Oracle on 4096 (4k) sector disks don’t work (ish)

I recently came across 4K (4096 byte) sector drives. They are a fairly new thing and have come about so drives can exceed the 2TB limit imposed by having 512byte sectors. The details behind this can be found here, in much greater detail than I need to understand.

What I do understand is that Oracle doesn’t deal with 4K sectors (4Kn) very well and it shows up in a couple of ways. Don’t get me wrong, from Oracle 11.2, 4Kn database are supported, albeit with some features. Here’s 2 of them:
1. ACFS doesn’t like 4K sectors. There’s some fudging around identifying physical v logical 4k sectors but you need to check out the asm parameter “ORACLEASM_USE_LOGICAL_BLOCK_SIZE” to see if you can get it to work for you.
2. I was installing Grid Infrastructure – pretty recent I hear you all say! That only came out in July 2014. One important aspect of is that the management database was migrated from a being Berkely DB to an oracle single instance CDB with a single PDB. It’s called “-MGMTDB”. (this was optional prior to

However, when installing Grid Infrastructure, when it got to the bit at the end, after it’s all kind-of fully installed, it creates the -MGMTDB, and if you have a 4K Sector disks in ASM, it fails rather cryptically:

I have highlighted the key line in red. This isn’t obviously the problem, but it is the cause.

CRS-2674: Start of 'ora.mgmtdb' on 'server01' failed
[Thread-102] [ 2015-07-01 15:35:29.079 BST ] [HADatabaseUtils.start:1240]
Error starting mgmt database in local node, PRCR-1013 : Failed to start resource ora.mgmtdb
PRCR-1064 : Failed to start resource ora.mgmtdb on node server01
CRS-5017: The resource action "ora.mgmtdb start" encountered the following error:
ORA-01078: failure in processing system parameters
ORA-01565: error in identifying file '+DATA_DG/_mgmtdb/spfile-MGMTDB.ora'
ORA-17503: ksfdopn:2 Failed to open file +DATA_DG/_mgmtdb/spfile-MGMTDB.ora
ORA-15056: additional error message
ORA-17503: ksfdopn:2 Failed to open file +DATA_DG/_mgmtdb/spfile-mgmtdb.ora
ORA-15173: entry 'spfile-mgmtdb.ora' does not exist in directory '_mgmtdb'
ORA-06512: at line 4
. For details refer to "(:CLSN00107:)" in "/u01/app/oracle/diag/crs/server01/crs/trace/crsd_oraagent_grid.trc".
KJHA:2phase clscrs_flag:840 instSid:
KJHA:2phase ctx 2 clscrs_flag:840 instSid:-MGMTDB
KJHA:2phase clscrs_flag:840 dbname:
KJHA:2phase ctx 2 clscrs_flag:840 dbname:_mgmtdb
KJHA:2phase WARNING!!! Instance:-MGMTDB of kspins type:1 does not support 2 phase CRS

The fundamental problem is that, if you have a 4K sector and are using ASM, having your SPFILE in ASM doesn’t work. This was spotted in (Doc: 16870214.8) but wasn’t fixed in (it’s fixed by, possibly earlier) and it’s not fixed in base release. Which mean the -MGMTDB will always fail to create. Itis fixed by patch set 3 (path 20485724)

However, you’ve then got a broken -MGMTDB, which you’ll need to recreate: [Doc ID 1589394.1]

## Stop and disable ora.crf resource.
## On each node, as root user:
crsctl stop res ora.crf -init
crsctl modify res ora.crf -attr ENABLED=0 -init
## Issue the DBCA command to delete the management database
## As Grid User, locate the node that the Management Database is running by executing:

/u01/app/grid/ status mgmtdb
## rebuild mgmt
## Set the GI HOME
export GI_HOME=/u01/app/grid/12.1
## As Grid User on any node execute the following DBCA command with the desired <DG Name>:
dbca -silent -createDatabase -sid -MGMTDB -createAsContainerDatabase true -templateName MGMTSeed_Database.dbc -gdbName _mgmtdb -storageType ASM -diskGroupName DATA01 -datafileJarLocation $GI_HOME/assistants/dbca/templates -characterset AL32UTF8 -autoGeneratePasswords -skipUserTemplateCheck
## Create a PDB within the MGMTDB using DBCA.
## As Grid User on any node execute the following DBCA command:
## NOTE: The CLUSTER_NAME needs to have any hyphens (“-“) replaced with underscores (“_”)

dbca -silent -createPluggableDatabase -sourceDB -MGMTDB -pdbName **MY_CLUSTER_NAME_HERE** -createPDBFrom RMANBACKUP -PDBBackUpfile $GI_HOME/assistants/dbca/templates/mgmtseed_pdb.dfb -PDBMetadataFile $GI_HOME/assistants/dbca/templates/mgmtseed_pdb.xml -createAsClone true –internalSkipGIHomeCheck
## Secure that the Management Database credential:
## As Grid User, confirm the node on which MGMTDB is running by executing.
$GI_HOME/bin/srvctl status MGMTDB
Database is enabled
 Instance -MGMTDB is running on node <NODE_NAME>
## and secure on that node
## Enable and start ora.crf resource.
## On each node, as root user:

$GI_HOME/bin/crsctl modify res ora.crf -attr ENABLED=1 -init
$GI_HOME/bin/crsctl start res ora.crf -init

Good luck. And don’t use 4K sector sizes. It probably means your spindles are to big anyway. If “disk is cheap”, why do they have to keep buying such large capacity spindles with such low IOPS-per-GB for such huge quantities of money?


2 Responses to Oracle on 4096 (4k) sector disks don’t work (ish)

  1. flashdba says:

    Any modern storage which complies with the Advanced Format standard should offer the ability to present as 4k native (4Kn) with a 4k physical blocksize and a 4k logical blocksize, or as 512 emulation mode (512e) with a 4k physical blocksize but a 512 byte logical blocksize. The choice is usually made by the storage administrator when creating LUNs.

    The best advice seems to be to avoid 4kN at all costs, because Oracle still hasn’t managed to fix its code to work with 4kN (Microsoft has had this nailed for many years now). However, 512e words fine – it might just need some tweaking with regard to online redo logs (see note 1681266.1).

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