Advantages of SharePlex
The advantages of SharePlex
SharePlex provides high-speed replication from Oracle (on-premises and Amazon RDS) databases to different target databases and messaging containers on major Unix, Linux and Windows platforms, both on-premises and in the cloud. SharePlex supports a wide variety of configurations to meet different and complex data availability needs. What's more, SharePlex includes — without extra charge — the compare and repair tools that you need to verify that replication is accurate and reliable.
Meet today's high-demand data availability requirements
SharePlex is designed for the nonstop replication of enterprise volumes of data. It is capable of replicating millions of transactions a day for thousands of tables and other objects. It supports business varieties of data, including large object types and National Language Character Set types, as well as Oracle XML and user-defined types.
You have full control over which data is replicated, and to where. Through column partitioning, you can replicate a subset of the columns of a table beyond a firewall, while protecting other, more sensitive data. Through row partitioning, you can replicate different records to different locations, or prevent the replication of certain records altogether. You can configure SharePlex to interact with PL/SQL procedures that transform data before, or instead of, posting it to a target database.
With SharePlex, your enterprise can ensure high availability, migrate data from one platform to another, and integrate data among many different datastores at once — whether locally, remote, or in the cloud. SharePlex not only supports standard query-driven replication targets, such as those for reporting, analytics and data warehousing, but it can also deliver the data to messaging systems and provide data in file or XML format for input to other enterprise solutions.
Support for a variety of replication sources and targets
SharePlex supports capture from and replication to many of today's popular datastores:
- Capture from Oracle (including Exadata) databases, replicating to Oracle target databases, including those hosted by Amazon, Microsoft, and Oracle Cloud and PaaS cloud environments.
- Replication from Oracle sources to many popular ODBC-compliant databases, such as Microsoft SQL Server, SAP HANA, other PostgreSQL implementations, and Oracle MySQL. SharePlex supports replication to several of these databases in both Amazon EC2 and RDS cloud services as well as Microsoft Azure Marketplace.
- Oracle databases to targets other than relational database systems, such as flat files (SQL and XML format), JMS, and Apache Kafka (XML and JSON).
- Oracle to an Oracle change-history target, where each change to the source data is replicated as a new row in the target, leaving the previous state of the target intact and providing a history of every change that was made to the source data.
SharePlex replicates to many different targets at the same time, requiring only one configuration file to provide the routing instructions for them all.
Deploy quickly and easily, without frameworks or add-ons
Everything required for data replication is provided "out of the box" with SharePlex, without the need to buy any add-ons or management packs. This includes the SharePlex Manager monitoring GUI software, and a compare-repair utility for detecting and repairing out-of-sync data.
The installation of SharePlex is fast and straightforward, and it includes utilities that help you configure connections to a database. Complex replication scenarios, such as active-active or a multi-step cascading scenario, may require more time, but overall SharePlex is driven primarily from a single configuration file on each source system. This file supplies most of the needed replication instructions: table lists, special handling such as column mapping or partitioning, and data routing. A relatively small set of commands and files supplies the rest of the input for setup and control.
SharePlex makes it easy to synchronize the data and start replication. In the case of Oracle data, you can even allow transactions on the source data to continue while you copy the source data and populate the target. SharePlex keeps track of the ongoing changes during the copy and then reconciles those changes with the results of the copy, so that it only applies transactions that occurred after the copy. Database patches and upgrades can be accomplished with a similar technique.
Although SharePlex is a reliable, relatively low-maintenance solution, our top-rated support team is ready around the clock to help with any trouble you may have. To get you started with your deployment, our professional services team is highly experienced and readily available.
One all-inclusive solution for both replication and repair
When you have SharePlex, you have both replication and data compare-repair software all in the same package. You pay no extra. You can run the SharePlex Compare and Repair features on a regular basis to ensure the consistency of source and target data. Run Compare to detect hidden out-of-sync conditions, and run Repair to repair the target rows to restore synchronization. SharePlex detects extra or missing rows and rows where the values do not match. By repairing mismatches at the row level on a regular basis, you can avoid larger problems that may require full data resynchronization. You can customize your comparisons, for example to filter the rows that are compared. These features work without stopping user activity or replication processing.
Maintain an Oracle high availability environment
In an Oracle environment, SharePlex supports reliable high availability configurations where replication maintains a duplicate database in a different location that is ready for fast, seamless failover and failback in planned or unplanned mode. If the primary system fails, transaction activity moves to the secondary system and continues while the secondary instance is copied to the primary system during recovery. SharePlex reconciles the copy with the replicated transactions from the secondary system, then discards operations that were already applied by the copy. After SharePlex restores synchronization of the data, transaction activity can move back to the primary system.
