Leveraging Fully Automated Storage Tiering (FAST) with Oracle Database Applications

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1 Leveraging Fully Automated Storage Tiering (FAST) with Oracle Database Applications Applied Technology Abstract This white paper introduces a new feature of EMC unified storage involving sub-lun migration called Fully Automated Storage Tiering (FAST) and describes how users can leverage it with Oracle database applications. This white paper covers several use cases tested in the lab and explains the results. It also discusses best practices for implementing FAST with Oracle database applications. September 2010

2 Copyright 2010 EMC Corporation. All rights reserved. EMC believes the information in this publication is accurate as of its publication date. The information is subject to change without notice. THE INFORMATION IN THIS PUBLICATION IS PROVIDED AS IS. EMC CORPORATION MAKES NO REPRESENTATIONS OR WARRANTIES OF ANY KIND WITH RESPECT TO THE INFORMATION IN THIS PUBLICATION, AND SPECIFICALLY DISCLAIMS IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY OR FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. Use, copying, and distribution of any EMC software described in this publication requires an applicable software license. For the most up-to-date listing of EMC product names, see EMC Corporation Trademarks on EMC.com All other trademarks used herein are the property of their respective owners. Part Number h8040 Applied Technology 2

3 Table of Contents Executive summary... 4 The need for FAST... 4 Introduction... 6 Audience... 6 Technology overview... 6 EMC Celerra unified storage... 6 EMC CLARiiON CX EMC Flash drive technology... 7 EMC sub-lun FAST technology... 7 Applying FAST technology with the Oracle database... 9 Application I/O characteristics... 9 Understanding the database working set... 9 Benchmark setup Workload description Use case description Use case Use case Conclusion References Applied Technology 3

4 Executive summary The latest addition to EMC s suite of storage efficiency products is a sub-lun migration technology called Fully Automated Storage Tiering (FAST). EMC FAST technology creates storage pools out of mixed drive types by leveraging various disk types that EMC midrange arrays support such as Flash, Fibre Channel, and SATA drives. The storage objects (LUNs) created inside a storage pool can span across all available tiers within that pool. In addition to distributing all the LUNs in the pool across available tiers of storage, EMC FAST technology monitors data temperatures and automatically moves the hot and cold data at sub-lun granularity to the right tiers available within a pool. This technology provides very low latencies to the data that is accessed most frequently and thus improves overall application response times and significantly reduces the investment in Flash drives. The data migration is a completely nondisruptive, application-agnostic operation that storage administrators can control by defining simple data relocation policies. Users can benefit from investing in Flash drives because they focus on the most frequently accessed data, thereby delivering improved application service, and significantly reducing the total cost of ownership (TCO). FAST technology is available for both the Celerra unified storage platform and the CLARiiON CX4 platform. Figure 1 shows how FAST technology reduces TCO by enabling fewer drives to provide the same level of storage performance and capacity in an Oracle database environment. 1 Figure 1. How FAST improves TCO The need for FAST Due to the mechanics of rotating disk drives, users only have limited possibilities for sharing spindles across several workloads and reducing storage consolidation ratios. Although using Flash drive technology has many advantages, users face some challenges for implementing the drives as a tier: Users must move the entire dataset to the Flash-based tier to take full advantage of the drives. Users must identify hot data to move to Flash drives. This process is not only complex, but also repetitive because of the following factors and trends: Data temperature constantly changes; the hot data keeps changing over time Massive data consolidation driven by virtualization Data explosion where customer datasets are growing by 60 percent every year 1 This only considers the price of the drives in this example. You may also experience savings in the data center footprint, power, and cooling. Applied Technology 4

