Please note: this documentation relates only to Churchill versions 1.0 to 1.6, which are the only versions available on this website (and are preserved here only for archival purposes). Newer versions of Churchill are available on the new Dizwell website, and the documentation available on that new website correctly describes those newer versions. You should use the newer versions of Churchill wherever possible.
For the best part of two years, I've maintained Salisbury and Asquith as frameworks for automatically building Oracle RAC Servers on a Red Hat (or CentOS, OEL or Scientific Linux) distro. They both did the same thing, with the only real difference being that Salisbury used standard NFS shares as the shared storage technology that underpins any RAC cluster, whilst Asquith shared storage devices via iSCSI on which was layered Oracle's own ASM 'file system'.
Two years on and I've decided both approaches need a bit of a refresh -and a union. Churchill is therefore my new framework for building RAC deployments, this time using NFS (because it's easy) and fake disks on which ASM can be layered (because ASM can be tricky to master). Churchill thus neatly fuses the approaches of the two previous frameworks. You end up with an easy way to automate the deployment of various advanced Oracle configurations but still acquiring the necessary skills to manage and maintain databases running on ASM, Oracle's own preferred database storage technology.
I recommend you start at the beginning and work your way up: that is, start by building Churchill and Alpher, a standalone, single instance database server that nevertheless stores its database files on ASM. From there, progress to building Baldwin and Alpher+Bethe, a two-node Real Application Cluster (RAC). Expand your horizons by adding Atlee plus Gammow and Dalton as a 2-node Active Data Guard standby database, mirroring your Churchill+Alpher+Bethe primary RAC. Top it all off by building Wilson, a 12c Cloud Control administration hub for your new clustered infrastructure.
All of the above is possible on nothing more than a good laptop, ideally with 16GB RAM, an i7 hyperthreaded CPU and 256 or 512GB of solid state hard disk… thanks to the magic of virtualization provided, for free, by VirtualBox or VMware. Churchill is 64-bit only and currently only works for installations of Oracle 11g Release 2, version 184.108.40.206 and up (obtaining which might require access to an Oracle support account). It is not a configuration Oracle Corporation supports and you would frankly want your head tested if you tried running it in a production environment. It is, however, a perfectly viable way of learning Oracle and database administration techniques.
Not quite, but I've had many requests for a 'how to do a virtual RAC on Windows' article. I've long resisted because, on Windows, there's no possibility of automating the build in the way that Churchill does for Linux. But I've finally relented and written up a how-to-do-RAC-on-Windows, with zero automation and everything built by hand. It's so not-automated that calling it 'Churchill' is a bit of a long-shot, to be honest, so I'm not going there! Think of it as plain “virtual desktop RAC for Windows”.