Archive for May 2010

Oracle Exadata Delivery Day

Well our new Exadata showed up this week. We had a pretty nice lab environment already. A bunch of Dell’s, some IBM’s, several Sun’s. We have a couple of EMC Sans as well (we actually threw away a whole EMC rack to make room for the Exadata). And of course we have every version of Oracle from 8i to 11gR2. It’s a good learning environment. It also let’s us try things when clients have a specific set of versions that we want to mimic. So now we have an Exadata V2 as well. We’ve had the delivery date on the calendar for several weeks. For some reason it reminded of the Weird Al Yankovik song Weasel Stomping Day.

It’s probably a sad reflection on how geeky we are that everyone is running around all excited like it’s Christmas or something.

Here’s a few pictures:

It’s a really fast machine by the way. In fact, we had trouble keeping up with it from the moment we got it off the truck.

Really fast, and slippery. Well in a couple of days we can actually turn it on (we’re supposed to let it acclimate to our environment). On Friday afternoon we’re going to have a happy hour to celebrate our newest edition. Wade calls it a sip and see. We’ll probably take a few pictures of ourselves with the little bundle of joy and sing a chorus of a festive Weird Al song, or maybe two. Come on by if you’re in the neighborhood!

Oracle Exadata V2 – Flash Cache

One of the things I didn’t really talk about in my first post on Exadata was the flash cache component of the storage servers. They are a key component of the “OLTP” claims that Oracle is making for the platform. So let’s talk about the hardware first. The storage servers have 4 of the Sun Flash Accelerator F20 PCIe cards. These cards hold 96G each for a total of 384G on each storage server. That’s well over a terabyte on the smallest quarter rack configuration. Here’s what they look like:

Note that they are only installed in the storage servers and not in the database servers. The cards are usually configured exclusively as Flash Cache, but can optionally have a portion defined as a “ram disk”.

Oracle has a White Paper here:

Exadata Smart Flash Cache and the Sun Oracle Database Machine

This white paper was published in late 2009 and it is specific to V2. It has some good information and is well worth reading. One of the comments I found interesting was the discussion of carving a piece of the Flash Cache out as a “disk”. Here’s the quote:

These high-performance logical flash disks can be used to store frequently accessed data. To use them requires advance planning to ensure adequate space is reserved for the tablespaces stored on them. In addition, backup of the data on the flash disks must be done in case media recovery is required, just as it would be done for data stored on conventional disks. This option is primarily useful for highly write intensive workloads where the disk write rate is higher than the disks can keep up with.

Do not confuse the use of these cards in the storage server with the new 11gR2 feature “Database Flash Cache”. That feature allows an extended SGA (level 2) cache to be created on a database server (if you are using Solaris or Oracle Enterprise Linux) and has nothing to do with the Exadata Smart Flash Cache which resides on the Exadata storage servers. Think of the Database Flash Cache as an extended SGA and the Exadata Smart Flash Cache as large “smart” disk cache. I say smart because it implements some of the same type of Oracle cache management features as the SGA.

Kevin Closson has a couple of good posts outlining the differences between Database Flash Cache and Exadata Smart Flash Cache here:

Pardon Me, Where Is That Flash Cache? Part I.
Pardon Me, Where Is That Flash Cache? Part II.

Note also that Exadata Smart Flash Cache does not affect writes (i.e. it is not a write cache).

So how do we see what’s going on with the Exadata Flash Cache? Well there are a couple of ways.

  1. We can use the cellcli utility on the storage servers themselves.
  2. We can look in v$sesstat (one of the best ways to do that is with Tanel Poder’s snapper script by the way).

Here’s a little output from the system showing method 1 (cellcli):

[root@dm01cel01 ~]# cellcli
CellCLI: Release 11.2.1.2.3 - Production on Fri Apr 30 16:09:29 CDT 2010

Copyright (c) 2007, 2009, Oracle.  All rights reserved.
Cell Efficiency Ratio: 38M

CellCLI> LIST METRICCURRENT WHERE objectType = 'FLASHCACHE'
         FC_BYKEEP_OVERWR                FLASHCACHE      0.0 MB
         FC_BYKEEP_OVERWR_SEC            FLASHCACHE      0.0 MB/sec
         FC_BYKEEP_USED                  FLASHCACHE      300.6 MB
         FC_BY_USED                      FLASHCACHE      135,533.7 MB
         FC_IO_BYKEEP_R                  FLASHCACHE      10,399.4 MB
         FC_IO_BYKEEP_R_SEC              FLASHCACHE      0.0 MB/sec
         FC_IO_BYKEEP_W                  FLASHCACHE      6,378.3 MB
         FC_IO_BYKEEP_W_SEC              FLASHCACHE      0.0 MB/sec
         FC_IO_BY_R                      FLASHCACHE      480,628.3 MB
         FC_IO_BY_R_MISS                 FLASHCACHE      55,142.4 MB
         FC_IO_BY_R_MISS_SEC             FLASHCACHE      0.0 MB/sec
         FC_IO_BY_R_SEC                  FLASHCACHE      0.1 MB/sec
         FC_IO_BY_R_SKIP                 FLASHCACHE      1,448,220.2 MB
         FC_IO_BY_R_SKIP_SEC             FLASHCACHE      12.8 MB/sec
         FC_IO_BY_W                      FLASHCACHE      178,761.9 MB
         FC_IO_BY_W_SEC                  FLASHCACHE      0.1 MB/sec
         FC_IO_ERRS                      FLASHCACHE      0
         FC_IO_RQKEEP_R                  FLASHCACHE      1051647 IO requests
         FC_IO_RQKEEP_R_MISS             FLASHCACHE      291829 IO requests
         FC_IO_RQKEEP_R_MISS_SEC         FLASHCACHE      0.0 IO/sec
         FC_IO_RQKEEP_R_SEC              FLASHCACHE      0.0 IO/sec
         FC_IO_RQKEEP_R_SKIP             FLASHCACHE      0 IO requests
         FC_IO_RQKEEP_R_SKIP_SEC         FLASHCACHE      0.0 IO/sec
         FC_IO_RQKEEP_W                  FLASHCACHE      176405 IO requests
         FC_IO_RQKEEP_W_SEC              FLASHCACHE      0.0 IO/sec
         FC_IO_RQ_R                      FLASHCACHE      21095663 IO requests
         FC_IO_RQ_R_MISS                 FLASHCACHE      1574404 IO requests
         FC_IO_RQ_R_MISS_SEC             FLASHCACHE      0.6 IO/sec
         FC_IO_RQ_R_SEC                  FLASHCACHE      1.6 IO/sec
         FC_IO_RQ_R_SKIP                 FLASHCACHE      4879720 IO requests
         FC_IO_RQ_R_SKIP_SEC             FLASHCACHE      26.8 IO/sec
         FC_IO_RQ_W                      FLASHCACHE      5665344 IO requests
         FC_IO_RQ_W_SEC                  FLASHCACHE      2.9 IO/sec

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