Supreme Court of Italy Improves Oracle Database Performance and I/O Access to Court Proceedings with OCZ’s PCIe-based Virtualized Solution

Combination of Z-Drive R4 PCIe SSDs and VXL Cache & Virtualization Software Deliver Flash High Availability Coupled with a 60% Performance Improvement over SAN Storage

Scott Harlin

User Objectives

  • Reduce/eliminate disk I/O storage bottlenecks
  • Run virtualized Oracle database applications on virtual machines (VMs)
  • Improve server application performance
  • Accelerate access to stored trial information and court proceedings

Achieved Benefit

  • Improved Oracle database performance by 60% while providing highly available flash acceleration

Introduction

Corte Suprema di Cassazione

Corte Suprema di Cassazione. Photo taken by Blackcat from Wikipedia.

The Supreme Court of Italy (also known as Corte Suprema di Cassazione or the Supreme Court of Cassation) is the final jurisdiction of Italian rule. Its two essential roles are to (1) ensure that the lower courts (i.e. penal, civil, administrative and military) correctly follow legal procedure and (2) provide final decisions to the lower courts based on its interpretation of Italian law. Not only does this Supreme Court provide an assessment and ruling regarding the laws of the land, but also resolves disputes as to which lower court has the jurisdiction to hear and rule on a given case.


Corte Suprema di Cassazione is segmented into two divisions -- a penal division and a civil division, with a ruling party that includes a main president (The First President of the Court of Cassation), a deputy, a penal division president, and a civil division president. Most Supreme Court cases are heard by a panel of five judges, but for very difficult cases, it is not uncommon for nine judges to hear and rule on the case.

Regardless of the trial, all Supreme Court proceedings are digitally stored in their Oracle database for obvious security and archival purposes, but also in the age of instant information, provide a very fast means for prosecutors, defense attorneys, judges, legal administrators, and even the media to quickly access a trial’s information.

As more trial proceedings were stored into Corte Suprema di Cassazione’s virtualized hard drive-based storage area network (SAN), data traffic increased and disk I/O soon became a performance bottleneck. To address this challenge initially, Corte Suprema di Cassazione’s IT team added more hard disk drives (HDDs) to the SAN but that only provided a temporary solution at an increase in power consumption, cooling, maintenance, IT support, and overall total cost of ownership (TCO). Though Corte Suprema di Cassazione had implemented a server virtualization model to manage and store its library of court proceedings, Oracle database performance and data I/O access needed to improve.

This case study outlines how Corte Suprema di Cassazione’s IT management team addressed the storage challenges it faced by upgrading its system infrastructure with improved capabilities that deliver flash data caching into virtualized server platforms and distributes these flash resources on-demand across virtual machines (VMs) to maximize Oracle database performance. The combined hardware and software solution developed by solid-state storage leader OCZ Storage Solutions included Z-Drive R4 PCI Express (PCIe) flash-based solid-state drives (SSDs) and VXL Cache and Virtualization Software. Through this flash-based implementation, Corte Suprema di Cassazione is now achieving significant improvements in database performance and I/O access while reducing data center costs.

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. HDD Issues in the Virtualized Environment
  3. The OCZ Virtualized Solution
  4. Testing and Implementation
  5. High Availability
  6. Conclusion