SUMMARY: Are Veritas Oracle DB Edition, or Vol. Mgr./FS products worth it?

From: Dave Werth (
Date: Mon Jul 10 2000 - 13:16:45 CDT

Last Friday I sent a summary before it had been properly cleaned up, here's
what I really meant to send. Sorry for the extra bandwidth.

The original question was:

>We are in the process of setting up a new E-450... The E-450 has an
attached A-1000 disk array and we will be running Oracle (7.3.4) on it.

>We are considering Veritas Database Edition for Oracle. The question is
this worth the cost? Alternatively, we might just get Veritas Volume
Manager & File System. Is the Oracle piece worth the extra expenditure? Or
should we just forget about it and just use Disk Suite?

We are probably going to get the Volume Manager & File System but skip the
Oracle DB Edition extras. Our needs are small enough that it wouldn't help
that much. Also, we are using Legato Networker for backups and are unlikely
to spend the money necessary to switch to Netbackup. We're going to get a
couple of more disks, mirror the OS disk, Raid 5 with 4 of the disks in the
A-1000, mirror the other 2 (for redo logs).

Thanks to the following for their replies:
Jason K. Schechner []
Dan Brown []
Aaron Krongard []
Bill Hussain []
Michael Ernest []
Asad Baheri []
Mark Luntzel []
Birger Wathne []
Caparrosso, Nelson T. []
Karl Vogel []

Here are the replies:
I've run the Oracle edition before and I've got it on order for my new shop.
The QuickIO makes for a definite speed improvement and, even better, it's a
journaling filesystem. If the system crashes you don't have to fsk the
filesystem, which tends to be the longest part of the boot-up procedure for
a db server, especially when you have a large (500g+) database. The only
gotcha is that you have to have Veritas NetBackup to read the QuickIO'd
files, but fortunately that's a very good product too. They both get two
thumbs up from me.

Our DB is relatively small (> 10g). We have Legato Networker backup and
won't be switching due to the cost. We're definetly going for the
journaling though. Dave.

I'd recommend staying away from Just disksuite for anything really critical.
If you /do/ go with SDS, make sure you have backups. Its gotten better, but
I don't quite trust it.

I'd look at how you have your database is setup and evaluate whether you
/really/ need any sort of software raid. If you spread things out, and use
hardware raid, you might not need SDS or Veritas.

If you are using Oracle and performance is important, I would suggest get
the Quick I/O as well. It will bypass several buffering layer and thus
improve performance. VM and Vxfs allows flexibility much better than OLDS.
So for me, it's worth the investment.

Dave, That's quite a mouthfull. The A1000 is a hardware RAID disk array.
You don't describe how you are going to use it (raw or cooked devices,
RAID5, mirror, etc.) or the size of the database. The Veritas products can
augment the hardware RAID implementation depending on what it is. The key
here is 'what it is'. You may want to look into the Quick I/O product from
Veritas (which I think is part of the Database Edition). It allows you to
use cooked file systems that are as fast or faster than raw devices. It also
has the benefit of making backups a little easier too.

Aaron Krongard
We will definetly be using a cooked device, probably RAID 5 for some of it
but mirroring for the redo logs. Our DB is > 10gb and is unlikely to be
more than 20 gb in the next 5 years.
All you get is quick I/O and their snapshot feature...I only use FS and VM

I don't think the A1000 and it's control system, RAID Manager 6, are
supported in Solaris 2.5.1. I'm pretty sure Solaris 2.6 is the minimum --
you may wish to confirm this.
Quick primer: the A1000 is a hardware RAID appliance. Volume Manager is a
software RAID tool. There are some good reasons for using them together.
- The A1000 supports up to 8 LUNs (logical disk collections), but hosts a
total of 12 drives. If the possible combinations is limiting, you might use
Volume Manager to create more logical drives.
- If you wanted to mirror the contents of one A1000 to another, you'd need a
software RAID tool to do it.
In short, using Volume Manager with a single A1000 would be difficult to
justify, IMHO. You still might use the File System product, though. VxFS,
as its known, provides some distinct advantages over ufs. For database
activities (in particular crash recovery), it's very nice, although you
could arguable get similar benefits from DiskSuite, which is free.
But I think your big stumbling block in Solaris 2.5.1. Take a look at the
release notes for Raid Manager 6. I don't believe it is supported with
Solaris 2.5.1.
The installation manual for RAID Manager 6.1.1 says 2.5.1 or 2.6 OS. - D

It depends on what you are doing, we are an e-commerce company and for us
it's critical so we paid for the oracle piece. One of the large advantages
of the oracle piece is the quick I/O. Oracle works better when you have raw
disk partitions for it to use and using the veritas agent you can
dynamically increase the partitions that Oracle uses as the size of your
database increases. You can also use the veritas volume manager to
increase/decrease your partitions something you can't do with disksuite.
Also if you decide at some point to go with a clustering agent the veritas
cluster works nicely with all of this and is a better product than sun

ask yourself how much downtime you can handle. if you can handle your
database being down for hours for cold backups, dont get the oracle edition.
if on the other hand, you need your database to be up as much as possible,
get yourself some hot backup solution. I may be completely off, but I think
thats the value-add you get with the oracle database edition.
No problem, 6:00 AM to 7:00 PM 5 or 6 days a week is all we need. - D

I usually run DiskSuite on my OS disks, as I feel much more comfortable
doing OS upgrades on DiskSuite. I run everything mirrored, and I can just
bring down the system, yank out one submirror, boot, deconfigure DiskSuite
(metaroot and edit vfstab) and upgrade. If I have to back out of the
upgrade, I just yank out the upgraded disks, plug in the mirrored ones that
were yanked out *before* deconfiguring the mirrors, think hard about where I
have state databases, how many, etc. And then boot from the mirror.

I then skip the initialization script for vxvm and run some other scripts
instead. These scripts set up 2 slices in rootdg instead of whole disks.
These slices are not used for any file systems. I put all data disks in
vxvm, as I think it has more flexibility when working on online file
systems. Especially with vxfs, where I can shrink a file system 'live'. But
I never put any data in rootdg.

The script
I use instead of vxinstall is create-rootdg in the package located at
You should definitely install the package at
as it will save your butt a few times over the years. And it's even
documented in english!


Veritas Database Edition's important Oracle piece is Quick I/O w/c allows
doing raw access to filesystem database files. It is supposed to provide the
ease of a filesystem while providing direct raw device performance. What it
basically does is to do away with the filesystem cache so 'double-buffering'
is avoided but for very large databases on large memory servers, it
re-introduces cached Quick I/O selectively on certain files to further
improve performance and circumvent Oracle SGA/ISM limits.
My advice:
- if your database's SGA is nearing or approaching 2GB and you've greater
than 4 GB server memory and your database does a lot more critical DSS, then
Quick I/O (and Cached Quick I/O) is a viable solution.
- if you've enough Veritas VolManager expertise and is very good at managing
a mix of raw devices and filesystems, then I suggest just going for raw
devices (but be sure to have fully redundant storage subsystems and volume
Hope this helps.

   We're going to upgrade to a 450 sometime later this year. The setup will
look something like this:

   * 4 400-Mhz CPUs * 1 Gb memory * 8 9-Gb drives * Oracle

   This specs out to under $50K, not including a tape drive for backups,
which we're buying separately. We didn't want to spend the money for the
volume manager stuff; it's a big-ticket item, and I haven't been really
thrilled with it since we first bought it 5 years ago. I'd just as soon
make sure that our Oracle data and control files live on separate drives,
and make partitions by hand.

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