Just announced the new VMAX3 is delivers more performance, simplifies storage management, and is the optimum route to the hybrid cloud. In today’s Redefine Possible  mega event you might have heard about the new capabilities of the VMAX3 but perhaps you didn’t catch the part about Oracle application awareness. In the interest of full disclosure I missed the part about how using the VMAX3 BOTH the Oracle DBA and storage administrator can monitor database and tune database performance. That means it’s time to blog!

Driving Awareness

At the time of writing this blog it might be a challenge to find information on VMAX3 application awareness with the exception of this 6 minute video: Application Awareness Demo. In the video we learn that there is a “dedicated URL for DBAs” to access DBclassify in Unisphere 8.0. This means the DBA can independently access the DBclassify web page without having to contact the storage administrator and can gain immediate insight into database storage performance.

Picture 1: DBclassify Dashboard


In the above picture above we see the DBclassify dashboard and several statics: IO Wait vs. Non IO Wait, average active sessions wait, response time, IOPS, and throughput. The solid lines in the graph denote performance as reported by the database and the dashed lines show storage performance. In this way it is very easy to investigate physical reads, writes and redo writes and see the delta between database and storage metrics. This eliminates the blame storms that sometimes occur between the database and storage administrators.


Clicking on the ‘Analytics’ table up top brings the DBA to a management page that shows IO Wait over time and which database objects actively used during that time. This provides the capability for the DBA to investigate historical performance and find which database objects were used during high IO wait times.

Picture 2: DBclassify Analytics


Looking to the right in the list of database objects you will see a bar that indicates the type of activity for the object: random read, sequential read, direct I/O, system I/O, commit I/O, and other I/O. This is important because moving database objects to enterprise flash drives is best for objects with that are weighted towards random reads. For example, given a choice between an object with mostly random reads (purple color) and another object with direct I/O (green color) the best opportunity to improve performance is with the object that has the purple bar.

Picture 3: DBclassify Hinting


Sometimes it’s not what you hear that matters but what you see. This picture was taken at approximately 3 minutes and 24 seconds into the video and the objects selected are very important: all three objects show a healthy amount of random reads. The selected objects then become part of a hinting wizard in which the DBA can move the objects for the flash drives.


Picture 4: DBclassify Hinting Wizard


In the hinting wizard the DBA can:

  • Assign a name to the hint: for example, “Billing” to identify objects related to billing activity
  • Priority: hint priority represents how important the object are
    • 1: Top
    • 2: Very high
    • 3: High
    • 4: Above average
  • Hint Scheduling
    • One time: a onetime promotion of database objects
    • Ongoing: keep the databases objects on the faster tier of storage
    • Recurrence: schedule a time to promote database objects to accelerate cycles of workloads

Once a hint has been created the DBA can then monitor the effectiveness of the hint. There is also a hint management tab that show all the hints created (not shown) and allows the DBA to enable, disable, edit, and remove hints. As you can see using the hinting wizard the DBA can at a very granular level improve database / application performance by selecting database objects to be promoted to flash drives. EMC is truly enabling the Oracle DBA to use VMAX storage arrays!


Stay tuned more coming!