Optimizing Storage Architecture for Vital Database Applications


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Business-critical database applications need storage infrastructure that is designed to keep up. Dell™ EqualLogic™ PS Series arrays help simplify storage management while easily accommodating performance, capacity and availability requirements.

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Optimizing Storage Architecture for Vital Database Applications

  1. 1. 68 2013 Issue 02 | dell.com/powersolutionsStorage solutionsReprinted from Dell Power Solutions, 2013 Issue 2. Copyright © 2013 Dell Inc. All rights reserved.Pivotal business applications —from online shopping sites toaccounting systems to customercare programs — increasinglydepend upon powerful database systems tostore and manage data for processing andreporting. Consolidation and virtualizationof these systems promise to deliver hugeefficiencies and cost-savings by drivingbusiness value up and overhead down.Enterprises that run relational databasemanagement systems in a Microsoft®Windows Server® OS–based environmentare rapidly adopting Microsoft® SQL Server®2012 database software to take advantageof its high availability, fast performance andenhanced security features. As enterpriseapplications relying on SQL Server 2012proliferate and data sets grow, the underlyingstorage must continue to meet service levels,maintain data integrity and help ensure highavailability and performance. Meanwhile,many organizations find that their IT resourcesare drained by the time-consuming, oftenmanual tasks related to managing a large,growing number of Windows-based systemsand their attached storage.Dell EqualLogic PS Series internet SCSI(iSCSI) storage area network (SAN) arrayshelp improve efficiency and reduce the costand complexity of storage for virtualizedSQL Server 2012 implementations. As well,the built-in data services and redundantcomponents of EqualLogic arrays are designedto support the high availability and reliabilityrequired for business-critical databases.EqualLogic arrays are tightly integratedwith Windows Server 2012, which helpssimplify management tasks such asprovisioning and tuning. In turn, streamlinedstorage management enhances operationalefficiency by avoiding extra steps and byautomating common tasks.Enhancing IT efficiency and agilitythrough ease of useAs enterprises face intensifying capacityand scalability challenges, IT organizationsBusiness-critical database applications needstorage infrastructure that is designed to keep up.Dell™ EqualLogic™ PS Series arrays help simplifystorage management while easily accommodatingperformance, capacity and availability requirements.By Magi Kapoor, Jim Salvadore and Darren MillerOptimizing storagearchitecture for vitaldatabase applications
  2. 2. dell.com/powersolutions | 2013 Issue 02 69Reprinted from Dell Power Solutions, 2013 Issue 2. Copyright © 2013 Dell Inc. All rights reserved.need a fresh approach for deployingand managing storage in a SQL Serverenvironment. Dell EqualLogic PS Seriesarrays make it easy for administratorsto deploy and configure storage, backup and recover data and perform dailymanagement tasks.EqualLogic PS Series arrays are designedwith a scale-out, peer-storage architecturethat enables them to grow seamlessly tomeet capacity or performance needs. Asdatabases expand, EqualLogic arrays harnesstheir aggregate resources to evenly loadbalance data requests, additional capacity,network activity and cache, thus maximizingperformance and resource utilization. Beingmodular in nature, the scale-out architectureallows organizations to start small and keepup with growth cost-effectively, at their ownpace. Moreover, administrators can addstorage resources nondisruptively to the SAN,helping increase capacity and performancewith automated load balancing.At volume creation, administratorscan utilize the advanced thin-provisioningcapability of EqualLogic PS Series arraysto efficiently allocate storage capacity todatabase volumes. Then, as a databasegrows in size, thin provisioning is designedto automatically allocate physical storagefrom the free storage pool.Built-in snapshot and replication capabilitiesof EqualLogic PS Series arrays facilitate fastdatabase backup and disaster recovery.Administrators can configure snapshots ofdatabases and logs to be taken automaticallyby the SAN. A single database, as well as multi-database deployments, can be quickly resetto a previous snapshot to resume databaseoperations from a clean starting point. As aresult, end users do not need to wait for datato be physically moved or copied. Snapshotsalso can be mounted on SQL Server hosts toallow side-by-side databases for object-levelrecoveries. In addition, an auto-replicationcapability, which is built into EqualLogic PSSeries arrays, is designed to create an exactcopy of the SQL Server database on a remotesite to protect data from a disaster that affectsthe data center.The virtualization of storage separatesthe management of storage servicesfrom