Mythics Blog

Speeding up Virtual Machine I/O on the Oracle Database Appliance

Posted on May 5, 2016 by Erik Benner

Tags: Oracle Database Appliance, ODA, Oracle, Swingbench, Driver Domains, WebLogic

Hidden in the February 2016 release (12.1.2.6) of the Oracle Database Appliance (ODA) a new Oracle VM feature is enabled, called Driver Domains. Driver Domains are a new way to manage storage on the ODA, and show significance disk performance improvements for guest virtual machines. When leveraging Driver Domains to access storage, you remove a layer of overhead, allowing the VM's storage to directly mount from oda_base. This results in significant improvements in I/O performance. The performance gains benefits multiple workloads, including BANNER application servers, SAP ECCs, WebLogic servers, E-Business application servers, Windows VMs, and more. 

Using Driver Domains, running a database in a guest VM becomes practical, as the I/O performance impact is nowhere near the performance impact as in previous versions of ODA. Of course, when you run a database outside of oda_base, you lose the automation that is included with oakcli. 

A basic test shows significance improvement in read I/O. Two VMs were built, the first one named swing was built using the standard I/O method. The second system named swing2 was built using Driver Domains. 

On the first system a simple test using hdparam shows 83 MB/sec

On the system with Driver Domains enabled, the same test shows 156 MB/sec, almost twice the throughput

A more detailed test using Swingbench was run. In this test 20 simulated Order Entry users were run. Swing, the unmodified system ran a average of 1879 transactions per minute. 

Next I cloned the VM, and configured it for Driver Domains, and then reran the SAME test. Swing2, the unmodified system ran an average of 3692 transactions per minute. 

For more information on how Driver Domains work, and simplified directions on how to enable the functionality in a Virtual Machine, please take a look at my BLOG posting here;

While not an extensive test, the results are clear, the Driver Domain technology shows significant performance improvement. This is a free technology that clients virtualizing their ODA should consider adopting. Best of all, it is just a small sample of all the new features built into the ODA. For more information on how you can better leverage your ODA, contact Mythics today and we can help answer any questions you may have about your Oracle footprint. 

Erik Benner, Enterprise Architect, Mythics Inc.

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