SharePlex also supports reliable replication recovery in deployments where the source and target are mirrored, such as with disk mirroring or Oracle Data Guard. SharePlex quickly recovers replication whether the source fails, the target fails, or both fail.
Conserve system resources
SharePlex performs replication without significantly impacting the source database, the source system, or the network. SharePlex reads the Oracle redo logs changes as they occur, rather than on a refresh schedule, this reduces the impact of replication on the network and does not cause spikes in network performance. This design also minimizes latency between source and target systems. Removing non-transactional data use from the production server improves the performance of the production database while enabling target databases to be optimized for the needs of their users.
Replicate with both speed and accuracy
SharePlex is fast, minimizing the latency between source and target databases by capturing changes to configured objects continuously. SharePlex maintains read consistency, maintaining operation order and session context all the way to the target. SharePlex uses standard SQL to apply replicated changes to the target database.
SharePlex continuously reads the transaction stream and sends the appropriate data to the target as quickly as possible, even before it receives a commit record. In the case of Oracle, if a transaction is canceled, SharePlex simply replicates the rollback so that the target remains an accurate representation of the source.
SharePlex provides tools to help you maximize replication throughput. Named queues enable you to split large transaction volumes into parallel processing streams. Hash partitioning enables you to split the rows of large tables across parallel Post processes.
Maintain fault tolerance and control
SharePlex tolerates outages regardless of where they occur. If the target system is down, or if there are network problems, SharePlex stores the data on the source system until operations and connections are restored. If the target system is running but the target database or receiving software itself is down, SharePlex queues the captured data on the target system until the target is available again.
You have control over when SharePlex sends the data to the target. By default, SharePlex sends a steady stream of data to the target systems, but you can delay transmission by stopping the Export process. You can delay the posting of data to a target by stopping or delaying the Post process.
Reduce downtime and risk from migrations
Hardware migrations usually require a significant amount of downtime, whether you need to change hardware platforms, move a data center, or consolidate servers to reduce costs. By maintaining a near-realtime copy of the database, SharePlex can help you minimize migration downtime by enabling the original system to function normally until the migration is complete.
About source and target data
SharePlex replication uses the concepts of source and target.
- The source data is the primary data that is to be replicated. This data resides on the source system.
- The target data is a full or subset copy of the primary data. This data resides on the target system.
The object of replication is to keep the source and target data synchronized, or in-sync, which means that the state of the source data is reflected accurately by the target data, adjusting for any transformation that is performed and for any time lag in the replication stream.
The target data can take the form of any of the SharePlex-supported target types: tables in a database, messages in a messaging queue or topic, or XML or SQL records in a file that can be consumed by other software programs.
About SharePlex architecture
This topic explains the default configuration of SharePlex. You can customize the SharePlex configuration to add additional queues and processes for the purpose of isolating data streams or improving performance.
SharePlex uses two main directories:
The product directory: This is the SharePlex installation directory, where the SharePlex programs and libraries are stored.
The variable-data directory: This is the SharePlex working directory, where the queue files, log files and other components that comprise the current replication environment are stored.
Note: These directories are often referred to as productdir and vardir, respectively.
Do not remove, rename or edit any files or directories installed by SharePlex. Some directories contain hidden files that are essential for replication. Some files appear empty but must exist under their original names because they are referenced by one or more SharePlex processes. Some items in the directories are for use only under the supervision of Quest Technical Support.
Programs meant for general use in a production environment are documented in the published SharePlex documentation. If you do not find documentation for a program in a SharePlex directory, do not attempt to run it. Contact Quest Technical Support first.
The directory structure and files within the two main SharePlex directories differs slightly between the UNIX and Windows platforms. Files and directories can vary from version to version of SharePlex, but the basic structure appears as follows.
SharePlex product directory
|SharePlex executable files
|Internally used content.
|Default parameter settings
|Catalog of exception messages
|(Unix and Linux only) Scripts related to installation, licensing and upgrades
|SharePlex shared libraries
|SharePlex log files
|Runtime installation files for third-party software used by SharePlex.
|(Unix and Linux only) Hidden internal directory that contains raw executables. Do not use the contents of this directory to launch processes.
|(Unix and Linux only) Hidden internal directory that contains meta information used during the installation process.
SharePlex variable-data directory
|Configuration files for this installation of SharePlex.
|Status Database, configuration activation information, user-defined parameter settings, and other user-defined files that direct replication activities.
|Configuration internal database for each activation of a configuration file.
|Information about SharePlex targets that are a lower version than the source.
|Core files (if a process fails)
|SharePlex log files
|Queue files (working data files)
|Information about active and inactive configurations.
|Information about the current state of SharePlex when a configuration is active, such as the object and sequence caches.
|Used by the copy and append features and other SharePlex sync-related processes.
|Stores the transactions that contain out-of-sync operations when the SP_OPO_SAVE_OOS_TRANSACTION parameter is enabled.
