Oracle RAC Interview Question & Answer.

1. Where are the Clusterware files stored on a RAC environment?
The Clusterware is installed on each node (on an Oracle Home) and on the shared disks (the voting disks and the CSR file)

2. Where are the database software files stored on a RAC environment?

The base software is installed on each node of the cluster and the
database storage on the shared disks.

3. What kind of storage we can use for the shared Clusterware files?
- OCFS (Release 1 or 2)
- raw devices
- third party cluster file system such as GPFS or Veritas

4. What kind of storage we can use for the RAC database storage?
- OCFS (Release 1 or 2)
- ASM
- raw devices
- third party cluster file system such as GPFS or Veritas

5. What is a CFS?
A cluster File System (CFS) is a file system that may be accessed (read and write) by all members in a cluster at the same time. This implies that all members of a cluster have the same view.

6. What is an OCFS2?
The OCFS2 is the Oracle (version 2) Cluster File System which can be used for the Oracle Real Application Cluster.

7. Which files can be placed on an Oracle Cluster File System?
- Oracle Software installation (Windows only)
- Oracle files (controlfiles, datafiles, redologs, files described by the bfile datatype)
- Shared configuration files (spfile)
- OCR and voting disk
- Files created by Oracle during runtime

Note: There are some platform specific limitations.

8. Do you know another Cluster Vendor?
HP Tru64 Unix, Veritas, Microsoft

9. How is possible to install a RAC if we don’t have a CFS?
This is possible by using a raw device.

10. What is a raw device?
A raw device is a disk drive that does not yet have a file system set up. Raw devices are used for Real Application Clusters since they enable the sharing of disks.

11. What is a raw partition?
A raw partition is a portion of a physical disk that is accessed at the lowest possible level. A raw partition is created when an extended partition is created and logical partitions are assigned to it without any formatting. Once formatting is complete, it is called cooked partition.

12. When to use CFS over raw?
A CFS offers:
- Simpler management
- Use of Oracle Managed Files with RAC
- Single Oracle Software installation
- Autoextend enabled on Oracle datafiles
- Uniform accessibility to archive logs in case of physical node failure
- With Oracle_Home on CFS, when you apply Oracle patches CFS guarantees that the updated Oracle_Home is visible to all nodes in the cluster.

Note: This option is very dependent on the availability of a CFS on your platform.

13. When to use raw over CFS?
- Always when CFS is not available or not supported by Oracle.
- The performance is very, very important: Raw devices offer best performance without any intermediate layer between Oracle and the disk.
Note: Autoextend fails on raw devices if the space is exhausted. However the space could be added online if needed.

14. What CRS is?
Oracle RAC 10g Release 1 introduced Oracle Cluster Ready Services (CRS), a platform-independent set of system services for cluster environments. In Release 2, Oracle has renamed this product to Oracle Clusterware.

15. What is VIP IP used for?
It returns a dead connection IMMIDIATELY, when its primary node fails. Without using VIP IP, the clients have to wait around 10 minutes to receive ORA-3113: “end of file on communications channel”. However, using Transparent Application Failover (TAF) could avoid ORA-3113.

16. Why we need to have configured SSH or RSH on the RAC nodes?
SSH (Secure Shell,10g+) or RSH (Remote Shell, 9i+) allows “oracle” UNIX account connecting to another RAC node and copy/ run commands as the local “oracle” UNIX account.

17. Is the SSH, RSH needed for normal RAC operations?
No. SSH or RSH are needed only for RAC, patch set installation and clustered database creation.

18. Do we have to have Oracle RDBMS on all nodes?
Each node of a cluster that is being used for a clustered database will typically have the RDBMS and RAC software loaded on it, but not actual data files (these need to be available via shared disk).

19. What are the restrictions on the SID with a RAC database? Is it limited to 5 characters?
The SID prefix in 10g Release 1 and prior versions was restricted to five characters by install/ config tools so that an ORACLE_SID of up to max of 5+3=8 characters can be supported in a RAC environment. The SID prefix is relaxed up to 8 characters in 10g Release 2, see bug 4024251 for more information.

20. Does Real Application Clusters support heterogeneous platforms?
The Real Application Clusters do not support heterogeneous platforms in the same cluster.


21. Are there any issues for the interconnect when sharing the same switch as the public network by using VLAN to separate the network?

RAC and Clusterware deployment best practices suggests that the interconnect (private connection) be deployed on a stand-alone, physically separate, dedicated switch. On big network the connections could be instable.

22. What is the Load Balancing Advisory?
To assist in the balancing of application workload across designated resources, Oracle Database 10g Release 2 provides the Load Balancing Advisory. This Advisory monitors the current workload activity across the cluster and for each instance where a service is active; it provides a percentage value of how much of the total workload should be sent to this instance as well as service quality flag.

