We are in the planning stages of setting up our production Oracle 10gR2 environment. Our budget gives us the ability to buy 2 processor licenses of Oracle DB Standard Edition. We have minimal experience with Oracle so I'll defer to anyone who has used it. We are trying to decide if we should set up a single dual quad-core box or 2 individual quad-core boxes in a RAC configuration.
Our DB right now is about 60 GB, and at our peak, we'll have up to 150 concurrent users. Most of the big stuff is done via batch processing at night.
My gut tells me that having 2 boxes in a RAC configuration can't be a bad thing because it provides a true hardware failover solution. DB stored in a shared LUN on a SAN via iSCSI. Plus if we ever need to add capacity, we already have boxes in place that can be upgraded with extra procs (I assume with zero downtime, since it's set up in a RAC config) if we add extra licenses, or RAM.
Does RAC have any performance penalties? Will it add extra latency? Is there any true advantage for having dual processor boxes running these systems? If we build out the Oracle boxes with special hardware: hardware iSCSI cards, TOE NICs, will these boxes be solid? We are deploying on 64-bit Windows.
So what would you do? One box or two?