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Don Burleson Blog 








New technology makes RAID5 acceptable for Oracle databases

Oracle Database Tips by Donald Burleson

Disk vendors have been at-odds with Oracle for many years, as most disk vendors offer RAID5, a RAID level that minimizes wasted storage, but has a high update penalty. 

Oracle 10g has adopted the RAID10 standard as SAME (Stripe and Mirror Everywhere) within their popular Automatic Storage Management (ASM), but the technology is changing and some storage vendors have overcome the infamous "write penalty" that has been traditionally associated with RAID5 on Oracle.

Vendors address changing Oracle storage demands

As the technology changes, storage vendors are making great strides, especially in the areas of Solid State Disk and specialized RAID5 doe databases:

Super-fast access with solid-state Disk:

High-speed RAID5 for Oracle:

The next generation of RAID5 for Oracle

One great area of RAID5 is that it's commonly used by all of the major disk vendors and it has less storage overhead than full disk mirroring.

In 2006, many disk vendors have made advances that overcome the "write penalty" associated with high update activity and there are now RAID5 storage devices that can accommodate high update databases without the high "write penalty" latency.

One such product is the Hitachi TagmaStore RAID5 "Universal Storage Platform".  In a nutshell, the TagmaStore device uses a large 256GB cache to overcome the RAID5 write penalty.  Because this cache is so huge, the database can write to disk and move on; the parity is calculated from the data in cache asynchronously.  So unless the cache is over-extended, the database will not suffer the RAID 5 write penalty.

The TagmaStore documentation notes that it the sophisticated cache that makes allow the benefits of RAID5, but without the update penalty:

"Cache memory is memory used to perform data read/write processing efficiently between front-end and back-end directors. The cache capacity on both sides is configured to be a minimum of 4GB, to a maximum of 256GB, with expansion in units of 4GB or 8GB.

The disk controller performs control so that there is always the most efficient use of the cache in response to data access patterns, thus obtaining a highly stable level of performance.

As an optional expansion, access paths to the cache can be doubled to obtain internal data trans-mission capacities in combination with a cache switch for a maximum of 68GB/sec."

Oracle RAID5 References:




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