There is literally a divergence occurring right now in data storage solutions. On one hand, a number of storage providers seek to deliver highly differentiated storage solutions that work with a broad set of applications and operating systems. On the other, a few providers focus on delivering a storage solution that tightly integrates with one or more applications to deliver unparalleled levels of application performance and ease of management. The latest Oracle ZFS Storage Appliance ZS3 Series with its new OS8.2 provide the best of what both of these categories of storage systems currently have to offer to deliver a storage platform that truly stands apart.

Many storage providers have rightly taken steps to decouple their respective storage solutions from the various applications and operating systems that exist in today’s data center infrastructures as a means to deliver a virtualized storage offering (now referred to as Software-Defined Storage) that works with the broadest number of applications and operating systems. These steps open the door for organizations to use their storage systems more broadly as a single platform to host their enterprise applications and operating systems.

The downside associated with this decoupling is that it increases the odds that the application and operating system are unaware of the underlying storage system and its management and performance capabilities. Similarly, if the storage system has little to no insight into the application and operating system accessing it, it has limited means to optimize application performance or data placement. This decoupling results in many of the advanced capabilities present on today’s modern-day storage systems being underutilized or even going to waste.

A prime example of the positive impact that a storage system’s awareness and integration with the application can have is evidenced in the form of the Oracle ZFS Storage ZS3 Series.. By being co-engineered with Oracle Database and being aware of it, the ZS3 storage appliance can significantly accelerate Oracle Database performance while reducing consumed capacity using its Advanced Data Optimization (ADO), Oracle Intelligent Storage Protocol (OISP) and Hybrid Columnar Compression (HCC) technologies, which are exclusive to Oracle storage. These increases in performance and reductions in consumed capacity are powered by up to 2 TBs of dynamic random access memory (DRAM) which handle up to 90% of all system IO, complemented by tiers of HDDs and SSDs.

However Oracle has delivered these levels of performance and capacity optimization since its co-engineering between ZFS Storage and Oracle Database began a number of years ago. In its latest ZFS Storage OS8.2, Oracle broadens the number of applications and cloud integration points that it supports to provide similarly high levels of performance acceleration and capacity optimization at a lower cost/GB. Consider;

  • The ZS3-2 can concurrently boot over 16,000 VMs in under seven (7) minutes. Organizations continue to look to converge their infrastructure or even host applications with cloud providers. The ZS3-2 provides organizations the levels of performance they need to confidently achieve this objective without worrying about the dreaded boot storms associated with large-scale VM deployments.
  • Outperforms flash arrays at a lower price. All-flash storage arrays are increasingly viewed as the “end-all, be-all” configuration for next generation storage arrays. However by using a DRAM-centric design and a Symmetric Multi-Processing (SMP) operating system, the ZS3-2 storage appliance outperforms many all-flash arrays while coming in at a lower price. With a starting list price of under $100,000, the ZS3-2 provides a price/performance ratio that currently available all-flash arrays are hard pressed to match.
  • REST API and OpenStack Cinder Driver support. While Oracle recognizes that co-engineering with certain high performance applications like Oracle Database is critical, it also is aware that more organizations also want storage to be more ubiquitous so they can easily move data around with the infrastructure without having to do painful and time-consuming data migrations. By introducing a new Oracle REST API and OpenStack Cinder Driver, Oracle provides this added flexibility that organizations seek.

There is need for both types of storage systems in today’s environments – those that are decoupled from the applications and operating systems they host and those that are tightly integrated with them. The rub is that if a storage provider can deliver a storage system that tightly integrates with capacity and/or performance- intensive applications and also support a broad number of applications and operating systems and their more ubiquitous requirements, it has developed a solution that is most apt to meet the majority of the different needs that an organization possesses.

Oracle’s significant value prop to clients is that while others are actively disaggregating their storage software from their hardware, it is bringing the two elements closer together to enable levels of communication, management and technical simplicity that one cannot easily obtain from other storage offerings. In Oracle’s case, it brings those two objectives closer together with its ZFS Storage OS8.2 on its ZS3 storage appliances to effectively stand apart from other storage providers.

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Jerome M. Wendt

About Jerome M. Wendt

President & Lead Analyst of DCIG, Inc. Jerome Wendt is the President and Lead Analyst of DCIG Inc., an independent storage analyst and consulting firm. Mr. Wendt founded the company in September 2006.

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Cloud Storage, DCIG Sponsored Analysis, Flash Memory, Hybrid, SSD, Storage Systems