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IT Organizations are spending too much time and budget manually performing tasks. For example, DBAs find themselves provisioning databases to support change management activities like testing patches, updates, and new development. Provisioning is just one example as DBA teams are looking for ways to automate and orchestrate routine tasks. See figure 8.


Figure 8: DBA activities costing excessive time and budget


The Ready Bundle for Oracle is designed streamline database activities by enabling the DBA to do more. There is no time spent building the Ready Bundle for Oracle as it’s designed as a unified system that can go from zero to 100 in less time. Servers, storage, and networking all tested and optimized for Oracle databases: Read Part One of my blog for more information.


Provisioning databases can involve a complex number of steps and multiple IT teams. It’s common to have the Storage Administrators have to refresh a database from production. Using AppSync the Storage Administrator can give control to the Oracle DBA to refresh their databases. AppSync is a program from Dell EMC designed to automate lifecycle management activities for Oracle, SAP, and Microsoft databases. For example, an Oracle DBA can schedule the refresh of a database over the weekend and AppSync will automate the entire process.


AppSync deserves its own blog because there is no way to cover it all here but its core value is integrating with Dell EMC storage to off-load refresh and copy activities to storage arrays like VMAX, XtremIO, and Unity. For example, the VMAX 250F all flash array can make a copy of production in a matter of seconds. This benefits the DBA who has to refresh a database as they can now complete most of the work in minutes versus weeks or days. This also combines the DBA and Storage Administration teams into a delivery model like DevOps. The two teams working together sharing responsibility for the delivery of a database.

The VMAX 250F storage array comes with the Data Storage Analyzer (DSA) at no additional cost. Using DSA the DBA can review storage performance. This means the classic question of storage performance is no longer a challenge to the DBA. Oracle Enterprise Manager combing with Data Storage Analyzer together gives the DBA a comprehensive view into database and storage performance. The combined power of OEM plus DSA can save hours in performance tuning efforts and provide better reporting to the business. It’s worth repeating: DSA is free with the VMAX and is part of the Ready Bundle for Oracle.


In Tuesday’s Oracle OpenWorld keynote, Larry Ellison talked about the importance of security. In my humble opinion Dell EMC RSA offers industry leading security solutions and for data protection there are solutions like storage replication and Data Domain. Dell EMC enables DBAs to use storage replication using AppSync. The DBA can control how frequently the database and applications are replicated and where the data is replicated to.  Using the Ready Bundle for Oracle the DBA has more control and works more closely with the IT Operations team.


Data Domain with DD Boost is among one of the most popular data protection solutions for Oracle. DD Boost integrates with RMAN and deduplicates backups to Data Domain decreasing backup times, reducing network utilization, and enabling more online backups. Additionally, the DBA controls DD Boost and can even configure the database backups can be replicated up to another Data Domain platform in a secondary datacenter.


Greater control for DBA teams, faster time-to-value as the Ready Bundle is a tested and optimized database platform and strong data protection. See figure 9 for a summary of benefits discussed in this blog.

Figure 9: Summary of Ready Bundle for Oracle in this blog


To learn more about the Ready Bundle for Oracle visit:

  Or email me at and I’ll be happy to connect you with our Ready Bundle for Oracle Specialists.

In part one of the Ready Bundle for Oracle blog we explored how the combination of the PowerEdge R940 and VMAX 250F All Flash array accelerate database performance at every layer in the stack. Fast performance is critical for databases but consolidation enables greater scalability and lowers the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). In part two of this blog we explore how DBA teams can benefit from advanced storage features like compression and snapshots that take no initial space when making copies of a database.


