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Oracle Sun Solaris Hardware Server Recommendations

Oracle Database Tips by Donald Burleson

Recommendations for Oracle server hardware depend on a wide variety of factors, including projected system load and projected server and Oracle stress.  This is a sample of a Sun Solaris Oracle server and hardware recommendation.

Main Server

I recommend at least a dedicated SUN E6900 with 16 processors and at least 4 gigabytes per processor (84 gigabytes) expandable to 24 processors and up to 192 gigabytes per domain for future needs using 1.5 Ghz Sparc IV+ processors. Utilize Solaris 10-64 bit OS with Oracle9i R2 64 Bit or 10gR2 64 bit Enterprise Edition.

At least 12 gigabytes of memory would be needed to support 600 possible concurrent connections (254 bytes  with 60 active users each requiring 200 megabytes of sort/hash area per active user assuming a 4 gigabyte setting for PGA_AGGREGATE_TARGET.

Disk Arrays

Ensure enough disk resources are available to support the stated need for 60 process concurrent disk read/write operations. I recommend at least 60 spindles in a RAID10 configuration utilizing a 1 megabyte stripe depth per disk, this could be satisfied with a SUN Storage 6130 array which allows expansion to up to 112 disks. The more disks we stripe across the faster will be the access for more concurrent users. IO bandwidth is a critical need to provide the needed response times, multi-path connections will be critical.

The Storage 6130 uses SUN direct connect technology. The 6130 series has dual channel fibre controller cards and multiple connection channels per disk tray. It supports up to 2-gigabytes of cache storage to facilitate faster reads and supports virtually all RAID levels.

Equivalent EMC, Hitachi or other disk subsystems could be utilized as long as the number of spindles and IO bandwidth are available to support our IO needs.

SSD Technology

To increase speed for query response I suggest adding SSD technology for selected high read-access Oracle datafiles (to be determined during testing). Currently a full tray of SSD is sized at 16 gigabytes and runs about 18-20K per tray.

Apps Servers

To serve the number of users stated I would suggest at least 3 dual CPU with 64 bit, as high a speed CPUS as possible for applications servers.

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

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


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

Fibre Channel

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.


 0.4 ms.

  0.4 ms.

Flash SSD    

 1.7 ms.

 94.5 ms.





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Note: This Oracle documentation was created as a support and Oracle training reference for use by our DBA performance tuning consulting professionals.  Feel free to ask questions on our Oracle forum.

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