Database Acceleration via SSD

By ServerWatch Staff (Send Email)
Posted May 4, 2010

This paper is about a Sun Microsystems approach to SSD which is touted as the world’s fastest and most power efficient flash array for accelerating database I/O. The Sun Storage F5100 Flash Array can cut transaction times in half, while doubling application throughput.

"You have to admit it: we all get a laugh out of those stories about pampered rock stars. You know the ones where a star’s dressing room has to be stocked with 24 bottles of Evian water, two jars of Peter Pan Peanut Butter (one creamy, one chunky), crackers from Harrod’s, and, oh yes, a bowl of red M&Ms. How does one fill a bowl, a really big bowl, with only red M&Ms? Well, first you have to buy dozens of bags of M&Ms. Then you have to sort through them, putting the red ones in the bowl, and discarding the rest, or waiting for the next act that only wants blue M&Ms! This may sound frivolous, but it really is a waste if you only intend to use a fraction of the contents of each bag. The cost per M&M can become outrageously high and you are wasting a resource. The irony here is that same waste is going on in data centers around the globe where high performance applications demand extremely high access to stored data. "In order to achieve the desired rate of I/Os per second (IOPS), many data centers are forced to spread a relatively small database across hundreds, or even thousands, of enterprise-class disk devices, each with an IOPS rate measured in the tens. By short-stroking the device, i.e., only using a few, adjacent, outside cylinders and tracks, the data can be read at a higher rate by minimizing head movement. Unfortunately, the data center must then discard the rest of the M&Ms – oops, I mean storage capacity – because it cannot be accessed without compromising the high IOPS performance. This is where an old technology, solid-state disks (SSDs), with a new approach, NAND Flash memory, can improve the performance and reduce the total cost of ownership of your IT infrastructure, even though each SSD may carry a higher price tag per GB than the mechanical devices (HDDs) they replace. In fact, a single SSD can provide more IOPS than a chassis full of enterprise HDDs. For this reason, more SSDs are finding their way into the enterprise data center for a variety of applications. The key here is to find an integrated SSD solution that can fit into a multi-tiered storage environment, thus providing the most value for the data center dollar." Instead of heavy wastage of storage resources as a means of providing fast access to storage, this paper covers how to accelerate database access with flash-based SSD.

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