The Evolution of Microsoft SQL Server: The right time for Violin flash Memory Arrays

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1 The Evolution of Microsoft SQL Server: The right time for Violin flash Memory Arrays Executive Summary Microsoft SQL has evolved beyond serving simple workgroups to a platform delivering sophisticated capabilities suitable for large enterprises. MS SQL has evolved into being suitable for the following environments: * Parallel data warehouses * Scalable transaction processing * Business intelligence * Cloud Computing These use cases can benefit from low latency, high input/output operations (IOPs), and bandwidth of Violin flash Memory Arrays. The Evolution of Microsoft SQL Since its first release in 1989, MS SQL has gained substantial traction in the market place with 41% unit market share (IDC) and now is third place behind Oracle and IBM in overall revenue (Gartner), with an estimated market share in the high teens. But revenue share is only part of the story. Microsoft has retained the traditional level of choice and openness that has been a key characteristic of this market for these kinds of products. Customer may still select the combination of hardware and software best suited for them. Recent initiatives from Microsoft include the following: * February 2009, Microsoft provided Data warehousing Reference architectures, which have enabled major OEMs such as HP, Dell, and Bull to release Data Warehouse Servers. * Release SQL Server 2008 R2 Datacenter in April 2010 which is capable of supporting 8 sockets and 256 logical processors. * November 2010, Microsoft Released SQL Server R2 Parallel Data Warehouse which represents Microsoft s movement into massively parallel processing (MPP). MPP will be able to take Violin flash Memory Arrays Violin Memory, Inc. Page 1 of 7

2 advantage of more scalable compute resources. * January 2009 Microsoft announced its self-service Business Intelligence initiative, where Office SharePoint Server and Microsoft Office Excel, and will the leverage Microsoft SQL Server BI platform. * November 2008, Azure Services Platform, Microsoft's cloud computing strategy and product platform. Over the last 6 years, Microsoft has made three significant investments in their data warehouse business. These include Zoomix (2007), Stratature (2008), and DataAllegro (2008). Zoomix provides data quality, which is about bringing consistency to data elements shared throughout an enterprise. Stratature is a master-data management package which provides consistent data across products that have been integrated into MS SQL over time. Data Allegro provides parallel data warehouse appliance capability. On January 13, 2010 Microsoft and Hewlett Packard announced a $250 Million joint investment plan for 3 year duration to create a comprehensive technology integration stack for small, medium, and large businesses. Additional insight into how MS SQL usage may evolve can be estimated by examining these Microsoft initiatives: SQL Server 2008 R2 Datacenter supports up to 256 logical processors. A logical processor is the number of physical processors multiplied by both the number of cores and threads per core. So 256 logical processors means 64 dual-core processors with two threads per core, or 32 quad-core processors with two threads per core. The key implication is that the amount of processing power that is now available to Data Warehouse users has expanded substantially, and storage will need to keep up with this additional processing power. Microsoft Released SQL Server R2 Parallel Data Warehouse is Microsoft s first massively parallel processing architecture and will able exploit the 256 logical processors to handle multiple queries against larger data sets. Leveraging the commonly used Excel interface, Microsoft s self-service business intelligence initiative is intended to give the end user the ability to process millions of rows, and provide customer reporting without the need to wait for the IT department. Microsoft s self-service business intelligence platform will increase the horse power requirements of the supporting software and hardware platforms. Looking into the future, Microsoft SQL Azure is Microsoft s cloud offering, and is also based on MS SQL, In 2011, Microsoft has released Hadoop connectors for both MS SQL and Parallel Data Warehouse Violin flash Memory Arrays Violin Memory, Inc. Page 2 of 7

3 Where do Violin flash Memory Arrays fit into the picture? Basic introduction to the Violin flash Memory Array Flash memory, just like Microsoft SQL, has been evolving, and is now ready to play a role in the Enterprise. A new product category (endorsed by the Gartner Group) has emerged, and it is called the flash Memory Array. The first flash Memory Array was designed and built by Violin Memory of Mountain View, CA and achieved general availability in Violin flash Memory Arrays scale to 2.5 PB (A petabyte is 1000 Terabytes) with 200 microseconds of latency under a sustained read/write workload. The 200 millisecond latency is excellent when compared to the average hard disk drive operating in the 8-10 millisecond range. In this context, the flash memory array is 40X to 50X faster in terms of latency when compared to a spinning hard disk drive. What are the benefits to the MS SQL environment? * Higher utilization of CPUs, since they are not waiting for I/O from slow electro-mechanical disk drives. * Fast and consistent response time since Memory Arrays offer deterministic response times * Reduced electrical consumption, services costs, floor space. From a business standpoint, direct impact on improving the following: * Operating Expense * Capital Expense Why are Memory Arrays important to MS SQL users at this point of time? MS SQL has evolved beyond workgroup computing and into: * Scalable Online Transaction Processing * Parallel data warehouse * Business intelligence * Cloud computing These types of use cases need low latency, high IOPs, and High bandwidth. MS SQL is no longer just a workgroup level database server. For example, in enterprise online transaction processing environment, MS SQL Server 2008 R2 would be required to process a large amount of IOPs, which can be characterized as short block, random read and random write. With the average disk drive being able to process between 50 and 100 I/Os per second, conventional storage based on spinning disk can be oversubscribed. In heavy transaction processing environments, drives are often short stroked and striped. Short stroking places the data on the outer edges of the spinning platter to reduce the distance the read head must travel. This however, leaves the Violin flash Memory Arrays Violin Memory, Inc. Page 3 of 7

