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 Using udev Rule to Map Block Devices
Oracle Tips by Burleson Consulting

Oracle 11g Grid & Real Application Clusters by Rampant TechPress is written by four of the top Oracle database experts (Steve Karam, Bryan Jones, Mike Ault and Madhu Tumma).  The following is an excerpt from the book.

In RHEL and OEL 5, entries must be made under the rules specified in /etc/udev.  Udev is responsible for managing the /dev area in Linux, and udev rules determine how /dev will be presented.


While /bin/raw can be used to bind a block device to a raw device, /bin/raw binding alone is not meant to be a long-term configuration.  One of the primary purposes of udev is to keep disk areas and naming consistent.


To create a udev rule that maps block device /dev/sda1 to raw device /dev/raw1:

  • Create a file called:  /etc/udev/rules.d/60-raw.rules

  • Any number greater than or equal to 60 may be used

  • Add the line:  ACTION==”add”, “KERNEL==”sda1”, RUN+=”/bin/raw /dev/raw/raw1 %N”

  • Despite this ability, in Oracle 11g there is really no point in creating /dev/raw devices unless it is being done for comfort value.  This is because in Oracle up, block devices are accessible by Oracle using the O_DIRECT flag, meaning they are able to perform direct I/O without using the rawio interface.  OUI and ASMlib will both accept a block device (i.e. /dev/sda1) as input for file placement in Oracle 11g on Linux.

Note: In 10gR2, even though Oracle allowed block devices to be used in and up, OUI was not able to handle a block device name.  Instead, symbolic links had to be created to map the block device to a different name under /dev.  While effective, this does not follow the udev rules.


Even with direct support for block devices, in order to configure a block device for Oracle’s use, udev rules must still be created.  Since udev manages the /dev area, the rules will need to state ownership of the block devices in order to grant Oracle the permissions necessary to use them.

  1. Edit the file:  /etc/udev/rules.d/50-udev.rules

  2. At the bottom of the file, add the new rules in the following format:

KERNEL==”blockdevicename”, OWNER=”deviceowner”, GROUP=”devicegroup”, MODE=”4digitpermissions”

  • Block device name - the name of the block device.  For instance, if the device is listed as /dev/sda1, the block device name is sda1.

  • Device owner - should be set to the name of the OS user that will own the block device.  For instance, if the device is going to be used for placement of the OCR, root should be the owner.  For the voting disk or ASM disks, oracle should be the owner.

  • Device group - should be set to the name of the group which owns the block device.  This will usually be oinstall or dba.

  • 4digitpermissions - should be set to the permissions mask of the block device.  For the OCR and ASM devices this will be 0640.  For the voting disk, it will usually be 0644.

It is important to note that even though Oracle is writing to a block device instead of a raw device, this is still technically raw storage.  Instead of using the rawio interface, a direct interface to the block device has been provided by the Linux kernel and Oracle.


The limitations of raw are still a factor when writing to block devices.  Only one file may be present on any single block device when the device is unformatted.


Creating the OCR and voting disk on block devices is a popular option, as the only other storage method available is a cluster file system such as OCFS2 which presents yet another layer of dependency for an Oracle installation.  For datafiles, control files, SPFILEs, redo logs, RMAN backups, and archive logs, ASM is the new de facto standard for RAC storage.


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