Data Center Tech Blog

SQL Server® 2016 Meets Fastest Flash: Companies such as Lenovo, Cisco and HPE rely on the performance and stability that Fusion ioMemory PCIe cards from SanDisk provide. They also have come to rely on SanDisk’s Data Propulsion Lab to make it work better and faster!

Rob Callaghan

Product Marketing Manager, SanDisk Enterprise Storage Solutions

I have worked at SanDisk®, now a Western Digital brand, for over 2 years. It is a great company with exciting technology, unmatched flash expertise and blazing fast storage solutions. These solutions are promoted by our key partners like HPE, Dell, Lenovo and Cisco to help their customers run applications faster, more efficiently and more cost-effectively. We have deep relationships with these Server OEM partners and over the years, they have come to trust and rely on us to provide them with the best in class flash storage solutions.

These solution providers are always looking for exciting ways to highlight how their latest servers and industry-leading technology can benefit customers. Enter the TPC organization whose charter is to develop be data focused benchmarking standards to provide a common tool and set of rules for this type of competition. These benchmarks are designed to replicate real world application workloads and include database focused benchmarks for both transactional and data warehouse, such as the TPC BenchmarkTM H (TPC-H), a decision support benchmark.

So How Do You Measure the World’s Best?

If you are not familiar with this industry benchmark, the performance metric reported by TPC-H is a Composite Query-per-Hour Performance Metric (QphH@Size), and reflects multiple aspects of the capability of the system to process queries. The TPC-H Price/Performance metric is expressed as $/QphH@Size. What this means is that everything in the system running this benchmark has to balance performance, reliability and cost. If it is not cost effective, customers will not be able to afford it. These benchmarks are also categorized by database size as different customers will have different amounts of data and want to be able to evaluate a solution that matches the size of their database.

New Records: SQL Server® 2016 Meets Fastest Flash

When these companies wanted to design their best in class systems, they all turned to SanDisk and our very own Data Propulsion Labs (DPL) to create the best in class storage solutions and help these partners take top honors. The leaders in the 3,000GB category, and even in the 30,000 GB Category, all developed solutions with the Fusion ioMemory product family to win top honors.

Over the course of 3 months, our partners were able to more than double the performance while reducing the cost of the Query-per-Hour by half. That is a dramatic achievement! They were able to do this in many cases by moving to and utilizing the dramatically improved performance of SQL Server 2016 on flash.

Lenovo Pricing and Performance

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Starting in March of this year, Lenovo crushed the 3,000 GB result providing both:

  • 35% increase in performance but with an amazing 50% reduction in Price/QphH price to get those Queries per hour.
  • They accomplished this feat utilizing their System x3850 datacenter focused server and with just six (6) 3.2TB Fusion ioMemory PCEIe cards.
Cisco Performance

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Cisco was next up in May of this year upping the performance (QphH) and reducing the cost in the 3,000 GB category:

  • Increase performance by over 10% while reducing the QphH cost by 17%.
  • The configuration they utilized just four (4) 1.6TB Fusion ioMemory PCIe cards pair installed in their UCS C460 M4 Server.
  • Like Lenovo, they also utilized SQL Server 2016 as the underlying database.
Hewlett Enterprise

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Just as the ink was drying on the Cisco record, HPE (The name for the new HP Enterprise company) swept in and utilized a less widely known Linux offering, Actian Vector 5.0 to significantly increase performance and further reduce costs in the 3,000GB category.

Per Wikipedia, “Actian Vector (formerly known as VectorWise) is an SQL relational database management system designed for high performance in analytical database applications. It published record breaking results on the Transaction Processing Performance Council’s TPC-H benchmark for database sizes of 100 GB, 300 GB, and 1 TB on non-clustered hardware..“ While hard to compare to SQL Server in features and benefits it did allow HP to set a new record:

  • Doubled the QphH performance while further reducing the Query cost by and astounding 37%.
  • HPE relied on their rock solid ProLiant DL580 Gen9 server with just six (6) 3.2TB Fusion ioMemory cards from SanDisk

 Exceeding Expectations

Lenovo

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Now not every environment has a 30,000 GB (30TB) database, but the way data is growing every day, that looks to be the future. Our partner Lenovo approached SanDisk’s DPL to help them build an impressive system to show how they could accelerate that type of environment in a single server. They did this by leveraging the incredible performance of both their massive System x3950 and the SanDisk Fusion ioMemory SX350 solution. In that system they were able to achieve an incredible record breaking the 1 million QphH.

While 1 million QphH has been achieved in much smaller sized database configurations, achieving that performance in a 30,000 GB databases is an incredible accomplishment and Lenovo and SanDisk were the first to achieve it in a single server! This shows, once again, that flash-enabling server infrastructure delivers dramatically improved levels of technical and cost efficiencies.

Performance You Can Rely On

As you can see from these examples, companies such as Lenovo, Cisco and HPE rely on the performance and stability that the Fusion ioMemory PCIe cards from SanDisk provide. They also have come to rely on SanDisk’s Data Propulsion Lab to make it work better!

Six of the 7 winning configurations in the 3,000 GB TPC-H non-clustered results have utilized Fusion ioMemory PCIe cards to achieve their breakthrough results. The only system that did not use Fusion ioMemory, was a system that didn’t use flash at all, but rather utilized traditional hard disk drives in a separate enclosure but with a significantly higher cost per QphH.

Key business applications like SQL Server can be dramatically accelerated by utilizing flash storage and SanDisk is the market-leading flash storage provider that HP, Lenovo and Cisco rely on for best in class performance and value. As each month brings new champions and configurations, keep your eye out for more winning configurations using Fusion ioMemory and SanDisk SAS SSD storage solutions to increase performance and reduce “Per Query” costs.

In my book that is a winning combination!

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