This is not intended as a complete book review, but a warm recommendation of a book I've found very useful the last couple of months. That is, highly recommended if you are working with RAC or going to start with a RAC project soon.
Pro Oracle Database 11g RAC on Linux written by
Steve Shaw and Martin Bach.
True, installation of RAC has become much easier on 11gR2, but the planning part is as important as ever. If you jump into the project without proper planning you are likely to encounter problems later on after the system is installed and running (more or less). Changing network layout or mostly anything else is a hassle later on, though this has also become easier with the added functionality to the commands crsctl and srvctl in 11gR2.
One reason I like this book as an important addition to the Oracle documentation is that it is very logical written from a project point of view. It starts out with a good introduction and then explains the important concepts and the arcitechture. This is stuff you need to get right before you start. There are also many decisions you have to make before you start. The book builds a solid ground under your cluster with a good focus on the OS (Linux in this case, but I think I will recommend it for a similar project on Windows as well due to the book's structure). In other words, if you don't have time to read the necessary chapters in this book you will not have time to fix the errors later on either.
We're not exactly masters of logistics in this country, and I came in late for this project. I started the preparation for the project by reading this book, when I had read enough and felt prepared for the next day I could put the book aside and get some rest. The next day I would continue by reading and planning. Well, that might read as if this was my first RAC project, it was not, but again I don't imagine I remember every detail, the book serves as a checklist.
The project gave us several challenges due to a rather big database that we created from an unconventional RMAN backup, Real Application Testing (RAT), super fast hardware that still needed tweaking on OS level. But not once did I run into problems due to wrong configuration of RAC or errors we could blame the RAC software.
Have a nice 2013! Go to conferences, user group meetings, and meet all the nice people in the community. Our conference, OUGN 2013, will be better than ever; we will have Oracle experts from Australia, USA and Europe.