Saturday, June 10, 2006


Oracle High Availability on Windows using Fail Safe

Oracle on Windows supports the same Oracle Disaster Recovery (DR) and High Availability (HA) features as other platforms, such as Oracle RAC and Data Guard. In addition to these, Oracle on Windows supports Oracle Fail Safe. These are all excellent solutions with different usages, costs and performance.

Oracle RAC is a high availability solution that allows multiple Oracle instances to access the same database. This provides for both high availability and additional performance, since all nodes are active. Oracle RAC is an excellent product, but somewhat complicated to install and manage and can be expensive.

In addition to Oracle RAC is Oracle Data Guard. Data Guard is really more of a Disaster Recovery (DR) solution than a High Availability solution, but it can be very useful in the event of a system failure. Data Guard is a fantastic product which I have installed many times. Data Guard is one of those products where the base installation can be fairly straight forward, but there are so many options and modes of operation that it can quite quickly become very complicated.

The final solution in this discussion is Oracle Fail Safe. Fail Safe is a Windows only product that makes Oracle Microsoft Cluster Services (MSCS) aware. Failsafe is available for all Windows platforms (32-bit, x64 and Itanium) and is downloadable from the Oracle web site. Fail Safe is a plug in to MSCS to allow the Oracle instance and listener to be managed under the control of MSCS. This allows the Oracle instance to fail over in the event of a failure of one of the nodes.

The MSCS architecture is very straight forward. Two systems share the same disk, of which only one system controls at a time. In the event of a failure (determined by the heartbeat mechanism), the instance currently running the Oracle instance and controlling the storage is replaced by the standby system. This allows the Oracle database to be back up and running in a matter of minutes, thus improving availability.

Oracle Fail Safe has the advantage over RAC in that it is much easier to implement and administer. Most Windows shops already have implemented MSCS and are very familiar with it. In addition, Oracle Fail Safe is a core feature of Oracle9i and Oracle10g for Windows and no additional license is needed.

With Oracle Fail Safe you can fail over the following Oracle components:

The failover is seamless and works very well. In addition, the management tools allow you to configure Fail Safe to automatically fail back a node at a scheduled time, thus allowing you to configure different hardware resources for the primary and standby servers.

I have worked on multiple Oracle Fail Safe installations. In a Windows environment where you want to have assurance of High Availability at a low entry point cost, Oracle Fail Safe might be for you.

Configuring Oracle Fail Safe is easy once the Microsoft Cluster Services have been installed. The following steps are done in order to install Oracle Fail Safe.

  1. Install Windows on both servers.
  2. Install MSCS (if applicable) and create the cluster.
  3. Install Oracle Database Software on each node’s local disks, using the same Oracle Home directory.
  4. Create the Oracle database on one node using the shared disk for storage.
  5. Install Oracle Fail Safe on each node in the cluster.
  6. Configure the cluster using the Fail Safe manager.

You will find that Fail Safe is an easy to use, inexpensive way to provide high availability in a Windows environment.

Great overview of the technologies. I'm from a UNIX shop, so Failsafe is new to me. Is it required to use failsafe on windows, for a simple active/passive cluster?

Fail Safe is a nice (and free) add-on to Microsoft Cluster Services (MSCS). For a simple active/passive cluster it is well worth the time installing.
Dear Edward,

I found your article usefull. I am planning to install oracle fail safe(3.3.4) on windows 2003. Can you please provide step by step installation activity in more details.

Stumbled over this blog, and I have a related question.
I was reading the PDF manual
b15681.pdf, page 38, named

Oracle® Database
Installation Guide
10g Release 2 (10.2) for Microsoft Windows (x64) B15681-03

and it says:

The following components are not supported on Windows 2003:

■ DCE Adapter

■ Oracle Fail Safe

■ GNU Compiler Collection (GCC)

Is this a mis-print, a bug, or is this really NOT supported anymore?

We wanted to run 10g and Fail Safe 64 bit version, on Server 2003 Enterprise x64 version

Have you got any comments to this?

It is really nice stuff.
what is the turn around time incase of fail over?
which version should i use i want to install in windows server 2003 R3 with oracle 10g?
can someone answer me plz:
1-Install Windows on both servers.
2-Install MSCS (if applicable) and create the cluster.
3-Install Oracle Database Software on each node’s local disks, using the same Oracle Home directory.
4-Create the Oracle database on one node using the shared disk for storage.
5-Install Oracle Fail Safe on each node in the cluster.
6-Configure the cluster using the Fail Safe manager.

i tried to follow the 6 steps above and i have the following questions:
1- how do u create the database on the shared storage???
2- i couldnt get the filesafe cluster manager client interface installed. it doesnt come thu it show that the installation of filesafe successfully done. how can i get it??? even when i try customise option i dont see it. i get typical and customise no client installation...

please help


I want to Install Oracle 10g Dataguard on windows 2003 server.

Can you help or can send step by step installation document on windows 2003.

Something he fails to mention here ... Oracle Fail Safe Manager is only supported on a 32 bit platform. It will not work correctly on a 64 bit server. However, there is an Oraclel Fail Safe Server option for 64 bit server. Just FYI. Thus, you need to run the Manager component on a separate system.
Great blog about Oracle. A question!!
I want to have a MSCS with two Databases, in differents Virtual Servers, and different IPs, Disk, etc, and using Oracle Fail Safe. What are the steps to installing in this Case?
1. install MSCS with two groups with its respectives Disk, IPs and Names?
2. install Oracle in a Node and to create one database in one group, or create two database in its respective groups?
3. install Oracle Fail Safe...?
plese help!!
I have a question about how to shutdown a windows failsafe cluster.
We have a Oracle Database running on Windows Server 2003 Cluster(Two Nodes Active/Passive Configuration). Now we are kind of migrating this to another place by an image sync of the system.So I have to shutdown the database. So what are the steps I should follow to shutdown the database cleanly.

If I take the database offline from Oracle Failsafe Manager,will the database shutdown or is there a chance that the database failsover to the Passive node.
Can you someone suggest me a method for clean shutdown and clean startup of this type of cluster.

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