Last Thursday’s meeting at the Toronto office was rather delightful as it had been soundly proved by our test that a Windows based Oracle database server can be deployed in hours, instead of days, using the server cloning technology. Looking at the face of the PM Ms. D during the meeting, one can tell right away her rejoice over the much shortened time in fixing the back-end for this project that had been a huge uncertainty the week before.
The challenge was mainly due to the fact that the back-end database on the new server not accessible after applying to it the server cloning image created from another server where both the front-end and the back-end had been working well for a while. Suspecting the database corrupted, another DBA suggested a 4-step procedure: to get rid of the database, uninstall the binaries, re-install the binaries, and then copy database over from the other server where the database is working. This would be a tedious process, not to mention that a lot more time would be consumed for the succeeded DBA, that would be myself, to figure out the installation options adapted by the previous DBA who is now on a short term disability leave. Nobody had any clue how the project was going in my first meeting with the team two weeks ago.
A key breakthrough, however, was achieved on March 26, when I was working on the major EE project and waiting for the EE PM Mr. R to issue a go in that late night. A thorough check of the database and its components revealed to me that the database itself was actual good and the real issue was instead the listener configured based on the incorrect information collected from the old server. After 30 minutes of reconfiguring the listener, re-generating the database ID and as well thoroughly re-checking the data values, permission settings, dump logs and sessions, everything started to fly!
And further more, front-end of the application started to work after its connection string being re-configured in a few minutes, while connections to other severs over ODBC were well preserved. Another big time savings!
Here is a high-level summary of the steps for a fast deployment of Oracle database server based on an existing cleanly-defined server:
1. Shutdown the front-end and back-end processes on the source server — 30minute or less
2. Create a server cloning image — 2 hours or less
3. Apply the image to the new server — 2 hours or less
4. Re-configure the listener on the new server and then bring up the listener service — 20 minutes or so
5. A thorough check of data, permissions, user sessions, local and remote connectivity, dump logs — 10 minutes or so
6. Re-configure the application connection string — 10 minutes or so
7. Verify the connections to the other servers — 10 minutes.
Killed two birds with one stone that night.