ZFS Storage Appliance and Exadata

I’ve been playing around on our ZFS storage appliance – as expected setting up an NFS share via Direct NFS for use with RMAN backup pieces was very straight forward.

First of all, I used the BUI (Browser User Interface) to create a new share on the ZFS unit. The share is actually created independently of the protocol you plan to access it with, so it gives us some flexibility to interact with this share via NFS, but also FTP and Samba among others.

ZFS Create Share

Next up, we want to mount that share on the Exadata server. I’m going to use Oracle Direct NFS to maximise performance so I had to relink the RDBMS home with the dnfs_on option in order to enable that –

[oracle@dm01dbadm01 ~]$ cd $ORACLE_HOME/rdbms/lib
[oracle@dm01dbadm01 lib]$ make -f ins_rdbms.mk ipc_rds ioracle dnfs_on

Then I create the dNFS configuration file –

vi /u01/app/oracle/product/11.2.0.4/dbhome_1/dbs/oranfstab

server: zfs
local:
path:
export: /export/ExadataBackup
mount: /mnt/ExadataBackup

We need to mount that via the kernel NFS too, so we create an entry in /etc/fstab –

:/export/ExadataBackup /mnt/ExadataBackup nfs rw 0 0

Different NFS options are recommended for certain files, but we’re going with a basic configuration here. Check MOS for recommendations depending on what files you’re working with.

That’s it, mount up the file system and we’re ready to start using it.

mount /mnt/ExadataBackup

I tested it by starting an RMAN database backup –

run{
allocate channel c1 device type disk format '/mnt/ExadataBackup/%U';
allocate channel c2 device type disk format '/mnt/ExadataBackup/%U';
allocate channel c3 device type disk format '/mnt/ExadataBackup/%U';
allocate channel c4 device type disk format '/mnt/ExadataBackup/%U';
backup as compressed backupset database;
}

You can see I chose to use multiple channels in order to put a little bit of load onto the disks.

We can see our backup running in one of the many dNFS dynamic performance views –

If you head back to the BUI at this point, there are a few features which you can use to see the workload on the ZFS unit while the backup is running.

I first looked at the “Status” overview –

ZFS Status

But the unit has a much more powerful “Analytics” section which can be used to build up custom worksheets showing the performance metrics we’re interested in. Here I chose a simple configuration showing us our NFS operations and an overview of the disk utilisation (click for a closer look).

These metrics can be broken down by share, so if we’re interested in seeing which shares are using the most resources we can get that information at the click of a button.

Of course, ZFS also ties nicely into Oracle Cloud Control 12c –

The ZFS Storage Appliance gives us a really great way to expand the local storage available on Exadata servers for things such as RMAN backups and application generated data. But the fact that the shares can be accessed via multiple protocols out of the box makes the ZFS a great “gateway” between our Linux and Windows network environments.

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