Executive summary

Online Transaction Processing (OLTP) information systems enable transaction oriented applications. Such systems are characterized by the need to store and retrieve a very large number of transactions. Naturally, a high performing and responsive storage system is a necessity for such systems. As the last mechanical component in the enterprise data center stack, Hard Disk Drive (HDD) based systems simply cannot meet the performance and latency requirements of the current and future OLTP systems. Traditionally, system architects have used methods such as disk overprovisioning, short stroking and manual performance tuning to keep up with the high performance requirements demanded by the OLTP information systems.

Flash technology promises to eliminate the overprovisioning and the high-touch manual tuning by providing a storage medium with extreme performance characteristics, but at a high cost. In addition, most available solutions fail to unlock the true potential of flash because they treat flash simply as a single expensive storage medium with high performance characteristics.

The Dell Compellent Flash-optimized array is a radically new storage platform that leverages flash in an innovative way. The Compellent flexible storage architecture acknowledges that not all flash is created equal thereby leveraging the unique strengths of different types of flash media appropriately. As a result, the Dell Compellent Flash-optimized array redefines the economics of high performance storage by delivering a truly high performing storage platform that is more cost effective than pure HDD systems. The solution discussed in this paper describes and demonstrates a reference architecture that delivers flash performance for Oracle OLTP workloads at the price of mechanical disk. The testing compares a Dell Compellent Flash-Optimized solution to a similarly priced solution consisting of 15k SAS HDD’s.

In this paper the benefits of the Compellent Flash-optimized array are presented by comparing its transactional performance under simulated (ORION based) and real world (TPC-C style) OLTP workloads to a similarly priced HDD based Compellent array. The key findings based on the testing conducted in Dell labs are: 

  • Improved Performance and reduced latency
    • Over 300% improvement in raw IOPS compared to HDD configuration with similar cost 
    • Over 300% improvement in real world (TPC-C style) transactions per second (TPS) 
    • Over 80% reduction in latency 
  • Higher Capacity
    • 14% more raw capacity 
  • Improved Power and Space efficiency 
    • 45% reduction in power consumption 
    • 40% reduction in Datacenter space requirements 

  • Enterprise Grade Features 
    • Full enterprise functionality such as snapshots, replication and live volume 
    • Enterprise grade monitoring and management functionality 
    • Flexibility to tailor system configuration to cost effectively balance performance and capacity requirements

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