Delphix Database Virtualization
20 Yad Hamaavir St.
Fax. +972-3- 6446995
Delphix Core Features
Delphix is a software appliance that can be deployed on any ESX Virtual Machine infrastructure, a task that usually
takes just a few minutes. Once installed, the primary interface to the software is accessed through your web
browser. From this interface, a technologist can instantly begin choosing and setting up source databases within
Delphix and choosing systems that will be used as deployment targets. Installing the software and beginning setup is
a painless procedure with minimal configuration requirements.
Figure 1. The Delphix Web GUI
Easy Graphical Management
Nearly everything in Delphix is done via the web interface. While there is a command line interface as well with
some advanced functionality, the act of snapshotting and provisioning databases can be done with a few clicks by
technical and non-technical staff.
Versatile Source DB Compatibility
Delphix is extremely versatile in that it allows a wide range of database versions both for Oracle and SQL Server on
nearly any storage architecture to act as source systems. Delphix will fully automate linking the source database to
the appliance. Incremental snapshots are also automated and managed by the software without the need for
complex cleanup and maintenance processes.
TimeFlow Point-In-Time Provisioning
TimeFlow is a feature that takes and stores changes on a source database for a defined recovery window. The
benefits of this feature are twofold. It keeps the source database represented in Delphix up to date, which is
important for guaranteeing fresh data when provisioning or refreshing a target system. But just as importantly, it
allows target databases to be provisioned from any point in time during the recovery window, down to the second.
This means that if you choose to keep 30 days of TimeFlow data, you can provision a Virtual Database to a target
environment containing the data as it was 25 days ago, and another Virtual Database with the data as it was 20 days
ago, and another as it was 15 days ago, and so on. The multiple copies and the multiple times from which they are
created incur no additional space.
Figure 2. Delphix is made with DBMS software in mind. By taking a single backup of a production
(source) database, And propagating transaction history, Many virtual databases can be
provisioned from many Points in time using its SCN aware TimeFlow feature.
Huge Storage Savings
In addition to the storage savings achieved by compression of the source snapshot, the fact that provisioned
databases all utilize the same source blocks means further storage savings. The initial snapshot is compressed, the
TimeFlow incremental snapshots are compressed, and the target virtual databases are all using that same
compressed space; the only extra space consumption is the changes made on each target virtual database.
The storage space required for virtual snapshots is far less than the incrementally growing storage space necessary
for physical backups. Additionally, in order to provision a clone from a physical backup it will be necessary to
duplicate the storage space. In a virtual database environment, the target systems will all use the same space for
For example, imagine a 9TB source database. The initial link to Delphix takes 3TB stored with compression.
That now leaves 6TB to save changes from the source database on the Delphix but those 6TB are 6TB compressed
which is actually 18TB of changes from the source database uncompressed, so Delphix can save 18TB of changes in
the size of one normal backup of the database. Those 18 TB can represent, months of changes depending on the
change rate of the database.
High Performance Block Sharing in Cache
The average organization provisions multiple copies of a single production database which can include multiple
copies of development, QA, UAT, stress testing, maintenance QA, and others. Each of these copies requires time to
build and provision and the end result is several identical instances with their own copies of largely identical data
blocks across several shared memory regions. Delphix achieves a great reduction is disk usage by only saving
identical blocks to disk once. But more importantly, Delphix also only caches unique data blocks in memory. This
means that read performance across multiple systems that are provisioned from a single source can show dramatic
improvements and scalability.
As the number of concurrent users (x-axis) increase, TPMs of a physical database reaches a limit when I/O
subsystem saturates, but with a virtual database once Delphix can cache the blocks for one virtual database then
they are also cached for the other virtual database(s) so TPM continues to increase and I/O latency stays low as most
I/Os are being satisfied by the cache on Delphix. The above example represents a 200GB swing bench database with
200GB of memory on Delphix being accessed by 2 concurrent clones. TPM is cumulative and latency is averaged.
As the number of databases provisioned from a single source and the number of concurrent users increase,
performance in a Delphix environment can grow linearly. These factors would usually destroy performance on a
physical database; however, shared block caching means increased TPM and low latency on virtual databases when
more concurrent users are added
Delphix is the perfect match for Oracle’s plugable databases (PDB). A core use case for PDBs is cloning but each clone
takes up more disk space and each clone needs it’s own memory for it’s data block buffer cache, where as with PDBs
on Delphix all duplicate data blocks are stored in disk and all duplicate datablocks are shared in the cache on Delphix
minimizing the need for a large buffer cache memory on the container database (CDB).
