RAC Attack at Oracle OpenWorld

Sep 25, 2012 / By Michael Abbey

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Many of us have had difficulty cutting our teeth on this strategic solution – RAC. This is the heart of the Exadata technology offering. I started working with Oracle in version 4 (circa 1986) and really started honing my skills with their parallel server (OPS) offering in V6. In the V6 days, the version of the database software for OPS climbed to 6.2. Oracle used to have 2 offerings: OPS and non-OPS, with the adoption rate of the latter much higher than the former. In those days, OPS ran on the VAX cluster technology from Digital Equipment Corp. (DEC). Many readers may have experience with this technology. Others who are not so lucky may have heard of it.

Oracle 9i came out in early 21st century, introducing a new clustered offering called RAC. Its adoption took off, and we are now poised to receive their latest offering when Database 12c is released. There are many rumors about the release of 12c, but nothing has been confirmed. RAC is an interesting animal requiring a totally new learning curve for some. The uptake to become a seasoned RAC person is fierce, and you can’t really wrap your skill set around RAC without hands-on experience.


Along comes the Oracle RAC Special Interest Group (SIG), which is appearing at a conference near you. At Oracle OpenWorld 2012, RAC SIG personnel will be on-site running RAC Attack – a hands-on lab where you can build a cluster on your Windows, MAC, or Linux personal computer. This is a dream come true. I first did RAC Attack at the UKOUG show in Birmingham last December. I am not anywhere close to being a RAC expert, but I have rolled up my sleeves and got into the technology.

Do not miss this opportunity at Oracle OpenWorld next week in San Francisco. The hardware requirements to build a 2-node cluster? Most modern laptop and desktop computers should be powerful enough to run a two-node virtual RAC cluster. In a nutshell, these are the recommended minimums:

  • Dual-core 2GHz 32-bit processor (It’s been done with single-core.)
  • 4GB memory (It’s been done with 3GB.)
  • Two physical hard disks – not partitions (It’s been done with one.)
    1. External HD for laptops (It’s been done with certain USB flash memory sticks.)
    2. 50 GB + 10.5 GB free space (It’s been done with slightly less.)
    3. Support files larger than 2GB, e.g. NTFS (It’s been done without 2GB file support on FAT32.)

Volunteers will be led by Pythian’s own Jeremy Schneider and Alex Gorbachev. Remember what I said about participating in RAC Attack at UKOUG? Guess who is volunteering to facilitate RAC Attack next week, based on what I learned in the UK :).

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