the configuration of the hardware,helping reduce the complexity of dailyadministrative tasks. Virtualization alsominimizes the need for specialized storageexpertise and time-consuming, error-prone manual operations. Features suchas automated tiering and data migration,which are designed to automaticallyrelocate data to the most cost-effectiveor performance-suited storage tier, helpreduce management overhead whileoptimizing cost/performance.EqualLogic storage is optimized for bothonline transaction processing (OLTP) anddecision support system (DSS) workloads.Virtualization and automated load balancingexpedite database management forthese types of workloads as well, furtherenhancing IT efficiency and agility.Streamlining storage managementIncluded at no additional cost with DellEqualLogic PS Series arrays are theDell EqualLogic Host Integration Tools forMicrosoft, which enrich the installation,maintenance and management of MicrosoftSQL Server environments using EqualLogicarrays. From initializing arrays to creatingapplication-consistent snapshots toscripting management operations, the HostIntegration Tools offer a wide variety ofcapabilities to administrators through aneasy-to-use, centralized graphical interface.The Host Integration Tools include theDell EqualLogic Auto-Snapshot Manager/Microsoft Edition (ASM/ME), which enablesadministrators to create and manage point-in-time snapshots, or Smart Copies, as partof an effective backup and data recoverystrategy. The space-efficient Smart Copies areapplication consistent, supporting Windows 8,Microsoft Windows Server 2012, Microsoft®Exchange Server messaging software,Microsoft SQL Server, Microsoft® SharePoint®collaboration software and the Microsoft®Hyper-V® hypervisor.If a catastrophic event occurs, datafrom supported applications can be quicklyrestored (see figure). Administrators can goto the ASM/ME interface and right-click theprotection point. Then, they can choosefrom three options — restore selectedAuto-Snapshot Manager/Microsoft Edition (ASM/ME) used to quickly restore a corrupted database from aSmart Copy to a previous point in time1231. Right-click the server host.2. Select desired Smart Copy.3. Select Restore All.
  3. 3. 70 2013 Issue 02 | dell.com/powersolutionsStorage solutionsReprinted from Dell Power Solutions, 2013 Issue 2. Copyright © 2013 Dell Inc. All rights reserved.databases, restore all or restore all as new — toquickly restore the database either on the samehost or to an alternate host. ASM/ME enhances dataprotection by enabling a number of different datarecovery methods, including in place, selectivecomponent and manual recovery.ASM/ME also supports failover clusters forenhanced data protection. When installed on aserver that is a cluster node in a Microsoft failovercluster, ASM/ME can perform certain operationson cluster resources owned by the installationnode. In a cluster, Smart Copies can be accessedfrom any cluster node. And during a node failover,scheduled ASM/ME tasks are designed to fail overto a surviving node.Another component of the Host IntegrationTools is EqualLogic Multipath I/O (MPIO) DeviceSpecific Module (DSM) for Windows. EqualLogicMPIO DSM enables intelligent, dynamic routingof iSCSI SAN traffic load over multiple redundantnetwork paths between a server and the EqualLogicPS Series group — leading to increased bandwidth,reduced network latency and high availability.EqualLogic MPIO DSM is designed to understandwhere each volume’s data is located on theEqualLogic SAN, enhancing traditional MPIOtechnologies that do not have this capability.Ultimately, EqualLogic MPIO DSM helps improvethe performance and efficiency of applicationsaccessing volume data.Administrators can use the includedEqualLogic PowerShell Tools to manage oneor more EqualLogic PS Series groups througha powerful, comprehensive set of WindowsPowerShell® cmdlets. These scripts help simplifymanagement by automating routine EqualLogicPS Series administrative tasks, such as remoteinstallations and upgrades, and integrate datacenter processes that involve EqualLogic PSSeries tasks.The latest release of Host Integration Toolsfor Microsoft also supports volume rethinningoperations. (For more information about theupdated Host Integration Tools for Microsoft, seethe sidebar, “Advanced management options.”)As data is written and deleted to storagevolumes over time, volumes can lose their spaceefficiency because the storage system cannotrelease storage that is no longer being used.To deallocate the unused space, EqualLogicPS Series arrays support the unmap standardspecified by the InterNational Committee forInformation Technology Standards (INCITS) T10technical committee on SCSI. The SCSI unmapoperation issued by a host enables the group torelease capacity back to free space, similar tothe way an operating system releases space tohost volumes. Operating systems that supportunmap or volume rethinning allow space tobe reclaimed on the SAN as data is removedor deleted from host volumes. This rethinningoperation locates