Dell Reference Configuration for a 12TB Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Fast Track Data Warehouse

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1 Dell Reference Configuration for a 12TB Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Fast Track Data Warehouse A Dell Technical White Paper Database Solutions Engineering Dell Product Group Mayura Deshmukh April 2013

2 This document is for informational purposes only and may contain typographical errors and technical inaccuracies. The content is provided as is, without express or implied warranties of any kind Dell Inc. All rights reserved. Dell and its affiliates cannot be responsible for errors or omissions in typography or photography. Dell, the Dell logo, and PowerEdge are trademarks of Dell Inc. Intel and Xeon are registered trademarks of Intel Corporation in the U.S. and other countries. Microsoft, Windows, and Windows Server are either trademarks or registered trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries. Other trademarks and trade names may be used in this document to refer to either the entities claiming the marks and names or their products. Dell disclaims proprietary interest in the marks and names of others. February 2013 Rev 1.0 ii

3 Contents Executive Summary... 4 FTDW Reference Architectures Using PowerEdge R720xd Server TB Dell R720XD FTDW Reference Architecture... 5 Hardware Components... 5 Internal Storage Controller (PERC H710P Mini) Settings... 7 Application Configuration... 9 Capacity Details Performance Benchmarking Conclusion References Tables Table 1: Dell Fast Track Reference Architectures for PowerEdge R720xd Server... 4 Table 2: Tested Dell FTDW Reference Architecture Components... 5 Table 3: Mount Point Naming and Storage Enclosure Mapping... 9 Table 4: Capacity Metrics Table 5: Performance Metrics Figures Figure 1: Proposed Dell Fast Track Reference Architecture... 5 Figure 2: Memory Slot Locations... 7 Figure 3: Virtual Disk Settings... 7 Figure 4: Internal Storage Controller Settings... 8 Figure 5: RAID Configuration... 8 Figure 6: Storage System Components... 9 Figure 7: SQLIO Line Rate Test from Cache (Small 5MB File) Figure 8: SQLIO Real Rate Test from Disk (Large 25GB File) iii

4 Executive Summary The performance and stability of any data warehouse solution is based on the integration between solution design and hardware platform. Choosing the correct solution architecture requires balancing the application s intended purpose and expected use with the hardware platform s components. Poor planning, bad design, and misconfigured or improperly sized hardware often lead to increased costs, increased risks and, even worse, unsuccessful projects. This white paper provides guidelines to achieve a compact, balanced, optimized 12TB Microsoft SQL Server 2012 data warehouse configuration for Dell PowerEdge R720 and R720xd servers using Microsoft Fast Track Data Warehouse (FTDW) principles. Benefits of implementing this reference architecture include: Achieve a balanced and optimized system at all levels of the stack by following hardware and software best practices. Avoid over-provisioning hardware resources to reduce costs. Implement a tested and validated configuration with proven methodologies and performance behaviors to help avoid the pitfalls of improperly designed and configured systems. Easily migrate from a small- to medium-sized data warehouse configuration (5TB) to a large data warehouse configuration (12TB). Data center space comes at a premium. This configuration provides a compact, high-performance solution for large data warehouses with 12TB of data or more. FTDW Reference Architectures Using PowerEdge R720xd Server The Microsoft FTDW reference architecture achieves an efficient resource balance between SQL Server data processing capability and realized component hardware throughput to take advantage of improved out-of-the-box performance. As most data warehouse queries scan large volumes of data, FTDW system design and configuration are optimized for sequential reads and are based on concurrent query workloads. Understanding performance and maintaining a balanced configuration helps reduce costs by avoiding over provisioning of components. Dell provides various Fast Track reference architectures for SQL 2012 built using the Dell PowerEdge 12 th Generation servers. These solutions are differentiated depending on the data warehouse capacity and scan rate requirements. Table 1 summarizes FTDW configurations with Dell R720XD server. Table 1: Dell Fast Track Reference Architectures for PowerEdge R720xd Server Solution ID Server CPU Data Drives Rated Capacity R720XD (2) Intel Xeon E (18) 900GB 10K SAS 12TB The 12TB R720XD configuration described in this white paper is also available as a rapid deployment, with hardware, software, and services included in the Dell Quickstart Data Warehouse Appliance 2000 (QSDW 2000). This configuration provides a low-cost and easier migration path for customers who want 4

