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SSD coming for Oracle PC Applications

Oracle Database Tips by Donald Burleson

Solid State disk are a Godsend for high-activity Oracle databases, with performance more than 300x faster than platter disks.  See the books "Oracle RAC tuning with SSD" and "Oracle solid state disk tuning" for benchmarks and details. 

Now we see that SSD will soon be available for PC's:

SanDisk Corporation has introduced a 32GB, 1.8-inch solid-state drive (SSD) which is built to be a drop-in replacement for standard mechanical hard disk drives. This means the device has no moving parts. . .

In addition to being reliable, these drives are fast. SanDisk claims a sustained read rate of 62 megabytes per second and a random read rate of 7,000 inputs/outputs per second. In plain English, that means it's more than 100 times faster than most current hard disk drives.  Currently, SanDisk's 32GB SSD will sell for $600. . .

The only thing that might slow down SSD acceptability is the price. Currently, SanDisk's 32GB SSD will sell for $600. But, I would expect that price will drop as more and more companies choose solid-state drives."

However, these devices do not have the same high-speed capabilities as the super-fast SSD that we see on large Oracle servers.,  Woody Hutsell, VP of Texas Memory Systems, notes that while PC SSD is 10x faster than platter disk, it is still far slower the industrial-strength SSD:

1.  This disk uses Flash memory.  Flash memory has two glaring weaknesses:  1) low write performance and 2) write endurance limits (i.e. you can wear it out with high write volumes).

2.  The write performance of these drives is probably about the same or even below the write performance of a typical hard disk drive.

3.  The RamSan units have dramatically better performance (400,000 IOPS versus 7,000 IOPS reads only).

4.  Flash drives are a threat to the hard drive industry in that they make good sense, though still a bit expensive, for notebook hard drives.

 

Market Survey of SSD vendors for Oracle:

There are many vendors who offer rack-mount solid-state disk that work with Oracle databases, and the competitive market ensures that product offerings will continuously improve while prices fall.  SearchStorage notes that SSD is will soon replace platter disks and that hundreds of SSD vendors may enter the market:

"The number of vendors in this category could rise to several hundred in the next 3 years as enterprise users become more familiar with the benefits of this type of storage."

As of January 2015, many of the major hardware vendors (including Sun and EMC) are replacing slow disks with RAM-based disks, and Sun announced that all of their large servers will offer SSD.

Here are the major SSD vendors for Oracle databases (vendors are listed alphabetically):

2008 rack mount SSD Performance Statistics

SearchStorage has done a comprehensive survey of rack mount SSD vendors, and lists these SSD rack mount vendors, with this showing the fastest rack-mount SSD devices:

manufacturer model technology interface performance metrics and notes
IBM RamSan-400 RAM SSD

Fibre Channel
InfiniBand

3,000MB/s random sustained external throughput, 400,000 random IOPS
Violin Memory Violin 1010 RAM SSD

PCIe

1,400MB/s read, 1,00MB/s write with ×4 PCIe, 3 microseconds latency
Solid Access Technologies USSD 200FC RAM SSD

Fibre Channel
SAS
SCSI

391MB/s random sustained read or write per port (full duplex is 719MB/s), with 8 x 4Gbps FC ports aggregated throughput is approx 2,000MB/s, 320,000 IOPS
Curtis HyperXCLR R1000 RAM SSD

Fibre Channel

197MB/s sustained R/W transfer rate, 35,000 IOPS

Choosing the right SSD for Oracle

When evaluating SSD for Oracle databases you need to consider performance (throughput and response time), reliability (Mean Time Between failures) and TCO (total cost of ownership).  Most SSD vendors will provide a test RAM disk array for benchmark testing so that you can choose the vendor who offers the best price/performance ratio.

Burleson Consulting does not partner with any SSD vendors and we provide independent advice in this constantly-changing market.  BC was one of the earliest adopters of SSD for Oracle and we have been deploying SSD on Oracle database since 2005 and we have experienced SSD experts to help any Oracle shop evaluate whether SSD is right for your application.  BC experts can also help you choose the SSD that is best for your database.  Just  call 800-766-1884 or e-mail.:  for SSD support details.

DRAM SSD vs. Flash SSD

With all the talk about the Oracle “flash cache”, it is important to note that there are two types of SSD, and only DRAM SSD is suitable for Oracle database storage.  The flash type SSD suffers from serious shortcomings, namely a degradation of access speed over time.  At first, Flash SSD is 5 times faster than a platter disk, but after some usage the average read time becomes far slower than a hard drive.  For Oracle, only rack-mounted DRAM SSD is acceptable for good performance:

Avg. Read speed

Avg. write speed

Platter disk

10.0 ms.

  7.0 ms.

DRAM SSD

 0.4 ms.

  0.4 ms.

Flash SSD    

 1.7 ms.

 94.5 ms.

 

If you like Oracle tuning, see the book "Oracle Tuning: The Definitive Reference", with 950 pages of tuning tips and scripts. 

You can buy it direct from the publisher for 30%-off and get instant access to the code depot of Oracle tuning scripts.


 

 

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