ACCELERATE SQL SERVER 2014 WITH BUFFER POOL EXTENSION ON LSI NYTRO WARPDRIVE

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1 THE CHALLENGE Meeting database performance demands. Increasing data that needs to be read quickly can be bottlenecked by the reluctance to add memory due to cost. THE SOLUTION The SQL Server 214 BPE feature addresses this bottleneck. When used in conjunction with the LSI Nytro WarpDrive flash accelerator card, this feature can be fully enabled to maximize results. THE RESULT Decreased lazy writes, stolen server memory, a 3% improvement in transactions per second while page life expectancy increases 1. ACCELERATE SQL SERVER 214 WITH BUFFER POOL EXTENSION ON LSI NYTRO WARPDRIVE EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Microsoft SQL Server 214 builds upon its mission-critical capabilities by providing breakthrough performance, availability and feature sets for your crucial database applications. One such feature, Buffer Pool Extension (BPE), provides database administrators with the option to increase transaction performance by utilizing non-volatile, NAND-flash based storage in order to extend the buffer pool size. BPE quickly increases the capacity to read pages for query execution while maintaining data integrity. Deployments that experience factors such as a high degree of read requests, those that are memory bound, and/or cannot accommodate additional host Dynamic Random Access Memory (DRAM), can benefit from this feature. The LSI Nytro WarpDrive flash accelerator card is designed to provide the low latency and reliability features required in order to fully enable the benefits offered by BPE. This paper will delve into the Microsoft SQL Server 214 BPE feature and the challenges it addresses when placed on a LSI Nytro WarpDrive flash accelerator card. PROBLEM DEFINITION Administrators are faced with decisions in relation to scaling transactions. Traditionally, this often involved a scale up approach by adding more memory or CPU to an individual server. In the case of DRAM, prices have decreased over the years. However, the growth of data sets that need to be read quickly are rapidly increasing to the point that it is not always cost-effective to add more memory to a server. Limitations such as DIMM size or the number of required DIMM slots can be costly depending on the DRAM type, server vendor requirements, and interoperability needs. HIGH-LEVEL SOLUTION Microsoft has created the SQL Server 214 BPE feature to help address these limitations utilizing nonvolatile NAND-flash storage. The BPE feature functions as a Level Two (L2) cache, with the main Buffer Pool functioning as a Level One (L1) cache. For workloads that consist primarily of frequently-accessed reads, SQL Server will automatically transfer these data pages to the (L2) cache as necessary. Only clean pages that are evicted from the Buffer Pool (L1) are transferred to retain data integrity. A simple alter server configuration command is used to specify the location and size of the file for the BPE feature. By placing this file on a PCIe flash Nytro WarpDrive flash acceleration card, transaction performance can be improved for read-heavy workloads when database working sets no longer fit into the main Buffer Pool (L1) cache that is backed by host DRAM. SQL SERVER ENGINE Buffer Pool L1 Cache (Hot Data) Write Page Read Page Buffer Pool Extension L2 Cache (Lukewarm Data) Buffer Manager Page Retrieval Page Cached Nytro WarpDrive DRAM Image 1. Lukewarm data resides on L2 cache with the Nytro WarpDrive card with hot data residing on DRAM.

