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Deploying Full Stack Oracle ZFS Appliance Using Oracle Unified Storage Simulator - Part 1

Part I: Virtualizing and Provisioning the Oracle ZFS Storage Appliance


In this article, we will learn how to prepare the ZFS storage appliance for the use of Oracle 19c RAC with ASM. ZFS appliance originally is a storage appliance from Oracle and falls under the family of Engineered Systems, but in our demonstration, we will see how to prepare the ZFS Storage Appliance virtual machine and also how to configure the Oracle ZFS appliance from the scratch and to ensure the readiness of the appliance, so that Oracle Grid and RDBMS can be installed.

Little Intro of ZFS Appliance “ZS7-2”

Oracle ZFS storage appliance comes with high performance SAN, NAS and object storage capabilities and this appliance tightly integrated and exclusively for the Oracle Database purpose. ZFS appliance considered as extreme enterprise storage performance with its intelligence and capability of symmetric multiprocessing storage. ZFS comes with in both formats of SSD or HDD based on the business requirements.

Excellency of Oracle ZFS appliance is, it provides Active-Active controller clustering for failover purpose which fulfills the High availability and beauty of its self-healing file system architecture. There are various key benefits of ZFS appliance and let’s highlight few of them.

  • Accelerates Oracle database/application performance
  • Extreme I/O throughput for backup and recovery workloads
  • Dynamic caching between DRAM, Flash Cache
  • High Performance NAS, SAN and object storage.
  • Mirroring or RAID-Z across JBODs for Maximum Availability
  • Reduce the risks of security breaches
  • Data Protection with AES encryption
  • Cloud integrated
  • Both BUI and CLI interfaces
  • Automatic tuning of critical storage parameters
  • Simplified Management
  • Internal Workload Analytics
  • Hybrid Storage Pool

Oracle ZFS appliance comprised of three components in terms of architecture:

  1. Software
  2. Storage
  3. Controller

Oracle ZFS comes with two ranges, where the configuration changes for both in case of configuration, architecture, processors, DRAM cache and Read flash cache, data storage options, network interfaces, ports and etc.

  1. High Range – Suitable for high end enterprise with more scalability.
  2. Mid-Range – Midrange unified system and price focused machine.

Let’s start in provisioning Oracle ZFS Storage Simulator

In this first phase of the article, we are going to demonstrate virtualizing and provisioning Oracle ZFS Storage Simulator.  Please follow to download the required software’s in order to setup this simulator.

  1. Install the Oracle VirtualBox, recommended to download the latest available version, in our case we are using OVB on Microsoft Windows and hence we have downloaded the platform specific. https://www.virtualbox.org/wiki/Downloads. You can select the related binary file based on the Operating system platform. In our case we have host machine of Windows 10.
  2. Download Oracle ZFS Storage Simulator for Oracle Virtual Box Simulator “8VirtualBox.ovahttps://www.oracle.com/downloads/server-storage/sun-unified-storage-sun-simulator-downloads.html

Provisioning Oracle ZFS Storage

We’ve already downloaded the Oracle ZFS Storage VirtualBox Simulator and now let’s import this appliance in Oracle VirtualBox as below with the VM configuration.

  • Import the downloaded appliance
  • ZFS comes by default with Sun Solaris operating system platform
  • Allocate RAM at least more than 2560 MB
  • Select network type: Host Only Adapter

After importing this simulator provides the default configuration as recommended by Oracle, If required we can change the configuration but it should met all the requirements.

After importing, we must start the basic Oracle ZFS configuration, click on the “START” button to start the ZFS virtual machine.

It is important to understand the requirements for provisioning ZFS appliance, please refer to https://www.oracle.com/technetwork/server-storage/sun-unified-storage/downloads/simulator-guide-3101897.pdf for the requirements and for the setup information.

In the next screen/step the actual configuration starts, here provide the

  • Hostname
  • DNS Domain (if configured domain or else mention default domain)
  • Router
  • DNS Server
  • Password

Enter ESC + 1 to exit the console and then

After the configuration is finished, we will access the console via browser The User we use is “root” and the password is “oracle” in our test demo.

Oracle ZFS configuration – Startup Storage

This is the actual configuration of ZFS Storage, where we are going to use Oracle on this. Hence please follow the proper guidelines as per the environment. Most of the initial steps are default and no changes required and you can safely commit. But later steps are independent to your environment.

Access to from the web browser and start configuring the appliance.

In the Network screen, there are no changes required, Please accept to default configuration and click on COMMIT.

Configure DNS: If there are dedicated domain available, please provide the same which was used in initial steps during the Virtual Box provisioning of ZFS.

