Use Burstable VMs for low-CPU workloads

I just read about the burstable VMs and felt motivated to write about it in my personal blog.

As the name speaks, burstable VMs provides an opportunity to use a fraction of CPU with an ability to occasionally burst up to 100% of CPU but the highlight is that it costs you less than regular VMs. Hence you can run low-CPU workloads cost effectively on Oracle Cloud Infrastrusture(OCI) using burstable VMs.

While with flexible VM, we choose the no of CPU cores and memory to best suit the business workload. Here, we can use 100% of workload all the time thus ideal for workloads that consistently needs 100% of CPU core all the time. On the other side, when workloads needs small amount of CPU most of the time but occasionally need a higher amount of CPU, burstable VMs sounds more cost effective with an additional flexibility of choosing the fraction of CPU needed.

We can select OCPU between 1-64 cores, the memory between 1-64GB per core(up to a maximum of 768 GB), and the baseline OCPU utilisation as 12.5% or 50% of the total OCPUs. The baseline determines the minimum fraction of the CPU resources always available to the VM. A burstable VM with one OCPU and a 12.5% baseline can run at a sustained CPU performance of 12.5% of one core, or it can run lower than 12.5% and occasionally burst up to 100% of the core for short periods of time.

The beauty of burstable VMs is that they are charged at Oracle’s standard OCPU per hour price but only for the baseline OCPU chosen. This ensures that burstable VMs are much cheaper than non-burstable VMs. For a one-core, 12.5% baseline VM, you’re charged for 0.125 OCPU each hour, whether you use 12.5% or less of the CPU core or if you burst and use 100% of the core. Burstable VM’s flexibility and simple pricing make it a great choice to run your low CPU workloads.

Extended Support for 11.2.0.4 DB in Cloud

I personally know of many EBS customers who are yet not ready to upgrade out of 11.2.0.4 DB version. 11.2.0.4 is still their favourite version 🙂

For those of you using Oracle Database 11.2.0.4 on-prem, the Extended Support will end on December 31, 2020. For those seeking for ongoing severity 1 and security bug fixes, you can still purchase Market Driven Support for Oracle 11.2.0.4 from Jan 2021 until maximum Dec 2022. Market Driven Support includes Severity 1 fixes and Security Fixes. Plus in addition, you will get a Technical Account Manager (TAM) for SR related questions and one upgrade planning workshop by ACS Support. Please refer to official document(https://www.oracle.com/a/ocom/docs/ds-mds-database-11g-r2.pdf) for further reference.

Coming to cloud, it is a good news that extended support for Oracle 11.2.0.4 in the cloud runs until end of March 2021.

This applies to:

  • Gen 1 ExaC@C
  • Gen 2 ExaC@C
  • OCC DBCS
  • OCI DBCS
  • ExaCS OCI

It does NOT apply to:

  • ExaCS on OCI-C
  • DBCS on OCI-C

OCI-C is “OCI Classic”.


DETAILS

31-Dec-2020: Extended Support for 11.2.0.4 on OCI-Classic ends

31-Mar-2021: Extended Support ends for all 11.2.0.4 databases on eligible cloud services

1-Apr-2021 to 31-Dec-2021:  No charge, Severity 1 fixes and Security Updates for approved EBS databases.

1-Jan-2022: End of Support for Oracle Database 11.2.0.4 on all Cloud Services. There will be no more updates or fixes after 31-Dec 2021. Customers must upgrade to a supported database version by this date or migrate off cloud services.

Flashgrid technology

Flashgrid technology is the way to enjoy RAC instances in AWS, Microsoft Azure and GCP. Flashgrid cloud area network software and flashgrid storage fabric software enable running RAC clusters in Azure, AWS and GCP.

Some of basic flashgrid commands executed by customer DBAs

1. Verify health of the cluster: $ sudo flashgrid-health-check

2. Confirm that email alerts are configured and delivered: $ flashgrid-node test-alerts

3. Upload diags to FlashGrid support: $ sudo flashgrid-diags upload-all

4. Verify cluster status : $flashgrid-cluster

5. To check the current clock difference between the cluster nodes : $ flashgrid-cluster verify

6. To show details of the disk groups : $flashgrid-dg show

7. Stop FlashGrid services on the node. It will gracefully put the corresponding failure group offline, stop CRS, and stop Flashgrid services: #flashgrid-node stop

8. Reboot the node using flashgrid-node command. It will gracefully put the corresponding failure group offline: #flashgrid-node reboot

Both commands 7 and 8 should run after ensuring there are no other nodes that are in offline or re-syncing state. All disk groups must have zero offline disks and Resync = No: $flashgrid-cluster followed by stopping databases running on the concerned node(s).

Quick reference terms from OCI IAM

  • Resource: A cloud object that a company’s employees create and use when interacting with OCI services, for example, compute instances, block storage volumes, virtual cloud networks (VCNs), subnets, and route tables. Each resource is assigned with a unique, Oracle assigned identifier called Oracle Cloud ID (OCID)
  • Policy: A set of authorization rules that define access to resources within a tenancy.
  • Compartment: A heterogeneous collection of resources for the purposes of security isolation and access control.
  • Tenancy: The root compartment that contains all of an organization’s resources. Within a tenancy, administrators can create one or more compartments, create more users and groups, and assign policies that grant groups the ability to use resources within a compartment.
  • User: A human being or system that needs access to manage their resources. Users must be added to groups in order to access resources. Users have one or more credentials that must be used to authenticate to Oracle Cloud Infrastructure services. Federated users are also supported.
  • Group: A collection of users who share a similar set of access privileges. Administrators can grant access policies that authorize a group to consume or manage resources within a tenancy. All users in a group inherit the same set of privileges.
  • Identity Provider: A trusted relationship with a federated identity provider. Federated users who attempt to authenticate to the Oracle Cloud Infrastructure console are redirected to the configured identity provider. After successfully authenticating, federated users can manage Oracle Cloud Infrastructure resources in the console just like a native IAM user. Currently, Oracle Cloud Infrastructure supports the SAML-2 compliant Oracle Identity Cloud Service (IDCS) and Microsoft Active Directory Federation Service (ADFS) as identity providers. Federated groups are mapped to native IAM groups to define the policies apply to a federated user.

Off-Box network virtualization in Oracle Cloud Infrastructure

Oracle Cloud Infrastructure has implemented one of its kind: Off-box network virtualization. As the name suggests, it pulls out the network and IO virtualization out of the software stack and puts it in the network. Basically you can have physical, dedicated hosts with no hypervisor overhead, noisy neighbours or shared resources with a full software-defined layer 3 network topology. You can enjoy the benefit of running bare metal hosts side-by-side with any class of systems like Virtual Machines(VMs) to Engineered Systems such as Exadata sharing the same set of APIs – meaning you can enjoy best of both worlds where benefitting from Exadata hardware(Infiniti Band) and software(smart scan, flash cache, columnar compression) features for your application along with cloud native security and governance capabilities of a layer 3 virtual cloud network.

The major benefits of Off-box network virtualisation is increase of network performance and higher level of security by providing isolation hence in case of any unforeseen attacks it affects single virtual network without touching other virtual networks.