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Introduction to SunTone Clustered Database Platforms

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While there appears to be unanimous consent in the industry that integrated hardware and software platforms are needed, there is not a similar agreement of what, exactly, constitutes an integrated stack, particularly in the area of clusters and high availability. Further, people want to know what best practices they should embrace and which services they should provide. This article details the benefits that can be derived from a clustered Oracle database software stack that has been integrated to best practices and is ready to deploy. The examples in this article highlight Sun's Clustered Database Platform 280/3.
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This article presents the benefits of SunTone™ Clustered Database Platforms, describes the services of the management server, compares Oracle configurations, and covers tuning system parameters. This article presents options and recommends best practices for storage arrays, boot disk mirroring, and back up and recovery.

Relating it to Sun's "Three Big Bets," this article uses the soon-to-be announced Clustered Database Platform 280/3 (CDP 280/3) as a reference platform for describing benefits derived from providing Sun customers with preinstalled, "ready-to-deploy" clustered database systems.

This article contains the following topics:

  • "Introduction"
  • "Reference Platform"
  • "Benefits"
  • "Services"
  • "Using ORACLE Database Configurations"
  • "Setting /etc/system Parameters"
  • "Mirroring Shared Storage Arrays"
  • "Mirroring the Boot Disk"
  • "Managing Back Up and Recovery"
  • "Obtaining Product Documentation"
  • "Obtaining Support"
  • "Additional Resources"


Sun identifies the integrated platform (stack) as one of its "Three Big Bets" as it moves forward implementing best practices for the data center. Agreement is widespread in the industry that a need exists for integrated stacks, however, the question of exactly what constitutes an integrated stack, particularly in clusters and high availability, remains to be answered. The integrated stack elevates the process of procuring large application or database servers to its next logical level. The integration and reliability of hardware and software components need to be seamless.

Let's compare the data center's availability with some familiar examples. As is observed in the reliability of modern telephone switches, system downtime is not an option. To transform the data center to the next logical level, Sun Microsystems provides SunTone™ platforms. These enterprise servers provide continuous availability, such as the ever-present dial tone you expect when picking up the telephone.

Acquiring and installing a data center server needs to be as simple as ordering telephone service. When you call up the local telephone company to establish service, you need not concern yourself with questions such as:

  • How will the telephone line be strung between my house and the central switching office?

  • Does the telephone switch have enough capacity to handle the calls I make?

  • Is the software in my central office compatible with that used by the customers I call in another state?

All these issues are handled by making one call to the telephone company's business office.

Similarly, when you purchase a new car, you need not ask the dealer, "By the way, could you please tell me the part number for the bumpers? I want to make sure I include them on the order." As ludicrous as this statement appears, situations like these are symbolic of the situations that data center managers and system administrators (SAs) have been forced to deal with for years.

Advances in cluster technology within the past decade lend credence to the idea of being able to provide a database or application service akin to the "number of nines" availability and reliability we expect from the telephone dial tone. In addition to database or application availability and reliability, factor in ease of use, installation, ordering, and interoperability.

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