Oracle Consulting Oracle Training Oracle Support Development
Oracle Books
SQL Server Books
IT Books
Job Interview Books
Rampant Horse Books
911 Series
Pedagogue Books

Oracle Software
Write for Rampant
Publish with Rampant
Rampant News
Rampant Authors
Rampant Staff
Oracle News
Oracle Forum
Oracle Tips
Articles by our Authors
Press Releases
SQL Server Books

Oracle 11g Books

Oracle tuning

Oracle training

Oracle support

Remote Oracle


Privacy Policy



Library of Congress Number: 2005928017
208 pages
Perfect bind - 9x7
PD 106
Shelving: Database/Oracle Oracle In-Focus Series # 17

  Oracle RAC & Grid Tuning with Solid State Disk
Expert Secrets for High Performance Clustered Grid Computing

Mike Ault, Donald K. Burleson 

Retail Price $16.95 /  £9.95 

Get immediate access to working code examples Only $9.95
(30% off)
Key Features About the Authors Table of Contents
Index Reader Comments Errata
Get the RAC Pack - Half price!
Six Pack RAC for $79.95 - A $168.00 value
Oracle 10g Grid & Real Application Clusters $69.95
Personal Oracle RAC Clusters $27.95
Oracle on VMware $34.95
Oracle SQL Internals eBook $19.95
Oracle Space Management eBook $24.95
Oracle 10g DBA Reference Poster



Written by the world's most widely-read Oracle script developers and authors of over 50 best-selling Oracle books, Mike Ault, Robert Freeman, Don Burleson and John Garmany share their personal experience with using Solid-State RAM disk to hypercharge Oracle performance in Oracle Real Application Clusters and Oracle 10g Grid databases.

This indispensable book shows you how to leverage RAM-SAN technology to create Oracle9i RAC databases with blistering speed. You will learn proven techniques for leveraging RAM disk in an Oracle RAC and Grid environment including changes to initialization parameters and the selective use of SSD in large database environments including UNDO, REDO and TEMP tablespaces on solid-state disk.

This important book shows actual TPC benchmark data and illustrates the high-bandwidth capabilities of SSD that revolutionize data retrieval engines.

Key Features

* Learn the types of RAC and Grid database that benefit the most from SSD solid-state technology.

* See real-world benefits for Oracle9i RAC and Oracle10g Grid systems with high-speed RAM-SAN.

* Understand how SSD facilitates huge performance improvements RAC systems.

* Use proven techniques for the selective application of RAM disk in Oracle RAC.

* Learn who to tune an entire RAC or Grid Oracle database by speeding-up the I/O sub-system.

* Get a code depot of analysis script to see if solid-state disk is right for your Oracle RAC or Grid database.

About the Authors:

Mike Ault

Mike Ault has five Oracle Masters Certificates.  Ault was the first popular Oracle author with his book "Oracle7 Administration and Management" and he also wrote several of the "Exam Cram" books.


Donald Burleson

Donald K. Burleson is one of the world’s top Oracle Database experts with more than 25 years of full-time DBA experience.  He specializes in creating database architectures for very large online databases and he has worked with some of the world’s most powerful and complex systems.  

A former Adjunct Professor, Don Burleson has written more than 30 books, published more than 100 articles in National Magazines, and serves as Editor-in-Chief of Rampant TechPress. Don is a popular lecturer and teacher and is a frequent speaker at Oracle OpenWorld and other international database conferences.


Free Oracle Tips


Table of Contents:

Chapter 1 - Solid-State Disk with Oracle
This chapter introduces SSD and shows how SSD can be used within a database to improve I/O throughout and system response time.
Chapter 2 - SSD and Bandwidth
Unlike platter-based storage, solid-state disks have far higher bandwidth and this has important ramifications for Oracle databases, especially clustered environments.
Chapter 3 - Solid-State Disk with RAC
Oracle Real Application Clusters is used for failover and high availability, and SSD can be added for super-fast performance.  This chapter will show how RAC cache fusion and architecture are leveraged with SSD in a mission-critical RAC environment.
Chapter 4 - TPC-C Online Benchmark with Solid-State Disk
This is a TPC-C benchmark test of OLTP systems using SSD for various RAC components, including data files, undo, redo and TEMP tablespace.  The benchmark will also show the effect of cache fusion sizing and data buffer cache sizing when using solid-state storage.
Chapter 5 - TPC-H Warehouse Benchmark with Solid-State Disk
This chapter will show data warehouse benchmark results showing how SSD can be applied to existing data warehouse and decision support applications.  Special focus will be on the intelligent application of SSD to critical system components.
Chapter 6 - Oracle Tuning with Selective application of SSD
This chapter shows how to locate file-level I/O bottlenecks and apply SSD technology to achieve the maximum benefit.  This chapters shows techniques for identifying high I/O components and measuring the results of SSD.
Chapter 7 - No-disk Oracle architectures
This chapter describes a diskless Oracle architecture whereby all databases components are on solid-state RAM.  Topics include optimizing SGA sizes and monitoring the diskless Oracle databases.


