Storage Focus: Databases and Storage Architecture Page 5 -

Storage Focus: Databases and Storage Architecture Page 5

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Redo Logs

Depending on the size of your redo logs and the amount of bandwidth, you may initially think you require a RAID-5 stripe. This really depends, though, as most 10K RPM disks transfer data on the outer cylinders at 69 MB/sec and the inner cylinders at 39 MB/sec, and 15K RPM disks are even faster. When you add to this the size of the RAID cache, you may not need to use RAID-5. It really depends on:

  1. Bandwidth requirements – Megabytes per second of log data
  2. Size of the log – Can it fit in cache?
  3. Your RAID's speed

The key information missing here needs to be collected by you. You need to determine from looking at the system with various databases and system tools whether or not the performance of the redo logs is limiting the performance and scaling of the database, and if so, what the I/O requirements of your redo logs are.

Index Files

Architecture for index files is reasonably simple. If you need to go fast, then use RAID-1 with a small stripe value with high performance 15K disks. Since index files are small block reads and are often random I/O, this will be by far the fastest way to go.

Table Space

Depending on the size of the tables and how they are accessed and searched, RAID-1 is sometimes a better choice, while at other times RAID-5 is the best choice. The key is determining what the I/O request size to the table space is going to be. The size of the requests is often dependent on tunable parameters within the database.


Many books and documents have been written about tuning databases on many different operating systems. Here are a few that I have read and found useful:

Configuring and Tuning Databases on the Solaris Platform by Allan N. Packer (Author), Sun Microsystems Press (Author), Publisher: Prentice Hall (December 15, 2001), ISBN: 0130834173

Oracle9i Performance Tuning Tips & Techniques by Richard J. Niemiec, Publisher: McGraw-Hill Osborne Media (May 12, 2003), ISBN: 0072224738

Creating a Self-Tuning Oracle Database: Automating Oracle9i Dynamic SGA Performance (Oracle In-Focus series) by Donald K. Burleson, Publisher: Rampant TechPress (August 1, 2003), ISBN: 0972751327

Architecting for databases is just like any other application. You need to determine the I/O patterns from the application to the file system/volume manager to the HBA to the RAID, all while keeping in mind the performance requirements and cost issues. Tuning is a bit harder given the complexity of the application, but many tools exist for looking at the data to help you understand the underlying I/O issues.

» See All Articles by Columnist Henry Newman

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