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New Dell EMC Ready Solution Powers SQL Server, the Complete Performance Platform for Your Databases

first_imgWorking on the new Dell EMC Ready Solution for SQL Server was like going from 0 to 60 mph in under 3 seconds. The exhilaration of being pushed into the seat as the road roars past in a blur is absolute fun. That’s what the combination of Dell EMC PowerEdge R840 servers and the new Dell EMC XtremIO X2 storage array did for us in our recent tests.The classic challenge with most database infrastructures is diminishing performance over time. To use an analogy, it’s like gradually increasing the load a supercar must pull until its 0-to-60 time just isn’t impressive anymore. In the case of databases, the load is input/output operations per second (IOPS). As IOPS increase, response times can slow and database performance suffers. What is interesting is how this performance problem happens over time. As more databases are gradually added to an infrastructure, response times slow by a fraction at a time. These incremental hits on performance can condition application users to accept slower performance—until one day someone says, “Performance was good two years ago but today it’s slow.”When reading about supercars, we usually learn about their 0-to-60 mph time and their top speed. While the top speed is interesting, how many supercars have you seen race by at 200+ mph? Top speeds apply to databases too. Perhaps you have read a third-party study that devoted a massive hardware infrastructure to one database, thereby showing big performance numbers. If only we had the budget to do that for all our databases, right? Top speeds are fun, but scalability is more realistic as most infrastructures will be required to support multiple databases.Dell EMC Labs took the performance scalability approach in testing the new SQL Server architecture. Our goals were aggressive: Run 8 virtualized databases per server for a total of 16 databases running in parallel, with a focus on generating significant load while maintaining fast response times. To make the scalability tests more interesting, 8 virtualized databases used Windows Server Datacenter on one server and the other 8 databases used Red Hat Enterprise Linux on another server. Figure 1 shows the two PowerEdge R840 servers and the 8-to-1 consolidation ratio (on each server) achieved in the tests.Figure 1: PowerEdge R840 serversQuest Benchmark Factory was used to create the same TPC-E OLTP workload across all 16 virtualized databases. On the storage side, XtremIO X2 was used to accelerate all database I/O. The XtremIO X2 configuration included two X-Brick modules, each with 36 flash drives for a total of 72. According to the XtremIO X2 specification sheet, a 72-drive configuration can achieve 220,000 IOPS at .5 milliseconds (ms) of latency with a mixture of 70 percent reads and 30 percent writes using 8K blocks. Figure 2 shows the two X-Brick configuration of the X2 array with some of key features that make the all-flash system ideal for SQL Server databases.Figure 2: XtremIO X2Before we review the performance findings, let’s talk about IOPS and latency. IOPS is a measure that defines the load on a storage system. This measurement has greater context if we understand the maximum recommended IOPS for a storage system for a specific configuration. For example, 16 databases running in parallel don’t represent a significant load if they are only generating 20,000 IOPS. However, if the same databases generated 200,000 IOPS, as they did on the XtremIO X2 array that we used in our tests, then that’s a significant workload. Thus, IOPS are important in understanding the load on a storage system.Response time and latency are used interchangeably in this blog and refer to the amount of time used to respond to a request to read or write data. Latency is our 0-to-60 metric that tells us how fast the storage system responds to a request. Just like with supercars, the lower the time, the faster the car and the storage system. Our goal was to determine if average read and write latencies remained under .5 ms.Looking at IOPS and latency together brings us to our overall test objective. Can this SQL Server solution remain fast (low latency) under a heavy IOPS load? To answer this question is to understand if the database solution can scale. Scalability is the capability of the database infrastructure to handle increased workload with minimal impact to performance. The greater the scalability of the database solution, the more workload it can support and the greater return on investment it provides to customers. So, for our tests to be meaningful we must show a significant load; otherwise, the database system has not been challenged in terms of scalability.We broke the achievable IOPS barrier of 220,000 IOPS by more than 55,000 IOPS! In large part, the PowerEdge R840 servers enabled the SQL Server databases to really push the OLTP workload to the XtremIO X2 array. We were able to simulate overloading the system by placing a load that is greater than recommended. In one respect we were impressed that XtremIO X2 supported more than 275,000 IOPS, but then we were concerned that there might have been a trade-off with performance.The average latency for all physical reads and writes was under .5 ms. So not only did the SQL Server solution generate a large database workload, the XtremIO X2 storage system maintained consistently fast latencies throughout the tests. The test results show that this database solution was designed for performance scalability: The system maintained performance under a large workload across 16 databases. Figure 3 summarizes the test findings.Figure 3: Summary of test findingsThe capability to scale without having to invest in more infrastructure provides greater value to customers. Would I recommend pushing the new SQL Server solution past its limits like Dell EMC Labs did in testing for scalability? No. Running database tests involves achieving a steady state of performance that is uncharacteristic of real-world production databases. Production databases have peak processing times that must be planned for so that the business does not experience any performance issues. Dell EMC has SQL Server experts that can design the Ready Solution for different workloads. In my opinion, one of the key strengths of this solution is that each physical component can be sized to address database requirements. For example, the number of servers might need to be increased, but no additional investment is necessary on XtremIO X2, thus, saving the business money.If I were to address just one other topic, I would pick the space savings achieved with a 1 TB SQL Server database. In figure 4, test results show a 3.52-to-1 data reduction ratio, which translates to a 71.5 percent space savings for a 1 TB database on the XtremIO X2 array. Always-on inline data reduction saves space by writing only unique blocks and then compressing those blocks to storage. The value of inline data reduction is the resulting ability to consolidate more databases to the XtremIO X2 array.Figure 4: XtremIO X2 inline data reductionAre you interested in learning how SQL Server performed on Windows Server Datacenter edition and Red Hat Enterprise Linux Server? I recommend reading the design guide for Dell EMC XtremIO X2 with PowerEdge R840 servers. The validation and use case section of that guide takes the reader through all the performance findings. Or schedule a meeting with your local Microsoft expert at Dell EMC to explore the solution.Why Ready Solutions for Microsoft SQL?The Ready Solutions for Microsoft SQL Server team at Dell EMC is a group of SQL Server experts who are passionate about building database solutions. All of our solutions are fully integrated, validated, and tested. Figure 5 shows how we approach developing database solutions. Many of us have been on the customer or consulting side of the business, and these priorities reflect our passion to develop specialized database solutions that are faster and more reliable.Figure 5: Our database solutions development approachI hope you enjoyed this blog. If you have any questions, please contact me.Additional Resources:Microsoft SQL Server Info Hub—A list of recent Dell EMC solutions for SQL ServerDell EMC Ready Solutions for Microsoft SQL—A good resource for all Dell EMC solutions for SQL Serverlast_img read more