Index Topics:
% Non-Parse CPU
Active Session History
Automatic Memory Management
Automatic Workload Repository
buffer busy waits
Buffer Wait Statistics
Cache Fusion
consistent get
control file parallel writes
convoy effect
data block buffer waits
data block waits
data buffer cache
data buffer cache hit ratio
Data Buffer Hit Ratio
db buffer cache
db buffer caches
db cache size
db file scattered read
db file sequential read
Disk I/O related latencies
Foreground Event
gc cr block build time
gc cr block flush time
gc cr block receive time
gc cr blocks received
gc current block
Global Cache Service
Global Cache Statistics
Global Enqueue Service
Global Enqueue Statistics
gs cr block send time
I/O saturation
idle wait
idle waits
Instance Activity
instance wait
Interconnect latencies
internal locks
IPC interconnect
JAVA pool
Journal File System
latch serialization
latch sleep
log file parallel write
Materialized Views
Non Uniform Memory Access
Online Transaction Processing
Oracle Enterprise Manager
Oracle Grid
Process Global Area
Program Global Area
Random Access Memory
Real Application Clusters
RedHat Linux
redo logs
Resource Activity
row lock waits
Solid-state Disk
Storage Area Network
System Global Area
TEMP tablespace
Time Model Statistics
TL enqueues
TPC-C benchmark
true waits
TX enqueues
virtualized memory area
write complete waits

Book Reviews:

Lewis Cunningham - 11/10/2005

Oracle RAC & Grid Tuning with Solid State Disk, sub-titled: Expert Secrets for High Performance Clustered Grid Computing is a pretty specific book covering RAC and how it can make the most of Solid State Disk (SSD). The goal of this book is to show how SSD can improve the performance of an Oracle database, specifically a clustered one. This book is published by Rampant Press and is part of the Oracle In-Focus series.

The book is written by Mike Ault and Donald K. Burleson. It's 200 pages and is liberally sprinkled with graphs, listings and benchmark results. TPC benchmarks are used extensively throughout. Like all Rampant Press books, the price is excellent at US$16.95. A book of this size on an esoteric topic like this would probably cost US$30 or more from most publishers.

The book is seven chapters and includes two appendices and a decent index. The text starts off with some detailed explanatory text and architectural overviews and moves into tuning and TPC benchmarks.

The chapters are:

  • Chapter 1: Solid State Disk with Oracle - This is mainly an Oracle Architecture Overview
  • Chapter 2: SSD and Bandwidth - This is mainly an SSD Overview
  • Chapter 3: Solid-State Disk with RAC - This is getting to the meat of the matter
  • Chapter 4: TPC-C Online Benchmark with Solid-State Disk - The first test
  • Chapter 5: TPC-H Warehouse Benchmark with SSD - The big data
  • Chapter 6: Oracle Tuning With Selective Application of SSD - The most important chapter to me, what to put where
  • Chapter 7: No-disk Oracle Architectures - The future?
  • Index
  • Appendix A: TPC-C ERD and Tables
  • Appendix B: Example AWRRPT

Chapter 1: Solid State Disk with Oracle

Chapter 1 starts off with some commentary about Moore's law as it pertains to memory speed and prices and a description about why RAM-SAN is better than disk SAN. A central theme of the book is the proper use of SSD. Just throwing SSD at a database MIGHT help but proper use will raise the odds that it will help. From the book:

The proper use of SSD is the central question for this benchmark. Traditional architectures of the 1990's have left users with duplicate cache areas such as web cache, Oracle buffer cache, on-board disk cache, etc., and it is now the challenge of the Oracle DBA to exploit SSD for the most benefit for their database application.

Each benchmark includes an introduction to the issue, a predictive hypothesis, the test methodology and the results and final conclusions.

In this chapter, the authors say that today, 128 GB of SSD can be purchased for about US$150k. That amount of memory could easily hold many databases. Databases are getting larger and larger but there are many much smaller than 128GB.

