switches, cables, adapters, and management points, helping reduce cost, complexity, power needs, and cooling overhead.
The system's blade servers are based on the Intel
® 5670 and 7500 series processors. These processors adapt performance to application demands, increasing the clock rate on specific processor cores as workload and thermal conditions permit. The system is integrated within a 10 Gigabit Ethernet-based unified fabric that delivers the throughput and low-latency characteristics needed to support the demands of the cluster's public network, storage traffic, and high-volume cluster messaging traffic.
Overview of Cisco UCS
Cisco UCS unites computing, networking, storage access, and virtualization resources into a single, cohesive system. When used as the foundation for Oracle Database and E-Business Suite software, the system brings lower total cost of ownership (TCO), greater performance, improved scalability, increased business agility, and Cisco's hallmark investment protection.
The system represents a major evolutionary step away from the current traditional platforms in which individual components must be configured, provisioned, and assembled to form a solution. Instead, the system is designed to be stateless. It is installed and wired once, with its entire configuration-from RAID controller settings and firmware revisions to network configurations-determined in software using integrated, embedded management.
The system brings together server resources powered by Intel Xeon processors on a 10-Gbps unified fabric that carries all IP networking and storage traffic, eliminating the need to configure multiple parallel IP and storage networks at the rack level. It uses dramatically fewer components compared to other implementations, reducing TCO, simplifying and accelerating deployment, and reducing the complexity that can be a source of errors and downtime.
Cisco UCS is designed to be form-factor neutral. The core of the system is a pair of fabric interconnects that link all the computing resources together and integrate all system components into a single point of management. Today, blade server chassis are integrated into the system through fabric extenders that bring the system's 10-Gbps unified fabric to each chassis.
The FCoE protocol collapses Ethernet-based networks and storage networks into a single common network infrastructure, thus reducing capital expenditures (CapEx) by eliminating redundant switches, cables, networking cards, and adapters, and reducing operating expenses (OpEx) by simplifying administration of these networks (Figure 1). Other benefits include:
• I/O and server virtualization
• Transparent scaling of all types of content, either block or file based
• Simpler and more homogeneous infrastructure to manage, enabling data center consolidation
® fabric interconnect is a core part of Cisco UCS, providing both network connectivity and management capabilities for the system. It offers line-rate, low-latency, lossless 10 Gigabit Ethernet, FCoE, and Fibre Channel functions.
The fabric interconnect provides the management and communication backbone for the Cisco UCS B-Series Blade Servers and Cisco UCS 5100 Series Blade Server Chassis. All chassis, and therefore all blades, attached to the fabric interconnect become part of a single, highly available management domain. In addition, by supporting unified fabric, the fabric interconnect supports both LAN and SAN connectivity for all blades within their domain. The fabric interconnect supports multiple traffic classes over a lossless Ethernet fabric from a blade server through an interconnect. Significant TCO savings come from an FCoE-optimized server design in which network interface cards (NICs), host bus adapters (HBAs), cables, and switches can be consolidated.
The Cisco UCS 6120XP 20-Port Fabric Interconnect provides low-latency, lossless, 10-Gbps unified fabric connectivity for the cluster. The interconnect provides connectivity to blade server chassis and the enterprise IP network.
The Cisco fabric extenders multiplex and forward all traffic from blade servers in a chassis to a parent Cisco UCS fabric interconnect from 10-Gbps unified fabric links. All traffic, even traffic between blades on the same chassis, is forwarded to the parent interconnect, where network profiles are managed efficiently and effectively by the fabric interconnect. At the core of the Cisco UCS fabric extender are application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) processors developed by Cisco that multiplex all traffic.
The Cisco UCS 2104XP Fabric Extender brings the unified fabric into each blade server chassis. The fabric extender is configured and managed by the fabric interconnects, eliminating the complexity of blade-server-resident switches. Two fabric extenders are configured in each of the cluster`s two blade server chassis.
Each fabric extender on either side of the chassis is connected through 10 Gigabit Ethernet links to the fabric interconnects and offers:
• Connection of the Cisco UCS blade chassis to the fabric interconnect
• Four 10 Gigabit Ethernet, FCoE-capable SFP+ ports
• Built-in chassis management function to manage the chassis environment (the power supply and fans as well as the blades) along with the fabric interconnect, eliminating the need for separate chassis management modules
• Full management by Cisco UCS Manager through the fabric interconnect
• Support for up to two fabric extenders, enabling increased capacity as well as redundancy
• Up to 160 Gbps of bandwidth per chassis
The Cisco UCS 5100 Series Blade Server Chassis is a crucial building block of Cisco UCS, delivering a scalable and flexible blade server chassis.
Cisco UCS Manager
Cisco UCS Manager provides unified, embedded management of all software and hardware components of Cisco UCS across multiple chassis, rack-mount servers, and thousands of virtual machines. It manages Cisco UCS as a single entity through an intuitive GUI, a command-line interface (CLI), or an XML API for comprehensive access to all Cisco UCS Manager functions.
Cisco UCS Virtual Interface Card 1280
Cisco UCS Virtual Interface Card (VIC) 1280 is the second generation of mezzanine adapters from Cisco. The VIC 1280 supports up to 256 PCIe devices and up to 80 Gbps of throughput. Compared with its earlier generation of Palo adapters, it has double the capacity in throughput and PCIe devices and is compatible with many OS and storage vendors. Cisco VIC 1280 card was used in the database server B440-M2.
Cisco UCS Virtual Interface Card 1240
Based on second-generation Cisco VIC technology, the VIC 1240 is a modular LAN on motherboard (LOM) that is designed specifically for the M3 generation of Cisco UCS B-Series Servers. The Cisco UCS VIC 1240 offers industry leading performance, flexibility, and manageability. The VIC 1240 is capable of aggregate 8 x 10 Gbps speed to the half-width blade slot when used with the Port Expander Card. Without the Port Expander Card, the VIC 1240 enables four ports of 10 Gbps network I/O to each half-width blade server. Cisco VIC 1240 card was used in the Oracle Ebusiness Suite Server B200-M3.
Cisco UCS B440 M2 High-Performance Blade Servers
The Cisco UCS B440 M2 High-Performance Blade Servers are full-slot, 4-socket, high-performance blade servers offering the performance and reliability of the Intel Xeon processor E7-4800 product family and up to 512 GB of memory. The Cisco UCS B440 supports four Small Form Factor (SFF) SAS and SSD drives and two converged network adapter (CNA) mezzanine slots up to 80 Gbps of I/O throughput. The Cisco UCS B440 blade server extends Cisco UCS by offering increased levels of performance, scalability, and reliability for mission-critical workloads.
