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Kevin Kline

Accelerate OLTP with HP and Microsoft's New High Performance Reference Architecture

If you haven't started to read Shashank Pawar (blog), you're missing out. Shashank is part of Microsoft Australia and has been writing some very good content lately. Here's an example from the Reference Architecture for High Performance SQL Server:

HP and Microsoft engineering teams have worked together to create a reference architecture to Accelerate Online Transaction Processing (OLTP) database workloads with a fully-flash based HP/Microsoft architecture and achieve significant performance increases, simplified database manageability, and industry leading TCO.

The details come in a torrent after that leading paragraph with lots of pretty pictures and charts to help explain. This is great stuff, especially for competitive platforms such as Oracle Exadata.

Read more about the new HP High Performance Reference Architecture for SQL Server 2012 here.

And just out of curiousity, are any of you using high performance architectures such as Oracle Exadata, IBM Netezza, or Teradata? I'd love to hear your feedback, questions, and comments.



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Published Tuesday, March 6, 2012 10:25 AM by KKline

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jchang said:

This is my impression. At a number of places that I have done work at, there would be one or more high-end SAN systems, as in EMC Symmetrix or Hitachi USP, frequently with 1000 disks drive. The amortized cost per disk of these SANs is $4-6K per disk. So we are talking about multi-million dollar storage systems. With possibly one exception, all of these systems had really bad performance relative to what the system should have been capable of. For 1000 15K disks, we expect 175 IOPS per disk, and 10MB/s per disk “sequential” (based on 150 IOPS at 64K per IO). Typically I would see 5-10K IOPS and 300-600MB/s available to SQL Server. It is almost as if the SAN admin was deliberately trying to sabotage IO performance.

Many of these sites also have Oracle, probably on the same SAN. The Oracle license is almost always the full boat, Enterprise Edition, Partitioning, ASM, RAC etc. If it’s expensive, the Oracle sales rep sold it to them and everything from Oracle is expensive. Considering that Oracle was installed on the same SAN, per the configuration mandated by the SAN admin, Oracle would experience the same horrible IO as SQL Server.

I am guessing that Oracle eventually got tired of customers who bought $5M Oracle licenses blaming them for poor IO performance on their $5M SAN, and that no technical explanation could convince the customer to change the SAN configuration. I worked on SQL project for several months, where there was an Oracle team in the next cubile cluster. They spent month trying to figure out why the SAN with 1000 disks could only do 1-1.5GB/s, during which the SAN admin absolutely refused to provide details on how the LUNs were actually laid out. In the end, they decided to get their own storage system. I did a quick price estimate for them on what it would take to get 10GB/s for DW queries. Interestingly, the Oracle Exadata v1 could do this for about 50% of a high-end SAN ($2M versus $4M).

So the real purpose of Oracle Database Machine (with Exadata storage) is to get rid of the SAN admin by locking down the storage system configuration. And I think it is a good idea to have this option on SQL Server via the HP solution. I think it should have a mixed SSD-HD storage system, kind of a FT hybrid.

March 7, 2012 5:24 PM

KKline said:

Joe, insightful as always.  Thanks for the comment!  On a related note, and perhaps in a blog post of your own, what do you think about SSD in general?

Best regards,


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About KKline

Kevin Kline is a well-known database industry expert, author, and speaker. Kevin is a long-time Microsoft MVP and was one of the founders of PASS,

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