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Welcome back Aston Martin! F1 cars and Oracle databases need to go fast

Dave Krenik
Dave Krenik

Aston Martin F1 Race car 61 years between stints would make most folks a little rusty at whatever it is they’re trying to do. Practice makes perfect--right? Coming away from the season’s first race at the Bahrain Grand Prix with its first F1 World Championship point in more than 6 decades shows that the Aston Martin Cognizant Formula One™Team hasn’t missed a step. (And NetApp is proud to be a Global Partner of AMCF1™). The AMR21 car displayed great speed and durability at the hands of drivers Lance Stroll and Sebastian Vettel.  Stroll placed tenth (securing a World Championship point) and Vettel placed fifteenth, after starting in twentieth place because of a penalty.

What Vettel and Stroll are doing in the AMR21 is, to put it mildly, going fast—very fast. At only 1,650 pounds and more than 1,000 horsepower, the AMR21 is amazingly quick. Imagine hitting the accelerator on your car and feeling about 3 times your body weight on your chest. What does that mean?  How about 0 to 60 mph in as little 1.6 seconds? That’s quick – and smokin’. Let’s put it in perspective:  The popular BMW 2021 330i xDrive accelerates from 0 to 60mph in 5.3 seconds.

Oracle databases thrive on speed

Databases, Oracle databases in particular, thrive on quickness. To satiate the databases’ hunger for quickness (low latency), NetApp® technology employs true end-to-end support for NVMe—the first vendor to do so. Here are some of the exciting aspects to NVMe in Oracle environments:
  • Low latency. Faster response times.
  • Greater availability. Reduced operational disruption.
  • As the next step in the evolution of SAN, NVMe is easier to manage.
  • Reduced overhead. NVMe is less taxing on server CPUs than traditional SAN work, freeing your CPUs for real application work.
  • Oracle licensing. Why pay for expensive Oracle licenses for server CPUs that are doing storage work?
Literally every Fibre Channel (FC) customer should be planning their migration from SCSI/FC (which we usually call SAN) to NVMe/FC. Every one of them. It doesn't even matter if they need the performance, it just makes sense. NVMe/FC is easier to configure, response times are better, and the storage system works more efficiently.

Here's the really good news: Virtually nothing else is required. In most cases, the FC SAN you own now can already support NVMe/FC. The usual best practices apply, too. You still make file systems or Oracle ASM disk groups, and you manage them as usual. The only real impact is that you probably won't need as many LUNs as you used to.

What NVMe does is replace the ridiculously complicated code that translates a request to read that block into ancient SCSI commands, send them to the storage system, wait for the response, and translate the SCSI data back into the data requested.

In essence, NVMe does less than SCSI. It's a subtraction, not an addition or change. It's streamlined SAN, designed for solid state storage. The applications do the same things they always did, but the OS needs to do less to complete an I/O. That's why you don't need to do much of anything differently. Just upgrade and start getting more from your SAN.

Of course, there are choices in how you implement NVMe; for example, some vendors are wedded to RoCE. Here are a few things you should know about RoCE.

NVMe over RoCE is based on older proprietary standards that require specialized hardware. Most agree that RoCE will be replaced by NVMe over TCP, but the standard was ratified only about a year ago. Products are just now starting to appear, so the technology is not quite mature.

SCSI may be obsolete, but FC is not. FC is a specialized, high-performance, storage network protocol that:
  • Has built-in QoS for more reliable storage performance.
  • Has built-in discovery capabilities. Anyone who has worked with iSCSI knows what a pain it can be to configure storage without a native discovery capability.
  • Has zones, so it's easier to secure.
  • Is everywhere. You paid for it, so why not use it?
Just stop doing that old SCSI thing on FC and start using NVMe on FC.

To see how NetApp is accelerating Oracle, and other, workloads with NVMe, watch the video End-to-end NVMe.


To learn all about what NetApp is doing to secure and accelerate Oracle workloads, check out these resources:

Oracle solutions: Primed for innovation Transform your Oracle cloud database

Dave Krenik

Dave has been bringing solutions to market under various monikers (alliances, business development, solution marketing) for more than 15 years. Before entering the world of tech, he enjoyed a 15-year stint in the wine business.

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