The politics of running Oracle on NFSPosted: June 29, 2007
Kevin Closson wrote an article making the economic case for running Oracle on NFS. Its a great article, go read it. It shows how much cheaper, more scalable and easier to configure and administer NFS can be compared to SAN solutions, even when taking possible performance degredations into account.
One thing that Kevin failed to mention is that choosing NFS requires a strong backbone and not every DBA would wish to test his or her mettle by attempting to introduce NFS into production enviroment.
You know how the database is always blamed for every application issue? How the DBAs always have to run around and prove that the DB is innocent while everyone else is pointing their fingers at the them? I’m sure everyone reading this blog is familar with “The database is guilty until proven innocent beyond all shadow of doubt” mentality.
Well, its the same with NFS only a bit worse. We’ve been running several large production RAC systems on NFS for the last two years, and for the past two years Netapp and the NFS protocol has been blamed for OS crashes, cluster errors, Oracle bugs, application errors, database misconfiguration, badly written backup scripts, errors that occurd within third party network devices, and the list can go on and on.
Our RAC systems had tons of issues – Netapp and the NFS protocol has been blamed for about 90% of them. I don’t believe we found even one case where it was clearly a storage issue. There used to be a saying “No one was ever fired for deciding to use IBM”. I can’t say the same for deciding to use Oracle on NFS.
The already sensitive situation is made even worse when we were unable to find any consultant – from Oracle, Netapp or 3rd party that was willing to review our storage configuration top to bottom and reassure us (and mostly our twitchy management) that we are doing things fine, everything is configured as it should be and if your Linux servers and Oracle Cluster crashes twice a day, the problem must be somewhere else,
Maybe Kevin should start NFS auditing services.
(I’ve actually planned to write about auditing today, but I got so worked up about storage that I totally forgot what is so interesting about audits anyway. Don’t worry, I’m testing fine grained auditing for a customer these days so some interesting bits about it are sure to come up soon)