Oracle Grid Infrastructure 12.2 – HASMB

Oracle Grid Infrastructure used to have a feature to make a NFS share highly available. It simply uses an additional virtual IP address (VIP) and controls the NFS server to use this VIP. The client simply connects the NFS share using this VIP. So the NFS share is always available regardless on which node it currently running. This feature is restricted to ACFS, we can create NFS exports for an ACFS only which makes kind of sense. This whole thing is also known as HANFS.

New in Grid Infrastructure 12.2 is the ability to create highly available SMB shares, consequently called HASMB. Let’s see if and how this works. Some steps needs to be done as “root” while other steps can be done as “oracle”, see the command prompt to identify which user I actually used.

First, we need to install the samba server if not already done.

[root@vm151 ~]# yum install samba samba-winbind

Of couse this needs to be done on all servers in the cluster.

Now, we add a line to /etc/samba/smb.conf to allow guest access:

[global highlight="5"]
        workgroup = SAMBA
        security = user
        map to guest = Bad Password   

Finally, we start the samba server and enable it for autostart:

[root@vm151 ~]# systemctl start smb
[root@vm151 ~]# systemctl enable smb
Created symlink from /etc/systemd/system/ to /usr/lib/systemd/system/smb.service.

For high availability we need to create a VIP:

[root@vm151 ~]# srvctl add havip -id mmiexport -address

Next step is to create an ACFS filesystem that we will export later on:

[oracle@vm151 ~]$ asmcmd volcreate -G data -s 1G mmivolume
[oracle@vm151 ~]$ asmcmd volinfo -G data mmivolume
Diskgroup Name: DATA

         Volume Name: MMIVOLUME
         Volume Device: /dev/asm/mmivolume-1
         State: ENABLED
         Size (MB): 1024
         Resize Unit (MB): 64
         Redundancy: UNPROT
         Stripe Columns: 8
         Stripe Width (K): 1024

[oracle@vm151 ~]$ /sbin/mkfs -t acfs /dev/asm/mmivolume-1
mkfs.acfs: version                   =
mkfs.acfs: on-disk version           = 46.0
mkfs.acfs: volume                    = /dev/asm/mmivolume-1
mkfs.acfs: volume size               = 1073741824  (   1.00 GB )
mkfs.acfs: Format complete.

Ok, now we configure Grid Infrastructure resources for this filesystem:

[oracle@vm151 ~]$ mkdir -p /u01/app/oracle/acfs/mmivolume
[oracle@vm151 ~]$ ssh vm152 mkdir -p /u01/app/oracle/acfs/mmivolume

[root@vm151 ~]# srvctl add filesystem -volume mmivolume -diskgroup data -path /u01/app/oracle/acfs/mmivolume -user oracle
[root@vm151 ~]# srvctl start filesystem -volume mmivolume -diskgroup data
[root@vm151 ~]# srvctl status filesystem -volume mmivolume -diskgroup data
ACFS file system /u01/app/oracle/acfs/mmivolume is mounted on nodes vm151,vm152
[root@vm151 ~]# ll /u01/app/oracle/acfs/mmivolume
total 64
drwx------ 2 root root 65536 Jul 27 11:23 lost+found
[root@vm151 ~]# df -h /u01/app/oracle/acfs/mmivolume
Filesystem            Size  Used Avail Use% Mounted on
/dev/asm/mmivolume-1  1.0G  487M  538M  48% /u01/app/oracle/acfs/mmivolume

This is the moment when we can create the export:

[root@vm151 ~]# srvctl add exportfs -name mmiexportfs -path /u01/app/oracle/acfs/mmivolume -id mmiexport -type SMB
[oracle@vm151 ~]$ srvctl start havip -id mmiexport
[oracle@vm151 ~]$ srvctl status exportfs
export file system mmiexportfs is enabled
export file system mmiexportfs is exported on node vm151

Let’s see what it did to the samba config files:

[root@vm152 ~]# cat /etc/samba/smb.conf
# ACFS HASMB include
  include = /etc/samba/acfs/acfsinc.conf

[root@vm151 ~]# cat /etc/samba/acfs/acfsinc.conf

[root@vm151 ~]# cat /etc/samba/acfs/mmiexportfs.conf
read only = Yes
browsable = yes

It created an include for all the ACFS related things which in turn consists of additional includes for all the exports that we defined and that are currently active on the specific node.