5 As long as databases are small enough to fit on a fewer number of Flash drives, these drives provide the best possible performance for database applications. Once the database outgrows the space available in those few drives, database administrators and storage administrators are faced with the daunting task of identifying hot and cold data in order to redistribute data to the right tiers. The Oracle database provides advanced partitioning features to logically partition the data for easy management and to leverage various tiers of storage. Oftentimes, the database partitioning feature alone is not adequate enough to manage the entire application data for these reasons: Database applications are associated with a large amount of unstructured data that may not be stored inside a database depending on the application implementation. The data within a database partition can have varied temperatures. Figure 2. Traditional ILM approach The traditional data tuning exercise shown in Figure 2 is a repetitive process sometimes involving a scheduled maintenance window to execute depending on the technology used. The dynamic nature of today s enterprise applications makes any amount of tuning and balancing ineffective over time. Figure 3 shows how enterprise applications data usage patterns can change over time. Immediately after tuning After some days post-tuning Figure 3. How data temperature changes over time Applied Technology 5

6 Introduction The main goal of this paper is to introduce how EMC sub-lun FAST technology can be leveraged by customers to improve the performance of their Oracle database applications. This white paper discusses in detail how FAST technology helps dynamically improve the performance of a system by adding more drives into an existing storage pool. It also covers how users can drastically reduce the cost of a storage system and achieve the same or an improved level of performance with heterogeneous drives by using FAST technology. This white paper also documents the test configurations and performance results of various tests conducted at EMC engineering labs. Audience This white paper is intended for: Database and storage administrators Database and storage architects Anybody interested in Oracle database performance Technology overview EMC Celerra unified storage The EMC Celerra unified storage platforms combine an IP storage enclosure and best-in-class, native CLARiiON storage using NAS, iscsi, and Fibre Channel in a single, packaged solution. Having built on a robust platform like CLARiiON, Celerra unified storage inherits all the high-availability (like five 9s) characteristics of a CLARiiON storage platform along with support for almost every latest technology available on a CLARiiON storage platform. The EMC unified storage platform also supports all the latest generation of disk drive technologies including Flash drives, Fibre Channel drives, and SATA II. FAST technology is supported on all models of Celerra unified storage platforms shown in the following figure except NX4. Figure 4. Celerra unified storage models Applied Technology 6

7 EMC CLARiiON CX4 The EMC CLARiiON CX4 series with UltraFlex TM technology is based on a breakthrough architecture and extensive technological innovation to provide a very competitive midrange storage solution. The CX4 is the fourth-generation CX series, and continues EMC s commitment to maximizing customer s investments in CLARiiON technology because it ensures that existing resources and capital assets are optimally utilized as customers adopt new technology. CLARiiON CX4 systems support the latest generation of disk drive technologies like Flash drives, 4 Gb/s FC drives for high performance, and SATA II for high capacity. CLARiiON CX4 is the first midrange storage system to support all of these types of disk drive technologies. The CLARiiON CX4 with the latest FLARE release and FAST suite of software provides maximum performance and tiered storage functional flexibility. Although this paper does not contain a complete introduction to the CX4 series, you can obtain more documents that provide this information in the References section. A few major features of the CLARiiON CX4 series are listed below. All four models of CLARiiON CX4 listed support FAST technology. Figure 5. CLARiiON CX4 models Most of the information discussed in this paper is in the context of CLARiiON CX4 but still applies to the native block implementation of any Celerra unified storage platform. EMC Flash drive technology The enterprise-class Flash drives supported by CLARiiON CX4 and the Celerra unified storage platform are constructed with a nonvolatile semiconductor NAND Flash memory and are packaged in a standard 3.5-inch disk drive form factor used in existing CLARiiON disk drive array enclosures. These drives are especially well suited for latency-sensitive applications that require consistently low read/write response times. Flash drives also benefit from the advanced capabilities that CLARiiON provides like local and remote replication, virtual LUN migration, Quality of Service Manager, and availability features like redundant failover, hot sparing, and multiple RAID levels. Several studies regarding the applicability of Flash drive technology to various enterprise applications have been conducted. For more information about these studies, see the References section. EMC sub-lun FAST technology For some time, EMC midrange products supported whole LUN migration technology called virtual LUN migration. Virtual LUN migration technology requires moving the entire LUN across the various storage Applied Technology 7

