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Oracle muscles way into seat atop the benchmark with hefty ZFS filer

Cache that pigeon, pursuers of the SPC-2 squadron

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Oracle has announced new cache-heavy ZFS appliances and has seized the SPC-2 benchmark top spot with one of them.

Announced in early September, the third-generation ZFS appliance has most I/O served from DRAM cache, up to 2TB of it, and that makes these boxes stream data like a dragster sucking nitrous oxide.

As before the ZFS Appliances are integrated with various Oracle database features, such as hybrid columnar compression, to make a better fist of storing Oracle SW data than other vendors' storage, Oracle claims.

The O/S is, we are told an SMP design that is multi-core processor-aware and can provide up to 32GB/sec of sustained bandwidth. It has a Hybrid Storage Pool cache implementation, using DRAM, separate read and write flash caches, and disk, which delivers a 2x overall response time improvement compared to the previous ZFS Appliance generation.

That generation has products such as the 7120, 7320 and 7420 introduced three years ago. Now we have the ZS3-2 and ZS3-4 products.

Oracle ZS3-2

Oracle ZS3-2

The table below lists the main ZS3-2 and ZS3-4 configuration differences:

Oracle ZS3 specifications

Oracle ZS3 specs - click on chart to ease your eyes.

The ZS3-2 is the entry-level box with up to 768TB capacity, 32 x 2.1GHz Xeon cores, and 512GB of DRAM. The larger ZS3-4 has 2TB of DRAM, 6TB to 3.5PB of capacity, and 80 x 2.4GHz Xeon cores - this is a fearsomely powerful filer. Both models can have up 12.8TB of flash cache.

SPC-2 result

The Storage PerformanceCouncil states:

"SPC-2 consists of three distinct workloads designed to demonstrate the performance of a storage subsystem during the execution of business critical applications that require the large-scale, sequential movement of data."

This is a benchmark focussed on streaming data and not random I/O. For that the SPC-1 benchmark is used.

In the SPC-2 benchmark Oracle used a 2-node cluster with each node having dual ZS3-4 controllers, each with 1,024GB of cache. There were 384 x 300GB15K rpm disk drives in a disk mirroring set-up.

The system scored 17,244.2 SPC-2 MB/sec overall with an SPC-2 price/performance of $22.53, which is based on list prices. It is the best result so far. The chart below plots SPC-2 MBPS numbers against price/performance, and shows the relative position of Oracle's ZS3-4 system compared to some other vendors' SPC-2 scores.

Oracle ZS3-4 SPC-2 result

Lower right position best. Click on chart for larger version.

As the chart shows the Oracle system is a better SPC-2 performer than systems from EMC, HP, IBM and NetApp in terms of aggregate MB/sec and has the second lowest price performance. But the leading price/performer, NetApp's E5500 is far slower at streaming data than the ZS3-4 system Oracle used. Also the street price/performance numbers will be lower than list price/performance, depending on how good you are at getting a discount from your supplier. ®

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