In my role at Dell, I am attempting to help customers understand the value of our storage technology. One area I’m focusing on is Database technology. This blog entry summarizes some breakthrough results from SQL Server performance testing I was involved in. We saw close to 3X performance improvement for transactional apps using hybrid (SSD + SAS) drive storage arrays with automated data tiering.
Deployments of SQL Server® have become very widespread today because it is the engine that drives the storage and retrieval of data from most business applications for example: web store-fronts, accounting systems, customer relationship and sales tools. This means that our customers are betting their business on Dell, and meeting service levels for database performance and availability is crucial to keep their businesses running. As systems relying on databases proliferate and the underlying data sets grow, storage system performance often becomes the bottleneck. This can lead to the purchase of expensive storage options which can increase operational complexity and costs.
A related trend which exacerbates these problems is virtualization. In an attempt to drive up IT efficiency and reduce server sprawl, companies are virtualizing servers running database and other workloads and then combining them into fewer hosts. This increases utilization and reduces server maintenance but it can increase the storage challenge. Varied applications have disparate performance needs. Workloads can heat up at different times of the day. Performance tuning and SLA compliance become even more complex.
This is where Dell innovation is delivering real advantages for our customers. You may have heard the exciting news that InfoWorld awarded their 2011 Technology of the year award for “Best Storage System” to Dell EqualLogic PS6010XVS, a SAN storage array with both SSD and SAS drives in a single enclosure AND intelligent tiering built into the firmware. This product is perfect for addressing the challenges many of our customers experience when trying to meet service levels for their business-critical databases. The advantages of automated data tiering for transactional workloads were measured in Dell Labs. We created workloads with Dell servers running multiple SQL Server databases loaded up to saturation two EqualLogic arrays; one with and one without hybrid drive and auto-tiering. The results in the graph below show dramatic performance improvements.
If you are interested in more info on how the XVS arrays’ advanced data protection, simplified management and automated data tiering make it the ideal storage platform for SQL Server database workloads, there is a great tech report on the benefits of Automatic Data Tiering in OLTP Database Environments that is now available on dellstorage.com