5 to go from a 5TB to 12TB solution. For more information on Dell QSDW 2000, see Dell Quickstart Data Warehouse Appliance. 12TB Dell R720XD FTDW Reference Architecture The following sections of this paper describe the hardware, software, capacity, and performance characteristics of a 12TB Microsoft SQL Server 2012 FTDW solution with scan rates of about 2GBps using PowerEdge R720XD servers. Hardware Components Redundant and robust tests have been conducted on PowerEdge servers to determine best practices and guidelines for building a balanced FTDW system. Table 2 provides the detailed hardware configuration of the reference architecture. Figure 1: Proposed Dell Fast Track Reference Architecture Tested Dell Fast Track Reference Architecture Component Details Table 2: Tested Dell FTDW Reference Architecture Components Component Details Server PowerEdge R720xd CPU (2) Intel Xeon E (HT Enabled) Number of sockets used 2 Total Number of CPU Cores 8 Memory 128GB RAM (8 X 16GB DDR3 5

6 22x 900GB 10K 2.5 SAS (18 data, 2 logs, 2 staging) Internal Hard Drives 2x 900GB 10K 2.5 SAS (2 Hot Spares) 2x 900GB 10K 2.5 SAS (2 drives with OS) rear bay Operating System Database Software Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 Enterprise Edition Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Enterprise Edition PowerEdge R720xd Server The PowerEdge R720xd server is a two-socket, 2U high-capacity, multi-purpose rack server offering an excellent balance of internal storage, redundancy, and value in a compact chassis. For technical specifications of the R720xd server, see the Power Edge R720xd Technical Guide. Processors The Fast Track Data Warehouse Reference Guide for SQL Server 2012 describes how to achieve a balance between components such as storage, memory, and processors. To balance available internal storage and memory for the PowerEdge R720xd, the architecture uses two Intel Xeon E four-core processors operating at 3.3GHz. Memory For SQL Server 2012 reference architectures, Microsoft recommends using 128GB to 256GB of memory for dual-socket configuration. Selection of memory DIMMS will also play a critical role in the performance of the entire stack. This configuration was tested with various memory sizes running at different speeds for example, 192GB running at 1333MHz, 192GB running at 1600MHz, 112GB running at 1600MHz, and so on. Using DIMMs with memory rate of 1600MHz showed significant performance improvement (about 400MBs/s) over DIMMS with memory rate of 1333MHz. In the test configuration, the database server is configured with 128GB of RAM running at 1600 MHz to which create a well-balanced configuration. To achieve 128GB of RAM on the PowerEdge R720xd server, place eight 16GB RDIMMS in slots A1-A4 and B1-B4 (white connectors). See Figure 2: Memory Slot LocationsFigure 2 for memory slot locations. 6

7 Figure 2: Memory Slot Locations Internal Storage Controller (PERC H710P Mini) Settings The Dell PERC H710P Mini is an enterprise-level RAID controller that provides disk management capabilities, high availability, and security features in addition to improved performance of up to 6GB/s throughput. Figure 3 shows the management console accessible through the BIOS utility. Figure 3: Virtual Disk Settings Stripe element size By default, the PERC H710P Mini creates virtual disks with a segment size of 64KB. For most workloads, the 64KB default size provides an adequate stripe element size. Read policy The default setting for the read policy on the PERC H710P Mini is adaptive read ahead. This configuration was tested with adaptive read ahead, No read ahead, and Read Ahead settings. 7

8 During testing, it was observed that the default setting of adaptive read ahead gave the best performance. Figure 4: Internal Storage Controller Settings RAID configuration When deploying a new storage solution, selecting the appropriate RAID level is a critical decision that impacts application performance. The FTDW configuration proposed in this paper uses disk groups for database data files and database log files, nine data disk groups, and one log disk group, each created with a single virtual disk. Additionally, two drives in RAID 0 are assigned as a staging area. Figure 5 shows the proposed RAID configuration. Figure 5: RAID Configuration Rear Bay Drives Data 1 Data 2 Data 3 Data 4 Data 5 Data 6 Data 7 Data 8 Data 9 Logs RAID 0 Stage Hot Spares OS H710P Mini Monolithic Drive slot configuration: Slots 0-17: Nine disk groups were created, each configured with a single virtual disk dedicated for the primary user data Slots 18-19: One disk group created from two disks and a single virtual disk dedicated to host the database log files Slots 20-21: RAID 0 disk group created from two disks dedicated for staging Slots 22-23: Remaining two disks assigned as global hot spares Slots (rear bay drives): One disk group for operating system For FTDW architectures, it is recommended to use mount-point rather than drive letters for storage access. It is also important to assign the appropriate virtual disk and mount-point names to the 8