So let’s try:

[oracle@vm152 ~]$ echo "Hallo" > /u01/app/oracle/acfs/mmivolume/mein.txt
C:\>dir \\\mmiexportfs
Zugriff verweigert

Makes sense somehow. As we can see above, there is no option that allows guest access to the newly created share. So let’s add that:

[root@vm151 ~]# srvctl modify exportfs -name mmiexportfs -options "read only=no,browsable=yes,guest ok=yes,writeable=yes,public=yes"
[root@vm151 ~]# cat /etc/samba/acfs/mmiexportfs.conf
read only = Yes
browsable = yes

Ok, it does not apply the new options immediatly. It requires a restart:

[root@vm151 ~]# srvctl stop exportfs -name mmiexportfs -force
[root@vm151 ~]# srvctl start havip -id mmiexport -node vm151
[root@vm151 ~]# cat /etc/samba/acfs/mmiexportfs.conf
read only = no
browsable = yes
guest ok = yes
writeable = yes
public = yes

Let’s check again:

C:\>dir \\\mmiexportfs
 Datenträger in Laufwerk \\\mmiexportfs: ist mmiexportfs
 Volumeseriennummer: 6691-6876

 Verzeichnis von \\\mmiexportfs

27.07.2017  12:51    <DIR>          .
27.07.2017  11:16    <DIR>          ..
27.07.2017  11:23    <DIR>          lost+found
27.07.2017  12:45                 6 mein.txt
               2 Datei(en),             15 Bytes
               3 Verzeichnis(se),    496.132.096 Bytes frei

C:\>type \\\mmiexportfs\mein.txt

How about creating files from the Windows end of the line?

C:\>echo Cheers > \\\mmiexportfs\windows.txt
Zugriff verweigert

The reason for this are the filesystem permissions on the Linux side, we need to change these:

[root@vm152 ~]# ls -la /u01/app/oracle/acfs/mmivolume
total 100
drwxrwxr-x 4 oracle oinstall 32768 Jul 27 12:45 .
drwxr-xr-x 3 oracle oinstall    22 Jul 27 11:16 ..
drwx------ 2 root   root     65536 Jul 27 11:23 lost+found
-rw-r--r-- 1 oracle oinstall     6 Jul 27 12:45 mein.txt
[root@vm152 ~]# chmod 777 /u01/app/oracle/acfs/mmivolume
[root@vm152 ~]# ls -la /u01/app/oracle/acfs/mmivolume
total 100
drwxrwxrwx 4 oracle oinstall 32768 Jul 27 12:45 .
drwxr-xr-x 3 oracle oinstall    22 Jul 27 11:16 ..
drwx------ 2 root   root     65536 Jul 27 11:23 lost+found
-rw-r--r-- 1 oracle oinstall     6 Jul 27 12:45 mein.txt

And voila, now it works:

C:\>echo Cheers > \\\mmiexportfs\windows.txt

C:\>type \\\mmiexportfs\windows.txt

And from the other end too:

[oracle@vm151 ~]# cat /u01/app/oracle/acfs/mmivolume/windows.txt

The last step is to try a relocate of the export:

[oracle@vm152 ~]$ srvctl status exportfs -id mmiexport
export file system mmiexportfs is enabled
export file system mmiexportfs is exported on node vm151
[oracle@vm152 ~]$ srvctl relocate havip -id mmiexport -force
HAVIP was relocated successfully
[oracle@vm152 ~]$ srvctl status exportfs -id mmiexport
export file system mmiexportfs is enabled
export file system mmiexportfs is exported on node vm152

During the relocate operation, which is pretty fast by the way, I tried a “dir” opertion from my windows client. It simply “hangs” for a couple of seconds and returns results as soon as the share becomes available again. Pretty straight forward.

