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Don Burleson Blog 







Oracle System Testing tips

Expert Oracle Database Tips by Donald BurlesonAugust 24, 2015

Question:  I am implementing my first RAC database and I'm charged with performing the Oracle system testing.   How is RAC system testing different from standard Oracle database testing?  What types of testing is done when implementing RAC databases?  Are there best practices for testing Oracle RAC databases?

Answer:  First, make sure that you have created an Oracle testing environment, with multiple development instances, a test instance, and a full-sized QA instance.  These the areas of Oracle system testing include functional testing, stress testing, failover testing and disaster recovery testing. 

Unless you have extensive experience testing every possible Oracle recovery scenarios, it's an Oracle best practice to hire an expert to perform all of your Oracle testing and certify that the system tests have been performed properly. 

It's a critical testing best practice to perform all of these tests prior to rolling-out the database in production:

  • Functional testing:  Functional testing is done with the end-users prior to roll-out.  Functional testing involves a screen-by-screen walk-through and a sign-off on the functionality by the end-user manager.

  • Stress testing:  The stress test is a performance benchmark done immediately before production roll-out and it involves imploding the system with transactions to see how many transactions per seconds can be done before you see a drop in response time.  See these important notes on Oracle stress testing best practices.  Stress testing also reveals the system bottleneck, which in a well-tuned database, will only appear under heavy load.

  • Failover testing:  Failover testing is used in RAC databases, Streams systems,  Data Guard databases and any replicated database.  For RAC testing, a failover test ensures that transparent application failover (TAF) is working properly.  This is done by connecting to each node (using the local tnsnames.ora) and killing the node (by dong a kill -9 of the pmon process), and watching the transaction fail over to the backup node.

  • Disaster Recovery testing:  Due to the expense, disaster recovery testing is the most commonly omitted test, and failing to do this test has put more than one Oracle shop out of business.  All databases need to test their disaster recovery plan, and this is done by turning-off your primary database and allowing the system to be resurrected at a remote disaster site.  In some systems you can use geographically extended RAC using dark fiber for disaster recovery testing.  You can also use RMAN for disaster recovery testing.

By the time your are ready to roll-out a database, all of the Oracle testing steps should be completed.  Also see the best practices for testing system changes.

I highly recommend the book "Oracle Benchmarking" for more details on conducting and interpreting Oracle benchmarks. 

This book is written by numerous Oracle tuning experts and shows a complete methodology for Oracle
system testing.

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