Data Guard — it’s real it’s Oracle, you know what you’ve got!

Data Guard — it’s real it’s Oracle, you know what you’ve got!” said Joe Meeks (Director of High Availability Product Management at Oracle) in his closing statement during the Live Webcast presentation titled “Maximize Availability with Oracle Database 11g” held today.

The focus of this presentation was on “Active Data Guard Option” of Oracle 11g. In one sentence — Active Data Guard Option lets you open your Physical Standby database READ-Only all while redo-apply is taking place from primary. In contrast, in 10g, redo-apply halted when physical standby was opened READ-Only, the redo transportation was still taking place but it was not being applied in 10g. 11g bridges this gap and it does so very efficiently — as Joe Meeks said “With 11gR2 Active Data Guard – we are confident that latency is very low”.

Data Guard != ZERO Downtime because rolling upgrade still requires downtime. For example, according to Joe’s recollection of a major upgrade at UPS — their downtime going from 10g to 11g took ~ 4 minutes. To get ZERO downtime you must design your application around Oracle Streams.

In contrast to Data Guard, which uses media recovery (block by block), Oracle Streams are building logical change records using SQL. Steams are providing full featured replication features at your disposal, for example you can:

  • replicate a subset of database
  • perform transformations
  • replicate across platforms
  • setup multimaster replications
  • replicate to a database and have it replicate different subsets of data out

Data Guard is simpler, one way replication — focused on DR using media recovery process (time tested process). Physical Standby is very horizontal, transparent to the storage and application.

PS: Active Data Guard is only available for Physical Standby (block by block changes) and it requires an additional license.

August 19, 2009

Posted In: Data Guard

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What the heck is “snapshot standby”?

I was just reviewing Note:565535.1 Flashback Database Best Practices & Performance and came across the following paragraph under the title of “Measuring Impact of turning Flashback Database ON / Analyzing the Performance Impact“:

If you’re on RDBMS release 11g and have a physical standby, then you can enable flashback database on your physical standby and then convert it to a snapshot standby (this can also be done in 10.2 with a manual snapshot standby, but no redo is received and applied as in the 11g Snapshot Standby. See Dell 10g Snapshot Standby – Dell 10g Snapshot Standby). Then when you run a workload against the snapshot standby it will be with flashback database logging enabled.

So what the heck is “snapshot standby”?

Essentially it allows you to convert your 11g physical standy to a “Snapshot standby” so that you can “Make changes to the Primary and the the Snapshot standby in some common tables” and then “Convert the Snapshot standby back to a Physical standby”. Makes sense? NO? OK, I know, how about this:

  • A snapshot standby database is a fully updateable standby database created by converting a physical standby database into a snapshot standby database.
  • A snapshot standby database receives and archives, but does not apply, redo data from a primary database. The redo data received from the primary database is applied once a snapshot standby database is converted back into a physical standby database, after discarding all local updates to the snapshot standby database.
  • A snapshot standby can be created from Enterprise Manager, the Data Guard Broker command line interface (DGMGRL) or from SQL*Plus.

Better? YES. This is probably THE reason to go 11g if you haven’t already. Basically you get an instant REPORTING/TEST server without loosing your Physical Standby database. See: Using Snapshot Standby for an example.

June 15, 2009

Posted In: Data Guard

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