This article on ORACLE-BASE describes the installation of Oracle Database 11g release 2 (11.2 64-bit) RAC on Linux (Oracle Enterprise Linux 5 64-bit) using VMware Server 2 with no additional shared disk devices. The article is arranged in the following sections:

  • Introduction
  • Download Software
  • VMware Server Installation
  • Virtual Machine Setup
  • Guest Operating System Installation
  • Oracle Installation Prerequisites
  • Install VMware Client Tools
  • Create Shared Disks
  • Clone the Virtual Machine
  • Install the Grid Infrastructure
  • Install the Database
  • Check the Status of the RAC

Note. I no longer use VMware Server. Since this article was written I’ve switched to VirtualBox as my main virtualization solution for testing installations. Oracle Database 11g Release 2 RAC On Linux Using VirtualBox


One of the biggest obstacles preventing people from setting up test RAC environments is the requirement for shared storage. In a production environment, shared storage is often provided by a SAN or high-end NAS device, but both of these options are very expensive when all you want to do is get some experience installing and using RAC. A cheaper alternative is to use a FireWire disk enclosure to allow two machines to access the same disk(s), but that still costs money and requires two servers. A third option is to use VMware Server to fake the shared storage.

Using VMware Server you can run multiple Virtual Machines (VMs) on a single server, allowing you to run both RAC nodes on a single machine. In additon, it allows you to set up shared virtual disks, overcoming the obstacle of expensive shared storage.

Before you launch into this installation, here are a few things to consider:

The finished system includes the host operating system, two guest operating systems, two sets of Oracle Grid Infrastructure (Clusterware + ASM) and two Database instances all on a single server. As you can imagine, this requires a significant amount of disk space, CPU and memory. I completed this installation on a Quad-Core processor with 8G of memory, so don’t expect to work on a low spec machine.

Following on from the last point, the VMs will each need 2G of RAM, preferably 3-4G if you don’t want the VM to swap like crazy. As you can see, 11gR2 RAC requires much more memory than 11gR1 RAC. Don’t assume you will be able to run this on a small PC or laptop. You won’t.

This procedure provides a bare bones installation to get the RAC working. There is no redundancy in the Grid Infrastructure installation or the ASM installation. To add this, simply create double the amount of shared disks and select the “Normal” redundancy option when it is offered. Of course, this will take more disk space.

During the virtual disk creation, I always choose not to preallocate the disk space. This makes virtual disk access slower during the installation, but saves on wasted disk space.

This is not, and should not be considered, a production-ready system. It’s simply to allow you to get used to installing and using RAC.

The Single Client Access Name (SCAN) should really be defined in the DNS or GNS and round-robin between one of 3 addresses, which are on the same subnet as the public and virtual IPs. In this article I’ve defined it as a single IP address in the “/etc/hosts” file, which is wrong and will cause the cluster verification to fail, but it allows me to complete the install without the presence of a DNS.

The virtual machines used are only given 2Gig of swap, which causes a prerequisite check failure, but doesn’t prevent the installation working. If you want to avoid this, define 3+Gig of swap.

This article uses the 64-bit versions of Oracle Enterprise Linux and Oracle 11g Release 2.

Download Software

Before you move on to the full article on ORACLE-BASE which will take you through the installation process, download the following software: