Database workload consolidation has many benefits. Perhaps the greatest single benefit is that it enables the business to increase infrastructure utilization without sacrificing performance while maintaining the elasticity and agility to respond to new requests. However, the greatest challenge to designing and delivering a consolidation solution is the uncertainty of how all the components will integrate and whether they will deliver on the investment. The complexities of integrating, supporting, and optimizing a multi-vendor design could require a significant upfront investment that might not be returned for quite some time.
Converged infrastructures (CI) and hyperconverged infrastructures (HCI) are designed to reduce the complexities of modern databases by offering a fully engineered solution with life-cycle management. Databases are unique in that licensing and performance considerations are equally important to the business. The positioning of database licensing on converged solutions can represent significant uncertainty or risk to the business. However, many businesses successfully run databases on CI, proving that this approach does work.
A blend of the multivendor and CI approaches offers an integrated and tested solution that is designed for database workloads. This reference architecture for mixed workloads has been designed and tested for SQL Server and Oracle databases running on the same validated infrastructure, which includes Dell EMC PowerEdge and PowerMax products. The Dell EMC PowerEdge MX modular infrastructure enables you to dedicate servers to specific databases. In this solution, we demonstrate how SQL Server and Oracle databases use dedicated servers for simplicity of management, scalability, and efficiencies in licensing while using one Dell EMC PowerMax 2000 storage array to support the mixed workloads.
Mixed database workloads such as online transaction processing (OLTP) and decision support system (DSS) workloads have traditionally been difficult to manage on the same infrastructure. Each of these workloads places different demands on the storage system. The storage system cannot be tuned for one workload or the other; instead, it must support both database loads at performance levels that meet service level agreements (SLAs). The PowerMax 2000 with NVM Express (NVMe) flash drives introduces improvements in performance and parallelism that provide an ideal match for mixed database workloads. NVMe flash drives offer increased speed and the ability to service more requests in parallel.
This guide describes three validation tests that we designed to push the system to realistic service-level limits. One key goal of these tests was to generate the maximum amount of load on the reference architecture without most of the read and write activity exceeding 1 millisecond (ms) in latency. The validation testing exceeded our expectations; especially for an entry-level storage array configuration that was designed to keep a customer’s initial investment low. Chapter 6 summarizes the test results.
Database failures can represent significant risk to the business by stopping operations, thus impacting revenue. Backing up and protecting databases prepares the business to recover from a spontaneous failure. The Dell EMC Validation Team has tested a backup and recovery solution using DD Boost software and the Data Domain DD9300 backup system that can support the database workloads discussed in this guide. Chapter 5 discusses the test cases and test results.