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Pillar, EMC, and HP bow to the Oracle

App-specific storage

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Pillar has added new Oracle software pick-and-click tuning tools to its Axiom storage array management software to simplify an Oracle DBA's day. EMC and HP have also added Oracle-specific versions of their products.

This adding of app-specific configurations or tuning templates is starting to become a trend amongst storage companies. Pillar, EMC, and HP are doing what backup and archive software providers are also doing which is extending their products to better serve popular application environments.

An Oracle DBA with a Pillar Axiom array would use the newly-announced storage profiles to automatically tune the array to suit different aspects of the Oracle product set. By setting up the array to provide specific proportions of controller processing power, memory, I/O, storage speed, and protection, Oracle databases, middleware, and applications can be better and more easily catered to, according to Pillar. The idea is that the DBA no longer has to look at intricate storage specifics to get the best performance for software in the Oracle stack.

The application profiles support both Oracle 10g and 11g and encompass business intelligence and data warehousing, on-line transaction processing work, enterprise content management, Siebel, the Enterprise Business Suite, JD Edwards, and PeopleSoft. Pillar guarantees an 80 per cent utilization of the Axiom array's disks, which it says is the highest in the industry.

It also reckons it provides the best performance for Oracle databases as it, uniquely, can write 1MB-wide stripes across multiple spindles for improved performance. However, EMC's flashy DMX-4 will probably knock that performance into a cocked hat.

HP and EMC

HP has introduced an All-in-One storage system for Oracle's Real Application Clusters (RAC) on Linux. This combines, HP says, network attached storage (NAS), storage area network (SAN) block-level storage, and backup and snapshot functions within "Shorty", an HP BladeSystem c3000 enclosure. HP says it's geared at small and medium business customers, has much simplified cabling, and can be easily expanded with additional enclosures, servers, iSCSI devices, or other storage.

It's available now with an average U.S. list price of $50,000 (about £38,500 at standard conversion rates).

At the enterprise end of the customer scale, EMC has introduced an Oracle-ised Symmetrix DMX-4 array with Enterprise Flash Drive (EFD) technology for high transaction rate Oracle environments. Being solid state drives, EMC says they can provide very much faster response times than the fastest hard disk drives, as well as being pretty cost-effective compared to SDRAM-based EFDs or I/O accelerators. That's a coded way of saying that they'll look expensive compared to Fibre Channel disk drives but you would needs lots of them, and probably short-stroked, to get performance approaching the flash drives.

If customers have a transaction hot spot which disk arrays cannot service satisfactorily, except with significant expense, then throw an EFD at it and, EMC says, watch it go away. More here (PDF). ®

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