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How To Learn Real Application Clusters (RAC) Administration

This article provides some ideas about how someone new to Real Application Clusters (RAC) should approach trying to learn about it. These are just ideas, not a definitive guide.

Related articles.

Before You Begin

Your primary focus should be on being a good DBA before you look at RAC. Despite what you may believe, many of the issues you face in RAC are the same as those of single instance databases. If you are a weak DBA before embarking on the process of learning RAC, you are not going to have a fun time.

The rest of the article assumes you are a competent single-instance DBA.


Before, during and after, you should be reading as much as possible about RAC. The following manuals are a must!

The more you've read about the theory, the easier the practical will be. Ultimately, you need both.


Get to grips with basic virtualization using VirtualBox. It's free and you'll probably need it if you are planning on doing RAC installations at home. You will need to be comfortable with adding additional disks and network interfaces, because RAC installations will require multiples of both. In order to do this you will have to be familiar with how the OS handles multiple disks and network adapters.

Assuming you are using Linux, it would make sense to become more familiar with basic Linux system administration before moving on. The combination of virtualization and Linux system administration will help a lot when doing RAC installations and diagnosing issues. You can read about basic Linux administration here.

Automatic Storage Manager (ASM)

Make sure you have a decent grasp of Automatic Storage Manager (ASM) before you move on. ASM is mandatory for RAC on Standard Edition (SE). For Enterprise Edition (EE) you can use other forms of shared storage that don't require ASM, but the likelihood is you will use ASM with RAC on EE too. Most of the important ASM skills can be learnt on single instance systems. Some things to try out are listed below.

Many of these topics are described in the ASM Oracle documentation here.

Basic RAC Installation

You are probably ready at this point to do some basic RAC installations. You can find examples of RAC installations on VirtualBox here. If you've done the groundwork mentioned previously, it should go really well. If you've rushed to this point, it will probably be a painful process.

Don't assume one successful installation means you are ready to move on. Try installing different versions of RAC on different operating system versions. You will hit problems, but treat these as learning experiences.

Test Scenarios

Once you've got a basic RAC installation done, you will want to start testing RAC functionality. Here are some things, in no particular order, you should probably try out.

Many of these scenarios are covered in the RAC documentation linked below.

For more information see:

Hope this helps. Regards Tim...

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