Application development generally would not be manageable without solid version control. Popular packages like
SVN, Git, Mercurial, and CVS are used by project managers, development teams, and QA groups to maintain and
keep track of software revisions, bug fixes, and major releases.
Yet for all the version control capabilities available to software developers, there are not many viable options for
version control of the data in your database. Oracle’s built-in capabilities like Flashback Query can be useful, but
require a rewrite of every query to include the AS OF syntax. Flashback Database is a viable option for rolling back an
entire database to a point in time, but it requires a full copy of the database along with extra storage for flashback
logs. Even more importantly, it all has to be manually managed and orchestrated by DBA staff.
Virtual Database points-in-time can be lined up to code releases, and tagging allows the DBA to easily keep track of
the snapshots that correspond to an application patch or release.
Delphix is capable of temporal data provisioning, meaning that it can provision a virtual database from any time
point in the TimeFlow retention window. Further, it can provision multiple target systems from multiple points on
the same timeline without any extra storage or orchestration requirements. The Delphix software also allows tags to
be created for different points in time for semantic recognition; for example, you can tag a point such as “July 25,
2012 13:00” with the words “Version 1.3.5 Bugfix Release”. Snapshots can also be “kept” as well, ensuring that a
specific snapshot never ages out of the retention window.
The Technology Behind Delphix
Delphix is shipped and deployed as an OVA file that is placed in an ESX environment. While there are no strict
requirements for installing Delphix, it is recommended that the Virtual Machine hosting the software appliance be
configured with a large amount of RAM for shared caching and enough disk for your source databases and their
Once the Delphix Engine is installed, there are three main steps in order to create a new virtual database:
Register host machines
Source machine running a master database
Target machine with database binaries installed
Link a source database to Delphix
Provision a virtual database from the master database onto a target machine
Delphix Product Demo (Click Image)
Delphix is made up of three main components:
DxFS – The Delphix File System
DxFS is the file system used by the Delphix host for storage of snapshots. It includes features for block caching,
filtering, compression, and the block mapping that forms the secret sauce behind the provisioning of many
environments from a single backup source.
Snapshots and changes that are collected from the source database and managed by Delphix are filtered and
compressed, eliminating empty and temporary blocks and freeing up large amounts of storage. Block mapping built
into the file system keeps track of data blocks for multi-versioning over time and works together with the DataVisor
tier to virtualize “target-ready” data files that the target virtual database can use to spin up in full read/write mode.
DataVisor – Data Orchestration
The DataVisor tier of Delphix orchestrates the flow of snapshots for all source databases on the Delphix system.
Once a database is linked, DataVisor monitors and maintains the incremental-forever synchronization strategy used
in Delphix to save time and resources over the life of your provisioning architecture.
DataVisor also manages the provisioned targets and changes that are made on those systems. The synthesis of the
snapshots from the source database is what builds the TimeFlow feature. Once a virtual database is deployed from a
point in TimeFlow, the DDL and DML performed on that target virtual database (private only to that virtual database)
is also synthesized and managed by DataVisor. In conjunction with DxFS, Delphix can store roughly 50 days of
continuous recovery points (any point-in-time) in the space of 1 full normal data copy. DataVisor keeps track of all of
the work behind the scenes.
Self Service Management – Policies and UI
The Management tier of Delphix powers the three main interfaces:
The web-based GUI for human interface
A web services API to build provisioning into your existing code
A command line interface (CLI) for scripts
In addition to providing the UI components, the Management layer also includes a policy framework for users and
the data they can access, provision, refresh, etc. Retention policies are also defined here and used by the DataVisor
tier in the management of TimeFlow snapshots.
Lastly is the automation framework. Refreshes can be scheduled to occur on a specified basis; for instance, the
beginning of each month or end of the year. During the VDB creation process, pre- and post-provisioning scripts can
be identified to execute security procedures, handle specific QA team requests, or whatever else might be necessary
to have the provisioned environment in a ready-for-use state.
Typical Environment with Multiple Copies
of Production Database before Delphix
Typical Environment with Multiple Copies
of Production Database with Delphix