Service Profiles: Cisco Unified Computing System Foundation Technology
Cisco UCS resources are abstract in the sense that their identity, I/O configuration, MAC addresses and worldwide names (WWNs), firmware versions, BIOS boot order, and network attributes (including quality-of-service [QoS] settings, pin groups, and threshold policies) are all programmable using a just-in-time deployment model. The manager stores this identity, connectivity, and configuration information in service profiles that reside on the Cisco UCS 6100 or 6200 Series Fabric Interconnects. A service profile can be applied to any blade server to provision it with the characteristics required to support a specific software stack. Service profiles allow server and network definitions to move within the management domain, enabling flexibility in the use of system resources. Service profile templates allow different classes of resources to be defined and applied to a number of resources, each with its own unique identities assigned from predetermined pools.
Service Profile Description, Overview, and Elements
Service Profile Description
Conceptually, a service profile is an extension of the virtual machine abstraction applied to physical servers. The definition has been expanded to include elements of the environment that span the entire data center, encapsulating the server identity (LAN and SAN addressing, I/O configurations, firmware versions, boot order, network VLAN physical port, and quality-of-service [QoS] policies) in logical service profiles that can be dynamically created and associated with any physical server in the system within minutes rather than hours or days. The association of service profiles with physical servers is performed as a simple, single operation. It enables migration of identities between servers in the environment without requiring any physical configuration changes and facilitates rapid bare-metal provisioning of replacements for failed servers. Service profiles also include operational policy information, such as information about firmware versions.
This highly dynamic environment can be adapted to meet rapidly changing needs in today's data centers with just-in-time deployment of new computing resources and reliable movement of traditional and virtual workloads. Data center administrators can now focus on addressing business policies and data access on the basis of application and service requirements, rather than physical server connectivity and configurations. In addition, using service profiles, Cisco UCS Manager provides logical grouping capabilities for both physical servers and service profiles and their associated templates. This pooling or grouping, combined with fine-grained role-based access, allows businesses to treat a farm of compute blades as a flexible resource pool that can be reallocated in real time to meet their changing needs, while maintaining any organizational overlay on the environment that they want.
Service Profile Overview
A service profile typically includes four types of information:
• Server definition: Defines the resources (for example, a specific server or a blade inserted into a specific chassis) that are required to apply to the profile.
• Identity information: Includes the universally unique identifier (UUID), MAC address for each virtual NIC (vNIC), and WWN specifications for each HBA.
• Firmware revision specifications: Used when a certain tested firmware revision is required to be installed or if a specific firmware is used for some other reason.
• Connectivity definition: Used to configure network adapters, fabric extenders, and parent interconnects; however, this information is abstract, as it does not include the details of how each network component is configured.
A service profile is created by the UCS server administrator. This service profile uses configuration policies that were created by the server, network, and storage administrators. Server administrators can also create a service profile template, which can later be used to create service profiles in an easier way. A service template can be derived from a service profile, with server and I/O interface identity information abstracted. Instead of specifying exact UUID, MAC address, and WWN values, a service template specifies where to get these values. For example, a service profile template might specify the standard network connectivity for a web server and the pool from which its interface's MAC addresses can be obtained. Service profile templates can be used to provision many servers with the same simplicity as creating a single one.
Service Profile Elements
In summary, service profiles represent all the attributes of a logical server in the Cisco UCS data model. These attributes have been abstracted from the underlying attributes of the physical hardware and physical connectivity. Using logical servers that are disassociated from the physical hardware removes many limiting constraints involving how servers are provisioned. Using logical servers also makes it easy to repurpose physical servers for different applications and services.
Understanding Service Profile Template
A lot of time can be lost between the point when a physical server is in place and when that server begins hosting applications and meeting business needs. Much of this lost time is due to delays in cabling, connecting, configuring, and preparing the data center infrastructure for a new physical server. In addition, provisioning a physical server requires a large amount of manual work that must be performed individually on each server. In contrast, the Cisco UCS Manager uses service profile templates to significantly simplify logical (virtual) server provisioning and activation. The templates also allow standard configurations to be applied to multiple logical servers automatically, which reduces provisioning time to just a few minutes.
Logical server profiles can be created individually or as a template. Creating a service profile template allows rapid server instantiation and provisioning of multiple servers. The Cisco UCS data model (with pools, policies, and isolation security methods) also creates higher-level abstractions such as vNICs and virtual HBAs (vHBAs). Ultimately, these service profiles are independent of the underlying physical hardware. One important aspect of the Cisco UCS data model is that it is highly referential. This means you can easily reuse and refer to previously defined objects and elements in a profile without having to repeatedly redefine their common attributes and properties.
The Cisco system used in the setup is based on Cisco UCS B-Series blade servers; however, the breadth of Cisco's server and network product line suggests that similar product combinations will meet the same requirements. It was built from the following hierarchy of components.
• The Cisco UCS 6120XP Fabric Interconnect provides low-latency, lossless, 10-Gbps unified fabric connectivity for the cluster. The fabric interconnect provides connectivity to blade server chassis and the enterprise IP network. Two fabric interconnects are configured in the cluster and providing the capability to securely takeover the other in the event of a failure.
• The Cisco UCS 2104XP Fabric Extender brings the unified fabric into each blade server chassis. The fabric extender is configured and managed by the fabric interconnects, eliminating the complexity of blade-server-resident switches. Two fabric extenders are configured in each of the cluster's two blade server chassis.
• The Cisco UCS 5108 Blade Server Chassis houses the fabric extenders, up to four power supplies, and up to four full-width blade servers. As part of the system's radical simplification, the blade server chassis is also managed by the fabric interconnects, eliminating another point of management.
• The blade server form factor supports a range of mezzanine-format Cisco UCS network adapters, including a 40 Gigabit MLOM adapter designed for efficiency and performance, the Cisco UCS VIC 1240, designed to deliver outstanding performance and full compatibility with existing Ethernet and Fibre Channel environments. These adapters present both an Ethernet NIC and a Fibre Channel HBA to the host operating system. They make the existence of the unified fabric transparent to the operating system, passing traffic from both the NIC and the HBA on to the unified fabric. The database server B440-M2 had two Cisco UCS VIC 1280s per blade that provided 80 Gbps of performance per blade server.
Cisco Nexus 5548UP Switch
Figure 2. Cisco Nexus 5548UP Switch
The Cisco Nexus
® 5548UP Switch (Figure 2) delivers innovative architectural flexibility, infrastructure simplicity, and business agility, with support for networking standards. For traditional, virtualized, unified, and high-performance computing (HPC) environments, it offers a long list of IT and business advantages, including:
• Includes unified ports that support traditional Ethernet, Fibre Channel, and FCoE
• Synchronizes system clocks with accuracy of less than one microsecond, based on IEEE 1588
• Supports secure encryption and authentication between two network devices, based on Cisco TrustSec® IEEE 802.1AE
• Offers converged fabric extensibility, based on emerging standard IEEE 802.1BR, with the fabric extender (FEX) technology portfolio, including:
– Cisco Nexus 2000 Series FEX
– Cisco Adapter FEX
– Cisco VM-FEX
• Provides a common high-density, high-performance, data center-class, fixed-form-factor platform
• Consolidates LAN and storage
• Supports any transport over an Ethernet-based fabric, including Layer 2 and Layer 3 traffic
• Supports storage traffic, including iSCSI, NAS, Fibre Channel, etc.
