Multinode RAC 12c cluster on VirtualBox using linked clones

Recently I’ve had to install a four-node RAC cluster on my laptop in order to do some tests. I have found an “easy” (well, easy, it depends), fast and space-efficient way to do it so I would like to track it down.

The quick step list

  • Install the OS on the first node
  • Add the shared disks
  • Install the clusterware in RAC mode on on the first node only
  • Remove temporarily the shared disks
  • Clone the server as linked clone as many times as you want
  • Reconfigure the new nodes with the new ip and naming
  • Add back the shared disks on the first node and on all other nodes
  • Clone the GI + database homes in order to add them to the cluster

Using this method the Oracle binaries (the most space consuming portion of the RAC installation) are installed and allocated on the first node only.

The long step list

Actually you can follow many instruction steps from the RAC Attack 12c book.

  • Review the HW requirements  but let at least 3Gb RAM for each guest + 2Gb more for your host (you may try with less RAM but everything will slow down).
  • Download all the SW components , additionally you may download the latest PSU ( from MOS.
  • Prepare the host and install linux on the first node. When configuring the OS, make sure you enter all the required IP addresses for the additional nodes. RAC Attack has two nodes collabn1, collabn2. Add as many nodes as you want to configure. As example, the DNS config may have four nodes

At this point, the procedure starts differing from the RAC Attack book.

  •  Go to the VirtualBox VM settings and delete all the shared disks2014_03_16_22_05_26_Oracle_VM_VirtualBox_Manager
  •  Clone the first server as linked clone (right-click, clone, choose the name, flag “Linked Clone” as many times as the number of additional servers you want.

2014-03-16 22_09_42-Clone Virtual Machine


  • By using this method  the new servers will use the same virtual disk file of the first server and a second file will be used to track the differences. This will save a lot of space on the disk.
  • Add back the shared disks to all the servers.
  • Start the other nodes and configure them following the RAC Attack instructions again.
  • Once all the nodes are configured, the GI installation has to be cleaned out on all the cloned servers using these guidelines:

  • Then, on each cloned server, run the perl as follows to clone the GI home, but change the LOCAL_NODE accordingly (note: the GI Home name must be identical to the one specified in the original installation!):

  •  Then, on the first node (that you have started and you have reactivated the clusterware stack on it with crsctl enable crs / crsctl start crs ;-)), run this command to add the new nodes in the definition of the cluster:


  • from the first server copy these files on all the other nodes:

  •  Then clone also the DB Home (again, run it on each new server and specify the same DB home name that you have used in the original installation):

  •  On each new node run also the updatenodelist and the DB command to update the node list for the DB home:

  •  and finally, run the GI on each new node to finalize their inclusion in the cluster!! 🙂


  • As result, you should be able to seen all the cluster resources started correctly on all the nodes.


I know it seems a little complex, but if you have several nodes this is dramatically faster than the standard installation and also the space used is reduced. This is good if you have invested in a high-performance but low-capacity SSD disk like I did :-(.

Hope it helps, I paste here the official documentation links that I’ve used to clone the installations. The other steps are my own work.



The following two tabs change content below.


Principal Product Manager at Oracle
Ludovico is a member of the Oracle Database High Availability (HA), Scalability & Maximum Availability Architecture (MAA) Product Management team in Oracle. He focuses on Oracle Data Guard, Flashback technologies, and Cloud MAA.

10 thoughts on “Multinode RAC 12c cluster on VirtualBox using linked clones

  1. Hi Ludovico,
    I’ve applied this to setup a 11g RAC lab. I had to make everything clean at the end with /crs/config/ because I finished with +ASM1 on node2 which was not very nice. I don’t now if I messed something or if it is because of 11g.
    But finally: 12GB for the first node, 2GB for each other nodes. cool.
    Thanks a lot for sharing your really helpful work,

  2. Pingback: RAC Attack 12c at Collaborate 14 and advanced labs | DBA survival BLOG

  3. Pingback: Multinode RAC 12c cluster on VirtualBox using linked clones - Ludovico Caldara - Blogs - triBLOG

  4. Ludo,

    This is amazing! I would love to see this become a lab for RACAttack. Were you running these all on local storage or on an attached external drive?


    • Hi Maaz, thank you for the comment! I’ve added am internal SSD disk (Samsung 840 Pro) as replacement of my laptop’s DVD drive. It’s really fast compared to my internal 5400RPM, but small to host the 9 VMs I’m working on, so I’ve found my way to make a better use of it! 🙂
      About the lab for RAC Attack… why not? I think I can convert it to a paper with a small effort. Thank you for the idea


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.