An Oracle White Paper July Accelerating Database Infrastructure Using Oracle Real Application Clusters 11g R2 and QLogic FabricCache Adapters

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1 An Oracle White Paper July 2013 Accelerating Database Infrastructure Using Oracle Real Application Clusters 11g R2 and QLogic FabricCache Adapters

2 Executive Overview Thousands of companies world-wide use Oracle Real Application Clusters (RAC) running on cost effective server hardware, to run mission-critical applications for their business. Today s more powerful servers, increased use of virtualization and increased datacenter density allow for large-scale implementations of database applications based on Oracle RAC. This presents challenges for shared storage subsystems to keep up with demands for highly-accessible, highly available shared storage for database systems such as Oracle RAC. Storage subsystems, consisting of large arrays of spinning disks, have been challenged to provide adequate I/O capacity and transaction latency to support applications such as Oracle RAC that require high performance. While using flash memory for server-side I/O acceleration has become a popular method to bridge this performance gap, clustered applications such as Oracle RAC have an additional requirement for shared access across all nodes that limits the viability of typical "Captive Cache" solutions. A new "Shared Cache" paradigm is needed to support clustered application environments to allow maximum utilization of datacenter server resources. Introduction This paper introduces the concept of database infrastructure acceleration through the use of caching host bus adapters (HBAs) to optimize server storage throughput across all nodes within the cluster. The enabling technology for Oracle RAC database infrastructure acceleration is provided by QLogic in the form of their FabricCache adapter technology. The benefits of using FabricCache adapters for RAC database storage access are discussed here, as are topics such as implementation considerations and costs. What is Database Infrastructure Acceleration? Over the past decade, the cost of server hardware used for running enterprise databases has gone down dramatically. However, to meet business demand, IT infrastructures have also grown dramatically over the same time span. This growth presents challenges to IT: unevenness in business demand, added application functionality, difficulty scaling management and support, and managing cost. In order to be a strategic asset to the business, IT needs to face such challenges proactively. A large amount of IT assets are typically used to manage databases, which are in turn strategic assets for the business. For IT infrastructure used to manage databases to be optimized, that infrastructure should be simple to manage, effectively utilized, protected from failure, and able to deliver maximum value to the business at all times. A key factor in delivering an optimized database infrastructure is providing adequate resources for storage I/O. Database management systems generate large amounts of I/O, and the performance they 1

3 deliver can be impacted by I/O throughput capacity and transaction latency. Thus, optimization of the I/O capabilities of the database infrastructure can pay big dividends when I/O workloads are high, extending the capabilities of the infrastructure and allowing the hosted databases to deliver maximum performance to business users. Considerations It is important when undertaking the optimization of database infrastructure to manage capital cost by utilizing, as much as possible, existing assets. It s also important to control deployment costs of such a solution, so that the full return on the initial investment is recovered as quickly as possible. At the same time, it s important that the solution also provides for low operational costs by enhancing the value delivered by the existing infrastructure without increasing complexity. Protecting Your Investment Standard Adapter Technology. QLogic s FabricCache adapters can be utilized in place of the current standard adapters from any vendor. The capability of the FabricCache adapter can be used to extend the life of your existing infrastructure and future proof your server investments. No need to upgrade or replace storage system. By functioning as a plug-in replacement for the existing HBA, QLogic s FabricCache adapters can optimize server and database I/O without requiring any changes to the storage subsystem. This makes it possible to improve application I/O performance without an expensive storage system upgrade or replacement, which could be a major capital cost to IT and a significant impact to operations. Controlling Deployment Costs No changes to storage network. QLogic s FabricCache adapter replaces only the server HBA in the I/O path. This means that the rest of the I/O system, e.g. cabling, fabric and the storage subsystem itself, remain completely unchanged. This in turn means that deployment of FabricCache adapters can be done very quickly, and with almost no disruption to IT operations. No upgrades or configuration changes to existing applications. Since FabricCache adapters only change the HBAs being used by the servers, the performance advantages that are brought by FabricCache can be utilized by Oracle RAC (and indeed any other applications that need to do significant amounts of I/O) without any configuration changes.. I/O paths that are used by RAC can be left unchanged, so RAC is ready to go as soon as the FabricCache adapters are installed and the servers are rebooted. Improved Utilization Database Servers. FabricCache adapters, by improving application throughput for Oracle RAC when it is experiencing I/O throughput issues, effectively increases the I/O headroom on the database servers being used by Oracle RAC. This can make it possible for Oracle RAC instances to be driven to higher transaction rates before experiencing I/O issues. Storage Subsystem. FabricCache adapters can improve utilization of the storage subsystem by offloading much of the read I/O traffic to the server-side cache maintained in the servers. This means 2