• Reduces management points with FEX technology
• Enables diverse data center deployments on one platform
• Provides rapid migration and transition for traditional and evolving technologies
• Offers performance and scalability to meet growing business needs
Specifications at a Glance
• A 1RU, 1/10 Gigabit Ethernet switch
• 32 fixed unified ports on base chassis and one expansion slot, totaling 48 ports
• The slot can support any of the three modules: unified ports, 1/2/4/8 native Fibre Channel, and Ethernet or FCoE
• Throughput of up to 960 Gbps
EMC VNX Unified Storage System
The EMC VNX Series Unified Storage Systems (Figure 3) deliver uncompromising scalability and flexibility for the midtier while providing market-leading simplicity and efficiency to reduce TCO.
Based on the powerful family of Intel Xeon 5600 processors, the EMC VNX Series implements a modular architecture that integrates hardware components for block, file, and object with concurrent support for native NAS, iSCSi, Fibre Channel, and FCoE protocols. The unified configuration includes the following rack-mounted enclosures:
• Disk processor enclosure (holds disk drives) or storage processor enclosure (requires disk drive tray) plus standby power system to deliver block protocols.
• One or more data mover enclosures to deliver file protocols (required for file and unified configurations)
• Control station (required for file and unified configurations)
A robust platform designed to deliver five-9s availability, the EMC VNX Series enables organizations to dynamically grow, share, and cost-effectively manage multiprotocol file systems and multiprotocol block storage access. The EMC VNX Series has been expressly designed to take advantage of the latest innovation in flash drive technology, increasing the storage system's performance and efficiency while reducing the cost per GB.
Finally, Cisco and EMC are collaborating on solutions and services to help build, deploy, and manage IT infrastructures that adapt to changing needs. Industry-leading EMC information infrastructure and intelligent Cisco networking products, including Cisco UCS, will reduce the complexity of data centers.
Together, EMC and Cisco provide comprehensive solutions that can benefit customers now and in the future, including:
• High-performance storage and SANs that reduce TCO
• Disaster recovery to protect data and improve compliance
• Combined computing, storage, networking, and virtualization technologies
Using EMC software creates additional benefits, which can be derived when using products such as:
• FAST Cache: Dynamically absorbs unpredicted spikes in system workloads.
• Fully Automated Storage Tiering for Virtual Pools (FAST VP): Tiers data from high-performance to high-capacity drives in 1-GB increments, resulting in overall lower costs, regardless of application type or data age.
Today, most organizations have to run parallel network infrastructures for their LANs and SANs, with separate switches and separate HBAs. For Fibre Channel SANs, one or more HBAs must be purchased for each server, which adds considerably to equipment costs. For mission-critical applications (and often others), most organizations provide redundant connectivity, increasing costs even more. With Fibre Channel SANs, separate networks must be operated for the LAN and SAN environments, as shown in Figure 4.
Figure 4. Separate LAN and SAN Networks, Requiring a Dedicated Fibre Channel Infrastructure
These separate networks involve added expense due to requirements such as increased number of network interfaces, additional cabling and switch ports, and more complex support needs. Another factor in the increased number of network adapters is server virtualization. Server virtualization, such as that provided by VMware, requires multiple adapters to carry traffic for LAN, SAN, hypervisor management, and virtual infrastructure services.
As the environment grows over time, those expenses become even greater. Currently, the server environment and the server access layer of the network are particular areas of focus. Because of the scale of the server environment, with hundreds or even thousands of servers, small changes can have significant effects. Cisco Nexus 5000 Series Switches are the devices in the Cisco data center switch portfolio that deliver on the promise of a unified fabric for the data center. This unified fabric will have the operational characteristics to concurrently handle LAN, SAN, and server clustering traffic. In addition, the Cisco Nexus 5000 Series has a cut-through design architecture that can deliver a consistent port-to-port latency of 3.2 microseconds, independent of the packet size. The Cisco Nexus 5000 Series' high-performance, line-rate 10 Gigabit Ethernet throughput, combined with its low latency, enable an outstanding efficiency and performance for storage networks. Low latency and low jitter are essential requirements for the high-performance computing applications that the Cisco Nexus 5000 Series consolidates over the same unified fabric.
Overview of the Solution
At a high level, the solution consists of Cisco UCS B440 M2 blade for the database, while a multinode setup was used for the Web Apps and Concurrent Manager servers using shared APPL_TOP. Cisco Nexus 5000 Series Switches carried the Ethernet and Fibre Channel traffic to the load balancer and the EMC VNX storage (Figure 5).
Figure 5. Solution Overview
Oracle E-Business Suite is installed as a multi-node environment. This consists of three application-tier nodes and a node for the database tier. A spare node was kept ready to simulate failovers and using service profiles. The application tier is installed using Oracle shared APPL_TOP. The shared APPL_TOP file systems are created on NFS shared folders on the VNX unified storage array, and shared folders are accessed over IP. The load-balancing feature is provided by Cisco Application Control Engine (ACE) load balancer. The database is Oracle 11gR2 implemented on Fibre Channel SAN to Automatic Storage Management (ASM) disk groups created on the storage. All files, such as data files, control files, and online redo log files, are deployed on the ASM disk groups. This is a typical configuration that can be deployed in a customer's environment, and the use cases, best practices, and setup recommendations are described in subsequent sections of this document. In addition to the above, Enterprise Manager (EM) Grid Control 12c was installed on one of the blades to monitor the database and application tier nodes. R12 Apps Plugin for EM 12c was installed on this blade, and the application and database nodes were discovered in EM Grid Control.
Oracle E-Business Suite R12 on Cisco UCS 2.1 and EMC VNX 5500
Figure 6 depicts the deployment architecture.
Figure 6. Oracle E-Business Suite Deployment Architecture
Configuring Cisco Unified Computing System for Oracle E-Business Suite
It is beyond the scope of this document to cover all of these. However, we have included as much information as possible.
Configuring Fabric Interconnects
Cisco UCS 6120XP 20-Port Fabric Interconnects are configured for redundancy. This provides resiliency in case of failures.
The first step is to establish connectivity between the blades and fabric interconnects. As shown in Figure 6 four 8-Gb links were used from each chassis. Each of the I/O modules is connected to either of the fabric interconnects, providing failover capabilities. These take care of both IOM and fabric failures. Configurations may vary, depending on the distribution of the database and middle-tier servers across the chassis. For simplicity, the database server B440 M2 and EM servers were hosted on one chassis, while the Web Apps and Concurrent Manager servers were on another.
Configuring Server Ports
Figure 7 shows a screen shot with the configuration of the server ports.
