Tuesday, July 27, 2010

SSD and Spindle Disks

Traditional spindle-based SAN will be going out to pasture in the HPC/Oracle/SQL/Virtualization market segments within the next 5 years. It only takes two $400 SSD's to totally decimate 15x SATA disks costing ~$20k. The big storage vendors would be well advised to "get with the program" and soon. Guys like Texas Memory Systems, Violin, Whiptail, and Fusion IO are exploding in those markets today and will even more as NAND prices drop. Buy'em before someone else does or they get too big to be acquired is what I would do if I were EMC or Netapp, or even Dell/HP/IBM. EMC's Enterprise Flash Disk (EFD) is a running joke to those "in the know" in the storage game.

To put this into perspective, today I tested a little svelte Sony VAIO VPC-Z1190X extremely portable laptop with an i7 Quad-core CPU, 8GB of RAM, with 2x 250gb factory SSD's in RAID0. Right out of the box, it was brutally fast. I setup a VMWare Player VM running XP Pro SP3 with 2x processors, and 4GB of RAM. 2 Virtual Disks of 30GB and 60GB. The 30GB disk housed the OS and Oracle 10g R2 installation with our applications. The second disk housed the actual database files. I imported one of our QA schemas into the local instance. This local Oracle instance was allocated 2GB of physical RAM. I setup our applications as usual on the same primary disk.

I ran a few processes in our apps utilizing the local Oracle instance and it ran circles around our QA database server. I shook my head in amazement. A VM running Oracle outperformed our PRIMARY QA database server by a LONG shot.

Our primary QA database server's specs:

Dell PowerEdge 1955 Blade, 2x 3.2GHZ Xeon CPU's, 8GB of RAM, 2x local 300GB 10k SCSI disks.
The first disk houses the OS Installation (Windows Server 2003 R2 STD, 32bit) and the pagefile.
The second disk contains the Oracle installation (ORACLE_HOME to those of you who know what it means). Oracle only uses 2GB of RAM because it is a 32-bit OS and application.
There is a 2-port Qlogic 2gb Fibre Channel HBA connecting to an EMC Clariion with 12x 500GB 7200rpm SATA disks in RAID10. Networking is handled via 2x Intel 1Gb/s  ethernet links using NIC teaming and link aggregation in the switch side.

Yes, this "piddly" little laptop costing ~$4k totally running a 32-bit VM smokes this blade server with fibre channel SAN attached. It is amazing how far technology has come in the past few years, and I can't help but smile knowing it will only get better over the next few years.

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