Delivery QA Improvements

  1. Invasive testing on production environment
    without compromising the data

    Snapshot Standby
    The snapshot standby database is created by converting a physical standby database into a snapshot standby database(ALTER DATABASE CONVERT TO SNAPSHOT STANDBY).
    It is a fully updatable database that provides full data protection for the primary database. It continues to receive redo data from the primary but the apply process is halted while the standby database is open for read/write for test.
    Invasive testing scenario:
               1. JNDI DB Connection pool switching to standby database
               2. When testing is complete, a single command reverts the standby database
                    back to its original state, discarding the changes made while it was open
                    read-write and applying the accumulated redo logs to make it current with the
                    primary database (ALTER DATABASE CONVERT TO PHYSICAL STANDBY)
              3. Returning applicationJNDI DB Connection pool


    Case Study:
    Dell uses Oracle Data Guard 10 g Release 2 and related Oracle Database capabilities to utilize their physical standby databases for testing and other purposes that require read-write access to the standby database. This has increased the return on investment in Disaster Recovery systems.
    As important, the increased accuracy of test results has dramatically decreased business risk when changes must be made to their production environment. Dell has implemented via a manual process the near equivalent of the new Data Guard Snapshot Standby feature delivered in Oracle Database 11 g. Oracle Database 10 g users can follow the steps provided in this case study to realize the benefit of a snapshot standby database without having to wait for Oracle Database 11 g to be production in their shops.

    Data Guard as a product is free, however the database instance is not. A physical
    standby is a database, therefore must be licensed, however the license expert indicates
    that the licenses you purchase for running the physical standby can be ubtained at a
    substantially reduced rate as they would be called limited licenses. It is not data guard
    that is the cost, it is the cost of another database on another machine. Depending on
    you current license agreement you may be covered however you may be not.

  2. Dev/Test environment databases provisioning
    In general, provisioning means “providing” or making something available.
    Each tester would have their own database on which he/she could cancel unwanted actions that have already been made.
    There is a 4 ways for database provisioning:
    • Clonedb is a new Direct NFS (DNFS) feature introduced in the database
      patchset. Rather than using the traditional RMAN database duplication, clonedb uses dNFS technology to instantly fire up a clone using an existing backup of a database as the data store. The clone uses copy-on-write technology, so only changed blocks need to be stored locally, while the unchanged data is referenced directly from the backup files. This drastically increases the speed of cloning a system and means that several separate clones can function against a single set of backup datafiles, thus saving considerable amounts of space. With Oracle Database 11g Direct NFS clonedb functionality you can create a fully read/write clone database without storage snapshots or clones. Moreover, the clonedb
      feature is a thin-provisioning approach.
      In terms of administrative effort, it is by far the easiest way to provision clones for
      development/test instances. It is simple, stable and it performs.

    • The Oracle Database Lifecycle Management Pack comes with out-of-box Deployment Procedures to provision and patch the Oracle Database (both Single Instance Database and RAC) including the underlying infrastructure. Enterprise Manager supports segregation of duties, so that a Designer can create the provisioning and patching workflows while an Operator can simply deploy the databases using those workflows.
      One can also provision a new database from a reference system or from a gold image in minutes. The gold image along with configuration details can be captured in Provisioning Profiles which can either be sourced from a reference system or downloaded from Oracle.
    • VMware vCenter Lab Manager™ allows users to create snapshots and makes extensive use of linked clone technology. It results in rapid cloning and provisioning times while achieving significant storage savings. Development (Dev), QA, and Test resources can have access to clones of databases, alleviating a barrier to performing more frequent and thorough testing. Databases can run on their own OS and database versions, and a single OS failure only impacts a single database. This is a unique virtualization benefit that is not possible with conventional database consolidation approaches. EXPENSIVE (vSphere and OS licences)

    • The ability to back up Oracle Database in the Cloud is a key part of Oracle’s Cloud
      offering. It allows customers to use Storage Clouds, such as Amazon’s Simple Storage Service (S3), as their next-generation offsite backup storage destination. Oracle’s Cloud backup functionality provides easy Provisioning of Test and Dev Environments. As Cloud Backups are accessible from anywhere via the Internet, they can be used to quickly clone databases to create custom test, development, or QA environments. For instance, Cloud Backups stored in Amazon S3 can be cloned to machines running in Amazon EC2 by running a simple script that is included in the Oracle-provided Amazon Machine Images (AMIs). An AMI is a virtual machine image that allows quick provisioning of a preinstalled and pre-configured Oracle database environment on Amazon EC2.
      There is an opportunity for customers with European users to sign data processing
      agreements with the standard contractual clauses published by the European Commission. European law prohibits companies from transferring personal data from the EU except under specific conditions. One way to transfer such data is to procure cloud services from companies that abide by the U.S.-EU Safe Harbor Framework. However, EU companies may want the more stringent protections of a detailed data processing agreement and the standard contractual clauses published by the European Commission, which are known as the EU Model Clauses.
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