COLLABORATE 14 Copyright ©2014 by Andrejs Karpovs Page 1
Using ACFS as a Storage for E-Business Suite Application Stack
An...
COLLABORATE 14 Copyright ©2014 by Andrejs Karpovs Page 2
Oracle ACFS can be accessed and managed using native operating sy...
COLLABORATE 14 Copyright ©2014 by Andrejs Karpovs Page 3
12.1 use Forms 10g, Oracle Application Server 10g, and OC4J on th...
COLLABORATE 14 Copyright ©2014 by Andrejs Karpovs Page 4
NFS exports are always online.
 This functionality relies on a w...
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EBS on ACFS white paper

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EBS on ACFS white paper

  1. 1. COLLABORATE 14 Copyright ©2014 by Andrejs Karpovs Page 1 Using ACFS as a Storage for E-Business Suite Application Stack Andrejs Karpovs Tieto Abstract: If you are thinking about installing E-Business Suite in your organisation and don't know which storage to leverage or don't have additional budget to buy such solutions like NetApp, ZFS then you can use the filesystem provided by Oracle Grid Infrastructure out of the box – ACFS (or ASM Cluster file system or Oracle Cloud File System). By that you can elmiminate a use of external storage solutions as ACFS comes for free provided that you run Oracle licensed products on top of it. The presenter is using that for years in multiple customer environments and wants to share that great practise with others. What is ACFS? Oracle Automatic Storage Management Cluster File System (Oracle ACFS) is a multi-platform, scalable file system, and storage management technology that extends Oracle Automatic Storage Management (Oracle ASM) functionality to support customer files maintained outside of Oracle Database. Oracle ACFS supports many database and application files, including executables, database trace files, database alert logs, application reports, BFILEs, and configuration files. Other supported files are video, audio, text, images, engineering drawings, and other general-purpose application file data. Oracle ACFS establishes and maintains communication with the Oracle ASM instance to participate in Oracle ASM state transitions including Oracle ASM instance and disk group status updates and disk group rebalancing. Oracle Automatic Storage Management with Oracle ACFS and Oracle ASM Dynamic Volume Manager (Oracle ADVM) delivers support for all customer data and presents a common set of Oracle storage management tools and services across multiple vendor platforms and operating system environments on both Oracle Restart (single-node) and cluster configurations. For an overview of Oracle ADVM, see "Overview of Oracle ASM Dynamic Volume Manager". Oracle ACFS is tightly coupled with Oracle Clusterware technology, participating directly in Clusterware cluster membership state transitions and in Oracle Clusterware resource-based high availability (HA) management. In addition, Oracle installation, configuration, verification, and management tools have been updated to support Oracle ACFS.
  2. 2. COLLABORATE 14 Copyright ©2014 by Andrejs Karpovs Page 2 Oracle ACFS can be accessed and managed using native operating system file system tools and standard application programming interfaces (APIs). Oracle ACFS can be configured and managed using Oracle Enterprise Management tools. Oracle ACFS can be accessed using industry standard Network Attached Storage (NAS) File Access Protocols: Network File System (NFS) and Common Internet File System (CIFS). In addition to sharing file data, Oracle ACFS provides additional storage management services including support for the Oracle Grid Infrastructure clusterwide mount registry, dynamic on-line file system resizing, and multiple space-efficient snapshots for each file system. Oracle ACFS contributes to the overall Oracle storage management by providing:  A general-purpose single-node (standalone) and cluster file system solution that is integrated with Oracle ASM, Oracle Clusterware, and Oracle Enterprise Management technologies  A common set of file system features across multiple vendor platforms and operating systems, offering an alternative to native operating system or third-party file system solutions  Single-node and clusterwide shared Oracle Database homes and application data  Uniform, coherent shared file access and clusterwide naming of all customer application files maintained outside of the database Oracle ACFS accommodates large storage capacities and large numbers of cluster nodes. It efficiently manages large numbers of file systems, files, and supports both small and large sized files with exabyte- capable file and file system capacities. Oracle ACFS provides optimized fast directory lookup for large directories with millions of files. Oracle ACFS file systems are generally mounted on all Oracle Cluster Synchronization Services (CSS) cluster members. In the event of a member failure, another cluster member quickly recovers any outstanding metadata transactions on behalf of the failed member. Following recovery, access by other active cluster members and any remote client systems can resume. The customer problem Traditionally a customer ran