4 rest of the capacity unused, and is not cost effective, especially in context of the ever increasing capacity and density of hard disk drives. In addition, data is striped across disk drives in order to have multiple read heads reading data from the same stripe. This is all very complex and tedious and requires a lot of tuning to get it right. The next scenarios are related to Big Data. The net of this is that Data Warehouses are getting larger, and both parallel access and analytics are becoming more important as the tools that may be used to make productive use of Big Data. In addition, cloud computing is seeking its own evolutionary path and will be incorporating MS SQL for database, data warehousing, and business intelligence. Both the Database Consolidation and the Big Data scenarios can gain substantial benefits from Memory Arrays. The MS SQL Database has grown up and is deployed in environment with large amounts of IOPs generated by many instances of MS SQL databases virtualized on a server. There is considerable interest in deploying Memory Arrays to handle the IOPs and latency needs of this environment while at the same time avoiding any more investment in conventional hard disk. The Memory arrays are exceptional ly well suited to the short block random read/write workloads associated with online transaction processing (OLTP). Parallel data warehouse is also an ideal use case. Memory Arrays can provide both the bandwidth to ingest data as well as the performance to support queries. Memory Arrays, with their highly parallel random read/write across all of the flash memory, are excellent for parallel data warehouses when there are many parallel queries. Business intelligence usage is expected to grow commensurate with Big Data. Microsoft, with the combination of SharePoint Server, Excel, SQL Server BI platform, is in position to increase its popularity as the self-service business intelligence model gains traction. Not only is the Memory Array able to produce analytical results far faster than conventional disk drives, it is also exceptionally scalable, and able to handle large datasets. Finally, Cloud computing is extending its primary use beyond unstructured data, and considerable effort is underway to bring traditional capabilities such as transactional processing, data warehousing, and business intelligence to the cloud. The specific benefits that Memory Arrays brings to these use cases have already been reviewed. Microsoft has released hadoop and parallel data warehouse connectors to facilitate the deployment MS SQL into cloud topologies. Clearly, the Memory Array has come along at the right time to complement the evolution of MS SQL from workgroup deployments to enterprise and cloud scale deployments. Violin flash Memory Arrays Violin Memory, Inc. Page 4 of 7

5 Here are some additional product details which identify how the Violin flash Memory Arrays offer a unique set of product attributes suitable for supporting large scale customer installations: * Performance - Up to 1 Million IOPs in a single flash Memory Array * Scalability Up to 2.5 PB in 8 racks based on patent pending Violin Switched Memory Interconnect * Share-ability Up to 512 FC ports in a 8 rack configuration * Sustained Performance No write cliff due to non-blocking distributed garbage collection * Hot Swappable components Superior availability when compared to PCIe * Fail-in-place flash memory I/O continues; replace during scheduled maintenance window * Maximum usable space purpose built vraid yields up to 84% usable storage space. To close, Violin flash Memory Arrays have already been implemented in Microsoft SQL Environments. Here is an example of the benefits that a Real Estate Information analysis and distribution company received: * Refresh cycle of nationwide information went from 12 hours to 2 hours * Update of public real estate records went from 2 hour to 12 minutes. * Cost Avoidance - Cancelled building new data center - Consolidated 13 servers to 2; re-purposed 11 other servers - Eliminated 44 SQL Server Licenses (11X4 cores fewer) - No longer create multiple data base instances for performance - DBAs now work on business problems rather than tuning and administration * Utilize existing SAN for less IO-intensive jobs Thank you for your attention. If you wish to contact Violin Memory for additional information regarding flash Memory Arrays, here are our contacts: Sales VIOLIN ( ) Option 2 Violin Memory, Inc. 685 Clyde Ave Mountain View, CA Tel: Fax: New Jersey Office 33 Wood Avenue South Violin flash Memory Arrays Violin Memory, Inc. Page 5 of 7

6 3rd Floor Iselin, NJ Violin Memory EMEA Ltd EMEA Headquarters Quatro House Lyon Way Camberley Surrey GU16 7ER United Kingdom Tel: Fax: Violin flash Memory Arrays Violin Memory, Inc. Page 6 of 7

7 Contact Violin For more information, contact: Violin Memory, Inc. USA 685 Clyde Ave, Suite 100, Mountain View, CA Wood Ave South, 3rd Floor, Iselin, NJ (888) 9-VIOLIN Ext 10 or (888) Ext Any Host Any OS Any Network Server 2003 To Windows 7 WHQL 32 & 64bit Open source driver PCI Express Solaris x86 Fibre Channel 10Gb Ethernet InfiniBand Quadl PCIe x8 G2 4x 40Gbit/s 2-8 ports 10GbE iscsi NFS Cache 1-4 ports InfiniBand QDR SRP Direct Attach 2-8 ports 4 /8Gb FC Network Attach Violin flash Memory Arrays Violin Memory, Inc. Page 7 of 7

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