4 that not only will all servers caching hot data see higher I/O throughput, but those reads will have been offloaded from the SAN and the storage array, so they will have more resources to devote to processing write operations. Oracle and QLogic Technologies for Accelerating Database Infrastructure Why Use FabricCache Adapters for RAC Environments? Database Management Systems such as Oracle Real Application Clusters are demanding applications. Flash-based solutions for Solid State Disk and caching are becoming top considerations for addressing the challenges posed by such I/O-intensive applications. When evaluating which flash-based solution to standardize on, IT managers face several important considerations: Many caching solutions in the marketplace represent proprietary storage platforms, which may be costly and/or incompatible with storage strategy already chosen for the enterprise. Current server-based SSD solutions typically only support single server instances and specifically do not support multiple-server implementations such as clustered environments, including Oracle RAC. FabricCache QLE10000 adapters bring shared, server-based caching to the SAN. They are purposely designed to address the high I/O demands and distributed nature of clustered applications and virtualized environments. Most SSD solutions are not entirely transparent to the application. To be effectively utilized for Oracle RAC, they may require (at the very least) implementation of a cumbersome Information Lifecycle Management (ILM) strategy, often requiring restructuring of database storage and redeployment of the database. There is also an ongoing administrative cost component to managing the ILM strategy itself. Solutions that deploy SSDs as server-based cache have been shown to outperform solutions that deploy SSDs with filter drivers in the storage system for applications such as Oracle RAC. With its adapter-based caching technology QLogic s FabricCache adapters offer an alternative that, for Oracle RAC implementations, streamlines both the cost and complexity of realizing the performance benefits of flash-based storage technology. The benefits of using FabricCache adapters for Oracle RAC environments are: Transparency. By deploying flash as a coherent caching mechanism at the HBA level, FabricCache adapters can ensure that management, access and use of flash-based caching can be made *completely* transparent to Oracle RAC, as well as the operating system and hypervisor. With FabricCache adapters, there is no need to restructure or redeploy your Oracle RAC databases. FabricCache HBAs can be installed on servers where RAC instances are already deployed, and your Oracle RAC database can begin using FabricCache caching (with no configuration changes) as soon as the cluster is brought back up. FabricCache is also transparent to the SAN, so the SAN s configuration and data protection model are preserved intact. 3

5 Scalability. QLogic s FabricCache adapters deploy caching at the HBA within each server in the RAC cluster. By satisfying many read requests in the server-side cache, FabricCache effectively offloads the SAN and storage array. This leaves more resources available for processing writes, which can mean that write performance improves. Recommendations Deployment of QLogic FabricCache adapters is conceptually simple. However, to minimize deployment time and risk, and to maximize the benefits you can realize from Oracle RAC and QLogic s FabricCache adapters, we recommend considering the following factors: Partner with Oracle and QLogic Oracle and Qlogic, both industry leaders, have been established partners for years. The depth and maturity of this partnership means that customers can count on joint solutions such as Oracle 11g R2 RAC with QLogic s FabricCache adapters. By partnering with both companies, customers can increase value and reduce risk. This leads to smooth, rapid implementation, resulting in a solution that delivers maximum performance and quality of service for minimal cost. Start with a thorough assessment of your current database estate To maximize value of an optimized infrastructure for your database estate, it is important to start with a thorough assessment of the targeted database community, whether it is a Test/Dev/Qual environment, production enterprise application implementation, database grid, or some combination of these. In addition to assessing the Oracle RAC implementation(s) targeted for an optimized infrastructure, it is also crucial to assess the existing hardware environment. A thorough assessment will form the basis of an effective implementation plan, as well as assist you in budgeting and planning the transition to an optimized database infrastructure. Oracle and QLogic have worked together to establish a knowledge base of methods to completely appraise your database environment and infrastructure, regardless of size or complexity. Your Oracle and QLogic representatives will work together to ensure that you receive a complete assessment package that is appropriate to your needs. Evaluate the total cost of the solution Oracle and QLogic will work with you to help you understand the cost and return on investment for you FabricCache implementation. Factors affecting cost include: Size of implementation Type of implementation (production, test/dev, etc.) Other implementation projects (consolidation, upgrades, etc.) FabricCache adapters: No change to Oracle RAC, server hardware or storage system Little or no change to existing operations Simple, rapid deployment 4

6 Implementation downtime Professional Deployment Services Effecting significant change to your IT environment can be a daunting task. Typically, the most effective strategy is to utilize deployment services to quickly and efficiently handle the initial push. Getting your implementation underway, and completed, quickly and effectively allows you to begin realizing the total return on your investment as quickly as possible. Professional deployment services also minimize implementation risk, providing expert resources and effecting rapid knowledge transfer so you are up and running quickly and with confidence in your ability to continue to reap the benefits of your optimized database infrastructure. Through Oracle s Enterprise Solutions Group, you can receive deployment services tailored to your requirements, and utilizing Oracle and QLogic expertise. More Information Qlogic FabricCache Adapters 5

7 Using Oracle Real Application Clusters 11g R2 and QLogic FabricCache July 2013 Oracle Corporation World Headquarters 500 Oracle Parkway Redwood Shores, CA U.S.A. Worldwide Inquiries: Phone: Fax: Copyright 2013, Oracle and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved. This document is provided for information purposes only, and the contents hereof are subject to change without notice. This document is not warranted to be error-free, nor subject to any other warranties or conditions, whether expressed orally or implied in law, including implied warranties and conditions of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose. We specifically disclaim any liability with respect to this document, and no contractual obligations are formed either directly or indirectly by this document. This document may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, for any purpose, without our prior written permission. Oracle and Java are registered trademarks of Oracle and/or its affiliates. Other names may be trademarks of their respective owners. Intel and Intel Xeon are trademarks or registered trademarks of Intel Corporation. All SPARC trademarks are used under license and are trademarks or registered trademarks of SPARC International, Inc. AMD, Opteron, the AMD logo, and the AMD Opteron logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of Advanced Micro Devices. UNIX is a registered trademark of The Open Group oracle.com

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