his 11i EBS application stack on NFS, however it was not pleased with performance and availability of it. There were often crashes observed, when NFS just hanged and lead to the situation where all the applications nodes became unavailable. During R12 Upgrade and migration project it was decided to install Oracle Grid Infrastructure cluster and use ACFS (Oracle Cloud File System) as a basis storage for R12 EBS application tier. Other nodes were later mounting ACFS through NFS). It was immediately observed that manageability, performance and availability of EBS Application has improved a lot. Situation with EBS There is very useful information on Steven Chan’s (Senior Director in the Oracle Applications Technology Group) blog https://blogs.oracle.com/stevenChan/entry/choosing_an_ebs_shared_file_system related to the storage for EBS application stack storage. So what are the EBS requirements for a Shared Filesystem? “Shared filesystems must be transparent to the calling application, in this case, the E- Business Suite. In other words, no modifications to the E-Business Suite should be necessary to ensure compatibility with the shared filesystem. your shared application tier file system can reside on any type of shared disk resource. Examples of shared disk resources include an NFS mounted disk or a disk array. The shared disk resource does not have to be local to the machine, and it can also be a standalone disk array. Usual tuning considerations apply. The same thing applies to Oracle E-Business Suite Release 12, too.” Does Oracle or E-Business Suite devision certify Storage Systems? The answer is no. EBS Development doesn't have the resources to certify or compare even a subset of the leading filesystems. Since Oracle EBS devision don't have hands-on experience with different filesystems in a controlled test environment, they can't make any informed recommendations for a given product. Oracle generally suggest that customers either perform their own product testing or consult a trusted consultancy that compares the relative merits of each product against a consistent set of criteria. Unfortunately, when it comes to ACFS – it is not certified with E-Business Suite. This is because EBS 11i uses Forms 6i, Oracle9i Application Server 1.0.2.2.2, and JServ on the application tier. EBS 12.0, and
  3. 3. COLLABORATE 14 Copyright ©2014 by Andrejs Karpovs Page 3 12.1 use Forms 10g, Oracle Application Server 10g, and OC4J on the application tier and Fusion Middleware product team does not certify to run them on ACFS. There are no plans for those certifications. Since the E-Business Suite depends on those products, EBS 11i, 12.0, and 12.1 application tiers are not certified to run on ACFS. However, this doesn’t mean that by placing your EBS on ACFS your application will not be working or you won’t get any support from Oracle related to your application problems. I believe this is related only to file system issues which they won’t be assisting with. With if read the above information, we clearly see that neither Oracle, nor EBS team in particular have any plans to specifically certify additional file systems with EBS. So for now we can say that EBS on ACFS is not specially certified, but not fully unsupported. Customer had various audits and performance reviews made by Oracle, however no one has even told us that we are using the wrong configuration and we should decommission it immediately. Moreover, customer has been running with such setup for years and haven’t experienced a single file system issue or any other issue that would be raised because the lack of certification between ACFS and EBS. Also the following comment has been observed on Steven Chan’s blog: “Customers interested in running Oracle Application Server 10g (and the E-Business Suite) on ACFS are encouraged to log SRs against the Fusion Middleware product to request this certification. If sufficient numbers of customers request it, they may consider it.” So there is still some hope exist for this certification to happen. Implementation Because ASM and ACFS are the core Grid Infrastructure technology and therefore built in the Grid Infrastructure software stack it is first necessary to install a cluster. That means that all steps for successful clusterware setup like network, heartbeat, storage, etc. needs to be followed and configured. You have two options – either to install a two-node cluster and then mount the ACFS file system to other nodes using NFS (or any other similar protocol) or you can build a multi-node cluster environment placing each of your application tiers as a node in a cluster. Once the cluster setup has been done you have two options if building the ACFS file system:  Using graphical user interface tool “asmca” (screenshots are not shown in this White Paper)  Using command line interface: o Create an Oracle ASM volume in a mounted disk group with the ASMCMD volcreate command: ASMCMD [+] > volcreate -G data -s 10G volume1 o Create a file system with the Oracle ACFS mkfs command: $ /sbin/mkfs -t acfs /dev/asm/volume1-123 o Optionally register the file system with the acfsutil registry command: $ /sbin/acfsutil