9 configuration to simplify troubleshooting and performance analysis. Mount-point names should be assigned in such a way that the logical file system reflects the underlying physical storage enclosure mapping. Table 3 shows the virtual disk and mount-point names used for the specific reference configuration and the appropriate storage layer mapping. All of the logical volumes are mounted to the C:\FT folder. Disk Group Virtual Disk Table 3: Mount Point Naming and Storage Enclosure Mapping Virtual Disk Label Logical Label Full Volume Path Capacity 1 1 Cage1-Card1-vData1 Data1 C:\FT\PRI\Cage1-Card1-vData GB 2 2 Cage1-Card1-vData2 Data2 C:\FT\PRI\Cage1-Card1-vData GB 3 3 Cage1-Card1-vData3 Data3 C:\FT\PRI\Cage1-Card1-vData GB 4 4 Cage1-Card1-vData4 Data4 C:\FT\PRI\Cage1-Card1-vData GB 5 5 Cage1-Card1-vData5 Data5 C:\FT\PRI\Cage1-Card1-vData GB 6 6 Cage1-Card1-vData6 Data6 C:\FT\PRI\Cage1-Card1-vData GB 7 7 Cage1-Card1-vData7 Data7 C:\FT\PRI\Cage1-Card1-vData GB 8 8 Cage1-Card1-vData8 Data8 C:\FT\PRI\Cage1-Card1-vData GB 9 9 Cage1-Card1-vData9 Data9 C:\FT\PRI\Cage1-Card1-vData GB Cage1-Card1-vLog Log C:\FT\LOG\Cage1-Card1-vLog GB Cage1-Card1-Stage Stage C:\FT\Stage\Cage1-Card1-Stage GB Figure 6 represents the storage system configuration for the proposed FTDW reference architecture. Figure 6: Storage System Components SQL SERVER INTERNAL STORAGE User database Temp DB Data file 1-9 Data file 1-9 Virtual disk group 1-9 Logs Virtual disk group 10 Non-DB Stage Virtual disk group 11 RAID 0 The production, staging, and system temp databases are deployed per the recommendations provided in the Fast Track Data Warehouse Reference Guide for SQL Server Application Configuration The following sections explain the settings applied to operating system and database layers. 9

10 Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 Enable Lock Pages In Memory to prevent the system from paging memory to disk. For more information, see How to: Enable the Lock Pages in Memory Option. SQL Server Configuration The following startup options were added to the SQL Server Startup options: -E: This parameter increases the number of contiguous extends that are allocated to a database table in each file as it grows to improve sequential access. -T1117: This trace flag ensures the even growth of all files in a file group when auto growth is enabled. It should be noted that the FTDW reference guidelines recommend pre-allocating the data file space rather than allowing auto-grow. SQL Server Maximum Memory: FTDW for SQL Server 2012 guidelines suggest allocating no more than 92% of total server RAM to SQL Server. If additional applications will share the server, then adjust the amount of RAM left available to the operating system accordingly. For this reference architecture, the maximum server memory was set at MB (117GB). Resource Governor: For SQL Server 2012, Resource Governor provides a maximum of 25% of SQL Server memory resources to each session. The Resource Governor setting can be used to reduce the maximum memory consumed per query. While it can be beneficial for many data warehouse workloads to limit the amount of system resources available to an individual session, this is best measured through analysis of concurrent query workloads. This configuration was tested with both 25% and 19% memory grant, and the 25% setting was found to be optimal for the proposed configuration. For more information, see Using the Resource Governor. Max Degree of Parallelism: The SQL Server configuration option Max degree of parallelism controls the number of processors used for the parallel execution of a query. For the configuration, settings of 12 and 0 were tested. The default setting of 0 provided maximum performance benefits. For more information, see Maximum degree of parallelism configuration option. Capacity Details Table 4Table 4 shows the capacity metrics reported for the recommended reference configuration. Table 4: Capacity Metrics Metric Value Description Raw Data Space (GB) 7695 Raw mirrored/striped space allocated for data Raw User Database Space (GB) Maximum User Database Capacity (TB) FTDW Rated Data Warehouse Capacity (TB) Raw user space (without compression) available after allocating space for tempdb Raw user space with compression (compression factor=3.5). This is an estimate for the largest amount of user data the system will hold. This capacity rating is based on up-to capacity but adjusted to account for FTDW rated I/O. 10

