SQL Server databases running on PowerMax storage systems can use all-flash storage utilizing both NAND flash and SCM media. This capability provides unparalleled levels of performance and low latency with faster transactions to ensure better business agility and improved client satisfaction. Flash storage provides better total cost of ownership (TCO) because it uses less floor space for a few high-capacity solid-state drives (SSDs) and uses less power than hard drives. Flash storage also provides consistent performance regardless of whether the I/O profile is random, sequential, intermittent, or continuous.
SQL Server databases can greatly benefit from both server-side cache and flash storage. As large as the server-side cache is, often the database capacity is even larger. While frequently accessed data fits in the database cache, there are always queries that access less-frequently needed data. Database consolidation also often means a smaller portion of the cache is used for each tenant. Finally, in a cluster, server-side cache is not cumulative, and each cluster node caches its own data regardless of others. When the requested data is not in cache, flash storage enables quick completion of I/O operations.
PowerMax systems are even faster and more reliable than other third-party flash-only systems, due to the high capacity, persistent cache, end-to-end NVMe and 32 Gb FC and FC-NVMe support. The following figure shows a high-level hardware overview of the PowerMax 2000 and 8000 systems:
Figure 2. PowerMax family
This platform complements the use of database cache with faster I/O requests for blocks that are not already in cache. PowerMax systems also provide a storage system that enables high performance, consolidation, and easy data replications for backup, high availability (HA), and disaster recovery (DR).
As adoption of flash storage grows, organizations are moving away from traditional hybrid arrays to all-flash storage arrays such as PowerMax systems. In consolidated environments, organizations must still provide prioritized data access to mission-critical applications while minimizing the impact caused by noisy neighbors. In addition, as the application performance profile and importance changes, service levels must be set to ensure predictable and consistent performance for the applications. PowerMaxOS provides service levels at the SG level for PowerMax storage systems.
PowerMax systems provide automatic, scheduled, and application-consistent snapshots for Microsoft SQL Server and other applications for creating point-in-time copies for backup, reporting, and test/dev by using Dell EMC SnapVX local replication. Dell EMC AppSync data protection enables you to manage application snapshots with tighter integration between SnapVX and Microsoft Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) and SQL Server Virtual Device Interface (VDI).
PowerMax systems offer active/active high availability of storage devices at synchronous distances for Microsoft SQL Server failover clusters using SRDF/Metro. With storage devices always read/write-enabled, in the event of failover, SQL Server cluster resources can be restarted quickly, thus improving RTO and providing ease of management for SQL Server databases on a Windows Server Failover Cluster.
PowerMax systems can perform data compression to significantly increase the effective capacity of the array. With the system’s fine-grained data packing and activity-based hardware-accelerated compression capabilities, all application environments can achieve storage efficiency with optimum performance.
PowerMaxOS enhances the data compression capability even further. PowerMaxOS uses data reduction hardware that is available exclusively on PowerMax systems, further reducing the processing overhead for data reduction. Also, on PowerMax systems exclusively, PowerMaxOS provides inline data dedupe that is enabled whenever compression is enabled on an SG.