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Oracle ZFS Storage appliances support OpenStack Cinder

Oracle makes it easier for ZFS Storage Appliance customers to provision and orchestrate cloud storage with the addition of OpenStack Cinder drivers.

Oracle aimed its ZFS-based storage appliance at the cloud this week, integrating Cinder drivers for OpenStack block storage and RESTful application programming interfaces for cloud-based deployment of virtual machines into its new ZFS Storage Operating System 8.2.

Oracle ZS3 Storage OS 8.2 makes it easier for Oracle shops running ZFS Storage Appliance boxes to provision and orchestrate cloud storage, as well as simultaneously boot up thousands of virtual machines (VMs) from a single platform, said Jason Schaffer, an Oracle senior director of product management.

The Oracle ZFS Storage Appliance consists of the operating systems (OS) and Hybrid Storage Pool technology that caches data on DRAM or flash, storage controllers based on Oracle x86 machines and drive enclosures for SAS-2 disks, and up to four flash accelerators per tray.

The ZS3-4 and the ZS3-2 hybrid arrays are single- or dual-controller systems that can be used as NAS or SAN arrays. The ZS3-4 is a 32-tray, 80-processor core device intended for enterprises that need to maximize I/O and disk density for high levels of consolidation. It comes with 2 TB of DRAM and 12 TB of read cache; it can support up to 864 SAS-2 drives, scaling to 3.5 PB of total capacity.

The midrange ZS3-2 has 16 trays and 32 processor cores, 12 TB of read flash and 1 TB of DRAM. It scales to 1.5 PB with 384 SAS-2 drives.

Oracle said it fine-tuned symmetric multiprocessing to boost effectiveness and utilization of cache tiers for I/O-intensive workloads. Storage OS 8.2 serves most I/O processes from DRAM or flash, including inline processes for snapshots, clones, compression and data deduplication. SAS disks are used for persistent storage. Oracle's Hybrid Storage Pool technology caches the hottest data in DRAM, de-stages it to flash and sends only cold data to spinning disk.

Schaffer said users likely would see a performance boost when integrating hypervisors with Oracle storage.

"With ZFS Storage, first access quickly caches data in DRAM in a way that the other VMs can recognize," he said.

Oracle's storage system is mostly designed to make its database applications run more efficiently.

The company released benchmark testing this week on the ZS3-2 by the Storage Performance Council, which rated it 10 times higher on price performance vs. IBM's DS8870 and Hewlett-Packard's P9500 XP Disk Array.

Analysts have speculated that Oracle will develop an all-flash array following its May acquisition of storage-optimization software vendor GreenBytes. Schaffer declined comment on those plans, but he said internal testing with flash drives did not significantly affect performance of ZFS arrays.

"The system simply doesn't rely on that tier for speed very much," he said.

In releasing the new boxes, Oracle is keeping pace with the market, said Ben Woo, managing director of IT market research firm Neuralytix.

"What is unique to Oracle is that it controls the entire software stack -- from OS/file system all the way to the database and application -- so all-flash arrays may not necessarily offer any incremental benefits" because Oracle can dynamically tune the entire data path to optimize the Oracle software stack, Woo said.

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