Conor O'Mahony's Database Diary

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Archive for the ‘pureScale’ Category

Oracle Press Release Gets the Facts Wrong

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Do Oracle check their facts before they issue a press release? Because today there is yet another instance of a blatant mistruth issued by Oracle. This time in an official Oracle press release about an SAP benchmark result. Here is the offending quote:

Oracle’s superior scalable cluster architecture has full high availability unlike IBM’s that does not scale beyond a single server

The quote is attributed to Juan Loaiza, Senior Vice President, Systems Technology at Oracle Corporation. Now it is possible that this is not a case of Oracle intentionally trying to mislead the public. It is possible that this is a case of poor fact-checking from Oracle. And if that is the case, then they should have checked yesterday’s SAP benchmark results when an IBM DB2 cluster took top spot in another SAP benchmark.

For the record, IBM DB2 has outstanding scale-out capabilities. IBM DB2 provides both shared-nothing partitioning scale-out capabilities as well as shared-disk clustering scale-out capabilities. Many would argue that IBM DB2 has significantly superior scale-out capabilities when compared with Oracle Database. Especially when it comes to scale-out efficiency.

Note: When this first came to light, I was a little upset. After taking a little time to calm down, I updated some statements in this blog post to tone them down. Thankfully, I probably did this before anyone got a chance to read them 🙂


Written by Conor O'Mahony

September 13, 2011 at 5:26 pm

Industry Benchmark Result for DB2 pureScale: SAP Transaction Banking (TRBK) Benchmark

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A couple of years ago, IBM introduced the pureScale feature, which provides application cluster transparency (allowing you to create shared-disk database clusters). At the time, IBM had taken their industry-leading clustering architecture from the mainframe, and brought it to Unix environments. IBM subsequently also brought it to Linux environments.

Today, IBM announced its first public industry benchmark result for this cluster technology. IBM achieved a record result for the SAP Transaction Banking (TRBK) Benchmark, processing more than 56 million posting transactions per hour and more than 22 million balanced accounts per hour. The results were achieved using IBM DB2® 9.7 on SUSE Linux® Enterprise Server. The cluster contained five IBM System x 3690 X5 database servers, and used the IBM System Storage® DS8800 disk system. The servers were configured to take over workload in case of a single system failure, thereby supporting high application availability. For more details, see the official certification from SAP.

Written by Conor O'Mahony

September 12, 2011 at 11:16 am

Oracle Exadata vs. IBM pureScale Application System for OLTP Environments

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Philip Howard, Research Director at Bloor Research, recently evaluated the performance, scalability, administration, and cost considerations for the leading integrated systems from IBM and Oracle for OnLine Transaction Processing (OLTP) environments. Here is a summary of his conclusions:

Bloor Research compare Oracle Exadata and IBM Smart Analytics System for OLTP

And here is a video with his evaluation. It is packed with practical advice regarding storage capacity, processing capacity, and more.

Written by Conor O'Mahony

August 29, 2011 at 8:30 am

DB2 pureScale Trial and Demo Kit

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IBM has prepared a DB2 pureScale Trial and Demo Kit. With this kit, you can run a DB2 pureScale trial environment on 3 physical servers (any generic x86_64 hardware or even a set of VMware images). This kit is very easy to use. You simply download the kit, copy it onto a USB flash drive, and then insert that USB flash drive into a server (or mount it as a device in a Virtual Machine), and then boot from the USB drive in BIOS. It will then run the operating system, DB2 pureScale, demo, and the rest of the kit contents. Here is a screen capture of the kit welcome page.

DB2 pureScale Trial and Demo Kit

To get the kit, please visit the DB2 pureScale Trial and Demo Kit page on IBM developerWorks. If you have any questions about the kit, please email with subject “IBM DB2 pureScale Acceleration Kit for Trial and Demonstration”.

Written by Conor O'Mahony

January 12, 2011 at 1:07 pm

Posted in DB2 for LUW, pureScale

Want to get DB2 pureScale at an Affordable Price?

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Last year, IBM released the pureScale feature for DB2, which allows you to create shared-disk clusters for database transaction processing. One of the great things about DB2 pureScale is that it provides near linear scale-out efficiency, which means that when you add a node to the cluster, you almost get a full node worth of additional processing power. In other words, the overhead involved in coordinating cluster activities for DB2 pureScale is relatively small.

Of course, this is in contrast to Oracle RAC, where there are numerous public accounts of poor scale-out performance. Although, to be fair, many of those Oracle RAC horror stories are probably due to people not making their applications cluster-aware, or due to people not having the skills to properly tune those systems. In other words, if you are willing to spend enough time and money, I reckon a lot of those Oracle RAC systems can achieve reasonable scale-out-efficiency. Of course, with DB2 pureScale, you don’t have to worry about any of that. With DB2 pureScale, you simply add or remove nodes as you please. The DB2 pureScale approach does not require that your applications be cluster-aware, and does not require complex tuning. DB2 pureScale actually delivers on the promise of being truly application transparent.

Okay, that’s enough background information… on to the actual subject of the blog post. A few months ago, IBM made DB2 pureScale available on x86 servers. That was a big first step towards making DB2 pureScale clusters more affordable. And last week, IBM took another big step in that direction by announcing that DB2 pureScale is now included in DB2 Workgroup Server Edition. DB2 Workgroup Server Edition is our mid-range offering with a list price of $15k per socket.

