The IOPS race is over

emc-f1-carInfrastructure has always been a tough place to compete in. Unlike applications, databases or middleware, infrastructure components are fairly easy to replace with another make and model, and thus the vendors try to show off their product as better than the one from the competition.

In case of storage subsystems, the important metrics has always been performance related and IOPS (I/O operations per second) in particular.

I remember a period when competitors of our high-end arrays (EMC Symmetrix, these days usually just called EMC VMAX) tried to artificially boost their benchmark numbers by limiting the data access pattern to only a few megabytes per front-end IO port. This caused their array to handle all I/O in the small memory buffer cache of each I/O port – and none of the I/O’s would really be handled by either central cache memory or backend disks. This way they could boost their IOPS numbers much higher than ours. Of course no real world application would ever only store a few megabytes of data so the numbers were pure bogus – but marketing wise it was an interesting move to say the least.

With the introduction of the first Sun based Exadata (the Exadata V2) late 2009, Oracle also jumped on the IOPS race and claimed a staggering one million IOPS. Awesome! So the gold standard was now 1 million IOPS, and the other players had to play along with the “mine’s bigger than yours” vendor contest.
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Baking a cake: trading CPU for IO?

Sometimes I hear people claim that by using faster storage, you can save on database licenses. True or false?

The idea is that many database servers are suffering from IO wait – which actually means that the processors are waiting for data to be transferred to or from storage – and in the meantime, no useful work can be done. Given the expensive licenses that are needed for running commercial database software, usually licensed per CPU core, this then leads to loss of efficiency.

Let’s see if we can visualise the problem here with a common world example – Baking a cake.
 
 

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Looking forward: 2016

We’re already over one week in 2016 and I realize I haven’t done much blogging lately.

One of the things that kept me busy is development on Outrun, and the joint Oracle / EMC Solution Center (OSC) on which I intend to write a bit more going forward.

Something I did about a year ago (without mentioning it too much) is upgrade my WordPress.com account to Professional. Not that I really need the extra add-ons, but I want my readers not to be disturbed by ads – OK, there’s ad blockers, but not everyone uses them, and on some platforms you simply can’t (iOS). Dirty Cash well spent (and no, I don’t get it reimbursed by my employer if you’d think that, my blog is mine, mine only and independent).

adblockwelcomeGiven that the number of page views on Dirty Cache passed a quarter million last year (thanks to all my readers), can you imagine the savings in bandwidth and productivity loss by not showing ads? 😉

So what else can you expect from me this year?

Of course, more about running Oracle on EMC and why I think that’s a pretty good idea. As the competition with Oracle is heating up, I intend to write more on comparing the differences between the solutions of both companies, debunking some marketing and competitive claims, and more. I also hope to find time to maintain the wiki on the Outrun site, and in addition to Outrun documentation, it might be a good place to put Oracle / EMC related howto’s, best practices, FAQs and more.

You also might be wondering what’s going to happen around Oracle / EMC solutions during the Dell / EMC aquisition… Me too. But we can’t (and are not allowed to) comment on it until the merger is final. Until then, business as usual. When the time is ready I’ll comment on new Dell / EMC / Oracle stuff where possible.

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Silly Little Oracle Benchmark – RPM edition

slob-rpmA while ago Kevin Closson announced a new release of the well-known SLOB kit.

SLOB is a simple but powerful toolkit that drives lots and lots of IO on a real Oracle database (so for performance testing of database platforms, it’s much better than synthetic IO tests).

A previous version was bundled with Outrun but required the entire Outrun distribution to work properly. With the new 2.3 version I created an RPM package that can be installed separate on any Enterprise Linux 6.x (64 bit) server.

The wiki page (including instructions) can be found here: SLOB RPM Package wiki

Thanks to Kevin for granting permission to redistribute this awesome toolkit!

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Interview with Madora

A while ago I was interviewed by Kay Williams of Madora Consulting.

Madora Interview

As many customers are overwhelmed by licensing, audit and compliancy issues, I highly recommend my EMEA readers to reach out to Madora if you need independent assistance in that area.

In the interview we discussed a bit of my background, the challenges my customers are facing and how we help them, a bit on the future of Oracle and EMC as well as things like Cloud computing, how EMC sometimes competes with Oracle, my views on Oracle Engineered Systems, and where the two companies are fundamentally different. It has been out there for a while but I was enjoying vacation so I haven’t mentioned it before, but here it is 🙂

Expected reading time about 10 minutes. Many thanks to Kay for the interview!

Enjoy: Madora – Interview with Bart Sjerps of EMC

This post first appeared on Dirty Cache by Bart Sjerps. Copyright © 2011 – 2015. All rights reserved. Not to be reproduced for commercial purposes without written permission.

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