Consolidation is the process of combining a number of things into a single more effective and coherent system. As we seen the PowerEdge R940 is faster than the prior generation of servers and the VMAX 250F all-flash array delivers high density of IOPS at ultra-low response times. There is a third dimension to consolidation and that’s storage capacity savings.  The VMAX uses three features to save disk space:

  • Thin provisioning: ensure that regardless of the LUN size, only the capacity that was written to is allocated
  • VMAX Adaptive Compression Engine (ACE): uses a versatile architecture to achieve high storage compression ratios
  • SnapVX Nocopy: creates copies using no initial disk space and without impacting performance of the source data


Let’s discuss thin provision and ACE as they are storage features that work seamlessly in the background on the storage array and are transparent to the database. Thin provisioning ensures only the space needed is allocated on the storage array. Compression then works on the allocated capacity to further reduce the Oracle database size. Testing was done in this white paper to show the value compressing Oracle. See figure 4


Figure 4: Before and after VMAX Compression in (GB) on an Oracle database


What figure 4 shows is prior to enabling VMAX compression, the allocated capacity was 5,727 GB and after the database size was reduced to 721 GB, an massive savings 5,006 GB.  In this test the VMAX was able to achieve a data compression ratio of 7.9 to 1. Compression will vary from database to database as data is different but this test case shows that significant space savings are possible using VMAX compression. Performance during compression testing showed the CPU utilization was the same for before and after compression and IOPS were reduce by 1% with compression enabled.


Provisioning copies of a production database is a common change management activity for most Oracle DBAs. On average most DBA teams have support between 4 to 7 copies of production, sometimes more. If each database copy was a full copy of production without compression a substantial amount of disk space would be used. For example, if a DBA team has to maintain 3 copies of a 5TB production database the total amount of space used would be 20 TB. See figure 5.


Figure 5: Total TB used in creating 3 full copies of production without compression


Using VMAX snapshots (called, SnapVX) all database copies take no space. A storage snapshot is a set of reference markers pointing back to the source data at a particular point in time. Any changes to the source data will trigger a write to the snapshot copy to save the original copy of the data at the point in time of the snapshot. That’s the long way of saying production data is protected and cannot be impacted by snapshots. Saving disk space with SnapVX is done using the “nocopy” command and is the recommended method for creating snapshots on the all flash VMAX arrays. Let’s look at figure 6 to show the disk space savings.

Figure 6: SnapVX /nocopy initial and 10% change in data over 60 days


Looking at the column “SnapVX /nocopy initial copy” we see how the DBA team can save a substantial amount of space by creating three copies of production (QA, Test, and Sandbox) that initially take no additional space. The 15 terabytes of disk space means less in the way of storage dependencies, greater consolidation, and faster provisioning of databases for the IT Organization. Now it’s realistic that data is going to change over time and in the last column called, “10% change over 60 days” we see production and the copies all have unique data.


The production database has .5TB of unique data since the initial snapshots making the total size 5.5TB. The Quality Assurance, Test, and Sandbox databases also have .5TB of unique data, thus these databases have a total of 1TB of unique data (.5 from production plus .5 from their own growth). Even in this scenario of 10% data change we see the entire database ecosystem takes just 8.5TB of data. Having a bit of fun if we factor in a conservative 2:1 compression ratio the entire ecosystem size goes down to 4.25TB.


Dell EMC believes customers will achieve an overall data reduction ratio of 4:1 by using the VMAX All Flash so much they offer a guarantee: Flash Storage Efficiency Guarantee. “Dell EMC promises our flash arrays will provide a logical usable capacity at least four times the usable physical capacity of your purchased drives — or we’ll give you more drives at no charge.” See figure 7 for how the VMAX 250F All Flash array increase consolidation and provide greater storage efficiency.


Figure 7: Achieve 4X Logical Capacity with the VMAX 250F All Flash array


For DBA teams the Ready Bundle for Oracle enables greater consolidation efficiency and with the guarantee from Dell EMC less risk and more protection in your investment. I like to think of the guarantee as Dell EMC’s way of partnering with DBAs and other IT teams to make sure they are successful.

There was a lot of excitement and energy in the air on Monday morning at Oracle OpenWorld. The Dell EMC booth looked great and we were all ready to talk with customers.