Figure 7. How the Server Ports Are Configured
Configuring SAN and LAN on UCS Manager
On the SAN tab, create and configure the VSANs to be used for database as shown in Figures 8, 9, and 10. In our setup, we used VSAN 101.
Figure 8. The SAN Tab
Figure 9. Properties for VSAN 101
Figure 10. Displaying the VSANs
Configure the LAN
On the LAN tab, create VLANs that will be used later for virtual NICs, for public network communication and also with storage (Figures 11 and 12). You can also set up MAC address pools for assignment to vNICS. For this setup, we used VLAN 135 for public interfaces and VLAN 20 for E-Business Suite storage traffic. It is also very important that you create both VLANs as global across both fabric interconnects. That way, VLAN identity is maintained across the fabric interconnects in case of failover.
Figure 11. The LAN Tab
Figure 12. Displaying the VLANs
Configure Ethernet Port Channels
To configure the port channels, log in to Cisco UCS Manager, display the LAN tab, and filter on LAN Cloud. Select Fabric A, right-click Port Channels, and create a port channel. In the current setup, ports 17 and 18 on Fabric A were selected to be configured as port channel 10.
Similarly, ports 17 and 18 on Fabric B with port channel 11 (Figures 13 through 16).
Figure 13. Configuring the Port Channel for Fabric A
Figure 14. Port Channel 10 Details
Figure 15. Port Channels on Fabric A
Figure 16. Port Channels on Fabric B
The next step is to set up a virtual port channel (vPC) on the Cisco Nexus 5000 Series. This is covered in a later section.
Preparatory Steps Before Creating Service Templates
First create the UUID, IP, MAC, worldwide node name (WWNN) and worldwide port name (WWPN) pools and keep them handy in case they are not pre-created. If pre-created, make sure you have enough of them free and unallocated.
Click the Servers tab, and filter on Pools. Expand the UUID suffix pools and create a new pool (Figure 17).
Figure 17. Creating a New UUID Suffix Pool
IP and MAC Pools
Click the LAN tab, filter on Pools, and create IP and MAC pools (Figure 18).
Figure 18. Creating a MAC Pool
The IP pools will be used for console management, while the MAC addresses are for the vNICs being carved out later.
WWNN and WWPN pools
Click the SAN tab, filter on Pools, and create the pools as shown in Figure 19.
Figure 19. WWNN and WWPN Pools
Configure vNIC Templates
Click the LAN tab, filter on Policies, and select vNIC Templates (Figure 20). Two templates are created, one for the public network and one for the storage network.
Figure 20. Configuring the vNIC Templates
The vNIC template for storage was configured with 9000 MTU.
Create HBA Templates
Click the SAN tab, filter on Policies, right-click vHBA Templates, and create a template (Figures 21 through 23). The HBA templates will be used only for the Oracle Database server, in our case Cisco UCS B440 M2.
Figure 21. Creating the HBA Templates
Figure 22. Properties for the vHBA_A Template
Figure 23. Properties for the VHBA_B Template
Once the above preparatory steps are complete, you can create a service template from which the service profiles can be easily created.
Create Service Profile Template: Database
Create a service profile template before forking service profiles to be allocated to the servers later. Click the Servers tab in Cisco UCS Manager, filter on Service Profile Templates, and select Create Service Profile Template (Figure 24).
Figure 24. Creating a Service Profile Template
Figure 25. Identifying the Database Service Profile Template
Enter the name, pick up the default UUID created earlier, and move on to the next screen (Figure 25).
On the Networking page, create vNICs for the public network and associate them with the VLAN policies created earlier.
Select Expert mode, and click Add in the section that specifies one or more vNICs that the server should use to connect to the LAN (Figures 26 through 28).
Figure 26. Adding a vNIC
Figure 27. The Create vNIC Page
Figure 28. After Adding the vNIC
On the Storage page, as you did for the vNICs, select Expert mode in the adapter, choose the WWNN pool created earlier, and click the Add button to create vHBAs (Figures 29 and 30). We selected the following four vHBAs:
• Create vHBA1 using template vHBA_A.
• Create vHBA2 using template vHBA_B.
• Create vHBA3 using template vHBA_A.
• Create vHBA4 using template vHBA_B.
Figure 29. Adding a vHBA
Figure 30. The Create vHBA Page
Skip the Zoning section and go to vNIC/vHBA Placement.
While you can leave this to the system defaults, you can also specify the vNIC and vHBA placement manually, as shown in Figure 31.
Figure 31. Specifying vNIC and vHBA Placement
Highlight eth0 and click assign to vCon1.
Highlight the vHBAs one after another and assign them respectively to vCons, as shown in Figure 32.
Figure 32. Assigning the vHBAs to vCons
Here we allocated vNIC1, vHBA1, and vHBA3 to the first Cisco UCS VIC 1280, and allocated vNIC2, vHBA2, and vHBA4 to the second VIC 1280 of the database server Cisco UCS B440 M2.
Server Boot Policy:
Leave this at the default, as the initiators may vary from one server to the other.
We left the rest of the maintenance and assignment policies at the default settings in the test bed. But they may be selected and may vary from site to site, depending on your workloads, best practices, and policies.
Create Service Profile Template: Apps
Similar to the procedure in the previous section, create a service profile template for the Oracle application tier (Figures 33 through 38). The service profiles for the application tiers can be forked from this template.
Figure 33. Creating a Service Profile Template
Figure 34. Identifying the Apps Service Profile Template
Figure 35. Creating a vNIC in the Networking Section
Figure 36. After Adding the vNIC
Figure 37. Specifying No vHBAs
Figure 38. Viewing the Operational Policies
The rest of the entries can be left at the default settings for this template.
Create Service Profiles from Service Profile Templates
Click the Servers tab, right-click on the root, and select Create Service Profile from Template (Figure 39).
Figure 39. Creating a Service Profile from a Template
We created three templates in the system, two for the Apps/Web server and one for Concurrent Management server.
Associating Service Profile with the Servers
To associate a service profile with a server, perform the following steps.
On the Servers tab, select the desired service profile and select Change Service Profile Association (Figure 40).
Figure 40. A Service Profile
The service profile is unassociated as of now and can be assigned to a server in the pool.
Click Change Service Profile Association, and from the Server Assignment drop-down, select the existing server that you would like to assign. Click OK (Figure 41).
Figure 41. Associating the Service Profile with a Server
Setting Up EMC VNX Storage
This section provides a general overview of the storage configuration for the database and Apps layout. However, it is beyond the scope of this document to provide full details about host connectivity and logical unit numbers (LUNs) in RAID configuration and Data Mover connectivity. For more information about Oracle Database best practices for deployments with EMC VNX storage, refer to
The following are some generic recommendations for EMC VNX storage configuration. Turn off the read and write caches for flash drive-based LUNs. In most situations, it is better to turn off both the read and write caches on all the LUNs that reside on flash drives, for the following reasons:
The flash drives are extremely fast. When the read cache is enabled for the LUNs residing on them, the read cache lookup for each read request adds more overhead, compared to SAS drives. This scenario occurs in an application profile that is not expected to get many read cache hits at any rate. It is generally much faster to directly read the block from the flash drives.
