We find ourselves suddenly setting up Oracle databases in Sun cluster environments, and we don't have experience...
or training in doing so. In a two-node environment, we don't know whether it is better to
- load the Oracle binaries locally on each node or
- create only one Oracle home on the global filesystem.
Doing option one gives you an advantage if you need to apply a patch later, since you can try it out on one node and if you have a problem just fail back over to the unpatched node. It also allows you to patch without any down time, since patching requires shutting down the Oracle services while the patch is being applied. The disadvantages are that you have twice as much maintenance work to do on the software package, and at least in one case we have found that the local filesystems are too small to support a software upgrade in the case of needing to load a second version of Oracle in a second Oracle home.
Doing option two gives you the opposite in terms of advantages/disadvantages. Do you have an opinion on the matter? In case we can't really decide, is there an industry standard that might help us choose?
You've pretty much hit the nail on the head, and it seems you understand the differences well enough to make a good decision. So let me ask you a question. Why are you clustering? People do this for two reasons, performance and availability. If availability is an issue, doesn't this point to option one as the only method to use? If it is performance, then I'd still use option one to increase availability. Yes, you end up patching twice, but it's not like applying a patch is a week long process.
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