The sp_cop process
The sp_cop program coordinates the SharePlex replication processes: (Capture, Read, Export, Import, Post) and the SharePlex queues, and it initiates all of the other background processes that perform specific tasks. It also maintains communication with other systems in the replication network. In general, most SharePlex users have little interaction with sp_cop other than to start and stop it. Once started, sp_cop runs in the background.
- Only a SharePlex Administrator (member of the SharePlex admin group) can start or stop sp_cop.
- sp_cop must be started on all source and target systems involved in replication.
- Start sp_cop as soon as (or before) applications access the data on the source system, so that all of the SharePlex processes are ready to start processing transactions. That way, Capture can keep pace with the changes that are made to the source data.
The sp_ctrl process
Use sp_ctrl to issue the commands that start, stop, configure, direct and monitor SharePlex activities. The sp_ctrl program interacts internally with the sp_cnc (command and control) process, which is the child process of sp_cop that executes the commands. Users do not interact with sp_cnc itself.
SharePlex replication processes
SharePlex replicates data through a series of replication processes that are started by the main SharePlex process, sp_cop.
- The Capture process: The Capture process reads the transaction records on the source system for changes to objects that are configured for replication by SharePlex. The Capture process writes the data to the capture queue, where it accumulates until the Read process is ready for it. When data is being replicated from more than one datasource, there is a separate Capture process for each one, each functioning concurrently and independently. The Capture process is named sp_ocap (Oracle Capture).
- The Read process: The Read process operates on the source system to read data from the capture queue and add routing information to it. After processing the data, the Read process sends it to the Export queue. The Read process is named sp_ordr.
- The Export process: The Export process operates on the source system to read data from the export queue and send it across the network to a target system. By default, there is one Export process for each target system. For example, if there are two target systems, there are two Export processes. The Export process is the first part of the Export/Import transport pair, which moves data between systems over a TCP/IP network. The Export process is named sp_xport.
The Import process: The Import process is the second half of the Export/Import transport pair. The Import process operates on a target system to receive data and build a post queue. There is one Import process on a target system for each Export process that sends data to that target. For example, if there are two source systems (each with an Export process) replicating data to a single target system, there are two Import processes on that target. The Import process is named sp_mport.
Note: It is possible to replicate data between databases on the same system. In this case the Export and Import processes are not created. The Read process places data directly into a post queue on that system.
- The Post process: The Post process operates on a target system to read the post queue and apply the replicated operations to the target database, file, message queue or topic. There is a Post process for each post queue on a target system. Multiple Post processes can operate simultaneously on a system. The Post process is sp_opst_mt (Oracle Post) or sp_xpst (Open Target Post).
All communication and movement of data by SharePlex is handled by an internal messaging and transport system, using an asynchronous stream protocol with TCP/IP connections that is very efficient for large data transfers. This method ensures optimal performance, reliability and restart capabilities, while conserving communication bandwidth. SharePlex can replicate over any TCP/IP network.
Queues store the replicated data as it is transported from the source system to the target system. Queues are part of a checkpoint recovery system that facilitates safe, asynchronous transport of data. Data travels through the queues in the sequence in which it was generated.
Data is not read-released (deleted) from one queue until it is written to the next one. Data accumulates in the queues on the source and target systems if the network, system, or database slows down or fails, or when a replication process stops. When the problem or outage is resolved, SharePlex resumes processing from the point where it stopped.
SharePlex replication uses the following queues:
- Capture Queue: The capture queue resides on the source system and stores captured data for further processing by SharePlex. There is one capture queue for each datasource that is being replicated. A capture queue is identified by the datasource, for example o.fin1.
- Export Queue: The export queue resides on the source system. It holds data that has been processed by SharePlex and is ready for transport to the target system. By default, there is one export queue on a source system regardless of the number of active configurations or target systems. A default export queue is identified by the name of the source system on which it resides, for example, SysA. You can instruct SharePlex to create additional namedexport queues for more complex replication strategies.
- Post Queue: The post queue resides on the target system. It holds data that is ready for Post to write to the target database, file, or message queue or topic. On each target system, there is one post queue for the replication stream between a datasource and its target. For example, if DatabaseA and DatabaseB are both replicating to DatabaseC, there are two post queues. A default post queue is identified by the name of the source system plus the datasource and the target, for example SysA (o.DatabaseA-o.DatabaseB). You can instruct SharePlex to create additional named post queues for more complex replication strategies.
Note: All SharePlex queue files are created and maintained in the rim sub-directory of the SharePlex variable-data directory.