Typically, the storage array is also shared by several other applications, along with the database. In some situations, the write cache may become fully saturated, placing the flash drives in a force-flush situation. This adds unnecessary latency. This typically occurs when storage deploys mixed drives and consists of slower near line SAS drives. Therefore, it is better in these situations to write the block directly to the flash drives than to the write cache of the storage system.
Tables 1 and 2 illustrate the distribution of LUNs carved out from a VNX 5500 for the setup.
Table 1. LUNs in the Apps Database
Apps Database Data and Temp Files
Redo Log Files for Apps Database
RAID 5 RAID groups
RAID 1/0 RAID groups
Table 2. Boot LUNs
4 boot LUNs
Boot LUNs: 100 GB
Hardware Storage Processors Configuration
A total of four ports were used from storage processors and were equally distributed between the storage processors A and B and were connected to the respective Cisco Nexus 5000s (Table 3).
Table 3. Distribution of Ports Between Storage Processors
Configure SAN Zoning on Nexus 5548UP Switches
Two Cisco Nexus 5548UP Switches were configured.
Fibre Channel Zoning
Before going into the zoning details, decide how many paths are needed for each LUN and extract the WWPN numbers for each of the HBAs.
To see the WWPNs for each of the HBAs, log in to Cisco UCS Manager.
Click Equipment, Chassis, Servers, and the desired server. Click the Inventory tab and the HBAs subtab, as shown in Figure 42.
Figure 42. Displaying the WWPNs for the HBAs
Figure 42 shows the WWPNs for all four HBAs for server 1. In the current setup, it was decided to have a total of two paths from each fabric and Nexus 5548UP to the storage.
Therefore, the zoning for Server1, HBA1 can be set up as follows:
Effectively, the HBAs are distributed to both Nexus 5548UP switches.
The WWPNs from storage are distributed between both storage processors, providing distribution and redundancy in case of failures.
Table 4 shows an example for the Database server.
Table 4. Example of WWPNs for Database Server
Log in through SSH and issue the following commands.
Here is an example for one zone on one Nexus 5548UP:
zoneset name OraAppsZoneset vsan 101
zone name OraAppsDB_1
member pwwn 50:06:01:60:3d:e0:21:f6
member pwwn 50:06:01:68:3d:e0:21:f6
member pwwn 20:00:00:25:b5:bb:00:0c
Add other zones:
zoneset activate name OraAppsZoneset vsan 101
copy running-config startup-config
Repeat the above for all the HBAs. A detailed list of zones added during setup is provided in Appendix B.
Set Up VLAN and VSANs on Both Nexus 5548UP Switches
Setting Up vPC on the Nexus 5548UP Switches
Figure 43. vPC Setup on the Nexus 5548UP Switches
Figure 43 diagrammatically represents how the Nexus 5548UP switches are connected to the northbound switches and storage while connected to the underlying Cisco UCS fabrics. The Nexus 5548UP switches form a core group in controlling SAN zoning.
In the figure, port 17 on both Nexus 5548UP switches receives traffic from UCS Fabric A, which has port-channel 10 defined. Similarly port 18 on both switches receives traffic from UCS Fabric B, which has port-channel 11 configured.
Log in to switch A as admin.
vpc domain 1
peer-keepalive destination <IP Address of peer-N5K>
interface port-channel 1
switchport mode trunk
switchport trunk allowed vlan 1,20,135
spanning-tree port type network
interface port-channel 10
switchport mode trunk
switchport trunk allowed vlan 1,20,135
spanning-tree port type edge trunk
interface port-channel 11
switchport mode trunk
switchport trunk allowed vlan 1,20,135
spanning-tree port type edge trunk
interface eth 1/17
switchport mode trunk
switchport trunk allowed vlan 1,20,135
channel-group 10 mode active
interface eth 1/18
switchport mode trunk
switchport trunk allowed vlan 1,20,135
channel-group 11 mode active
copy running-config startup-config
Repeat the above on both Nexus 5548UP switches.
The vPC status should show the following for successful configuration.
vPC Peer-link status
id Port Status Active vlans
-- ---- ------ ----------------------
1 Po1 up 1,20,135
Id Port Status Consistency Reason Active vlans
-- ---- ------ ----------- ------ ------------
10 Po10 up
success success 1,20,135
11 Po11 up
success success 1,20,135
show interface port-channel 10-11 brief
Port-channel VLAN Type Mode Status Reason Speed Protocol
Po10 1 eth trunk
up none a-10G(D) lacp
Po11 1 eth trunk
up none a-10G(D) lacp
Configure the VNX 5500 for NFS
Open the Unisphere Console and navigate to Settings>Network>Settings for File>Devices tab (Figure 44).
Figure 44. The Devices Tab
Figure 45. Creating a Device
Choose the Data Mover, select Link Aggregation as the Type, provide a unique Device Name, select both 10 GE ports, then click OK (Figure 45).
Click the Interfaces tab, then click Create (Figure 46).
Figure 46. The Interfaces Tab
Specify a Data Mover, Device Name, IP Address, Name (it should NOT be the same as the device name), Netmask, MTU, and VLAN* (Figure 47).
Figure 47. Creating an Interface
*Populate VLAN only if the ports that the fgx ports/lacp are connected to are trunked. If they are not trunked, leave the VLAN field blank.
Confirm that the Link Aggregation Control Protocol (LACP) configuration is working by running the following command at the VNX command line:
server_sysconfig server_2 -v -i lacp1
Figure 48. Confirming the LACP Configuration
Link and LACP should be up on both 10 GE interfaces (Figure 48).
If there are problems with LACP configuration or communications, use the following commands to troubleshoot:
This should complete the EMC VNX setup, and the mounts are ready to be exported. For the sake of simplicity, only one mount point is carved out of the system. However, depending on policies and standards, you can create multiple mount points, instead of /apps alone, such as one for software, one for logs, etc.
Install Operating System, Additional RPMs, and Prepare the System for the Oracle Database and Application Tier Servers
Oracle Linux 5.8 was used; however, it was the Red Hat Compatible kernel that was used in the setup.
Prepare to Install the Boot LUNs
You may have to make a few changes to the storage and the Cisco Nexus 5548UP Switches before installing the kernel with boot LUNs, configured with EMC PowerPath. More detailed steps are provided in the EMC PowerPath for Linux version 5.7 Installation and Administration guide.
Cisco UCS Manager allows you to define boot policies for each server that can be configured to present the boot LUN.
Configure Storage Boot LUNs
• Make sure that the boot LUN for the server is presented to the host first from the storage side. Four storage groups were defined: one for the database server, and one each for the middle-tier servers. Also make a note of the host ID (preferably 0, as this is the first LUN presented to the host) before going further.
