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.