Recommended Reading : Delphix and Flash Storage

Kyle Hailey of Delphix has done a nice write-up on Delphix.  Why should you care about Delphix ? One big reason (among many) is because Delphix enables Oracle databases and Microsoft SQL Server customers to clone their databases quickly at virtually no storage costs.  You can see a demo and read more at Delphix’s website and the Kyle’s write-up below.

Demo of Delphix : 

Kyle Hailey’s What Is Delphix write-up :


We are not quite done here – Delphix works with many different types of storage vendors. Obviously, Delphix benefits from flash storage and one of the flash storage vendors has done a good job highlighting how Delphix can work effectively with a flash storage array that has data reduction features.

Delphix used in combination with the Pure Storage FlashArray which thrives on random IO and our inline deduplication technology, virtualized databases produced by Delphix can now consume very little space and still have plenty of IO headroom.


A recent benchmark test conducted by Delphix and Pure Storage confirmed that their joint solution offers 10x improvements in price and performance when compared to a disk-based storage array from a leading legacy storage vendor. The companies successfully created and maintained the concurrent operation of 26 virtual database copies, each 1 terabyte (TB) in size, on the Pure Storage FlashArray. The combined solution performed over 35,000 transactions per minute, while consuming only 1.5 TB of total storage; the combined solution can sustain is more than 900,000 transactions per minute with zero performance impact. By comparison, running the same databases on the leading legacy disk-based storage array to achieve the same performance and availability required over 15x the storage at 10x the cost.

More here :


The advantage of having inline data reduction features are highlighted in this discussion.  There are of course many other storage companies that could leverage inline de-duplication/compression/thin-provisioning in a Delphix deployment.  For example, SolidFire, Nimbus Data and HTC come quickly to mind.  There are also some companies perceived as leaders in the space in which inline de-duplication is missing-in-action. You can read more on de-duplication in the post – De-Duplication is a Big Win in Flash Storage – So Why Fight It ?

Regardless, Delphix coupled with flash storage arrays offer a really nice set of solutions for both clouds and enterprises.



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Data Points : Delphix & Pure Storage Database Benchmark Shows 10x Price/Performance Gain

Delphix is teaming with Pure Storage to provide virtualized databases on flash storage.  What I found interesting was that they announced they had benchmarked the performance of an all-flash solution comparing  running databases on ordinary spinning  disks to the flash solution.  The test simulation workloads from a leading e-commerce company where the company makes 25-30 copies of its product databases for development and test.  Using traditional disks consumes 1 TB per copy and completes 35,000 transactions per minute.  Each copy requires a full duplicate. As a result,  supporting 26 copies requires 26 TBs of storage and to achieve 910,000 TPM (26 x 35k). The cost for this was about $2 million. Using Delphix Pure Storage solution created and supported the same 26 copies but was able to leverage in-line de-depulication to use only 1.5 TB total, each copy had full data at 1 million transactions per minute.  The cost of this solution was 1/10 the cost of the the disk solution. This great example of where de-duplication really makes a difference.



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Accelerating VDI with Flash Storage : Super-Charging Your VDI Deployments

In this post we look at some of the great work being done at Pure Storage around supporting VDI deployments.  They have produced a four part series in which they demonstrate a VDI cloud under stress and running on Pure Storage flash-based arrays. A lot of the flash vendors have demonstrated similar high performance characteristics for VDI.  One aspect that sets apart different vendors is their support for in-line deduplication, thin-provisioning and compression, as well as, clones and snapshots.

In this  VDI demo (which is part two of four)  Pure Storage shows testing  they did in their labs. They show a VDI cluster with eight nodes with DRS and HA turned on. (You may want to look at the first part (of four) of these Pure Storage VDI videos. ) They created a linked clone desktop pool with 1000 linked clones and another persistent desktop pool with another 1000 desktops.  They provisioned 30 TB for the persistent desktops (30 GB/desktop).  The linked clone desktops they provision 4 TB volumes of 10 each.  They provisioned 80 TB with half of the storage used.  Many of the desktop are thin-provisioned.  They were getting about a data reduction of 22 to 1 which is on the high side – they guide customers to 6 to 1.  It is important to note that Pure Storage does data reduction in the form of : deduplication, thin provisioning and compression.  You can see what they did in this video (part two) :

In part three they show what the end-user experience is like.  They talk about the City of Davenport’s VDI deployment.  Flash storage had a dramatic effect. They used the VMware View Planner tool to give them performance. They used linked clones and persistent clones. They demonstrate a boot storm (or login storm).

Finally, in the fourth session – they focused on the administrator’s experience. They do some administrative operations and show it live. They showed some interesting numbers :

  • Provision 50 GB Desktop from template (traditional disk array : 5 min  Pure : 50 sec)
  • Boot 100 desktops  (traditional disk array : 15 min    Pure : 22 sec)
  • Storage vMotion 50 GB VM (traditional disk array : 4 min Pure : 25 sec)
  • Recompose 100 VMs (traditional disk array : 45 min Pure : 3 min)


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Highlighting A Key Flash Storage Feature : High Speed Cloning of Live Databases with Snapshots

Database cloning with snapshots is an important feature.  Many flash/SSD-based storage arrays offer this feature.  Pure Storage has done a very nice job of showing off this feature.  In the first example they show how to clone a live Oracle database very easily.  Snapshots offer a quick way to copy a production database for reporting or testing or getting a copy of a database at point-in-time.

You can learn more about Snapshots with another Pure Storage video – in this video 500 snapshots are created while a performance monitor is running :



Elements to Architecting Database Services into an All-Flash Cloud Infrastructure (part 2)

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.


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