Introducing ZD-XL SQL Accelerator

Identifying the Key Elements for Efficient SQL Server Acceleration

Allon Cohen, PhD
Scott Harlin

Published May 2013

Introduction

IT managers are challenged with finding the best way to overcome application performance bottlenecks through the use of flash in the data center without disrupting proven enterprise application usage models. Although low latency and high input/output operations per second (IOPS) are critical success factors, the solid-state drive (SSD) performance adage ‘the higher the achievable IOPS, the faster an application performs’ is simply not true, and in itself, is not the only vehicle to efficiently accelerate applications. An optimal solution for acceleration of an application, such as Microsoft SQL Server, requires the ability to fit in seamlessly into users’ environments while providing the collection of key ingredients through optimized software and hardware elements. Ideally, the overall solution should also provide an optimized management GUI designed for the application environment to guide IT managers with best practice usage models.

SSD flash is the best place to store frequently accessed hot data, and with no moving parts like HDDs, handles database (DB) random data access effortlessly. In fact, one host-based flash acceleration card can negate the need for thousands of HDDs deployed in a SAN array to generate IOPS. With a barrage of new data constantly being created and collected by databases, an average-sized modern data center can easily accumulate terabytes of data daily, making it more cost-effective to store stale data on HDDs. Therefore the key to accelerating database performance is figuring out what data is important and worth caching. In other words, the data on SSD flash must be quickly accessible, and right and relevant to the needs of the database application.

ZD-XL SQL Accerlerator PCIe SSD
OCZ’s New Plug-and-Play ZD-XL SQL Accelerator

The purpose of this white paper is to introduce OCZ’s new ZD-XL SQL Accelerator designed as a tightly integrated, plug-and-play acceleration solution optimized for SQL Server deployments that ensures data is right, relevant and readily available on PCIe-based flash when SQL Server needs it. The paper also addresses the key elements that need to occur in order for SQL Server applications to be accelerated efficiently and how these elements are seamlessly designed into the ZD-XL SQL Accelerator solution.

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Key Elements for Efficient SQL Server Acceleration
    • Flash Volume Requirements
    • Flash Caching Support
    • Cache Policy Optimization
    • Dynamic Pre-Warming of Cache
  3. Simplifying the DBA’s Life
  4. Conclusion