SharePlex Installed Objects
Much of the replication process is controlled and tracked through a series of internal objects that are installed into the source or target database during the installation of SharePlex. They are essential for SharePlex to operate, so do not alter them in any way.
NOTE: Not all objects are used for all databases. Most are used for Oracle databases. If you do not see an object in your database, it is not relevant to the database, or the information is stored internally within the SharePlex configuration. If you see an object that is in your database but not in this list, it is not being used in the current release.
|Used as the source table for the SharePlex demonstrations.
|Used as the target table for the SharePlex demonstrations.
|Used by Capture to checkpoint its state.
|Used by the analyze command.
|Used by users to stop and resume replication for an object.
|Used for the flush, abort and purge commands.
|Used by the activation and Capture processes to mark the start of a new activation.
|Used by the SharePlex wallet for Oracle TDE replication.
|Used by the compare and repair commands and the Post process to synchronize their operations.
|Used as a temporary table by the compare and repair commands.
|Used as a temporary table by the compare and repair commands.
|Used as a temporary table by the compare and repair commands.
|Used to refine control of DDL that is enabled for replication by the SP_OCT_REPLICATE_ALL_DDL parameter.
Used by the sp_cnc process and the compare, repair, and copy commands to provide a unique job ID.
|Used by the sp_cnc process and the compare, repair, and copy commands to store information about a job.
|Used by the sp_cnc process and the compare, repair, and copy commands to store information about a job.
|Used by the disable jobs and enable jobs commands.
|Used by the Capture process when processing VARRAYs stored as LOB.
|Used by the Capture process to map LOBIDs and rows when a table with LOB columns does not have PK/UK logging enabled.
|Used by the Capture process to track inactive RAC instances.
|Used by the Read process when PK/UK logging is not enabled.
|Used by the activation and Capture processes to define the objects in replication.
|Used by the Capture process to map Oracle partition IDs to tables in replication.
|Used by the copy command and the Read and Post processes to sync their operations.
|Used by the Post process to store checkpoints and to mark transactions that were applied in a primary-to-primary configuration.
How SharePlex replication works
To replicate data, SharePlex reads the stream of transaction data on the source system and captures changes that are made to objects that are specified in a configuration file. In the configuration file, you specify which data to replicate and the target to which it is applied.
You activate a configuration file to start replication. This is done by means of the activate config command in sp_ctrl within a sequence of steps that also includes synchronizing the source and target data for the first time. When a configuration is active, SharePlex replicates only the changes that are made to the objects specified in the configuration file, not entire data records, which provides a fast and reliable replication solution.
For more information see:
From the information that it has about a transaction operation, SharePlex creates one or more messages that are sent from the source system to the target system. A message can reflect a SQL operation or an internal SharePlex operation, but most of the time it is an INSERT, UPDATE, DELETE, COMMIT, TRUNCATE or a supported DDL operation.
Note: Large operations like those on LONG or LOB columns can require more than one message because a message has a size limitation. Other operations, such as array inserts of small records, have the inverse effect: There could be one record for numerous operations. For example, an array insert of 70,000 rows might be recorded in the transaction stream as only 700 messages, depending on the data. In general, unless you are replicating numerous changes to those kinds of data types, you can assume that the number of messages shown in the status output for a process or queue approximately corresponds to the same number of SQL operations.
The Post process reads messages from the post queue and applies the replicated data changes to the target. In the case of a database target, Post constructs SQL statements to apply the data. In the case of non-database targets, Post outputs data records in the format required by the target, for example a file or messaging queue or topic.
The following explains the default ways that SharePlex builds SQL statements on the target system.
- If the change is an INSERT, SharePlex uses all of the columns in the row to build an INSERT statement.
- If the change is a DELETE, SharePlex uses only the key to build a WHERE clause to locate the correct row. In the case of Oracle, if a table lacks a key, SharePlex simulates one by using the values of all of the columns, except LONG and LOB columns. You can specify columns to use as a key when you create the configuration file. In the case of SQL Server, all configured objects must have a primary key.
- If the change is an UPDATE, SharePlex uses the key plus the values of the changed columns to build a WHERE clause to locate the correct row. Before applying changes to the database, the Post process compares a pre-image of the values of the source columns to the existing values of the target columns. The pre-image (also known as the before image) is the value of each changed column before the UPDATE. If the pre-image and the existing target values match, confirming a synchronized state, Post applies the changes. If not, then Post logs the operation to an error file and SharePlex returns an “out-of-sync” error.
- If the change is an UPDATE or DELETE statement that affects multiple rows on the source machine, SharePlex issues multiple statements on the target to complete the task. For example, an UPDATE tableA set name = ‘Lisa’ where rownum < 101 statement actually sends 100 UPDATE statements to the target, even though only one statement was issued on the source.