Most of the remainder of chapter 1 covers using SSD as a tuning tool and the architecture of buffers and caching. The authors ask and explain, "Why is Oracle Logical I/O So Slow". The posited answer is the overhead required to maintain read consistency and data concurrency.

Chapter 1 ends with a review of some existing studies by James Morle, Dr. Paul Dorsey and Woody Hutsell (for Texas Memory Systems) and presents some conclusions that can be drawn from those studies.

Chapter 2: SSD and Bandwidth

Chapter 2 is all about bandwidth and how SSD can help. The chapter starts with a review of Oracle I/O and how bandwidth impacts it. The author even goes into a bit of RAM bandwidth and access speed history starting with 8 bit in the 1970s through the 64 bit systems today.

The gist of this chapter is that the bottlenecks in data processing have shifted away from CPU and memory and towards storage.

For years, storage architects have observed the growing divide between processor performance and storage access times. Remember, when the CPU waits on storage, the users are waiting on storage.

There is also coverage of super-large disks and the problems inherent in a database placed on a single pair of mirrored devices. The issue here is a data transmission bottleneck due to excessive read-write head movement and controller bandwidth limitations. I would like to have seen some comparison of the super-large disk with a SAN and how they compare.

The chapter goes on to suggest ways to use SSD to remove, or at least alleviate, the issue of bandwidth saturation. One way is to move all concurrent access data files to SSD. That would get expensive in larger systems.

The final parts of this chapter deal directly with RAC. Specifically, Cache Fusion and I/O bandwidth and finding the source of bandwidth bottlenecks in a RAC cluster.

The author provides several scripts to gather statistics on I/O, contention, wait events, etc. All of these scripts are available at what the author calls "The Code Depot". You can get access to this code repository by purchasing the book.

Chapter 3: Solid-State Disk with RAC

Chapter 3 is a short chapter. This chapter gets into the nitty gritty of RAC and I/O. The author discusses how disks are striped (8k vs. 128k) and even the mechanical nature of disks. He makes the point that it is difficult enough to decide where SSD can help in your basic Oracle set up. Bringing RAC, and its specific requirements like the high speed interconnect between nodes.

Latency seems to be a key calculation for using SSD in a RAC environment. With many users and many large data files, reducing latency seems to, statistically at least, be the place where SSD helps the most.

Another point here would tie to cost of an SSD as opposed to regular disk technology.

Experts agree that for optimal performance, no disk should be filled o more than 60% of its total capacity, which is rather like buying a six passenger car and being told that only four people should be transported in it.

On SSD technology, the complete capacity is usable since there is no positional or rotational latency, and the number of simultaneous reads/writes is only dependent on bandwidth since there is no that needs to be repositioned after each read or write operation.

I will leave this here for now. In Part 2, I will finish covering each of the chapters in detail and then make some comments on the usability of the book and it's suitability in my, or your, library.

And, if you've made it this far, I have a favor to ask of you. My 100th entry is coming up soon. I would some ideas of what you would like for that entry. I want it to be my best yet and since I try to make this blog a tool for all of you, let me know what you would like to see.

Chapter 4: TPC-C Online Benchmark With Solid-State Disk

This chapter, as the title says, is about the results of TPC-C benchmarking tests in a 10g RAC and SSD environment. The benchmark is to show the effects of varying the SGA in both RAID array and SSD configurations.

A TPC-C benchmark utilizes nine tables in a typical OLTP scenario. The tables used are listed in an appendix. Insert and Delete operations were performed.

The chapter begins with the test configuration and setup. The hardware was:

  • Two Dual AMD 244 Processor 1.7 GHz Opteron servers
  • 1MB CPU cache
  • Redhat Linux EL (kernel 1.4.21-27.Elsmp)
  • 2GB RAM
  • dual port Qlogic HBA (2Gbps Fiber Channel)

The HBA was attached to both a RAID 5 array with a 64k stripe. The stripe was across five disks for 64GB space. The disks were Maxtor MaxLine Plus II 250GB SATA.

The RamSan was a RamSan400 with up to 128GB storage and an expected 3GB/sec bandwidth. That's kind of a sweet setup. I would love to have this setup as my test environment. They don't mention cost.

The database itself was somewhat small. The database was 2.4GB with indexes. It says it took 6 hours to install. The schema was loaded using Quest's Benchmark Factory tool. From the book:

Many TPC-C tests utilize larger test databases, however, the memory of this test configuration was a total of 4 gigabytes and the test team intended to only utilize 2-3 gigabytes of this memory for the Oracle system to allow for large numbers of users.

