Creating a RAC 12.1 Data Guard Physical Standby environment (3)

In the previous two parts of this series you read about my lab environment and the preparations on the network side as well as the database. In this part I’ll cover the database duplication. Again, this won’t be a short post …

NOTE: As always, this is just a demonstration using VMs in my lab, based on my notes. Your system is most likely different, so in real-life you might take a different approach. The techniques I am using here were suitable for me, and my own small scale testing. I tried to make sure they are valid, but you may want to allocate more resources in your environment. Test, test, test on your own environment on test kit first!

Step 1: Create an initialisation file

The next step is the preparation of an initialisation file. I am taking NCDBA as the sample and transfer it over to rac12sec1:

SQL> create pfile='/tmp/initNCDBA1.ora' from spfile;

File created.

[oracle@rac12pri1 ~]$ scp /tmp/initNCDBA1.ora rac12sec1:/tmp
oracle@rac12sec1's password: 
initNCDBA1.ora                                            100% 1515     1.5KB/s   00:00    
[oracle@rac12pri1 ~]$ 

The file is a bit verbose, and needs some editing. I appreciate that RMAN replaces the file anyway with a copy but I like to keep it tidy, at least at first … The end result is shown here-as always, you make sure that your version of the pfile matches your site’s requirements and standards. The important part is where you set the directory paths correctly, and you also ensure that db_name and db_unique_name are set correctly.


The file needs to be transferred to $ORACLE_HOME/dbs as initNCDBB1.ora.

Step 2: Create a temporary password file

You undoubtedly spotted that remote_login_passwordfile is set, which is a pre-requisite for connecting to the database as SYS via the network. The password file is required for an active database duplication, and without a password file this wouldn’t work. Since Oracle takes care of the password file during the RMAN duplicate it appears to be sufficient to simply create a password file in $ORACLE_HOME/dbs on rac12sec1:

[oracle@rac12sec1 dbs]$ orapwd file=orapwNCDBB1

Enter password for SYS:
[oracle@rac12sec1 dbs]$

During my testing this was enough to proceed to the next step.

Step 3: Duplicate the database “for standby”

The system should now be ready for the standby database’s creation. It’s been a bit of a task to get there, but from now on things will be easier … Using the *_DUP entries in the system’s tnsnames.ora file I connect to the target and auxiliary database, followed by the command to create the standby. In my case the database is more than tiny and the RMAN defaults are enough. Larger databases would probably need different settings and commands.

[oracle@rac12sec1 dbs]$ rman target sys@ncdba_dup auxiliary sys@ncdbb_dup

Recovery Manager: Release - Production on Wed Dec 14 10:25:47 2016

Copyright (c) 1982, 2014, Oracle and/or its affiliates.  All rights reserved.

target database Password: 
connected to target database: NCDBA (DBID=479005270)
auxiliary database Password: 
connected to auxiliary database: NCDBA (DBID=479005270, not open)

RMAN> startup clone nomount

connected to auxiliary database (not started)
Oracle instance started

Total System Global Area    3221225472 bytes

Fixed Size                     2929552 bytes
Variable Size                838863984 bytes
Database Buffers            2365587456 bytes
Redo Buffers                  13844480 bytes

RMAN> duplicate target database for standby from active database;

Starting Duplicate Db at 14-DEC-16
allocated channel: ORA_AUX_DISK_1
channel ORA_AUX_DISK_1: SID=240 instance=NCDBB1 device type=DISK

contents of Memory Script:
   backup as copy reuse
   targetfile  '+DATA/NCDBA/PASSWORD/pwdncdba.256.930561891' auxiliary format
 '/u01/app/oracle/product/'   ;
executing Memory Script

Starting backup at 14-DEC-16
allocated channel: ORA_DISK_1
channel ORA_DISK_1: SID=276 instance=NCDBA1 device type=DISK
Finished backup at 14-DEC-16

contents of Memory Script:
   sql clone "create spfile from memory";
   shutdown clone immediate;
   startup clone nomount;
   restore clone from service  'ncdba_dup' standby controlfile;
executing Memory Script