This means that, for instance, you could purchase a couple of these $15k DB2 Workgroup Server Edition licenses for use with two x86-based servers, each of which has one socket with 4 CPU cores. You could then create a 2-node cluster, where each node has a hefty 4 CPU cores. You would enjoy the great performance of DB2, as well as the continuous availability offered by DB2 pureScale. And all this for a very good price (that is subject to standard software discounts).

DB2 pureScale and DB2 Workgroup Server Edition offer a great alternative to running Oracle RAC for small clusters. Not only is the IBM combination attractive from a pricing standpoint, it is also attractive from a performance and subsequent ease of scaling standpoint.

Written by Conor O'Mahony

October 14, 2010 at 3:38 pm

Posted in DB2 for LUW, pureScale

Announcing DB2 pureScale on System x

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IBM has just announced the availability of DB2 pureScale on System x at a Smarter Systems Tour event in Beijing.

DB2 pureScale is the Oracle RAC-killer that IBM announced last year. It brings IBM’s industry-leading clustering architecture from the mainframe to distributed systems. DB2 pureScale benefits include centralized lock management, which eliminates the need for the locality of reference that is sometimes hardcoded into applications that use Oracle RAC. Also, when nodes go offline, either for planned or unplanned reasons, centralized lock management improves the rate at which data becomes available again to the application. DB2 pureScale uses remote direct memory access for inter-node communication, improving system efficiency. When you combine all of this with superior scale-out efficiency, DB2 pureScale makes for a very exciting product.

When it was first announced, DB2 pureScale was made available on IBM Power Systems (high-end Unix servers). Many people I talked with, both among analysts and clients, immediately asked when it would be available on x86-based hardware. Well, now it is available on servers ranging from the IBM System x3650 M3 to the IBM System x3850 X5.

For more information, see the DB2 pureScale Web page.

Written by Conor O'Mahony

August 5, 2010 at 2:27 pm

IBM Previews New Integrated System for Transactional Workloads

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Today, at an event in California, IBM is disclosing details about a new integrated system for transactional workloads called the IBM pureScale Application System. This new integrated system will comprise of DB2 pureScale and WebSphere Application Server on IBM Power 770 servers that run the AIX operating system. When you receive the system, the components are already integrated, already configured, and already tuned for handling transactional workloads.

IBM pureScale Application System is the latest in IBM’s line of workload-optimized systems. IBM’s strategy is to provide integrated systems that are optimized for particular workloads. For instance, the IBM Smart Analytics System that was announced last year is optimized for analytical workloads. Whereas IBM pureScale Application System is optimized for transactional workloads. This optimization extends from hardware configuration through software configuration and storage configuration. By the way, today, IBM also announced new models of the IBM Smart Analytics System for System x (x86) and System z (mainframe).

We are all well aware of the benefits of such integrated systems. These typically include lower initial purchase costs and single-number support. Because the systems are pre-integrated, they take less time and effort to deploy, which means that you enjoy faster time-to-value. I could go on-and-on, but I’m sure you know all of this already.

So, what’s so special about IBM pureScale Application System? Of course, the individual components of this system all have their own merits. From the raw performance, server utilization, and resiliency of the IBM Power 770, to the leading performance, cluster scale-out efficiency, and continuous availability of DB2 pureScale, to the performance, transaction integrity, and flexibility of WebSphere Application Server. These are all very compelling aspects to the system. However, in my opinion, the real value of this system lies in:

  1. Workload Optimization

    Unlike Oracle Exadata, which is designed to handle both transactional and analytical workloads within the same environment, IBM pureScale Application System is optimized for transactional workloads only. Transactional and analytical workloads are fundamentally different in nature. Catering for both types of workload within the same system means that you cannot truly optimize for either of those workloads, which in turn means that you will have a less efficient and more costly IT environment. Database software is very expensive to purchase and maintain. In my opinion, to prudently and efficiently run your IT environment, you cannot afford to run less efficient systems. You need systems that are optimized for the work being performed.
  2. Flexible Configuration

    The base system for the IBM pureScale Application System consists of two IBM Power 770 servers, each of which has 4 CPU cores and 32GB of RAM. There are two IBM Power 770 servers for redundancy reasons. They are connected by an Infiniband network. Initially the system is configured with four logical partitions that are dedicated to DB2 pureScale. You can optionally add partitions for WebSphere Application Server. The system then installs the software on these partitions, and optimizes the settings for the chosen configuration.

    You can scale within by adding CPU cores to each IBM Power 770 enclosure. You can scale up by adding additional enclosures for each IBM Power 770 server. And you can scale out by adding additional IBM Power 770 servers. Adding WebSphere Application Server instances and DB2 pureScale cluster nodes is flexible and easy.

    This flexibility to grow as your needs dictate is in stark contrast to the rigid configurations for the Oracle Exadata system.
  3. Flexible Licensing

    One aspect of the IBM pureScale Application System that excites many clients is the flexible licensing. DB2 pureScale has daily pricing. When you combine daily pricing with true application transparency, where you can easily add and remove cluster nodes in minutes and without application changes, it means that clients do not need to over-provision for the worst case scenario. Instead, they can add or remove capacity as needed, and only pay for the additional capacity for the days on which they use it. This can dramatically reduce software license and maintenance costs for retailers who have huge spikes in activity during holiday periods, for organizations with similar “busy periods”, for business who want to run special promotions, and so on.

IBM has not yet announced the availability date for this new system. However, it is expected to be available for purchase in June of this year.

Written by Conor O'Mahony

April 7, 2010 at 12:05 pm

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