The only parameters that were changed during the test SGA_MAX_SIZE and SGA_TARGET. Automatic Memory Management was used.

Clients were a combination win2000 and WinXP desktops.

The tests were run over 100 times to minimize the impact of any network or configuration issues. The tests were also run with various user loads from 10 to 600 users.

The chapter ends with the results of the tests. First, the RAID results are graphed for RAID throughput, Bytes Per Second, Average Transaction Time and Average Response Time followed by graphs for the same categories but for the SSD.

I'll let you read the book to get the actual results but one interesting note the author makes is that for a RAM SAN environment it makes sense to reduce the server cache and drive I/O to the SSD array in some situations. Very interesting.

Chapter 5: TPC-H Warehouse Benchmark With Solid-State Disk

A TPC-H test differs from the TPC-C test in that it's more concerned with data loading and querying. The authors used tools provided by TPC (dbgen and qgen).

The tests ran 22 standard queries that included aggregation, subqueries, group bys and other SQL features in a DSS environment.

It's not entirely clear to me if the same hardware from the TPC-C test were used for the TPC-H tests. I would be interested in knowing that but I don't think they were the same.

Anyway, the authors started with a SCSI array that failed and was replaced by an ATA array. The entire SCSI/ATA test took 58 days to run. The authors don't say exactly how many days the SSD runs took but it does say at one point that the SSD outperformed the normal disk by a factor of 179.

The chapter ends with the author's conclusions about SSD in a datawarehouse environment.

Chapter 6: Oracle Tuning With Selective Application of SSD

The chapter starts with analyzing what to put on SSD. With the size of databases in the real world, it's rare that someone can afford to put an entire database on RAMSAN. The choices of what to put on SSD break down into: Data, Indexes, Redo and Temp.

The authors make the point that several tools may be available to analyze a system, including: Custom Scripts, OEM, Third-party tools and AWRRPT reports. The authors chose to use Custom Scripts (in some cases utilizing statspack) and the AWRRPT reports. There is even a quick Statspack install section.

It's obvious from this chapter, if not from previous ones, that I/O is the key. All of the custom scripts cover getting the nitty gritty details about I/O.

This is not a small chapter but is mainly filled with report results comparing Disk with SSD.

The chapter ends with some conclusions, including when NOT to move your application to SSD. This is an informative chapter to get some hints about how to use STATSPACK for tuning if you don't already know and use STATSPACK.

No-disk Oracle Architectures

This chapter is a look into a possible future for SSD. The author feels, and believes that Oracle feels, that disks will soon be relegated to the job of backing up SSD. He makes the point that the Oracle CBO is moving away from I/O based costing to a CPU based costing.

There are two graphics in this chapter that I like. A modern Oracle-RAC configuration with normal disk and the same configuration but with RAMSAN. I think it's amusing that the only difference is some text.

The author covers what this move to SSD will mean for Oracle and points out that that there will be no more disk failures (the SSD uses redundant memory) and PGA will take over as the main memory area, amongst other points.

He also covers what will change when a DBA monitors a database. Pretty much everything that needs to be monitored becomes memory structures running at memory speeds. Oracle is constantly adding auto-tuning features. This makes the point, like so many others, that a DBA's job in the future will require more knowledge than just being a good database caretaker or administrative clerk.

The author concludes this chapter with this statement:

It is time for progressive users to consider using SSD technology in those areas of their databases where it can deliver outstanding performance and bring their databases into the 21st century.

The final sections of the book are the index and appendices.

My Conclusions

This book is well written and provides one of the best high-level overviews of what RAC is and how SSD can help a database that I have seen. This book is not your typical reference work. If you are curious about how SSD can help you, or even curious about how SSD works, this is a book you should read.

This is not a book that you will refer back to over time. You will use it to sate your curiosity or perhaps write a justification to acquire SSD but I doubt you will ever read it again. However, at US$16.95, it's worth the purchase cost. I now know a significant more about both RAC and SSD than I did before reading it.

This is also not a large book. It's 200 pages front to back and is fairly large type. It reads, to me, almost as a series of essays rather than a traditional reference book. I like the conversational style although others may not.

Even if you don't agree with with all of the opinions presented in the book, it is a good read for those interested in RAC and/or SSD technology. I am a technophile and love this kind of stuff.

The ISBN is 0976157357.




 Copyright © 1996 -2017 by Burleson. All rights reserved.

Oracle® is the registered trademark of Oracle Corporation. SQL Server® is the registered trademark of Microsoft Corporation. 
Many of the designations used by computer vendors to distinguish their products are claimed as Trademarks