In the booth we have a new solution that combines the PowerEdge R940 with the VMAX 250F all flash array for Oracle databases. The big question is, “Will customers be interested?”


As people started walking by the booth, they would stop and ask about the Ready Bundle for Oracle. We really had a lot of great discussions with customers interested in a unified solution like the Ready Bundle. I want to take a moment to give you my take on being at a show like Oracle OpenWorld representing Dell EMC. In my opinion customer go to learn and the Dell EMC team we go to learn from customers. Every question is important and every discussion is an opportunity to learn what customers are truly interested in.


Here are a few questions and discussions I had on day one. “What is the Ready Bundle for Oracle?”

It’s a solution that includes servers, storage, and networking that has been tested with different database workloads like OLTP, OLAP to optimize performance and provide you the best platform for your database ecosystem. – People were very interested in how the Ready Bundle was optimized for Oracle. We talked about how in our testing we captured best practices and performance metrics that enable us to work with you to accurately size the Ready Bundle for your business. For example, customers where interested to learn that database storage layout is very simple and following a few recommendations means improved management and protection of the database.

Customer conversation at the show:


Performance is always at the top of minds for people so there were a few questions like, “How is performance?”

Well in a recent study a two-node Oracle RAC system generated over 275,000 IOPS on a VMAX all flash array and the average response times were: .8 ms for reads and .3 ms for writes! We also tested the PowerEdge R940 servers with an OLAP workload and the server was 52% faster for the light workload and 9% faster for the heavy workload than the prior generation of servers… with 16 fewer processor cores. People picked up on the benefit right away. The Ready Bundle for Oracle is very fast and there is the potential for greater consolidation thus, a TCO savings. If you are interested in learning more read this blog that was just posted as it goes deeper into Oracle performance.

There were a few questions about comparing the Ready Bundle for Oracle to Exadata. My response was simple: The Ready Bundle for Oracle has been designed to maximize performance and return on your investment. There is no extra database licensing, hardware licensing, or features that add to the complexity of the database system. Instead, the Ready Bundle for Oracle provides a clear path to a platform with over 20 years of engineering in every layer of the solution.


Right up there with performance were questions about protection. The VMAX 250F all flash array is a leader in protecting data with proven features like replication (SRDF) and snapshots (SnapVX). Using replication the DBA can protect against a disaster and bring up the database in a secondary datacenter. Using AppSync DBAs now have the capability to configure and manage storage based replication. Normally, replication is the responsibility of the storage administrator but AppSync enables the DBA to control and manage replication. Snapshots can be used to quickly copy the production database to a backup server which has the advantage of off-loading backups from the production server.


We also have a great Oracle protection team at the show.  There were many times in which customers would start a conversation at one place in the booth and travel to the data protection experts to talk about Data Domain with DD Boost for Oracle.


There were some fun questions too! “What is Dell EMC doing at Oracle OpenWorld?” I thought it was a great question. We talked about how Oracle and Dell EMC have worked together for over 20 years and have over 80,000 mutual customers. Dell EMC is also a Platinum Partner of Oracle.


Please join us at the Dell EMC booth as we have a great team to answer your questions!


And get a chance to win a Google Home device!

The Ready Bundle for Oracle is a solution designed to boost performance and operational agility for your database ecosystem. Oracle databases run the most complex and critical applications used by a company, often supporting ERP and CRM systems responsible for all back office processes. The pressure to modernize the database infrastructure means businesses are looking for solutions that offer greater agility, operational efficiencies, and resiliency in a single solution.


The Ready Bundle for Oracle integrates Dell EMC PowerEdge R940 servers, networking, and the enterprise VMAX 250F all-flash array into a Ready Solution. There is little, if any, of the risk associated with the best-of-breed approach that involves design, test, and release phases that accumulatively can take months or weeks to complete. All the engineering is included in the Ready Bundle, providing the business with a faster time-to-value in reaching operational readiness.


