Engage “Ludicrous Speed”

The goal of every database architect is to have instantaneous access to data. However, we are often limited by bottlenecks, and it does not matter how optimized the code and hardware is… We want more SPEED. Ludicrous SPEED!

In the chase for fast data access, more often than not, storage is in the middle of the blame game. If only the disk could be faster, my queries would run faster and my CPU could be doing real work instead of waiting for IO. What if we could change the game and make everything else busy and the storage waiting?

An Intel® Optane™ SSD can close the IO gap, making the most of your solution investment across CPU, memory and storage.

The upcoming end of support for both Windows Server* 2008 (extended support ends January 14, 20201) and Microsoft SQL Server* 2008 (extended support ends July 9, 2019) is a great opportunity to invest in new hardware to support all the advances of the current software.

Intel Optane SSDs can help you maximize your hardware by outperforming other storage systems and taking advantage of 2nd generation Intel® Xeon® Scalable Processor enhancements.

We put Intel Optane SSDs to the test to demonstrate how they can maximize the investment on hardware since they are a small fraction of the solution total cost, when factoring for hardware, software licensing and operations.
Our baseline hardware and software test consisted of;

We used HammerDB TPC-C as a quick reference on how many TPM (Transactions Per Minute) an Intel Optane SSD could achieve compared to Intel® NVMe* NAND drives. With each SSD hosting a database and logs, the number of warehouses was set to 500 (use ALL Warehouses was set), and a timed run was triggered (2 minutes warm-up and 5 minute run time). The auto-pilot feature was used to test for 1,2,4,8,16,32,48,64,128,256 virtual users.

With sufficient scaling, the Intel Optane SSD delivered ever increasing transactions per minute. Being the architects we are – always searching for more speed – we looked deeper at the performance statistics to see if a more powerful CPU – perhaps 2nd generation Intel® Xeon® Scalable processors? - could deliver an even higher result.

We took a comparable CPU from our latest CPU family – Intel® Xeon® Scalable processor 6254 with 72 HT cores. During the short test, we saw that Intel Optane SSD performance scaled with the increase in CPU power in most of the test samples. We also disabled two cores per socket on the Intel® Xeon® 6254 CPU, so the number of cores would be the same between the Intel® Xeon® 6142 and Intel® Xeon® 6254 tests.

I am still looking at the reasons for the drop in performance on 16 and 256 virtual user runs --likely BufferPool and Cache utilization. This was a short run test where data can tend to skew heavily. However, across both tests, the overall goal to show how a fast storage subsystem can maximize your investment by making a more balanced solution across all the performance domains was met.

So, is your light speed is too slow? If the answer is yes, check out Intel Optane SSDs and go right to ludicrous speed!


1End of support statement - https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/blog/announcing-new-options-for-sql-server-2008-and-windows-server-2008-end-of-support/

HammerDB - https://www.hammerdb.com/index.html

Software and workloads used in performance tests may have been optimized for performance only on Intel microprocessors. Performance tests, such as SYSmark and MobileMark, are measured using specific computer systems, components, software, operations and functions. Any change to any of those factors may cause the results to vary. You should consult other information and performance tests to assist you in fully evaluating your contemplated purchases, including the performance of that product when combined with other products. For more complete information visit www.intel.com/benchmarks.

Performance results are based on preliminary testing for research purposes by Intel on March 19, 2019 and may not reflect all publicly available security updates. See configuration disclosure for details. No product can be absolutely secure.

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