8 tiers available in the array depending on the performance requirements of the customer. Usually, the data within a LUN has varied temperatures and LUN utilizations change over time. EMC with its sub-lun FAST technology introduces the following important features: Users can now create blended storage pools comprising of various disk types (Fibre Channel, SATA, and Flash). The storage pools can be grown as user demand increases for capacity or performance. FAST technology tracks the sub-lun temperatures at 1 GB granularity. In turn, these data slices are automatically migrated to appropriate tiers within a pool depending on the temperature. The data migration is completely application-agnostic, nondisruptive, and can be controlled by user-defined policies. The tiering policy is very flexible with configuration options for data migration schedules and tier preferences. User can set a LUN s tiering policy to Auto-Tiering, Highest Available, or Lowest Available. Users can also choose not to move any slices of a particular LUN by simply setting its tiering policy to No Movement if they are already happy with the SLAs. A complete introduction to the EMC sub-lun FAST technology is beyond the scope of this document. Please go to the References section for a list of more detailed documents. DBAs and storage administrators periodically spend a lot of time tuning their databases for optimal I/O performance. By automating the data migration task at sub-lun granularity, FAST technology leverages various storage tiers optimally and eliminates the need for complex I/O performance tuning exercises. Figure 6 compares a traditional repetitive manual tiering process with EMC s sub-lun FAST technology. Figure 6. Traditional tiering approach vs. EMC sub-lun FAST Applied Technology 8

9 Applying FAST technology with the Oracle database Users need to thoroughly understand the application workload characteristics before implementing any storage technology, including sub-lun FAST. While comprehending basic information like workload I/O characteristics is important, it is vital that users understand the active working set of the workload for rightsizing the various tiers in FAST pool. The following sections explain in detail how one can determine the application I/O characteristics and application working set. Application I/O characteristics The relative improvement from any faster storage technology is dependent on whether the application is bottlenecked by the storage subsystem. For example, you can use Oracle Automated Workload Repository (AWR) reports to identify potential I/O bottlenecks with any Oracle application. There are several white papers and documents that describe how to use database performance information to determine whether an application is I/O bound. Generally, most of the Oracle DBAs and storage administrators turn to the I/O subsystem because this solution is simpler than restructuring the application to avoid I/O subsystem bottlenecks. To set the right expectations, you should thoroughly analyze the database-level performance before investing time and additional resources (such as deploying more Flash drives) to accelerate the storage subsystem. Understanding the database working set Generally, FAST is a very suitable technology for workloads with small random I/O and relatively small working sets that fit into the Flash tier of a FAST pool. Most of the Oracle Online Transaction Processing (OLTP) databases tend to be highly random in nature with small working sets compared to the total database size. Furthermore, OLTP databases have inherent locality of data with varied I/O patterns because of the following reasons: OLTP databases tend to be temporal in nature, as the most recent data is more important than older data. This is generally referred to as a working set of a database. The relative importance of data changes from object to object. Some tables may be accessed more often than some other tables. The number of IOPs per gigabyte size of an object, also known as object intensity, changes quite significantly. The best example is an index compared with a table in a database. The relative IOPs received by a database block occupied by an index object are very high compared to the IOPs received by a database block consumed by a table object. The figures below track the read I/Os received by every 1 GB slice of the database LUN from two different environments. Figure 7 represents the read I/O hit rate of a 250 GB LUN from the benchmark test in the lab. Similarly, Figure 8 represents the read I/O hit rate of a 600 GB LUN from a production environment of a customer. The 250 GB LUN from the benchmarking environment in Figure 7 almost has 30 percent to 40 percent of the slices receiving very high I/O, whereas the 600 GB customer LUN in Figure 8 has only around 10 percent of data active. These figures clearly indicate the following: The different parts of the dataset have varied temperatures. The real-world applications tend to have smaller working sets compared to total database size. The benchmarking environment used in the lab is aggressive with a large working set. If sub-lun FAST can show improvement with a benchmark used in the lab, real-world applications should see similar or even better improvements with their applications. Applied Technology 9