23. How many nodes are supported in a RAC Database?
With 10g Release 2, we support 100 nodes in a cluster using Oracle Clusterware, and 100 instances in a RAC database. Currently DBCA has a bug where it will not go beyond 63 instances. There is also a documentation bug for the max-instances parameter. With 10g Release 1 the Maximum is 63.

24. What is the Cluster Verification Utiltiy (cluvfy)?
The Cluster Verification Utility (CVU) is a validation tool that you can use to check all the important components that need to be verified at different stages of deployment in a RAC environment.

25. What versions of the database can I use the cluster verification utility (cluvfy) with?
The cluster verification utility is release with Oracle Database 10g Release 2 but can also be used with Oracle Database 10g Release 1.

26. If I am using Vendor Clusterware such as Veritas, IBM, Sun or HP, do I still need Oracle Clusterware to run Oracle RAC 10g?
Yes. When certified, you can use Vendor Clusterware however you must still install and use Oracle Clusterware for RAC. Best Practice is to leave Oracle Clusterware to manage RAC. For details see Metalink Note 332257.1 and for Veritas SFRAC see 397460.1.

27. Is RAC on VMWare supported?
Yes.

28. What is hangcheck timer used for ?
The hangcheck timer checks regularly the health of the system. If the system hangs or stop the node will be restarted automatically.
There are 2 key parameters for this module:
-> hangcheck-tick: this parameter defines the period of time between checks of system health. The default value is 60 seconds; Oracle recommends setting it to 30seconds.
-> hangcheck-margin: this defines the maximum hang delay that should be tolerated before hangcheck-timer resets the RAC node.

29. Is the hangcheck timer still needed with Oracle RAC 10g?
Yes.

30. What files can I put on Linux OCFS2?
For optimal performance, you should only put the following files on Linux OCFS2:
- Datafiles
- Control Files
- Redo Logs
- Archive Logs
- Shared Configuration File (OCR)
- Voting File
- SPFILE

31. Is it possible to use ASM for the OCR and voting disk?
No, the OCR and voting disk must be on raw or CFS (cluster file system).

32. Can I change the name of my cluster after I have created it when I am using Oracle Clusterware?
No, you must properly uninstall Oracle Clusterware and then re-install.

33. What the O2CB is?
The O2CB is the OCFS2 cluster stack. OCFS2 includes some services. These services must be started before using OCFS2 (mount/ format the file systems).

34. What the OCR file is used for?
OCR is a file that manages the cluster and RAC configuration.

35. What the Voting Disk file is used for?
The voting disk is nothing but a file that contains and manages information of all the node memberships.

36. What is the recommended method to make backups of a RAC environment?                          RMAN to make backups of the database, dd to backup your voting disk and hard copies of the OCR file.

37.  What command would you use to check the availability of the RAC system?
crs_stat -t -v (-t -v are optional)
38. What is the minimum number of instances you need to have in order to create a RAC?
You can create a RAC with just one server.
39.  Name two specific RAC background processes
RAC processes are: LMON, LMDx, LMSn, LKCx and DIAG.

40.  Can you have many database versions in the same RAC?
Yes, but Clusterware version must be greater than the greater database version.

41.  What was RAC previous name before it was called RAC?
OPS: Oracle Parallel Server

42.  What RAC component is used for communication between instances?
Private Interconnect.

43.  What is the difference between normal views and RAC views?
A RAC view has the prefix ‘G’. For example, GV$SESSION instead of V$SESSION

44.  Which command will we use to manage (stop, start) RAC services in command-line mode?
srvctl

45.  How many alert logs exist in a RAC environment?
A- One for each instance.

46. What are Oracle Clusterware Components

Voting Disk — Oracle RAC uses the voting disk to manage cluster membership by way of a health check and arbitrates cluster ownership among the instances in case of network failures. The voting disk must reside on shared disk.

Oracle Cluster Registry (OCR) — Maintains cluster configuration information as well as configuration information about any cluster database within the cluster. The OCR must reside on shared disk that is accessible by all of the nodes in your cluster

47. How do you backup voting disk

#dd if=voting_disk_name of=backup_file_name

48. How do I identify the voting disk location

#crsctl query css votedisk

49. How do I identify the OCR file location

check /var/opt/oracle/ocr.loc or /etc/ocr.loc ( depends upon platform)
or
#ocrcheck

50. What is SCAN?

Single Client Access Name (SCAN) is s a new Oracle Real Application Clusters (RAC) 11g Release 2 feature that provides a single name for clients to access an Oracle Database running in a cluster. The benefit is clients using SCAN do not need to change if you add or remove nodes in the cluster.

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One thought on “Oracle RAC Interview Question & Answer.

  1. Daniel January 27, 2013 at 9:08 am Reply

    Thanks for a Compiled Information.

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