Today, we announced several ways our customers are making their databases run screaming fast while saving both storage and database licensing costs. The returns are incredible. There are certain parts of a database that need to have the best performance all the time. How can one accomplish that on a hybrid disk array, you ask? Enter FlashVols. These are special volumes that reside on Tegile Zebi arrays that get tagged to always live on flash. This delivers the end user experience like they are using an all-flash array, but can still leverage the economics of spinning disk. Think of the table spaces that get loaded into server memory and rarely traverse back down to disk. How about all the unstructured data that a database links to? That’s data that can sit on spinning disk.
Earlier, I mentioned that users can save database licensing costs. It is quite interesting, actually. I’ll start with a similar situation that we’ve all experienced. Do you remember the last time you opened your email client, only to watch the silly little disk access LED blink feverishly for what felt like an hour? What’s happening during this frustrating time is that your computer is using the disk drive in there as an extension of memory doing something called paging or swapping. It does this when it is short on CPU/memory resources. Applications such as databases often do the same thing when resource constrained. The neat thing is that if the database is reaching out to really fast storage, it doesn’t get as frustrating as your email client freezing up. As a matter of fact, most of the time, users won’t even notice. So, if you drop your server resources on the server hosting your database, you drop licensing costs. All that happens is you’ve got a little extra traffic going to your shiny new Tegile array. That’s why we use really fast and robust eMLC flash. Each individual drive can withstand 3.7 petabytes of writes before you’d even start to see any wear on the cells. Remember: each Tegile array has between 3 to 20 flash drives in there – that’s a ton of data.
Check out this video and hear Microsoft MVP Rick Heiges chat with his coworker, Larry Chestnut about how all this works.