Friday, November 11, 2011

Oracle ASM disk failure - Part 1


Oracle Automatic Storage Management (ASM) was introduced in Oracle 10g. ASM provides advance storage management features such as DISK I/O re-balancing, volume management and easy database file name management. It also can provide MIRRORING of data for high availability and redundancy in the event of a disk failure (Mirroring is optional). ASM guarantees that data extents (table,index row data etc.) in one disk are mirrored in another disk (normal redundancy) and in two disks (high redundancy).

A few times I have faced ASM disk failures when redundancy (mirroring) was enabled and none of them resulted in an issue for an end user. ASM automatically detects the disk failure and services Oracle SQL requests by retrieving information from the mirrored (other) disk. Such a failure is handled gracefully and entirely managed by Oracle. I am very impressed by the fault tolerance capability in ASM.

But soon the Oracle DBA must work with the system administrator to replaced the failed disk. If the mirrored disk also fails before the replacement, then Oracle SQL by end users will error because both the primary and mirrored disks have failed.

This post assumes that you are using ASM redundancy (Normal or High) and that you are not using ASMLib program. The commands and syntax could be different if you are using ASMLib.

How to identify a failed disk

An ASM disk failure as noted below is transparent to end users and one can be caught unaware if one is not proactive in database monitoring. The DBA can write a program that constantly checks the database alert logfile or a SQL script that checks for any read/write errors.

If either of the below queries return rows, then it is confirmed there are one or more ASM disks that have failed.

select path,name,mount_status,header_status
from v$asm_disk
where WRITE_ERRS > 0

select path,name,mount_status,header_status
from v$asm_disk
where READ_ERRS > 0;

But despite the read/write errors, the header_status column value may still be shown as "MEMBER".

Drop the failed disk

1) alter diskgroup #name# drop disk #disk name#;

Caution: Do NOT physically remove the failed disk YET from the disk enclosure of the server. The above command is executed immediately, but ASM also starts a lengthy re-balance operation. The disk should be physically removed only after the header_status for the failed disk becomes FORMER. This status is set after the re-balance operation is completed. One can monitor the progress of the re-balance operation by checking v$asm_operation.

from v$asm_operation;

After a few min/hours the above operation will get completed (no rows returned). Then verify that the header_status is now FORMER and then request the System Administrator to physically remove the disk from the disk enclosure. The LED light for the failed disk should get turned off and this indicates the physical location of the failed disk in the enclosure.

Add the replacement disk

1) Get the replacement device name, partition it and change ownership to the database owner. For example let the disk path after partitioning be /dev/sdk1
2) select distinct header_status from v$asm_disk where name = '/dev/sdk1'; (Must show as CANDIDATE)

3) alter diskgroup #name# add disk '/dev/sdk1';
4) ASM starts the re-balancing operation due to the above disk add command.
One can monitor the progress of the re-balance operation by checking v$asm_operation.

select state,power,group_number,EST_MINUTES
from v$asm_operation;

After a few min/hours the above gets completed (no rows returned)

5) The disk add operation is now considered complete.

How to decrease the ASM re-balance operation time

While the above ASM re-balancing operation is in progress, the DBA can let it complete quickly by changing 'ASM power' by running the below command for example.

alter diskgroup #name# rebalance power 8;

The default power is 1 (i.e ASM starts one re-balance background process to handle the re-balancing work, called ARB process). The above command dynamically starts 8 ARB processes (ARB0 to ARB7), which can dramatically decrease the time to re-balance. The maximum power limit in 11g R1 is 11 (upto 11 ARB processes can be started).


None of the above maintenance operations (disk drop, disk add) causes a downtime to the end user and therefore can be completed during normal business hours. The re-balance operation can cause slight degradation of performance and hence increase the power limit to let it complete quickly.

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...