10 Figure 7. Slice hit chart from the benchmark Figure 8. Slice hit chart from the customer The relative temperature information of any database application can be obtained by analyzing the application-level, host-level, or storage-level performance statistics. These two charts are generated from analyzing performance statistics from storage arrays. Consult your EMC sales representatives for help with performance data analysis. Applied Technology 10

11 Benchmark setup To characterize sub-lun FAST with Oracle OLTP workloads, EMC used the following benchmark setup. The benchmark testing is done on a single-instance Oracle 11g R2 database deployed on a CLARiiON CX4-960 storage array and Dell R900 server. Figure 9 displays the hardware configuration. Figure 9. Hardware setup This configuration uses five back-end buses on a CX4-960 to ensure that the benchmark is not bus-bound. There is no real requirement to utilize that many back-end buses to realize sub-lun FAST benefits. Configure your back-end buses based on your I/O requirement and by following EMC best practices for bus and disk layout. Workload description The database workload simulates an Order Entry system. The database is laid out on Oracle ASM diskgroups and the underlying LUN layout is chosen so that both the storage processors handle an equal number of LUNs. The Oracle ASM distributes the workload appropriately against all available LUNs within an ASM diskgroup, thereby loading both storage processors equally. Generally, most of the OLTP databases tend to have a read/write mix of 80/20. To ensure that the sub-lun FAST technology can handle workloads involving a high write mix, EMC created an aggressive test scenario with a 60/40 read/write mix. The Oracle OLTP database benchmark used in the test has the characteristics shown in the table. Table 1. Workload characteristics Property Value / Description Database size 1.2 TB Database version Oracle 11g R2 single instance Storage type Oracle ASM Storage container size 2.0 TB ASM diskgroup created on 8 x 250 GB or 4 x 500 GB LUNs Read/write ratio 60/40 Database metric TPM Transactions per minute Working set Around 200 to 300 GB of data receiving most of the I/O Number of concurrent users 100 Applied Technology 11

12 Use case description To understand the impact of sub-lun FAST technology on Oracle OLTP databases, the following tests were conducted and the resulting application-level and database-level metrics were compared to ascertain the impact of FAST on the workload. The goal of these use cases is to showcase: The dynamic scaling nature of FAST technology How FAST can reduce the cost of the storage system while maintaining the same levels of performance The following use cases are crafted to demonstrate these advantages. Use case 1: This use case demonstrates how a customer s storage pool grows dynamically to accommodate the increased user performance requirements. In this example, the existing storage pool created on 45 x 600 GB Fibre Channel drives is grown by adding 5 x 200 GB Flash drives and 15 x 2 TB SATA drives to it. The FAST algorithms migrate hot data to Flash drives, thereby significantly improving the latencies of the most frequently accessed data. This should result in improving the overall application performance. Use case 2: This use case demonstrates how users can create blended storage pools with mixed drive types to reduce cost and footprint of the storage system while maintaining performance. A monolithic configuration built with 90 x 15k rpm 600 GB Fibre Channel disks is compared to a mixed configuration created with 53 heterogeneous drive types. Use case 1 The baseline is established using all Fibre Channel rotating disk drives. This setup uses a total of 45 x 600 GB disks with Oracle data files deployed on 40 drives and database online redo logs on 5 drives. Figure 10 depicts the exact database and Oracle ASM layout. Figure 10. Baseline storage and database layout Users can dynamically extend the storage pools when the performance requirements change in customer environments. The storage pool extension is a nondisruptive, application-agnostic operation that can be carried out at any time. In this use case, 5 x 200 GB Flash drives and 15 x 2 TB SATA drives were added Applied Technology 12