sql statement: create spfile from memory

Oracle instance shut down

sql statement: alter system archive log current

contents of Memory Script:
   switch clone datafile all;
executing Memory Script

datafile 1 switched to datafile copy
input datafile copy RECID=7 STAMP=930565247 file name=+DATA/NCDBB/DATAFILE/system.259.930565213
datafile 2 switched to datafile copy
input datafile copy RECID=8 STAMP=930565247 file name=+DATA/NCDBB/DATAFILE/undotbs2.260.930565221
datafile 3 switched to datafile copy
input datafile copy RECID=9 STAMP=930565247 file name=+DATA/NCDBB/DATAFILE/sysaux.261.930565223
datafile 4 switched to datafile copy
input datafile copy RECID=10 STAMP=930565247 file name=+DATA/NCDBB/DATAFILE/undotbs1.262.930565231
datafile 5 switched to datafile copy
input datafile copy RECID=11 STAMP=930565247 file name=+DATA/NCDBB/DATAFILE/example.263.930565233
datafile 6 switched to datafile copy
input datafile copy RECID=12 STAMP=930565247 file name=+DATA/NCDBB/DATAFILE/users.264.930565241
Finished Duplicate Db at 14-DEC-16


Perfect – the duplicate finished ok and all 6 datafiles have been transferred to my standby cluster. There are a few things worth noting here:

  • The password file of the primary (residing in ASM) has been copied to ‘/u01/app/oracle/product/’ (not in ASM)
  • The standby database’s spfile has been created from memory – a lot of unneccesary and some obsolete parameters are now in the standby database’s spfile

Step 4: Finishing Touches

There are a few things still outstanding before declaring the environment ready. First of all you need to register the standby database in the Cluster Registry (OCR). Use srvctl for this task. One way to do this is shown here:

[oracle@rac12sec1 dbs]$ srvctl add database -db NCDBB -oraclehome $ORACLE_HOME -dbtype RAC \
> -role PHYSICAL_STANDBY -startoption MOUNT -dbname NCDBA -diskgroup "DATA,RECO"

[oracle@rac12sec1 dbs]$ srvctl add instance -db NCDBB -instance NCDBB1 -node rac12sec1
[oracle@rac12sec1 dbs]$ srvctl add instance -db NCDBB -instance NCDBB2 -node rac12sec2

When registering your standby database make sure you are license compliant!

Next I move the password file to ASM. The file currently resides on rac12sec1 in the $ORACLE_HOME/dbs directory. You can use the orapwd command to move it. If you registered the database in the OCR as I did in the previous step you will get an updated configuration as a result – the password file configuration is changed automatically.

[oracle@rac12sec1 dbs]$ srvctl config database -db NCDBB | grep -i password
Password file: +DATA/NCDBB/orapwncdbb

Since I like error messages when the database starts even less than unnecessary parameters in my spfile I tend to remove these from the standby database. And besides – in its current form the spfile wouldn’t allow me to mount both RAC instances anyway. For some odd reason the mapping between SID and instances is lost during the RMAN duplicate.

So I start off by creating a pfile from the spfile, and remove all unneeded underscore parameters and deprecated ones. In the resulting step I ensure that all the necessary RAC parameters are in. The minimalistic end result looks like this for my database:

   '+RECO/NCDBB/CONTROLFILE/current.258.930565201'#Restore Controlfile

Next I can move the spfile to ASM and update the OCR profile. After these steps, the OCR profile reflects the new location of the spfile. Be sure to check all $ORACLE_HOME/dbs directories on the cluster nodes to prevent local pfiles/spfiles taking precedence over the one referred to in the OCR.

[oracle@rac12sec1 dbs]$ srvctl config database -d NCDBB | grep spfile
Spfile: +DATA/NCDBB/spfileNCDBB

Everything is awesome!

It’s been a bit of a journey, but it was worth it. Before continuing with the remaining configuration steps, here is a little bit of detail about the system as it is:

[oracle@rac12sec1 dbs]$ srvctl status database -db NCDBB -verbose
Instance NCDBB1 is running on node rac12sec1. Instance status: Mounted (Closed).
Instance NCDBB2 is running on node rac12sec2. Instance status: Mounted (Closed).
[oracle@rac12sec1 dbs]$ 

SQL> select name,name,db_unique_name,database_role,log_mode,force_logging,flashback_on from v$database;

--------- --------- ---------------- ---------------- ------------ --------------- ------------------

SQL> select * from v$active_instances;

INST_NUMBER INST_NAME                                                        CON_ID
----------- ------------------------------------------------------------ ----------
          1 rac12sec1:NCDBB1                                                      0
          2 rac12sec2:NCDBB2                                                      0

In my initial drafts I intended to continue this article with the Data Guard configuration, but having looked at the WordPress-formatted part 3 up to here I decided to split it into 2 pieces. Next up is the Data Guard Broker configuration, followed by more posts about switching over and application design considerations. Stay tuned!


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