The main difference to keep in mind when monitoring a RAC database versus a singleinstance
database, is the buffer cache and its operation. In a RAC environment the
buffer cache is global across all instances in the cluster and hence the processing
differs. When a process in a RAC database needs to modify or read data, Oracle will
first check to see if it already exists in the local buffer cache. If the data is not in the
local buffer cache the global buffer cache will be reviewed to see if another instance
already has it in their buffer cache. In this case the remote instance will send the data
to the local instance via the high-speed interconnect, thus avoiding a disk read.
Monitoring a RAC database often means monitoring this situation and the amount of
requests going back and forth over the RAC interconnect. The most common wait
events related to this are gc cr request and gc buffer busy.
gc cr request
This wait event, also known as global cache cr request prior to Oracle 10g, specifies the
time it takes to retrieve the data from the remote cache. High wait times for this wait
event often are because of:
1. RAC Traffic Using Slow Connection - typically RAC traffic should use a high-speed
interconnect to transfer data between instances, however, sometimes Oracle may not
pick the correct connection and instead route traffic over the slower public network.
This will significantly increase the amount of wait time for the gc rc request event. The
oradebug command can be used to verify which network is being used for RAC traffic:
SQL> oradebug setmypid
SQL> oradebug ipc
This will dump a trace file to the location specified by the user_dump_dest Oracle
parameter containing information about the network and protocols being used for the
2. Inefficient Queries poorly tuned queries will increase the amount of data blocks
requested by an Oracle session. The more blocks requested typically means the more
often a block will need to be read from a remote instance via the interconnect.
gc buffer busy
This wait event, also known as global cache buffer busy prior to Oracle 10g, specifies
the time the remote instance locally spends accessing the requested data block. Thiswait
event is very similar to the buffer busy waits wait event in a single-instance
database and are often the result of:
1. Hot Blocks - multiple sessions may be requesting a block that is either not in buffer
cache or is in an incompatible mode. Deleting some of the hot rows and re-inserting
them back into the table may alleviate the problem. Most of the time the rows will be
placed into a different block and reduce contention on the block. The DBA may also
need to adjust the pctfree and/or pctused parameters for the table to ensure the rows
are placed into a different block.
2. Inefficient Queries as with the gc cr request wait event, the more blocks requested
from the buffer cache the more likelihood of a session having to wait for other sessions.
Tuning queries to access fewer blocks will often result in less contention for the same
Oracle RAC is somewhat of a unique case of an Oracle environment, but everything
learned about wait events in the single instance database also applies to clustered
databases. However, the special use of a global buffer cache in RAC makes it
imperative to monitor inter-instance communication via the cluster-specific wait events
such as the ones discussed above. Understanding these wait events will help in the
diagnosis of problems and pinpointing solutions in a RAC database.
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