There is a major confusion among DBAs regarding how to setup raw devices for Oracle RAC or Oracle Clusterware. This confusion is caused by the turn RedHat took in how to define raw devices.
Raw devices are actually a manifestation of character devices pointing to block devices. Character devices are non-buffered, so they act as FIFO, and have no OS cache, which is why Oracle likes them so much for Clusterware CRS and voting.
On other Unix types, commonly there are two invocations for each disk device – a block device (i.e /dev/dsk/c0d0t0s1) and a character device (i.e. /dev/rdsk/c0d0t0s1). This is not the case for Linux, and thus, a special “raw”, aka character, device is to be defined for each partition we want to participate in the cluster, either as CRS or voting disk.
On RHEL4, raw devices were setup easily using the simple and coherent file /etc/sysconfig/rawdevices, which included an internal example. On RHEL5 this is not the case, and customizing in a rather less documented method the udev subsystem is required.
Check out the source of this information, at this entry about raw devices. I will add it here, anyhow, with a slight explanation:
1. Add to /etc/udev/rules.d/60-raw.rules:
ACTION==”add”, KERNEL==”sdb1″, RUN+=”/bin/raw /dev/raw/raw1 %N”
2. To set permission (optional, but required for Oracle RAC!), create a new /etc/udev/rules.d/99-raw-perms.rules containing lines such as:
KERNEL==”raw[1-2]“, MODE=”0640″, GROUP=”oinstall”, OWNER=”oracle”
- The raw-perms.rules file name has to begin with the number 99, which defines its order during rules apply, so that it will be used after all other rules take place. Using lower numbers might cause permissions to be incorrect.
- The following permissions have to apply:
You don’t have to use raw devices for ASM volumes on Linux, as the ASMLib library is very effective and easier to manage.