My attempts over the years to persuade my System Admin colleagues at work that RAC via NFS (as Salisbury uses) might be a good idea have all fallen on deaf ears, Kevin Closson’s fine articles on the subject notwithstanding. So Salisbury became a bit of a dead end after that, which is why I cooked up Asquith. Asquith uses real iSCSI (as real as anything a virtual environment can cook up, anyway!) and layers ASM on top of that and thus provided me with a playground that much more faithfully reflects what we do in our production environment.
But it’s a pain having two frameworks doing pretty much the same job. So now I’m phasing them out and replacing them with Churchill. The Churchill framework uses NFS (because it’s much easier to automate the configuration of that than it is of iSCSI), but it then creates fake hard disks in the NFS shares and layers ASM on top of the fake hard disks. So you end up with a RAC that uses ASM, but without the convoluted configuration previously needed.
The other thing we do in production at work is split the ownership of the Grid Infrastructure and the Database (I don’t know why they decided to do that: it was before my time. The thing is all administered by one person -me!- anyway, so the split ownership is just an annoyance as far as I’m concerned). Since I’ve been bitten on at least one significant occasion where mono- and dual-ownership models do things differently, I thought I might as well make Churchill dual-ownership aware. You don’t have to do it that way: Churchill will let you build a RAC with everything owned by ‘oracle’ if you like. But it does it by default, so you end up with ‘grid’ and ‘oracle’ users owning different bits of the cluster, unless you demand otherwise.
Other minor changes from Asquith/Salisbury: Churchill doesn’t do Oracle 126.96.36.199 installations, since that version’s now well past support. You can build Churchill infrastructures with 188.8.131.52, 184.108.40.206 and 220.127.116.11. Of those, only the last is freely available from otn.oracle.com.
Additionally, the bootstrap lines have changed a little. You now invoke Alpher/Bethe installations by a reference to “ks.php” instead of “kickstart.php” (I don’t like typing much!). And there’s a new bootstrap parameter: “split=y” or “split=n”. That turns on or off the split ownership model I mentioned earlier. By default, “split” will be “y”.
Finally, I’ve made the whole thing about 5 times smaller than before by the simple expedient of removing the Webmin web-based system administration tool from the ISO download. I thought it was a good idea at the time to include it for Asquith and Salisbury but, in fact, I’ve never subsequently used it and it made the framework ISO downloads much bigger than they needed to be. Cost/benefit wasn’t difficult to do: Webmin is gone (you can always obtain it yourself and add it to your servers by hand, of course).
The thing works and is ready for download right now. However, it will take me quite some time to write up the various articles and so on, so bear with me on that score. All the documentation, as it gets written, will be accessible from here.
The short version, though, is you can build a 2-node RAC and a 2-node Active data guard with six basic commands:
ks=hd:sr1/churchill.ks (to build the Churchill Server)
ks=http://192.168.8.250/ks.php?sk=1 oraver=11203 ksdevice=eth0 (to build Alpher)
ks=http://192.168.8.250/ks.php?sk=2 oraver=11203 filecopy=n ksdevice=eth0 (to build Bethe)
ks=http://192.168.8.250/atlee.ks (to build Atlee, the file server for the Data Guard nodes)
ks=http://192.168.8.250/ks.php?sk=3 oraver=11203 ksdevice=eth0 (to build Gammow)
ks=http://192.168.8.250/ks.php?sk=4 oraver=11203 filecopy=n ksdevice=eth0 (to build Dalton)
With Churchill and the rest of the crew, I can now build a pretty faithful replica of my production environment in around 2 hours. Not bad.
Salisbury and Asquith will remain available from the front page until the Churchill documentation is complete; after that, they’ll disappear from the front page but remain available for download from the Downloads page, should anyone still want them.