Configuring Time: if the NTP configuration was already done, then select the NTP network type or you can skip by clicking COMMIT.

Configure Name Services: if there are any desired services are about to use then select the appropriate. You can simply COMMIT for now, because this can be configured even in future.

Configure Storage: You can define pools for the storage for which purpose we are using like DEMO or PROD etc.

Once you create the new storage pool, we can select the data profile based on our business requirements. We can see various options

  • Striped
  • Mirrored
  • Single parity, Narrow stripes
  • Double Parity
  • Triple Mirrored
  • Triple Parity, Narrow Stripes

These steps can be done anytime in future. If in case we selected the “Striped” type of data profile then in the next screen, it does show the storage pool along with the allocation of the specific pool.

Registration & Support: It is another optional feature; you can integrate this server with the My Oracle Support for the system updates or access to software downloads etc. If not required, then simply ignore by clicking LATER button.

Configuring Storage

A project can be defined in Oracle ZFS Storage Appliance for related group volumes. A project allows property inheritance for file systems and LUNs presented from the project and allows quotas and reservations to be applied. Click on “SHARES”, then click on “PROJECTS”, select the option “+” next to the word Projects. Before that click on “Configuration” and “STORAGE” and specify size of the POOL size and import and click on “Commit.”

Note: By default, 74.5 GB size of the complete volume and based on data pool. You can use the options striped, mirrored etc. Based on the business demands and type of the data going to be used.

Once the pool is created it show all the details of the specific pool including the current allocation.

After committing, we can view the complete information of our Pool as below.

Go back and view the project and then we can see the DEFAULT project, also we can create new project named “RAC” for our Oracle use.

Now edit the project name for RAC and then click on APPLY.

We just created the template and hence we cannot see any LUNs associated with this project “RAC.”

Now click the LUNs (+) button to create our desired volumes.

Now let’s start the creation of the first volume, ASM_DATA1, first select the name of the project “RAC”.

After selecting the project, put the name of the volume in this case we will put it as “ASM_DATA1”, we will set the volume size to “10 GB”, the size of the block size to “8k” and we will select the group “ISCI_RACS,” after done this click on “APPLY.”

Use the same process to create all the necessary disk groups required.  In the below example you will see that we created ASM_DATA1 through ASM_DAT4 and ASM_RECO1 through ASM_REC02. The DATA Disk Groups used for the Oracle Database datafiles and the RECO Disk Group used for the Online Redo logs and even Flash Log files.

Now we already have all the volumes created for us to use in Oracle RAC Configuration.


In this series of articles in preparation of “Maximum Availability Architecture of Oracle 19c Setup of RAC and Data Guard”, in this article we are going to learn how to prepare Oracle Virtual Box to provision the Oracle ZFS appliance. We’ve explained from basics of ZFS of its history and the key benefits to run the business on this along with Oracle Database, running the Oracle ZFS on virtual box with step by step configuration and installation steps along with the important steps to configure the storage associated with the pools and projects. In the next series we will learn how to perform post configuration tasks of ZFS appliance and preparation of disks and configuring volumes on the database nodes.

About the Authors

Y V Ravi Kumar is an Oracle Certified Master/Oracle ACE Director/Co-Author of (3) Books/TOGAF 9.2 Certified/MAA Certified Expert/Co-author of 100+ Oracle Technology Network (OTN) articles/ with 23+ years of Multinational Leadership experience in the United States of America (USA), Seychelles and India in Banking, Financial Services & Insurance (BFSI) verticals and played various roles like Vice President (IT), Oracle Engineered Systems Architect, Senior Database Architect, Production DBA, and Enterprise Architect. He maintains an Oracle technology-related blog, [email protected] and can be reached at [email protected].

Nassyam Basha is a Database Administrator. He has more than 13 years of experience as a Production Oracle DBA, currently working as a Database Consultant. He holds a master’s degree in Computer Applications from the University of Madras. He is an Oracle 11g Certified Master and honored as Oracle ACE Director from Oracle Corp. He actively participates in Oracle-related forums such as ODevC/Hub with a status of Silver Crown, Oracle support awarded as “Guru” and acting as Oracle Developer Community Moderator and written 60+ articles with OTN, Dell, Toad World, UKOUG, Quest Community, etc. He holds the prestigious “Select Journal Editor’s Choice Award” in 2018 and 2020 based on the Quest Community’s best Oracle technical article. He is a board member for the KSAOUG, MAA SIG, and IDGOUG Oracle User Groups. He maintains an Oracle technology-related blog, www.oracle-ckpt.com, and can be reached at https://www.linkedin.com/in/nassyambasha/.

Deploying Full Stack Oracle ZFS Appliance Using Oracle Unified Storage Simulator - Part 1