Oracle Exadata has picked up popularity in recent years as each generation has become more capable and feature-rich. Exadata is the number one choice for any Oracle architecture where extreme performance, reliability and consolidation is the key. At Cintra, we have been working with many customers helping them migrate to Exadata and making the transition as smooth as possible.
We help customers at every stage of an Exadata deployment project, from design, ordering, survey and coordination of Oracle for the hardware installation to deployment, post-production support and unleashing the power of Exadata through a comprehensive optimization program.
This blog covers some high-level recommendations that should be followed in order to ensure that your Exadata deployment is rapid, smooth and successful.
Phase #1 – Delivery Readiness
It is critical to dedicate some time to Data Center readiness and make sure the Exadata site survey and pre-delivery documents are filled out accurately. In particular, the following points should be considered:
- Logistical requirements for your data center
- g. size of loading bay, holding area, space requirements in the cage where the Exadata will be installed
- PDU specifications must be correctly specified based on Data Center receptacle type
- g. Single-phase vs Three-phase, top vs bottom PDU installation
- Network physical cabling requirements for the integration of Exadata into your existing network
- g. SFP+ transceivers vs copper RJ45 cables
- Data Center team readiness
- g. Ensuring that the data center team and any third parties are ready to receive the new Exadata, and are aware that they should not open any boxes until Oracle are onsite
Phase #2 – Configuration Preparation
It is crucial to collect all the information required for the software installation up front. Without this information in place, the Exadata installation cannot continue, and timelines will be compromised.
Preparation is not solely a case of gathering some network IPs for the OEDA (Oracle Exadata Deployment Assistant) configuration, but rather bringing all parties (e.g. Network and Storage teams) together to ensure that all integration points for the base installation of Exadata (e.g. DNS entries, firewall rules, NFS mounts) are set up correctly in advance.
For Phase #2 we can summarize the following tasks:
- Always obtain the latest version of OEDA from support.oracle.com
- Review all relevant Oracle Support notes for latest updates or corrections due to newly discovered bugs in the installation process
- Request and register the Hardware and Software CSIs (Customer Support Identifier) covering the Exadata infrastructure
- This is critical in the event of a hardware component failure
- This will also allow us to log any software SRs required if we hit a bug during the installation process
- Confirm with the appropriate Systems teams all the requirements for the Exadata installation
- Involve a Network Engineer to validate how Exadata will be connected to the customer’s client network, if there is a firewall in the infrastructure, if the customer’s CLIENT network is available and configured, and DNS and NTP are available
- Schedule the Oracle HW team to be onsite for rack & stack only after you have confirmed the OEDA configuration
- Get confirmation from the Data Center that the security access list includes all the people required to work on the Exadata deployment
Phase #3 – Hardware Rack & Stack
The Oracle HW team unpack the Exadata and place it in the Data Center cage. Then they validate all cabling, perform a power-on of the Exadata, followed by the basic configuration of the Cisco and InfiniBand switches and PDUs, together with all the checks regarding the environmental requirements and the good health of all hardware components.
When everything is confirmed as functional, Exadata is ready for the software installation.
Phase #4 – Onsite Software Installation
The visit to the Data Center for the Exadata installation typically takes a couple of days, during which it is validated that the pre-installation tasks have been completed successfully, the Exadata machine is switched from bare metal to virtualized configuration (if required) and the expected network configuration is in place.
It is advisable to go onsite with a Network Engineer, in case you run into unexpected issues with network communications, or at least ensure a Network Engineer is available for assistance. Also it is important to have access to Data Center personnel that can help to expedite any urgent requests, such as replacing faulty cables, adding new cables or modifying switch ports.
If everything goes smoothly with the network, you will be able to successfully apply the network configuration to the Exadata Compute Nodes and Storage Cells and then proceed with around 20 steps for the software installation. We strongly recommend executing the installation steps one at a time and to verify the installation log accurately before proceeding to the next step.
Occasionally you may run into some bugs during the software installation, which are known to us (together with the appropriate workaround.) The installation steps can be rolled back in case of failure, but this must be agreed with Oracle Support.
In conclusion, an Exadata deployment, while it can be rapid and problem-free, requires a good degree of up-front planning and preparation. Contact Cintra today to ensure the success of the design, planning and implementation of your new Exadata environment!
Written by Puneet Gupta, Head of Global Database Operations, and Paolo Desalvo, Enterprise Architect