EF540 and SQL Server 2012 FTDW

The NetApp EF540 flash array is an all-SSD storage system designed specifically for database-driven business applications that require extreme high performance, reliability and availability.

SQL Server FTDW (Fast Track Data Warehouse) is a program and a reference configuration model developed by Microsoft for data warehouse workloads with a symmetric multiprocessor (SMP)-based SQL Server database system. One of the important design goals of a SQL Server FTDW reference configuration is to efficiently balance the SQL Server data processing capability with the throughput of the underlying server and storage. 

SQL Server 2012 FTDW is the 4th generation of the SQL Server FTDW program. Two notable new features included in SQL Server 2012 FTDW are: the support for solid-state storage and columnstore index (CSI). The recently published EF540 Reference Configuration for Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Fast Track Data Warehouse with Cisco UCS C220 M3 Server (see Figure 1) takes advantage of both new features and delivers a rated CSI throughput of 5.6GBps in a 3U solution.

     Figure 1. EF540 Reference Configuration for SQL Server 2012 FTDW published on Microsoft website.


But that’s not all. Figure 2 below shows the design details of the EF540 reference configuration. Notice that inside the Cisco UCS C220 M3 server, only one of the two SAS HBAs was used. In other words, there is plenty of headroom left unused in this 3U solution. 

     Figure 2. Details of C220 M3 server and EF540 flash array (Source: NetApp TR-4223).


Last but not least, I’d like to point out that this work was a joint effort among many cross-functional teams within NetApp, and in collaboration with Cisco and Microsoft.


Thanks for reading.