13 to the existing pool of 40 x 600 GB Fibre Channel drives. The FAST algorithms use the existing data temperature information to identify the hot database slices at 1 GB granularity and move them to Flash drives. The data movement can either happen during the next scheduled data relocation window, or the user can force a manual relocation immediately after extending the pool. It is important to remember that the first relocation immediately after pool extension will move more data compared to subsequent migrations. Repeating the same benchmark on this newly extended pool yields two times the number of transactions at one-third the latency. The other added benefit is that the Flash drives handle the majority of the I/O, which reduces the number of IOPs received by both Fibre Channel and SATA drives. This allows users to consolidate more databases on to the pool by leveraging the storage capacity available in the pool. In the past, users could not take advantage of the extra capacity in the short-stroked environments without jeopardizing the performance of the application. If storage capacity is not a concern, the user can simply add only the Flash drives to the pool and still get the same level of performance benefit. Figure 11 shows the database layout used with the use case. Figure 11. Storage and database layout for use case 1 Users can grow the pool completely without disrupting application. There are no changes required to database or Oracle ASM layout. Figure 12 shows how expanding the pool with few Flash drives doubles performance. Applied Technology 13

14 Figure 12. Performance improvement with pool expansion Use case 2 This use case demonstrates how sub-lun FAST technology reduces the cost of the storage subsystem but still maintains the same amount of usable capacity while delivering same or better performance. The database performance numbers from a monolithic configuration built with 90 x 15k rpm 600 GB Fibre Channel drives are compared to those of a pool setup with 53 disks. Three different Oracle databases have been consolidated on to these storage pools in this use case for testing. Figure 13 and Figure 14 show the storage and database layout used with the monolithic test setup and blended pool test setup, respectively Figure 13. Storage and database layout with the same drive type Applied Technology 14

15 Figure 14. Storage and database layout with mixed drive types The blended pool configuration yields 5 percent better performance, but costs 15 percent less when you only consider the price of the disk. Figure 15 compares these standards to a 90-disk monolithic configuration. The savings can add up when you take the data center footprint, power, and cooling savings into account. Figure 15. Cost advantage of sub-lun FAST for Oracle Applied Technology 15

16 Conclusion Sub-LUN FAST technology significantly reduces the TCO of the solution and protects the customer investment in the technology by: Reducing the investment into the Flash tier by optimally utilizing these drives. Completely automating data management. Users can simply configure their storage tiering policies and the storage array will handle all data migrations automatically and nondisruptively. Supporting dynamic growth. Users can increase both performance and capacity of the storage pools dynamically by adding more drives into the existing pools. EMC sub-lun FAST when combined with EMC FAST cache technology can yield maximum benefits. The combination of these technologies allows users to scale the Flash tier in an array to very large sizes to accommodate larger datasets and to handle unpredictable changes in workload patterns. EMC sub-lun FAST technology is a complement technology to Oracle ASM and Oracle partitioning features. You can use all three technologies together to achieve the best possible performance and ease-ofstorage management. In fact, all the sub-lun FAST testing discussed in this paper has been done by leveraging Oracle ASM and partitioning features. References For more information about Oracle, or any other products that this document discusses, read these white papers, available through Powerlink. EMC FAST for CLARiiON - A Detailed Review EMC CLARiiON and Celerra Unified FAST Cache - A Detailed Review Leveraging EMC FAST Cache with Oracle OLTP Database Applications Leveraging EMC CLARiiON CX4 with Enterprise Flash Drives for Oracle Database Deployments Leveraging EMC CLARiiON CX4 with Enterprise Flash Drives for SAP Deployments Maximize the Performance Benefit from Enterprise Flash Drives by Sharing through Virtual Provisioning (VP) in EMC CLARiiON CX4 EMC CLARiiON Virtual Provisioning Applied Technology Specification Sheet: EMC CLARiiON CX4 Model 960 Networked Storage System Introduction to the EMC CLARiiON CX4 Series Featuring UltraFlex Technology EMC CLARiiON Best Practices for Performance and Availability: Release 30.0 Firmware Update Various documents on an EMC unified storage for Oracle Database 11g solution Applied Technology 16

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