11 Performance Benchmarking Microsoft FTDW guidelines help to achieve optimized database architecture with balanced CPU and storage bandwidth. Table 5 shows the performance numbers reported for the recommended reference configuration. Table 5: Performance Metrics Metric Value Description FTDW Rated I/O (MB/s) 1909 Core performance metric for validation; average of physical and logical I/O Benchmark Scan Rate Logical (MB/s) 2164 Reflects actual user query throughput, which includes reads from RAM/Buffer cache Benchmark Scan Rate Physical (MB/s) 1654 Reflects physical I/O read from disk during benchmark FTDW Peak I/O (MB/s) 3481 Maximum observed I/O rate FTDW Rated CSI (MB/s) Represents potential throughput using Columnstore Index The following sections describe the detailed performance characterization activities carried out for the validated Dell Microsoft FTDW reference architecture. Baseline Hardware Characterization Using Synthetic I/O The goal of hardware validation is to determine actual baseline performance characteristics of key hardware components in the database stack to ensure that system performance is not bottlenecked in intermediate layers. The disk characterization tool, SQLIO, was used to validate the configuration. The results in Figure 7 show the maximum baseline that the system can achieve from a cache (called Line Rate). A small file is placed on the storage, and large sequential reads are issued against it with SQLIO. This test verifies the maximum bandwidth available in the system to ensure no bottlenecks are within the data path. 11

12 Figure 7: SQLIO Line Rate Test from Cache (Small 5MB File) POWER EDGE R720-XD SQL Server 2012 Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 SQL Server 2012 Enterprise Dual Socket Intel Quad core E Aggregate Synthetic I/O rate: 2674 MB/s Intel E Intel E core 4 core CPU CPU INTERNAL STORAGE PERC H710P Mini Controller RAID 0 Single Disk Group Synthetic I/O rate: 375 MB/s PERC H710P Mini Controller Synthetic I/O rate: 2674 MB/s The second synthetic I/O test with SQLIO was performed with a large file to ensure reads are serviced from the storage system hard drives instead of from cache. Figure 8 shows the maximum real rate that the system is able to provide with sequential reads. Figure 8: SQLIO Real Rate Test from Disk (Large 25GB File) POWER EDGE R720-XD SQL Server 2012 Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 SQL Server 2012 Enterprise Dual Socket Intel Quad core E Aggregate Synthetic I/O rate: 2613 MB/s Intel E Intel E core 4 core CPU CPU INTERNAL STORAGE PERC H710P Mini Controller RAID 0 Single Disk Group Synthetic I/O rate: 294 MB/s PERC H710P Mini Controller Synthetic I/O rate: 2616 MB/s FTDW Database Validation The performance of a FTDW database configuration is measured using two core metrics: Maximum CPU Consumption Rate (MCR) and Benchmark Consumption Rate (BCR). MCR - MCR indicates the per-core I/O throughput in MB or GB per second. This is measured by executing a pre-defined query against the data in the buffer cache, and then measuring the 12

13 time taken to execute the query against the amount of data processed in MB or GB. For the validated configuration with two Intel E four-core processors, the system aggregate MCR was 2488 MB/s. The realized MCR value per core was 311 MB/s. BCR - BCR is calculated in terms of total read bandwidth from the storage hard drives not from the buffered cache as in the MCR calculation. This is measured by running a set of standard queries specific to the data warehouse workload. The queries range from I/O intensive to CPU and memory intensive, and provide a reference to compare various configurations. For the validated FTDW configuration, the aggregate BCR was 1909 MB/s. During the evaluation cycle, the system configuration was analyzed for multiple query variants (simple, average, and complex) with multiple sessions and different degrees of parallelism (MAXDOP) options to arrive at the optimal configuration. The evaluation results at each step were validated and verified jointly by Dell and Microsoft. FTDW Database Validation with Column Store Index (CSI) SQL Server 2012 implements CSI technology as a nonclustered indexing option for pre-existing tables. Significant performance gains are often achieved when CSI query plans are active, and this performance can be viewed as incremental to the basic system design. After the test configuration was validated, CSI was added. Then, the same set of I/O and CPU-intensive queries were executed to compare throughput achieved using CSI. Throughput rating of MB/s was achieved for CSI-enhanced benchmarks. These numbers can be used to approximate the positive impact to query performance expected under a concurrent query workload. Conclusion The Dell Microsoft FTDW architecture provides a uniquely well-balanced data warehouse solution. By following best practices at all stack layers, a balanced data warehouse environment can be achieved with a greater performance benefits than traditional data warehouse systems. 13

14 References Dell SQL Server Solutions Dell Services Dell Support Microsoft Fast Track Data Warehouse and Configuration Guide Information An Introduction to Fast Track Data Warehouse Architectures How to: Enable the Lock Pages in Memory Option SQL Server Performance Tuning & Trace Flags Using the Resource Governor Maximum degree of parallelism configuration option support.microsoft.com/kb/ Power Edge R720xd Technical Guide 14

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