SAN Zoning Changes on the Nexus Switches for boot
Change the zoning policy on the Nexus 5548UP switches so that only one path is available during the boot time. Disable the zones on, say, switch B and enable them only on switch A. Also make sure that only one path is available before installation. Once the installation is complete and PowerPath is completely set up, this can be reverted back to its full paths. As an example, for server 1 (Database server), only one zone is made available before installation, as follows:
Log in to UCS Manager, display the Servers tab, filter on Policies, and right-click Boot Policy to create one (Figure 58).
Figure 58. Creating a Boot Policy
For both SAN primary and SAN secondary, add the SAN boot targets as shown in Figure 59. The Boot target LUN ID should match the host ID from VNX, as mentioned earlier.
Figure 59. Adding SAN Boot Targets
Click OK to create the boot policy for the server. This has to be repeated for all the servers.
To be doubly sure that you do not have multiple paths during installation, temporarily disable all the paths and enable only one, as shown in Figure 60.
Figure 60. Disabling All But One Path
This is only for the installation. Once Linux is installed and PowerPath is fully configured, this must be reverted to the earlier settings, with both SAN primary and SAN secondary, each with a SAN boot target.
On the download page, select servers-Unified computing. On the right menu select your class of servers, for example, Cisco UCS B-Series Blade Server Software, and then select Unified Computing System (UCS) Drivers on the following page.
Select your firmware version under All Releases, such as 2.1, and download the ISO image of the UCS drivers for your matching firmware, for example, ucs-bxxx-drivers.2.1.1a.iso (Figure 69).
Figure 69. Downloading the UCS Drivers
Download and extract the ISO file for the drivers.
Extract the fnic/enic RPMs from the ISO.
Alternatively, you can also mount the ISO file. You can use a KVM console too and map the ISO.
After mapping the virtual media, log in to the host to copy the RPM.
For storage drivers, navigate to
MLOM/RHEL/RHEL5.8 ← This is for MLOM
1280/RHEL/RHEL5.8 ← This is for the VIC 1280
Extract the fnic drivers and install, following the instructions in the readme files.
For network drivers, navigate to
Depending on the VICs being used in the blades, you may have to navigate to the exact version and install the enic and fnic drivers.
Do a modinfo on the enic/fnic drivers to validate:
Check for the appropriate version of the kernel and download the driver.
At a minimum, you should have the following drivers:
# /etc/init.d/oracleasm configure
Configuring the Oracle ASM library driver.
This will configure the on-boot properties of the Oracle ASM library driver. The following questions will determine whether the driver is loaded on boot and what permissions it will have. The current values are shown in brackets ('').
Pressing Enter without typing an answer will keep the current value. Ctrl-C will abort.
Default user to own the driver interface : oracle
Default group to own the driver interface [dba]: dba
Start Oracle ASM library driver on boot (y/n) [y]: y
Scanning the system for Oracle ASMLib disks: [ OK ]
# cat /etc/sysconfig/oracleasm | grep -v '^#'
ORACLEASM_SCANORDER="emcpower" ← Add this entry
ORACLEASM_SCANEXCLUDE="sd" ← Add this entry
This should create a mount point /dev/oracleasm/disks.
Configure ASM LUNs and Create Disks
Mask the LUNs and Create Partitions
Configure Storage LUNs
Add the necessary LUNS to the storage groups and provide connectivity to the hosts. Reboot the hosts so that SCSI is scanned and the LUNS are visible.
ls /dev/emcpower* or powermt display dev=all should reveal that all devices are now visible on the host.
Partition the LUNs with an offset of 1 MB. Although it is necessary to create partitions on disks for Oracle ASM (to prevent any accidental overwrite), it is equally important to create an aligned partition. Setting this offset aligns host I/O operations with the back-end storage I/O operations.
Use host utilities such as fdisk to create a partition on the disk.
Create an input file, fdisk.input as follows.
Execute as fdisk /dev/emcpower[name] < fdisk.input. This makes a partition of 2048 cylinders. In fact, this can be scripted for all the LUNs.
All the pseudo-partitions should now be available in /dev as emcpowera1, emcpowerb1, emcpowerab1, etc.
Create ASM Disks
Once the partitions are created, create ASM disks with oracleasm APIs.
oracleasm createdisk -v DSS_DATA_1 /dev/emc[partition name ]
This will create a disk label of DSS_DATA_1 on the partition. This label can be queried with Oracle-supplied kfed/kfod tools, covered later.
Repeat the process for all the partitions, and create ASM disks for all your database and RAC files.
Scan the disks with oracleasm; they should be visible under the /dev/oracleasm/disks mount point created earlier by oracleasm, as follows:
[root@rac1 disks]# oracleasm scandisks
Reloading disk partitions: done
Cleaning any stale ASM disks...
Scanning system for ASM disks...
The Database node is now ready.
Installing the Operating System on Oracle Application-Tier Servers
To install the operating system on the Oracle Application servers, follow the same procedure as for the Database server: Create service profiles from the service templates, and assign the profiles to two blades, one for Web/Apps and the other for Concurrent Manager. To install Oracle Linux, move to Red Hat Compatible Kernel and set up the boot LUNs and zoning policies for the boot LUNs. These procedures are almost the same as those for the Database server.
As the system accesses the Oracle Apps middle-tier files over NFS, an entry in fstab should suffice, provided the exports from VNX are done as mentioned earlier.
Additional Steps on Application-Tier Servers Before Attempting a Rapid Install
• Make sure that the executables such as ar, gcc, g++, ld, ksh, make, and x-display are configured. Follow metalink note 761566.1 to check for any missing packages from the system.
• Install the following additional packages on the application-tier server boxes:
Here the IP address is the storage NIC configured on the host and also exported from the VNX.
Rapid Install of Oracle Apps R12
Only a brief overview of Rapid Install is being provided here. You may have to refer to metalink notes for detailed steps and configuration. The modules you may have to consider for install, licensing options, etc. are beyond the scope of this document.
Download Oracle E-Business Suite
Download the Oracle E-Business Suite media packs from
https://edelivery.oracle.com. For the product pack, select E-Business Suite, and for the platform, select x86_64. In the current configuration, Oracle E-Business Suite Release 12.1.1 Media Pack for Linux x86-64 was selected.
Download the files to a staging location.
The files could be downloaded as follows:
[root@oraappsmt1 StageR12]# ls
oraAppDB oraApps oraAS oraDB startCD
Create a Temporary Mount Point for Database Files
Rapid Install installs the database files onto a local file system. Hence, a default install is done to a temporary file system, followed by moving this to ASM later.
Create four LUNs of 128 GB each in VNX and mask them to the Database server:
120 16 134217728 emcpowerb
120 32 134217728 emcpowerc
120 48 134217728 emcpowerd
120 64 134217728 emcpowere
Volume created with the four LUNS as below.