So all in all this is a nice expansion to include the Windows world without having to use NFS on Windows.
Of cause my example is not very bullet-proof in terms of security. This can (and should) be changed for production purposes.

NLS_LANG, character sets & more – How to do it right


Globalization is confusing. Everyone and everything is using different characters in different charcter sets. Oracle is prepared for that and offers several parameters and variables to control the behaviour. But one must be careful when setting these, that’s why I want to give a rough overview of the basic things.


When sending or retrieving character data to/from a database, there are three to four settings that can influence the display of that data.


  1. That is the encoding inside the database itself.
  2. The character set which the Oracle Client is using to display character data.
  3. The charcter set that is used by the operating system at the client side.
  4. The character set that PuTTY (or whatever terminal emulation you prefer) asumes the remote side is using.

The picture outlines the route which character data takes during the process of reading from or writing to the database. In this post I will talk about the yellow part of the diagram.

Let’s start with the database. There is some character data stored inside that is encoded using the configured database characterset. Now we want to retrieve data from the database. That means the Oracle Client (2) sends the SQL to the database (1) and in turn gets the data which is being converted automatically to the character set that is configured for the Oracle Client. That is typically done using the NLS_LANG variable. Beside that, this is the only point where a character set conversion might happen.

Next the charcter data is being displayed by the operating system (3) which is using it’s own character set. There is no conversion anymore, that means our NLS_LANG setting must match the setting of our OS.

And lastly maybe there is a terminal emulation like PuTTY which also defines a character set which obviously must match to the one used by the OS we are connecting to.

What can go wrong

Having this process in mind we see, that wrong parameter settings may not be recognized immediately. When inserting data into the database with wrong settings and then querying this data will get correct results as the translation is done in the same way. We start seeing wrong characters when we query the data with the correct settings.

Let’s say we have a Windows client and use SQL*Plus inside CMD to insert data. The system wide NLS_LANG variable is set to MSWIN1252 as Windows is using this character set. But as described in a previous post the CMD is using another character set, PC850.

So let’s create a table, insert some data and query that data:


So we see that the special characters that I inserted are displayed correctly when querying the data because the same wrong transformation happens in both directions. More or less, I have no idea why the Euro sign gets messed up… Maybe because PC850 has no Euro sign…

Now I query the data from SQL Developer which is using the windows character set to display data:


Now again a transformation might take place, depends on the database setting. And this time we see wrong data because the transformation was wrong when I inserted the data.

Next step, insert data with SQL Developer:


Inserted and displayed correctly. But obviously CMD shows it as follows:


This is all simply because the CMD renders characters in a different character set as the rest of Windows. So when we change CMD to use the proper code page, it looks like this:


Now the first dataset is rendered differently, but the data from SQL Developer is shown properly.

Another way to display the data properly is to modify the NLS_LANG setting inside CMD:


Only the Euro sign is missing since it is not part of the PC850 character set.

Now I set the NLS_LANG again to MSWIN1252 and insert a third record:


Looks good so far, but again, I should crosscheck that with SQL Developer:


Ok, the data is still displayed properly. So this is the correct setting that we should use for Windows.

But what about Linux? Linux is using UTF8 internally:


So I should set NLS_LANG to AL32UTF in order to get my data displayed correctly:


As expected, the data shows up as it should be. But this is only because my PuTTY is using the right setting. What if I modify PuTTY to use MSWIN1252? Might be a valid setting because my Windows where PuTTY runs on is using that character set:


How does the result now looks like?


Totally messed up since my multibyte output from Linux is being interpreted as singlebyte. So that is not a good idea. The PuTTY character set setting must match the character set that is used by the OS that we connect to:



Be careful when setting NLS parameters on both, client and server, side. You might not notice a misconfiguration as long as you are using the same track for data retrival and insertion. Just use another client to crosscheck the data that you are dealing with. It all depends on the OS and the correct NLS_LANG setting at the client side.

There is a good FAQ from Oracle that outlines the whole NLS things.