Volume 3, Number 13 -- April 6, 2006

Sun Tweaks Availability Suite for Oracle 9i RAC and 10g Support

Published: April 6, 2006

by Timothy Prickett Morgan

This week, Sun Microsystems made some enhancements to the Java Availability Suite, the portion of the larger Java Enterprise System (JES) middleware stack that is dedicated to system clustering.

Sun wants to make it easier for companies to manage Sun machines supporting Oracle 9i RAC or 10g cluster implementations without having to buy other vendor's software. And to that end, Sun has created some new software called the "Sun Cluster Advanced Edition for Oracle Real Application Clusters." According to Jim Sangster, director of marketing for N1 and clustering products at Sun, this updated Java Availability Suite is comprised of the StorEdge QFS cluster file system, which Sun brought over from its supercomputer division and commercialized a few years ago, the "Solstice" Cluster software, the Solaris Volume Manager, and a new Oracle RAC agent that was created by Sun. While Sun has been able to resell the Veritas Volume Manager and Veritas File System from Symantec to those customers who wanted it, the RAC agent and the combination of QFS and Solaris Volume Manager means that customers can deploy a complete Sun-only solution to support their Oracle 9i RAC and Oracle 10g clusters now. And at the cost of $50 per employee per year for the Java Availability Suite license, this is an attractive alternative to buying a mix of Sun and Symantec products. You can also download it for free at www.sun.com/software/solaris/get.jsp if you want to use it without tech support.

Customers who want to buy Sun Cluster or the Sun Cluster Advanced Edition for Oracle Real Application Clusters can do so, of course, using a perpetual license. Sangster says that Sun Cluster costs from $1,000 to $100,000 per node, depending on the server, and that Sun Cluster Advanced Edition for Oracle Real Application Clusters costs $1,600 to $150,000 per node.

Interestingly, the QFS file system can scale to hundreds of nodes in supercomputers, but Oracle 9i RAC and Oracle 10g clustering does not appear to scale as far. Oracle says that it can span 16 nodes for a single clustered database, but the word on the street is that eight nodes is the real top-end configuration and four nodes is more typical. (This is, oddly enough, a limit of the Tru64 cluster support that Oracle embedded inside the database to make Oracle 9i RAC and Oracle 10g.) While QFS is very scalable, it had to be tweaked to support random reads and writes, which databases require and which supercomputers, which tend to chew through large data sets in a serial mode. When Oracle can scale further, Sun will have an advantage with its QFS clustered file system.

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Editor: Timothy Prickett Morgan
Contributing Editors: Dan Burger, Joe Hertvik,
Shannon O'Donnell, Timothy Prickett Morgan
Publisher and Advertising Director: Jenny Thomas
Advertising Sales Representative: Kim Reed
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