There is less risk too, as the entire solution is supported by a single vendor, full service company. Most anyone in the IT Organization understands the complexity of coordinating multiple vendors to resolve an issue impacting operations. Dell EMC solves this support challenge with three years of award-winning ProSupport services and a three-year extended hardware warranty. Application owners and DBAs call one number for server, networking, and storage support with the Ready Bundle for Oracle.


Check out the performance

One of the key advantages of a Ready Solution like the Ready Bundle is the Oracle performance testing we complete in our labs to ensure accurate sizing for your workloads. Testing starts with an Online Transactional Processing (OLTP) battery of tests to validate the solution. This test is optimized for ERP, CRM, and other systems of records applications. The goal of these tests is to evaluate system performance under a high volume of transactions in which response times remain under 1 millisecond.


In a recent VMAX Engineering white paper called, Dell EMC VMAX all-flash storage for mission-critical Oracle database the first test generated 275,626 IOPS across 32 SSD drives in a RAID5 configuration but response times remained under the gold standard of 1 millisecond. See figure 1.


Figure 1: Two-node Oracle RAC configuration driving over 275K IOPS with sub-millisecond latencies


Notice the speed of the average write times for data and log write operations. This is because the 1TB VMAX storage array cache is designed to immediately acknowledge all write quests thus, both data writes and log writes are at  an outstanding .3 millisecond average response times.


What about data read response times? The massive number of IOPS generated in this test was done purposely to force the VMAX all flash array to read from the flash drives. This means most of the reads were not satisfied by the VMAX cache which is the worst case scenario. Even with the majority of reads satisfied from flash drives the average read response times were at .8 milliseconds.

Typically, production Oracle RAC systems do not generate nearly as many IOPS as was done with this test but, this does lead to another advantage of the Ready Bundle for Oracle in that it can easily support large database ecosystems and meet performance Service Level Agreements (SLA).


Let’s use a scenario of a database ecosystem consisting of production, quality assurance, test and sandbox. See figure 2 for the daily average IOPS for each of the databases.


Figure 2: Scenario of Oracle database ecosystem


Figure 2 shows the four databases account for 65,000 IOPS which is a fraction of what was done in our testing. Looking at it another way, it would take five times (20 databases) the number of databases to be nearly equivalent in IOPS in our test. This means the Ready Bundle for Oracle offers exceptional scalability for database workloads.

OLAP test results

The second type of database workload test was with Online Analytical Processing (OLAP) used for business intelligence, reporting, and data mining. OLAP uses de-normalized data, fewer tables, and longer queries that depend more throughput than response times. Let’s focus on the PowerEdge R940 server in terms of OLAP performance to provide a more thorough overview of the entire solution. The new 14th Generation PowerEdge R940 server was tested using OLAP / TCP-H-like tests with Oracle’s in-memory database option to evaluate processor performance. See figure 3 for test results.


Figure 3: Prior generation PowerEdge R930 compared to PowerEdge R940 in Oracle OLAP Tests


Looking at this graph, the lower the bar, the faster the average execution time of the queries. In the light OLAP test with one user and 22 queries, the R940 completed queries 52% faster than the R930! In the heavy OLAP test with seven users and 154 queries, the R940 completed 9% faster. There is another factor to this testing ─ the PowerEdge R940 was faster even though the server had 16 fewer processors than the R930! Dell EMC estimates using a new 14th generation PowerEdge R940 server with fewer faster processor could save customer on Oracle Licensing.


It’s the comprehensive performance testing of the Ready Bundle for Oracle that makes this optimized database solution ideal for ecosystems of all sizes. The PowerEdge R940 accelerates database workloads using fewer processors and the VMAX 250F provides a wealth of IOPS but more importantly response times under one millisecond. There is no integration work or risk as the Ready Bundle is delivered as a unified solution to the datacenter for DBAs teams to start using very quickly.

Tomorrow I will focus on the value of consolidation for databases and the capability for you to experience a big disk space savings using the Ready Bundle for Oracle. If you have any questions I’ll be in the Dell EMC booth at Oracle OpenWord 2017 or email me at

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