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  Oracle Tips by Burleson

The chasm between bandwidth and performance

In addition to the growing gap between storage performance and processor performance is a similar chasm between bandwidth and storage performance.  Bandwidth is becoming available at rates that exceed even the improvement in processor performance.  Already today, there is a glut of bandwidth that is now available to enterprises for a much lower cost than was ever possible.  With almost unlimited bandwidth, the demands on the remainder of the data center only intensify.  From the firewall to storage, every aspect of system performance will need to be analyzed for bottlenecks.

Storage densities are increasing, and data access problems are only getting worse. Going forward, storage managers will be required to balance the need for capacity with the need for performance. There are no easy solutions to the problem if the options only include hard disk based JBOD or RAID systems. It is the mechanical aspect of hard drives that ensures they will always be much slower than the server or incapable of filling massive enterprise bandwidth.

The next section explores how these advances in hardware are shifting Oracle’s processing bottlenecks.

The shift in Oracle bottlenecks

As noted in Chapter 1, the dramatic decrease in the cost of RAM is radically changing the Oracle database architecture.  In 2005, 100 gigabytes of SSD (i.e. Texas Memory Systems) can be obtained for about $150,000.

Historically, RAM has been a scarce and expensive resource, and the DBA was challenged to find the data that was referenced most frequently to cache on precious RAM media.

This new age of cheap solid state disks has meant a dramatic change in Oracle database architecture, as the old fashioned model of disk-based data management is being abandoned in favor of a cache-based I/O approach.

For years, storage architects have observed the growing divide between processor performance and storage access times.  Remember, when the CPU waits on storage, the users are waiting on storage.

According to a whitepaper by James Morle, SSD is great for high-bandwidth I/O components such as Oracle redo logs.  The Oracle redo logs archive the row before images and they are used for data recovery in the event of a disk crash.  Morle notes:

“This is where SSD can help out. By deploying a single SSD, all redo logs can be located away from the RAID 1+0 array, whilst providing low latency writes and high bandwidth reads (for archiving).”

The next section looks at the inherent bandwidth limitations of platter-based disk storage so that a better understanding can get gained of the benefits of SSD for Oracle data files.

The above book excerpt is from:

Oracle RAC & Tuning with Solid State Disk

Expert Secrets for High Performance Clustered Grid Computing

ISBN 0-9761573-5-7

Donald K. Burleson & Mike Ault


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