[root@OraAppsDB ~]# pvcreate /dev/emcpowerb1
Physical volume "/dev/emcpowerb1" successfully created
[root@OraAppsDB ~]# pvcreate /dev/emcpowerc1
Physical volume "/dev/emcpowerc1" successfully created
[root@OraAppsDB ~]# pvcreate /dev/emcpowerd1
Physical volume "/dev/emcpowerd1" successfully created
[root@OraAppsDB ~]# pvcreate /dev/emcpowere1
Physical volume "/dev/emcpowere1" successfully created
bin driver File jlib oui RapidWiz.cmd RapidWizVersion template
Set up your display, logging through VNC, Cygwin, etc., and launch the Rapidwiz wizard.
The figures that follow show a few of the screen shots of installing on the Database server, followed by both Apps nodes, as listed below.
[root@OraAppsDB ]# pwd
[root@OraAppsDB ]# ./rapidwiz
Figure 70. Starting the Install
Figure 71. Creating a New Configuration
Select default port pool 0 or edit the setting as required.
Figure 72. Configuring the Database Node
Figure 73. Configuring the Primary Applications Node
Figure 74. Viewing Node Information
Click Add Server (Figure 74).
Figure 75. Specifying Additional Apps Node Information
Click the Shared File System check box, and select the server name from the drop-down menu (Figure 75).
You can optionally click the Edit Services button to enable or disable services here. You can edit services directly in this screen and/or edit the auto configuration files later to enable or disable the desired services on the node.
Start the installation (Figure 76).
Figure 76. Viewing the Installation Progress
Complete the installation and check the logfiles for any errors.
Go to Middle Tier Box 1 and restart as ./rapidwiz, then restart as root user again.
Give the connectivity as oraappsdb.cisco.com:VIS:1521.
Replace the above with the thin Java Database Connectivity (JDBC) parameters that were used when running on the database node: <DBNODE>SID>:<Port#>
Figure 77. Installing on the First Middle Tier
The installation of the Apps node completes (Figure 78).
Figure 78. Post-Installation Checks for the first Apps node.
Install the second Apps node (Figure 79).
Figure 79. Post-Installation Checks for the Second Apps Node
Once the installation is complete, log in to the database to validate that services are registered correctly.
SQL> select node_name, support_db as "DB", SUPPORT_CP as "Conc", SUPPORT_FORMS as "Forms", SUPPORT_WEB as "Web",
2 SUPPORT_ADMIN as "Admin"
3 from apps.fnd_nodes
4 order by 1;
Table 5. Services Assignments
From this we can conclude that MT1, the first middle tier, is the web and forms server, while the second node is for the Concurrent Manager servers.
Moving the Database Files to ASM
The next step is to install ASM on the database node and move the database files to ASM.
The detailed steps of installing ASM on a standalone node are not covered here. Whether you plan to use a single node or a RAC, install and configure the HAS or CRS and have the ASM processes up and running on the node(s) before attempting this step.
While there are many documented methods for migrating the database files from a file system to ASM, such as using RMAN, we used asmcp on the test bed. However, a few parameters from the ASM side had to be bumped up in order to use this method. The Cisco UCS B440 we used had ample memory and cores to support simultaneous copies from the file system. The bottleneck observed on the test bed was due to the read capacity of the local_db file system, which was created with four LUNs, where Rapid Install created the database files.
• Create three ASM diskgroups, one for DATA, one for REDOCTL, and one for FRA (optional). Follow ASM best practices here. Copy all the data files to the DATA diskgroup, and the REDO and Control files to the REDOCTL diskgroup.
• Issue `Alter database backup controlfile to trace' to capture all the files. Take a note of the database files, redo log files, and tempfiles.
• Shut down the database.
./addbctl.sh stop VIS
• Set up your ASM environment.
[oracle@oraappsdb ~]$ . oraenv
ORACLE_SID = [VIS] ? +ASM
The Oracle base for ORACLE_HOME=/oracle/ASM is /oracle/VIS/db/tech_st/11.1.0
• Prepare a script either spooled from database earlier or from control file trace created.
• Similarly copy the redo and control files to +REDOCTL diskgroup.
Once the script is prepared, run the script with around 50 copy commands in parallel. The parallelism depends on the server CPU, memory, and ASM processes parameters. Appendix D lists some of the ASM parameters used.
This will migrate all the database, temp, and redo log files into ASM.
Update the create control file script, and create the control file. A sample is given below.
The page also should take you to the aolj_setup_test, which can shed light on the issues (Figure 80).
Figure 80. Testing Options
If successfully logged into the R12 sysadmin responsibility, you can do few sanity tests from Oracle Applications Manager, as well as on workflow, Concurrent Managers, etc. (Figure 81).
Figure 81. Performing Sanity Tests
Adding Another Web/Apps Node to the Infrastructure
We can optionally add another apps node to the apps infrastructure. Follow metalink note 384248.1 for complete details.
• On the existing web node, run adpreclone.
• Mount the shared file system that's on the NFS mount point onto the new host. Create a new service profile, apply to a blade, install the OS with all the prerequisites as above, export the NFS file system from VNX, make changes to /etc/fstab, and mount the partition.
• As applmgr user, run adclonectx.pl to clone the context file.
Using Context file : /apps/shared_app/VIS/inst/apps/VIS_oraappsmt3/appl/admin/VIS_oraappsmt3.xml
Context Value Management will now update the Context file
Updating Context file...COMPLETED
Attempting upload of Context file and templates to database...COMPLETED
Configuring templates from all of the product tops...
Autoconfig completed successfully.
SQL> select node_name, support_db as "DB", SUPPORT_CP as "Conc", SUPPORT_FORMS as "Forms", SUPPORT_WEB as "Web",
2 SUPPORT_ADMIN as "Admin" from apps.fnd_nodes order by 1;
./adconfig.pl <new context file >
The above will create a new instance top directory structure.
[applmgr@oraappsmt1 apps]$ ls
VIS_oraappsmt1 VIS_oraappsmt2 VIS_oraappsmt3
• Run Auto Config on all the nodes again as new host is added.
• cd $INST_TOP/admin/scripts/; ./adautocfg.sh
• Select from apps.fnd_nodes to make sure that the new host is seeded in the database.
Note that in case of multiple middle-tier servers in the system, the order in which autoconfig is run in the earlier step, the context variable s_external_url is updated. Hence, if oraappsmt3 is the last node where autoconfig was run, this is what is seeded in the system as the login URL.
In order for both web nodes to load-balance the web transactions, a hardware load balancer needs to be configured and autoconfig has to be rerun after updating the context variables. A few of the steps in configuring the ACE load balancer are shown below. However, any of the load balancers that are certified with Oracle E-Business Suite can be used. It's beyond the scope of this document to cover all the details of setting up load balancers with Oracle E-Business Suite. Please refer to the metalink notes for full details.