2 WRITER Mark Pokorny TECHNICAL REVIEWERS Gina Geisel Jasraj Dange SPECIAL ACKNOWLEDGEMENT Thomas Hammond-Doel Kimberly Leyenaar ABOUT MICROSOFT Microsoft employs over 9, employees and is the worldwide leader in software, services, and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential. SQL Server Database is a platform that gives customers the ability to scale data across cloud and on premise devices with tools providing business insight. Source: ABOUT LSI LSI employs over 5, employees worldwide, designing semiconductors and software that accelerate storage and networking in datacenters, mobile networks and client computing. LSI Nytro WarpDrive application acceleration cards are designed to offer high performance with low latency and a low CPU burden for efficient application acceleration. LSI NYTRO WARPDRIVE CARD INTRODUCTION The LSI Nytro WarpDrive flash accelerator card is a PCIe solid state primary storage solution for accelerating SQL Server workloads. The small PCIe footprint gives database administrators the option of easily transforming their storage subsystem into solid state storage. Traditional hard drives can put a strain on resources requiring more power, cooling, and space compared to only a single PCIe slot. Built with advanced solid state capabilities and technology that optimizes endurance and reliability, the LSI Nytro WarpDrive flash card offers an enterprise-ready solution. Using a host-offload architecture, the card reduces server CPU and DRAM dependency, leaving these resources for the host and SQL Server Instance to utilize. Nytro WarpDrive key features include: In-box drivers for Windows Server 212 R2 All Microsoft drivers are WHQL qualified - Installs as a single drive with no user configuration required SandForce DuraClass technology provides enhanced flash reliability, endurance and power efficiency RAISE RAID-like data protection against NAND media errors Dynamic overprovisioning Less than five second recovery from power failure PCIe 2. for HHHL (half height, half-length), PCIe 3. support for FHHL (full height, half-length) Response times down to 5 microseconds High throughput (up to 4GB/s on PCIe 3. products) Enterprise quality and reliability Global Service+ Program for 24x7 access to technical service for LSI Nytro products SOLUTION DETAILS AND TEST CONFIGURATION The objective of the following test configuration is to demonstrate the performance benefits of enabling the SQL Server 214 BPE feature when placed on an LSI Nytro WarpDrive card. HARDWARE Item Quantity Version Details/Notes Dell PowerEdge Server 1 T62 Intel Xeon Processor 2 E GHz Physical 8 core Total 32 cores w/hyper threading Memory 6 Hyundai PC GB Total 96GB Nytro WarpDrive 1 NWD-BLP4-16 SQL Server Data File SQL Server Log File Size = 1.14TB Interface = PCI-E Gen 2. Firmware Package Version = Firmware Version = Driver = Widows Server 212 R2 Driver Version = Formatting = Performance Over Provisioning Nytro WarpDrive 1 NWD-BLP4-4 SQL Server BPE File Size = 298GB Interface = PCI-E Gen 2. Firmware Package Version = Firmware Version = Driver = Widows Server 212 R2 Driver Version = Formatting = Performance Over Provisioning Accelerate SQL Server 214 with Buffer Pool Extension on LSI Nytro WarpDrive 2

3 SOFTWARE Item Quantity Version Details/Notes Windows Server 212 R Build 96 Data Center Edition SQL Server Buffer Pool Extension File Size = 29GB Database Size = 1TB Users = 3 LSI MegaRAID Storage Manager BEST PRACTICES The following best practices were used for this solution/configuration. Operating System Parameter Configuration Windows Updates Drivers Page File Volume Formatting Power Management Ensure Windows has the latest updates applied. Ensure the drivers are up to date. Set manually and maximum size when possible. Ensure Windows volumes are formatted with 64K allocation unit for SQL Server files. Configure for High Performance. Avoiding Fragmentation Server Parameter Configuration BIOS Updates BIOS Configuration Ensure BIOS is up to date. Disable CPU power management throttling features. Storage Parameter Configuration Firmware Ensure firmware is up to date. SQL Server Parameter Configuration Min/Max memory Configure based on operating system total. Configure buffer pool memory accordingly; leave 4GB for operating system. Local Security Policy Lock pages in memory. Assign privilege to SQL Server service account. Instant file initialization Perform volume maintenance tasks. Assign privilege to SQL Server service account. Backup Compression Source backups were performed using the SQL Server backup compression option. Volume Assignment All SQL Server data and log files located on one volume. NytroWarpDrive only. Volume Assignment BPE file assigned to dedicated volume. BPE file only. Note: For more detailed information regarding the LSI Nytro WarpDrive card installation/ configuration please reference the LSI Nytro WarpDrive Card User Guide and ReadMe.txt files available online with the driver. Note: For more detailed information regarding installation/configuration of SQL Server 214 features, and Windows Server 212 R2 platforms please see the applicable documentation listed at Accelerate SQL Server 214 with Buffer Pool Extension on LSI Nytro WarpDrive 3

