In 2016, Dell EMC announced new VMAX All Flash products --> VMAX 250F. The VMAX 250F as depicted in Figure 1 is ideally suited for customers with modest capacity requirements who still want to take advantage of the enterprise capabilities of VMAX all flash with high performance, availability, reliability and inbuilt data protection.



Figure 1 : VMAX 250F

It has the following benefits:-

  • Reliable performance of over 1 million IOPS
  • Starts at 11 TB and scales to 1 PB effective flash capacity with data reduction.
  • Ensures uptime of 99.9999% availability
  • Orderable with advanced replication, data encryption, storage management, data protection, and access to cloud storage tiering.
  • Scales out to 2 V-Bricks
  • Advanced data services and multi-controller architecture.
  • Response time is under 1 ms.
  • Uses virtual provisioning to create new storage devices with ease and in seconds.
  • Storage can scale-out with V-Bricks.


In this blog I am going to discuss the best practices of using Oracle on the VMAX 250F storage arrays.  Firstly, let me talk about the Servers and storage connectivity best practices with special reference to Oracle database. From the Oracle database performance and HA perspective we should connect HBAs to at least two VMAX ports, preferably on different directors as shown in Figure 2. This increases the overall system availability.


As far as HBAs and VMAX ports/directors are concerned, the following best practices may be followed :-


  1. When zoning host initiators to storage target ports, ensure that each pair is on different switches for best availability.
  2. Use two or more HBAs for each database node for better availability and scalability(Figure 2).
  3. DellEMC Powerpath software can help in automatic failover.
  4. Spread connections across engines / directors first, then on the same director.
  5. Get increased availability if the connections are spread "wide" first.
  6. Connect at least two HBAs across redundant fabrics for high availability.
  7. Each HBA port should be zoned/masked to two VMAX ports(Figure 2)


In extension to pt. 1 above, it will be better to avoid Inter-Switch links (ISLs).These links can prevent the shared resources with unpredictable utilization and can create bottlenecks when a few ISL paths can’t sustain many servers-to-storage paths as shown in Figure 2. The ISLs can become performance bottlenecks here as the total throughput is limited by the number of connections.



Figure : 2 ISLs between 2 Fibre Channel switches


Lastly, the number and speed of HBA ports should support planned bandwidth/IOPS. FC negotiates to lowest components’ speed between host, storage, and switch ports as seen in Figure 2.


In summary, oracle database is a complex database to manage and maintain the required level of performance. To achieve a reasonable level of performance, the optimal tuning of the Server and storage parameters are extremely important. In the next blog, I will talk about the database architectural considerations that we should take into account to get an enhanced performance in the Oracle database.





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