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Oracle launches all-flash SAN, backup box for databases

Larry Ellison took aim at EMC when he introduced a flash storage array and disk backup product at his Sunday keynote at Oracle Open World.

Never mind that the world is filled with flash SANs and disk backup appliances. Ellison proclaimed the FS1 Flash Storage System and Zero Data Loss Recovery Appliance the greatest in their class for Oracle applications. He singled out EMC’s XtremIo as the flash system he is looking to compete with. While he didn’t mention EMC’s Data Domain among disk targets, that is the clear market leader.

Ellison recently stepped down as Oracle CEO to become its executive chairman and CTO, but opened the annual show Sunday night with a rundown of new Oracle products and services.

“This is our first big SAN product,” Ellison said of the FS1, adding it can scale to 16 nodes and be used an all-flash or hybrid array mixing SSDs and hard disk drives.

As with all Oracle storage systems, the FS1 is designed specifically for Oracle applications. It scales to 912 TB of flash or 2.9 PB of combined SSD and HDD capacity with 30 drive enclosures.

The system also uses Oracle QoS Plus quality of service software to place data across four storage tiers. Customers can set application profiles for Oracle Database and other Oracle enterprise apps to set automated tiering.

FS1 systems come with a base controller or performance controller, and each system supports 30 drive enclosures. A base controller includes 64 GB of RAM cache or 16 GB NV-DIMM cache, and a performance controller has either 384 GB RAM or 32 GB NV-DIMM cache.

Drive enclosures support 400 GB performance SSDs, 1.6 TB capacity SSDs, 300 GB and 900 GB performance disk drives, and 4 TB capacity disk drives. A system supports any combination of these drives. A performance SSD enclosure includes either seven 400 GB or 12 400 GB drives, a capacity SSD enclosure holds 19, 13 or seven 1.6 TB drives, a performance HDD enclosure comes with 24 300 GB or 24 900 GB 10,000 rpm drives and an HDD capacity enclosure has 24 4 TB 7,200 rpm drives.

There are dozens of all-flash and hybrid flash systems on the market, but Ellison singled out XtremIO for comparison. “It’s much faster than XtremIO, and half the price,” Ellison said. He had a chart with IOPS and throughput numbers for FS-1 and XtremIO without giving the configurations that produced those numbers.

Ellison also unveiled the Oracle Zero Data Loss Recovery appliance, proclaiming “I named this myself, it’s a very catchy name.”

Ellison said the appliance is tightly integrated with the Oracle Database and the Recovery Manager (RMAN) backup tool to exceed performance of other backup appliances. Backup data blocks are validated as the recovery appliance receives them, and again as they are copied to tape or replicated. The appliance also periodically validates blocks on disk.

He said it is superior to other disk backup targets for Oracle databases. “Backup appliances don’t work well for databases because they think of databases as a bunch of files, and databases are not a bunch of files,” he said.

The recovery appliance also includes Delta Store software that validates the incoming changed data blocks, and then compresses, indexes and stores them. The appliance holds Virtual Full Database Backups, which are space-efficient pointers of full backups in point-in-time increments.

The recovery appliance uses source-side deduplication that Oracle calls Delta Push to identify changed blocks on production databases through RMAN block change tracking. That eliminates the need to read unchanged data.

A base configuration includes two compute servers and three storage servers connected internally through high-speed InfiniBand, and scales to 14 storage servers. A base configuration holds up to 37 TB of usable capacity (before dedupe) and a full rack has 224 TB of usable capacity. Oracle claims a rack can provide up to 2.2 PB of virtual full backups. That is enough to for a 10-day recover window for 224 TB virtual full backups and logs. Up to 18 full configured racks can be connected via InfiniBand.

Oracle claims a single rack appliance can ingest changed data at 12 TB per hour, and that performance increases incrementally as racks are added.

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