Configure a Load Balancer
To load-balance between two web nodes, you need to configure a load balancer. In the test bed, a Cisco Application Control Engine (ACE) load balancer was used. While a simple configuration was attempted as a test case here, for more details on how to configure a load balancer, refer to the metalink notes or get the details directly from the manufacturer. Metalink note 727171.1 provides details on Oracle certified load balancers for Oracle E-Business Suite. Metalink note 380489.1 provides details on using load balancers with R12 Oracle E-Business Suite.
Configure a Hardware Load Balancer
The ACE load balancer comes with both a GUI and a CLI. The load balancer can be configured with either of these. Please refer to metalink note 603325.1 for information on configuring an ACE load balancer. We do not present detailed steps for doing so here. Appendix C lists some of the configuration options used. Session persistence was configured with active insert cookies in the setup. Optionally, you may set SSL termination and service policies as desired in your configuration.
Run Autoconfig After Configuring the Load Balancer
After configuring the load balancer, it is necessary to rerun autoconfig across all the nodes.
• Run exec fnd_conc_clone.setup_clean as apps users; this will clean up the existing configurations.
• Run autoconfig.sh first on the database node, and then on all the middle tier nodes.
In the setup, we had one database node, two web nodes, and one Concurrent Manager node. As the last run was done on the Concurrent Manager node, the tnsnames.ora and other files were populated correctly only on the last node. Hence you may have to rerun autoconfig again on the database and two apps nodes.
• Before running autoconfig, we had to update the context variables shown in Table 6 in the context file.
Here it is assumed that the 8000 port is configured as the entry point on the load balancer.
Install EM Grid Control 12c
This is an optional setup done on the test bed. Oracle Enterprise Manager Grid Control was installed, followed by Oracle Applications Management Suite for Oracle E-Business Suite (188.8.131.52.0). The agents were installed on all the hosts with the Apps Plugin patch and discovered the R12 infrastructure to monitor the system while doing some stress and performance tests. For more information, see
Getting Started with Oracle Application Management Pack for Oracle E-Business Suite, Release 184.108.40.206.0 (My Oracle Support Note 1434392.1).
Figure 82 provides a glimpse of a few targets in R12 E-Business Suite in EM Grid Control.
Figure 82. Targets in Grid Control
Using Cisco UCS Service Profiles for Failover to a Spare Blade
An attempt was made to test UCS blade failovers through UCS service profiles by associating a service profile with a spare blade in the UCS domain.
The service profile of the second web server was associated with a spare blade.
Here are the steps.
Click the Equipment tab, filter on Chassis, and select the empty blade with which you would like associate the profile (Figure 83).
Figure 83. Associating an Empty Blade with a Service Profile
Figure 84. Selecting a Service Profile
Click Associate Service Profile, then select All profiles and the service profile that you want to move (Figure 84). If it is already associated, it may display a warning. Click OK to associate the Service Profile.
This association was done with web transactions happening on the system.
A script was added under the /etc/rc2.d directory to start up the services as part of the server boot. In fact the script was to set up the apps environment as applmgr (application user), navigate to $INST_TOP/admin/scripts, and start adstrall.sh. No other changes were made to the system for this exercise.
Fault injection and end-to-end time taken for the business continuity were as shown in Table 7.
Table 7. Time Required to Restore Services
Service profile association
Restoration of Oracle services
The total time taken was around 10 minutes. Because of the presence of the load balancer, the transactions shifted to OC4J running on the surviving blade during this short period.
The process was monitored in EM Grid Control. Figure 85 shows a snippet of the Oracle E-Business Suite services that were up and running after the association.
Figure 85. Some of the E-Business Suite Services Running After the Association
EM recorded around 11 minutes of downtime (Figure 86).
Figure 86. Downtime as Measured by Enterprise Manager
Figure 86 was extracted from EM Grid Control, which monitored the complete failover. It took few more seconds for the EM agent running on the system to upload the data to the central console; hence the total duration of 11 minutes.
While the presence of the load balancer makes it transparent to the end user, the load on the surviving Web and Apps nodes increases, resulting in performance degradation. The use of service profiles in a SAN boot environment reduces this window. The time it takes to fix the hardware failure or to configure another blade with similar hardware characteristics, such as MAC and IP addresses, etc., is much simplified by taking advantage of Cisco UCS service profiles.
Performance and Destructive Tests
In order to do performance and destructive tests, we needed a tool that continuously keeps a load on the system at the web layer and also does batch processing through Concurrent Manager. At the time of testing, only the batch processing OATS (Oracle Application Testing Suite) kit was feasible. The web transaction toolkit still had issues and could not be used. Whenever and wherever required, a few synthetic transactions were posted through EM Grid Control, but that was not a true load-generation kit.
The load-generation toolkit was provided by Oracle. The kit comes with its own database and appltop. This was installed in parallel with the vision database and appltop, was converted to shared appltop, and was set up with the load balancer.
The purpose of using the toolkit was not to benchmark on the existing setup, but to create sufficient load on the system before running any destructive tests.
Figure 87. Performance Test Results: Active Sessions
Figure 88. Performance Test Results: Runnable Processes and Active Sessions
Payroll Run Data
Figure 89. Performance Test Results: Payroll and Order to Cash Tests
Both Payroll and Order to Cash tests were done on the system (Figure 89).
The destructive tests were done on the Apps server. The database was on single instance. For details on RAC failures, refer to the 11gR2 white papers and/or CVDs at
http://www.cisco.com/go/oracle. The RAC failures are not covered here.
The load was generated as mentioned in the Performance Tests section and the fault was induced (Table 9).
Table 9. Results of Destructive Tests on the Apps Server
Reboot one of the Web tier nodes
The web node was rebooted
System should continue working.
The load balancer in front of the Apps nodes continued transactions. The OC4J processes on the surviving node picked up the load.
Reboot Concurrent Manager node
The Concurrent Manager node was rebooted
The web transactions should continue
The batch processing failed. The test bed did not include PCP setup. Otherwise, continuity could have been expected.
Reboot one of the fabrics
Rebooted one of the fabrics
The fabric joined back in 10 to 15 minutes. The NICs failed over to the surviving fabric, seamlessly without any interruption.
Associate service profile with a spare node
One of the web nodes was disassociated and associated with a spare blade
System should continue working
The spare blade was back in the pool and shared the load within 10 minutes. No interruption.
Appendix A: Cisco UCS Service Profiles
Product Name: Cisco UCS 6120XP
HW Revision: 0
Total Memory (MB): 3548
OOB IP Addr: 10.29.135.4
OOB Gateway: 10.29.135.1
OOB Netmask: 255.255.255.0
Thermal Status: Ok
Product Name: Cisco UCS 6120XP
HW Revision: 0
Total Memory (MB): 3548
OOB IP Addr: 10.29.135.6
OOB Gateway: 10.29.135.1
OOB Netmask: 255.255.255.0
Thermal Status: Ok
Server Equipped PID Equipped VID Equipped Serial (SN) Ackd Ackd