registry -a /dev/asm/volume1-123 /u01/app/acfsmounts/myacfs o Mount the file system with the Oracle ACFS mount command: # /bin/mount -t acfs /dev/asm/volume1-123 /u01/app/acfsmounts/myacfs o After the file system has been mounted, ensure that the permissions are set to allow access to the file system for the appropriate users. For example: # chown -R oracle:dba /u01/app/acfsmounts/myacfs o Create a test file in the file system: $ echo "Oracle ACFS File System" > /u01/app/acfsmounts/myacfs/myfile Choose the size of your mount points within file system accordingly. You might want want to separate some of them for log and output files, for example, etc. One this has been done, you can install or migrate your E-Business Suite environment directly to ACFS storage without any additional configuration. Read-Write Snapshots is an additional ACFS feature that requires CFS License. More information can be found in My Oracle Support note ACFS Support On OS Platforms (Certification Matrix). (Doc ID 1369107.1). 12c New Features One of the greatest new features of ACFS in Release 12c of Oracle is High Availability Network File Storage for Oracle Grid Infrastructure. High Availability Network File Storage (NFS) for Oracle Grid Infrastructure provides uninterrupted service of NFS V2/V3 exported paths by exposing NFS exports on Highly Available Virtual IPs (HAVIP) and using Oracle Clusterware agents to ensure that the HAVIPs and
  4. 4. COLLABORATE 14 Copyright ©2014 by Andrejs Karpovs Page 4 NFS exports are always online.  This functionality relies on a working NFS server configuration available on the host computer. You must configure the NFS server before attempting to use the Oracle ACFS NFS export functionality.  This functionality is not available on Windows.  This functionality is not supported in Oracle Restart configurations.  The HAVIP cannot be started until at least one file system export resource has been created for it. The second feature is Oracle ACFS read/write snapshots. An Oracle ACFS snapshot is an online, read- only or read-write, point in time copy of an Oracle ACFS file system. The snapshot copy is space-efficient and uses Copy-On-Write functionality. Before an Oracle ACFS file extent is modified or deleted, its current value is copied to the snapshot to maintain the point-in-time view of the file system. Oracle ACFS snapshots are immediately available for use after they are created. The snapshots are created in the .ACFS/snaps/ directory of the file system. They are always online while the file system is mounted. Consequently, an Oracle ACFS snapshot can support the online recovery of files inadvertently modified or deleted from a file system. With up to a total of 63 read-only, read-write, or combination of read-only and read-write snapshot views supported for each file system, flexible online file recovery solutions spanning multiple views can be employed. An Oracle ACFS snapshot can also be used as the source of a file system backup, as it can be created on demand to deliver a current, consistent, online view of an active file system. Oracle ACFS read-write snapshots enable fast creation of an snapshot image that can be both read and written without impacting the state of the Oracle ACFS file system hosting the snapshot images. You can use read-write snapshots for:  Testing of new versions of application software on production file data reflected in the read-write snapshot image without modifying the original production file system  Running test scenarios on a real data set without modifying the original production file system  Might be used for E-Business Suite stack cloning Recommendations Here are some of the recommendations from author based on his experience with ACFS.  When mounting application tier file system to other node using NFS, use the following nfs parameters: o rw,intr,bg,hard,timeo=600,wsize=32768,rsize=32768,nfsvers=3,tcp,nolock,acregmin=0,ac regmax=0 The above are recommendations based on Oracle Internal Testing. As the storage is vendor dependent, you may also need to contact your storage vendor and machine administrator to fine tune the options for your environment.  Do not install Grid Infrastructure on x86 OS architecture. This will lead to performance and unstability issues thus affecting your application tier placed on ACFS. Conclusion and Results ACFS is a file system with interesting possibilities. While it is not fully certified with E-Business Suite it is still possible to run applications stack on top of ACFS and gaining good performance and out of the box functionality better than standard NFS can offer. It can also provide High Availability setup and better manageability. On the other hand, customers who are worried about full support from storage perspective as well might want to choose to go for OCFS2 file system which is fully certified and supported with E- Business Suite R12. However, with version R12.2 now available and Oracle Application Server 10g replaced by Weblogic, I don’t see any obstacles why Oracle should go towards support and certification of ACFS in nearest future.

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