So, my ASM install went tolerably well — there was the usual bumbling about trying to translate installation instructions aimed at unix into stuff that worked on Windows
Hint to Windows users: when the documentation talks about “Cluster Ready Services” they mean the OracleCSService.
Hint to Oracle: Some people use Windows.
So in the end I had my ASM instance running, a diskgroup created, a tablespace created on it, and Oracle accessing data stored in that tablespace. Technically, a success.
However performance was dreadful — really horrible. I was getting scattered read wait times an order of magnitude higher than pre-ASM, and because this was just a little exploration of the technology, and quite frankly I could do without the potential hassle of making my technology tower any higher, I canned the project and de-installed the ASM instance. It’s not as if it was going to be the answer to any of my problems, because I really don’t have any in the area of disk management.
So maybe I’ll just take comfort from the idea that I had the common sense not to throw new technologies at a nonexistent problem. Sometimes it’s good to just say “no” to these shiny toys.