disk space within a volume,reclaiming space on the SAN to help improvestorage efficiency and performance.Advanced management optionsVersion 4.5 of the Dell EqualLogic Host Integration Tools forMicrosoft includes several feature enhancements designed toboost reliability, availability and storage efficiency:• Microsoft SharePoint Server support by Auto-SnapshotManager/Microsoft Edition (ASM/ME)• Enhancements to ASM/ME, such as centralized configurationof Multipath I/O (MPIO) on multiple hosts and centralizedview of volumes, collections, schedules and Smart Copies forhosts in the Host Integration Tools group• Single sign-on for Windows PowerShell through Microsoft®Active Directory® directory service• Support for Microsoft Windows Server 2012 and MicrosoftSQL Server 2012• Support for EqualLogic Array Software 6.0 featuresThe Host Integration Tools for Microsoft are available fordownload at support.equallogic.com/support at no additionalcost for organizations with a valid support contract.Dive deeperDownload this white paper todiscover the storage factorsthat IT administrators need toconsider when sizing storagefor performance and capacity —critical for avoiding performancebottlenecks in Microsoft SQL Serverdatabase environments.qrs.ly/vr3bu4u
  4. 4. dell.com/powersolutions | 2013 Issue 02 71Reprinted from Dell Power Solutions, 2013 Issue 2. Copyright © 2013 Dell Inc. All rights reserved.Scaling for optimal performanceDell EqualLogic PS Series arrays heighten I/Operformance for database applications, asvalidated by benchmark testing. In March 2013,Dell engineers at Dell Labs tested EqualLogicPS61000XV arrays to assess storage I/Operformance under OLTP workloads.1 Theresults of this test study showed that EqualLogicPS Series arrays provided high levels of I/Operformance for OLTP applications while stillmaintaining Microsoft-recommended latencies.Furthermore, this testing demonstrated that I/Operformance and user transactions per secondscaled in an almost linear fashion when a secondarray was added (see figure).In addition, Dell and Microsoft updated theMicrosoft SQL Server Fast Track Data Warehousereference architectures to include the latestadvancements in database, server and storagetechnologies. These reference architecturesprovide tested and balanced server, memory,network and storage configurations that helpensure system capability and throughput aremaximally utilized for data warehouse systems.In December 2012, Dell engineers at Dell Labstested reference architectures for the MicrosoftFast Track program. The recommended referencearchitectures for EqualLogic PS6110XV arrays ina SQL Server 2012 environment were certifiedby Microsoft for a Fast Track Data Warehousecapacity rating of 15 TB and I/O performance of2021.25 MB/sec.2Opening the way to exceptionalbusiness responseLarge ecommerce websites and other business-critical applications must handle a high volumeof transactions and respond to spikes indemand from a large number of users quicklyand efficiently. Dell and Microsoft have workedtogether to provide guidelines and designprinciples for implementing balanced MicrosoftSQL Server data warehouse configurations toachieve out-of-the-box scalable performance.These reference architectures incorporateDell EqualLogic PS Series storage arrays, whichoffer intelligent automation and enterprise-class performance and reliability. The resultsof the test study reported in this articleshow that EqualLogic PS Series arrays offeroutstanding performance for both sequentialand transactional applications. The near-linearscalability demonstrated in this test studyindicates that EqualLogic PS Series arrays havethe potential to allow organizations to addstorage as business demands increase — withoutcompromising performance. Moreover, toolsincluded at no additional cost with EqualLogic PSSeries arrays help simplify storage managementto enhance operational efficiency.Learn moreDell EqualLogic storage in a SQL Server environment:qrs.ly/v23bu4vAuthorsMagi Kapoor is a senior technical marketing advisor inthe Dell Enterprise Storage Product Group.Jim Salvadore is a technical marketing advisor in theDell Enterprise Storage Product Group.Darren Miller is a technical marketing engineeringmanager for EqualLogic storage at Dell.Near-linear scalability of Dell EqualLogic PS6100XV storage arrays1 For more information about the test configuration and results, see “Best Practices and Sizing Guidelines for Transaction Processing Applications WithMicrosoft SQL 2012 Using EqualLogic PS Series Storage,” by Dell Storage Engineering, March 2013, qrs.ly/oo3bu4l.2 For more information about the reference architecture, configuration and performance, see “Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Fast Track ReferenceConfiguration Using PowerEdge R720 and EqualLogic PS6110XV Arrays,” by Jisha J and Chris Boire, Dell Inc., December 2012, qrs.ly/ve3bu4s.7,0006,0005,0004,0003,0002,0001,0000TotalIOPS1 2Number of EqualLogic PS6100XV arrays3,2876,2772,5002,0001,5001,0005000TPS1,0542,006Total IOPSTPS