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We are currently using Oracle Standard Edition One running on two physical database server.

If I wanted to get higher availability, what's the most cost effective way or cheapest way to achieve this?

Thank-you for your suggestions!

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3 Answers

With dbvisit you can maintain a standby database, in a very similar way as Data Guard does in the Enterprise Edition. You might want to check this out. The setup is very easy, support is good and the pricing is very reasonable, if not, cheap. I blogged about it a few times,

see how to configure dbvisit to manage existing standby database running SE

and Cost reduction using Oracle SE and dbvisit standby

I hope this helps, Ronald.

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+1 for Ronald's answer. If your requirement is simply for an HA solution along the lines of dataguard (i.e using a second server in the event of DR) and you are on the Windows platform then you should take a look at Oracle Failsafe - this is a feature of SE1 (so no extra license requirement) and integrates the database and listener service with Microsoft's windows failover clustering. Similarly other active/passive clusters can be configured to provide HA for Oracle on other platforms. See for example this redhat howto There are licensing restrictions (rule of thumb no more than individual 10 calendar days of operation on the standby node per year. )

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As an alternative to the excellent answers provided by ik_zelf and Niall, you could virtualize both severs so that both virtual boxes can run on either physical box. If the virutalization software supports a technology like VMWares's VMotion, then the virtual boxes can be migrated between physical boxes on the fly with zero downtime. This would increase availability when maintenance is required on one box or the other. While a node in a VMWare cluster going down would cause an outage, because the VMs can be brought up on the other node, availability would be increased.

As with the other options there are some situations in which virtualization does not increase availability. For example, it does nothing for shared storage outages, nor does it do anything for logical outages.

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bear in mind that using non-oracle virtualization often has nasty license implications (you have to license the entire underlying hardware the virtual cluster is running on) –  Niall Litchfield Jan 26 '12 at 10:57
    
@Niall, You are absolutely correct, but the street goes both ways and can be advantageous if you can take say eight physical servers and virtualize them onto a four node VMWare cluster licensed in entirety. This is more likely to be an option with smaller Standard Edition systems. –  Leigh Riffel Jan 26 '12 at 14:37
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