4 TEST ENVIRONMENT PERFORMANCE METRICS Testing consisted of a standard OLTP (Online Transaction Processing) type workload of 9% reads with SQL Server 214. The same workload was used for testing both with and without using the BPE feature on the Nytro WarpDrive card. To evaluate the effectiveness of the SQL Server 214 BPE feature the following performance metrics were used to monitor the behavior of the buffer pool, its response to memory pressure, and the processing of transactions. Lazy writes: number of buffers written by the buffer manager s lazy writer. Page life expectancy: number of seconds a page will stay in the buffer pool without references. Stolen server memory: specifies the amount of memory the server is using for purposes other than database pages. Extension in use as a percentage: Percentage of the buffer pool extension paging file occupied by buffer manager pages. Business application transactions/second: Number of transactions completed for the user application. When SQL Server experiences memory pressure some early signs can be an increase in lazy writes, and stolen server memory while page life expectancy decreases. Eventually if the host server memory becomes the bottleneck and cannot accommodate the database working set size, transaction performance can suffer as a result. SOLUTION PERFORMANCE RESULTS The following performance results were documented based on the testing described above. Buffer Manger Lazy Writes/Sec 6, Lazy Writes/Sec 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, 12:28:48 12:57:36 13:26:24 13:55:12 14:24: 14:52:48 15:21:36 15:5:24 16:19:12 TPC-E Test Time Image 2: High buffer pool lazy write counts. Accelerate SQL Server 214 with Buffer Pool Extension on LSI Nytro WarpDrive 4

5 Buffer Manger Page Life Expectancy Seconds The LSI Nytro WarpDrive (orange) improves Page Life Expectancy 5 12:28:48 12:57:36 13:26:24 13:55:12 14:24: 14:52:48 15:21:36 15:5:24 16:19:12 TPC-E Test Time Image 3: Sustained higher page life expectancy with BPE file on Nytro WarpDrive card. % Buffer Pool Extension Usage 8 Percentage % :: 12:28:48 12:57:36 13:26:24 13:55:12 14:24: 14:52:48 15:21:36 15:5:24 16:19:12 16:48: TPC-E Test Time Image 4: Buffer pool extension (BPE) usage: file located on Nytro WarpDrive card showing ramp time and consistency with a maximum of 69% usage. Average Stolen Server Memory (KB) 5,, 4,5, 4,314,398 4,, Memory KB 3,5, 3,, 2,5, 2,, 1,5, 1,, 5, Image 5. Stolen server memory: dram is not affected, instead being used for database pages with the BPE file located on Nytro WarpDrive card. Accelerate SQL Server 214 with Buffer Pool Extension on LSI Nytro WarpDrive 5

6 Business Application Transactions/Sec Seconds 3% Improvement Business Application Transactions Image 6. Transaction performance comparison: user applications improve without the negative effects of memory pressure when using the SQL Server 214 buffer pool extension feature on Nytro WarpDrive card. SUMMARY SQL Server 214 database administrators now have an option to increase transaction performance by taking advantage of the performance improvements and reliability of non-volatile flash based storage. The low latency, high performance and power efficiency of PCIe flash provides a compelling solution for increasing database speed. When your workloads consist of frequently accessed read requests, the SQL Server instance shows signs of becoming memory bound, and adding more server DRAM is not an option, utilizing the Buffer Pool Extension with the LSI Nytro WarpDrive product offering can be a winning combination. FOR MORE INFORMATION AND SALES OFFICE LOCATIONS, PLEASE VISIT THE LSI WEBSITE AT: lsi.com North American Headquarters San Jose, CA T: (within U.S.) T: (outside U.S.) LSI Europe Ltd. European Headquarters United Kingdom T: [+44] LSI KK Headquarters Tokyo, Japan T: [+81] LSI and the LSI & Design logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of LSI Corporation in the United States and/or other countries. All other brand and product names may be trademarks of their respective companies. LSI Corporation reserves the right to make changes to the product(s) or information disclosed herein at any time without notice. LSI Corporation does not assume any responsibility or liability arising out of the application or use of any product or service described herein, except as expressly agreed to in writing by LSI Corporation; nor does the purchase, lease, or use of a product or service from LSI Corporation convey a license under any patent rights, copyrights, trademark rights, or any other of the intellectual property rights of LSI Corporation or of third parties. LSI products are not intended for use in life-support appliances, devices, or systems. Use of any LSI product in such applications without written consent of the appropriate LSI officer is prohibited. Copyright 214 by LSI Corporation. All rights reserved. > 414 SB41.1

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