Recommended: Flash Accelerating Oracle RAC in 16RU & VMware Power Savings with Local Flash

Fusion-io, Dell, and Mellanox have built a very small footprint (16RU), extremely fast, and price-sensitive reference architecture for Oracle RAC 12c. It is very impressive on a number of counts.  It further highlights the move to using local flash storage over remote flash storage arrays.  This solution aims at reducing hardware sprawl and power consumption by achieving higher performance in a smaller footprint.  From the description – “This reference architecture features four Fusion ION Accelerators and four Oracle RAC database nodes all connected through redundant Mellanox SX6036 switches. Each ION Accelerator in this reference architecture uses a Dell PowerEdge R720 with three 56 Gbps Mellanox ConnectX-3 InfiniBand cards and four industry-leading Fusion ioDrive2 2.4TB flash storage devices for a total of 9.6TB of all flash storage. Each of these ION Accelerator units fits in 2 rack units (2RU) and delivers well over 645,000 8K database IOPS and up to 12 GB/s sustained throughput. Data redundancy is maintained across pairs of ION Accelerators using synchronous writes, thus providing system and data high availability.  The Oracle RAC nodes consist of Dell PowerEdge R620 servers. Each two-socket server consumes a mere 1U of rack space and yet is capable of pulling 1.4 million 8K IOPS from the ION Accelerator storage layer as measured by the Flexible IO Tester utility.  The Oracle RAC nodes are connected to the ION Accelerators through redundant Mellanox switches. Each Oracle RAC node sees the ION Accelerator storage as simple multipath block storage. The multipath devices are aggregated by Oracle ASM to create a large and powerful diskgroup.  Expanding the size and performance of the database is as easy as adding more ION Accelerator devices to the ASM disk group.”  The links to the article and the Reference Architecture follow.



Increasingly, software vendors  see the virtue of putting their flash storage locally on the server.  For example, VMware engineers wrote recently that by replacing array shared storage with PCIe flash card storage on the servers they could substantially reduce power consumption and maintain high levels of performance.




Fusion IO Flash Storage Accelerates In-Memory SQL Server 2014 Database up to 4x

Fusion IO has jumped on-board the Microsoft SQL Server 2014 in-memory features and has claimed up to 4x improvements in transaction per second and substantial reduction in data latencies.  A nice little Fusion IO video that introduces SQL Server 2014:

Fusion ioMemory integrates into the SQL Server 2014 database engine buffer pool to improve IO throughput. The lower price points of the PCIe flash card products will no doubt put pressure on flash arrays.


Fusion IO has written a nice white paper detailing how their cards accelerate SQL Server 2014 by leveraging the new In-Memory features. Using their ioDrive2 Duo cards they substantially accelerated the performance, latency of transactions.

fio101The performance brief shows an increase of 4.4 x more transaction with the ioDrive2 Duo 2.4TB versus an enterprise class disk array. It also shows that it delivers better latency – serving customers up to 73% faster and delivers 3.3x faster database startup times.


Here is a SQL Server 2014 In-Memory OLTP Overview :


Web Talk : Getting The Most Out Of Your Flash/SSDs For NoSQL DB

Aerospike, the highest performing NoSQL database that I know of, is offering a talk on how to get the best performance by using Flash/SSDs. Aerospike is specifically tuned to delivering high performance from flash/SSDs and they have best practices around this. One of the most important things you can do to improve the performance of your flash/SSDs with Aerospike is to properly prepare them. This Webinar will go through how to select, test, and prepare the drives so that you will get the best performance and lifetime out of them. This web talk is scheduled for February 11th at 10 am.



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Recommended Viewing : Why Micron is 5 Times Faster Than Fusion-IO

This is a particularly interesting for those working with NoSQL databases. In a meet-up hosted by Aerospike some of results from recent testing were provided.  In the beginning there is a discussion by Brian Bulkowski, CTO of Aerospike who talks about why they are interested in fast flash implementation.  I wrote about this recently in the post, Aerospike Benchmark :  Micron PCIe P320h and P420hm Flash Cards “Blow Away The Competition. They recently benchmarked Micron’s PCIe flash cards and were stunned by the performance – it was considerably faster than every other competing implementation.  Scott Shadley, Jr. from Micron presented how Micron is able deliver the performance that surprised Aerospike and also covered the 2.5″ PCIe P320h form-factor that I discussed in the posting, Micron’s P320h 2.5″ Flash PCIe Form-Factor Offers Hot-Swap, which I recommended anyone buying a PCIe flash card should look at.



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Extremely Recommended Viewing : Micron’s P320h 2.5″ Flash PCIe form-factor Offers Hot-Swap

Updated : This is very exciting upgrade to the P320h flash card.  Here is a differentiated solution and potential disruption to many of the PCIe cards available. In case you missed it, Aerospike, the NoSQL database company that tunes for high performance on flash, provided a great review on the P320h (to quote – “it blew away the competition”).  I have updated this post with a link to StorageReview’s review of the P320h and two videos – one from StorageReviews and one from Micron (overview). 

Very interesting.  There are two form factors to the P320h from Micron. The first form factor is the card.  The second is a new 2.5″ form-factor of the P320h.  I have since found a couple of reviews on this card.  The Storage Review did a review of the P320h PCIe flash card and compared to Fusion IO and LSI flash cards


and from another review we look at a the new Micron flash PCIe 2.5″ form factor . This form factor allows you to hot-swap it :


You can see that Dell offers this form factor in their R720 with a specialized backplane :


Here is the demo of 2.5″ P320h being hot-swapped :

and a discussion between Dell and Micron on the Micron 2.5″ P320h PCIe hot-swap device :

Updated : If you are interested – StorageReviews has a nice review and video showing the  testbed on a SuperMicro and Infiniband.  They are running Microsoft Windows Server 2012  and Microsoft Storage Spaces :

and a review of the two products by Micron.

The P320h (non-2.5″) version was tested in this video (running iometer/4k workload) and gets 650,000 IOPS on Windows and 750,000 on Linux :


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MySQL Benchmark : Micron P320h (SLC) PCIe Flash Card – Outperforms

After looking at the Aerospike/Micron PCIe flash card benchmark I was extremely interested in whether a database like MySQL would also get as good results.  The answer seems is a resounding ‘yes’.  Over at Vadim Tkachenko’s MySQL Performance Blog, the tests were conducted in mid-April.  the P320h PCIe flash cards ran the sysbench fileIO tests n asynchronous mode and read performance was a steady 3202 MiB/second.  Write performance came in over 1730 MiB/sec. Performance was over 110,000 write IOPS and almost 205,000 read IOPS. Synchronous IO was similarly impressive. Vadim offered MySQL testing using the TPCC-MySQL test and sysbench OLTP and compared it to other PCIe flash cards.  Micron’s P320h delivered equally impressive performance on these tests – outperforming the two other flash cards.  You can read the review here :



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