Oracle DBAs… Do You have Flash?

By Michael Phelan, Senior Technical Marketing Engineer, NetApp


Hey Mister Oracle administrator: do you have flash in your environment?  If you don’t… Why Not?


There is no doubt that flash – specifically the EF540 - will make your Oracle environment run better. The questions you’re probably asking yourself and that are holding you back are:


1. Do I need to convert my existing environment? 

    • Because there is no way I’m doing that!

2. How much additional work do I have to do? 

    • I’m too busy right now, I’ll look into this in a few months.

3. How much faster?

    • If we do this I need to prove the business value to management.


First up the environment. Let’s just say you’re running on a NetApp FAS system today – doesn’t have to be this but we’ll go with that for this blog.  Let’s say things are going “OK” but you’re looking to get that performance jump. You’re monitoring the systems and the load is starting to impact the business.  NetApp has assembled a solution where the EF540 and FAS system work together using Oracle ASM disk mirroring.  The Oracle ASM disk groups verify that the two different arrays are bonded together. This design guarantees 100% synchronous mirroring and mirroring rebuilds in the event of a serious hardware failure.  The other thing this does is keep all the data on the spinning disks you’ve already invested in.  All this with no changes to your existing environment.


Next up, how much additional work is involved.  Well let’s be honest, if you don’t happen to have Oracle ASM in production there will be some effort, but that will not impact the current production environment. Remember we’re not suggesting you convert the existing setup, just add the EF540 to get better performance.  The solution is simple and uses standard Oracle ASM mirroring that can be managed easily by most DBAs.


And finally, how much faster?  Well we have one customer who saw a 17-godzillion X improvement…  But really no one wants to spend the time and money to make this happen if in the end I’m not getting any faster or my data is not protected.  There are a couple of points here I want to make clear.  First, performance, which has two aspects, speed and latency, and it’s important to deliver both.  This solution is designed to help customers looking for extreme application performance with low latency.  The second is data protection – at speed – and in this solution, the NetApp FAS3240 storage array lets customers define service layers in the context of data protection through Snapshot, SnapMirror, and SnapVault technologies while getting the performance requirements met by the EF540.


In the graph below we show how the NetApp EF540 as a standalone system and the NetApp EF540 in combination with the NetApp FAS3240 delivering on this goal - it runs just as fast as Flash alone!  The bottom line is customers are demanding better performance.  In a couple years every environment will need flash just to keep customers coming back.  Be the admin that’s leading the charge.


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