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The Architecture, Database Storage Efficiency and Performance Tools of Oracle ZS4-4 Hybrid Storage Array Give It a Decided Edge in Oracle Database Environments

Hybrid storage arrays, which dynamically place data in storage pools that combine flash memory and HDDs, are rapidly expanding their market share in the enterprise space. These arrays use the latest generation of hardware – including multi-core CPUs and DRAM and flash caches – to offer high levels of performance and inline data optimization.

When businesses evaluate storage solutions for their Oracle Database environments, the newly announced Oracle ZFS Storage ZS4-4 hybrid storage array and the NetApp FAS8080 EX are likely to make it onto many enterprise buying short lists. On the surface, the two arrays offer similar functionality. However, the ZS4-4’s underlying architecture and its unique ability to integrate with Oracle Database 12c make it a superior storage platform to accelerate Oracle Database performance and reduce storage capacity requirements.

High Performance Architecture

The ZS4-4 hardware includes 120 processor cores and 3 TB of DRAM cache. This is 3x the number of CPU cores and 12x the amount of DRAM cache found in the NetApp FAS8080 EX. The ZS4-4’s Symmetric Multi-Processing (SMP) OS8.3 takes full advantage of this superior processing power as it can run all 120 cores in parallel while the ZS4-4’s DRAM-centric architecture leverages its 3TB DRAM cache size to service up to 90% of IOs from ultra-low latency DRAM. The ZS4-4 also dynamically adjusts I/O packet sizes sent by an Oracle Database 12c to accelerate and optimize data transmissions.

Superior Data Storage Efficiency

Both the ZS4-4 and the FAS8080 EX offer deduplication and compression but only the ZS4-4 utilizes Automatic Data Optimization (ADO) with Hybrid Columnar Compression (HCC) to automate storage tiering and compression of Oracle Database 12c data. ADO uses heat map data – in combination with usage patterns and/or user-defined policies – to automatically move and/or compress Oracle Database 12c data. “Hot” data may be left uncompressed while “cool” or “cold” data may be compressed which may yield 10x to 50x space savings.

Storage Performance Tuning and Visibility

The Oracle Intelligent Storage Protocol (OISP) – available with Oracle Database 12c – passes metadata directly to the ZS4-4, enabling the database to dynamically setup and tune itself. ZS Analytics can then be used to pinpoint bottlenecks and optimize storage performance in real-time in ways in which the FAS8080 EX does not currently offer.

By co-engineering with Oracle Database, the Oracle ZS4-4 obtains real-time analytics across thousands of pluggable databases. With 12c, enterprises can run a container database that hosts hundreds of pluggable databases. The net result is up to a 5x increase in scalability with 6x less resources than a conventional database implementation. In contrast, NetApp management software provides limited to no visibility into the individual pluggable databases or container databases.

The Oracle ZS4-4 leverages Oracle’s inherent in-depth knowledge of Oracle Database 12c to deliver radically better data efficiency and database performance than competing solutions as the ZS4-4 may be viewed as an extension of Oracle Database. Deploying the ZS4-4 with Oracle Database 12c enables enterprises to capitalize on its architectural design, storage efficiencies and management tools to optimize Oracle Database performance and reduce storage capacity in ways that the NetApp FAS8080 EX cannot yet deliver.

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Chuck Cook

About Chuck Cook

Chuck Cook is an Analyst at DCIG, an independent storage analyst and consulting firm, which provides informed, insightful, third party analysis and commentary on IT hardware, software and services. Chuck joined DCIG in July of 2014 bringing 20 years of information technology and unified communications experience to the DCIG team.

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