In part 1 we saw that the next generation of storage based on flash is less about high performance and more about coupling that high performance to storage features needed to architect a cloud. In this post we look at building out databases services in our cloud. The critical thing to understand here is that many flash vendors provide high IOPs – not all of them provide critical resiliency and storage features. In part 3 we will discuss some of the architectures around virtualizaton.
Let’s start with a common pattern architecture used for virtualization, databases and middleware. We can aim for using a high performance network as the backbone.
Database. So let’s start by looking at databases. Consider we are aiming to build something that can compete against an Oracle Exadata. We can use SQL Server DB or Oracle DB both work nicely with flash-based arrays. In this example, we will use Oracle 11g DB Enterprise Edition and RAC running on the Dell R910 server (video). For reference, you can look at :
So, because the architecture must support an always-on Oracle RAC, the arrays must have full redundancy and non-disruptive upgrades (NDU). Redundancy is important because if something fails you want a fully redundant system so one failure doesn’t take down your array, your data and with it, your applications. Further, NDU allows you to upgrade the system without taking the array out of service. For this, exercise we can select the Pure Storage (FA-400-based) array. There are a number of other arrays that we could use in this example like NetApp’s EF540 or HDS’s flash array. The key thing here is not to trade IOPS for possible data corruption or outages. The key thing is to couple performance, non-disruptive upgrades and operational resilience/redundancy. In our hypothetical architecture below we get high performance compute, fast networking, overall redundancy, array compression and NDU.
Non-Disruptive Upgrades. We can chose to use other server hardware but for this hypothetical example we can use the Dell R910 – we could just as easily choose to use HP servers. The Pure Storage array gives the architecture high performance while at the same time providing non-disruptive upgrades. NDU is a critical enterprise feature. Let’s take a quick peek at what this NDU feature provides in this video :
It should be pointed out that the array supports redundancy allowing non-disruptive capacity expansion, non-disruptive controller upgrades, non-disruptive hardware replacements, non-disruptive software updates and with virtually no performance impact.
One simple approach to increasing performance of Oracle DB is to put the Redo logs on flash storage. You can see what happens in this example :
Now let’s look at the advantages of running Oracle itself on flash – Pure Storage highlights these advantages :
In this post I have highlighted the advantages of running Oracle’s database on flash but not without the key ingredients of hardware redundancy and non-disruptive upgrades.
In a future post we will dive further into Oracle’s database running on flash.
Go to more posts on storage and flash storage blogs at http://digitalcld.com/cld/category/storage.