Improve Oracle database performance in a flash

Christian Putz says moving databases from hard drives to flash can bring sizeable improvements in performance

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Improve Oracle database performance in a flash All-Flash storage for databases offers a range of benefits, says Putz.
By  Christian Putz Published  April 6, 2016

Oracle databases are the backbone of a wide range of business-critical applications, from online transaction processing to business intelligence systems for corporate finance and dozens more. In today’s environment, organizations are under extreme pressure to process more transactions faster than ever and to drive efficient and consistent performance from their Oracle databases.

All-flash storage arrays have become a breakthrough technology for Oracle databases, enabling levels of performance that are unattainable with spinning disk drives. In addition, with certain all-flash solutions, organizations can drive down costs—including Oracle licensing fees— while reducing storage complexity and improving application availability.

The impact of deploying all-flash storage with Oracle databases leads to improved productivity for database administrators (DBAs), faster time to value for new applications and better customer service, among other benefits.

The benefits of flash for Oracle databases

Oracle databases need the performance that can only be delivered by all-flash arrays. The amount of data is growing rapidly and so is the size of data sets. At the same time, business leaders are striving for improved agility and real-time analytics, meaning the database must be able to process more transactions in condensed time frames.

Spinning disk drives are a bottleneck to delivering the performance required for Oracle databases. In the past decade, the speed of CPUs and memory has accelerated dramatically, while spinning disk performance has remained about the same. This has not only been a drag on database performance, but it has also been a drain on resources resulting in overly complex management challenges for DBAs as well as Oracle licensing costs, that have often spun out of control.

The right flash storage solution can immediately shift the paradigm for Oracle performance, management efficiency and costs. Key benefits of flash include: unprecedented and consistent performance to support existing applications and enable new ones; much greater efficiency to support simpler and less time-consuming database management; and lower overall costs, enabling the business to maximize the investment in all-flash solutions.

What DBAs need From flash

DBAs are under the gun to improve the performance of critical business applications. They also need to simplify the processes involved in managing and scaling their databases. All-flash arrays are becoming the “go to” solution to address these needs, particularly for databases running online transaction processing, real-time analytics, data warehousing or mixed workloads.

All-flash arrays typically deliver a 3X improvement in the performance of transactional and business intelligence solutions. In addition, that performance is consistent at all times, which is equally important to DBAs.  The faster and consistent performance can be a game changer.

In addition to performance, simplicity and efficiency are key drivers for DBAs. You don’t have to do many of the time-consuming tasks typically associated with spinning disk drives, including tuning, short stroking, managing RAID groups and storage tiering. Also, performance is not a function of the number of LUNs; i.e., you don’t need multiple LUNs in order to gain IOPS. This means you only need to create LUNs for specific database components, such as redo and temp space.

In addition, you can migrate from spinning disks to an all-flash solution with no downtime and without having to change the database configuration.

DBAs are also concerned about the potential for rising costs, particularly as data volumes grow. Flash can be a factor in reducing Oracle licensing fees because your compute functions will be more efficient and you can use fewer cores. Flash will also take up less power and space in the data center.

What line-of-business (LOB) managers need from flash

Like DBAs, LOB managers are also concerned with performance: If applications are running faster, employees will be more productive, customers will be better served and, hopefully, profits will rise. But it’s not just performance that is critical for LOB managers, it’s also issues around reliability, uptime and improving time to market for new applications that can drive revenue.

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