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Flexible Thalys supplements

first_imgWITH the aim of making Thalys services more accessible to passengers travelling between the Netherlands and Belgium, a Flexi Supplement valid for two months is available until December 13. With the new product, passengers holding full-fare international tickets can board a Thalys service where the train manager will allocate them a seat, although purchasing the supplement does not guarantee a place. The Thalys Flexi Supplement is priced at 10 guilders for Comfort 1, used in conjunction with a first class ticket, and costs 6 guilders for Comfort 2. olast_img read more

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Former guard Louie McCroskey discusses perception of Jim Boeheim, drug policy, 2 key figures in NCAA report

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Former Syracuse guard Louie McCroskey, who played for the Orange from 2003-06 before transferring, offered his reaction to the penalties levied on his former school.McCroskey also discussed the team’s drug policy — which he was unaware of, the public’s perception of head coach Jim Boeheim and how he thinks athletes are framed in NCAA cases.He also explained his relationship with two people who are repeatedly mentioned in the NCAA’s 94-page report — Stan Kissel, often referred to in the report as the director of basketball operations, and Jeff Cornish, who The Post-Standard has identified as “the representative” named in the report.Perception of Jim BoeheimMcCroskey left SU after the 2005-06 season because he said he thought Boeheim and the coaching staff only saw him as a utility on the court, and not as a person off it. He said he thought he’d get support for wanting to better his basketball career somewhere else, but instead received “backlash” from the coaches.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textMcCroskey went on to say that while he has tried to detach himself from Boeheim on a personal level, the head coach deserves the respect he gets for building the Syracuse program to what it has become.Still, he admitted his former head coach isn’t perceived well in the public eye.“You’ve got to look at it from two different perspectives, like is he well-liked and stuff like that,” McCroskey said. “I don’t think he necessarily cares.“He says what he wants and he does things his own way. People don’t necessarily like him. He either likes you or he don’t. If he doesn’t like you, he gives you a hard time.”Relationship with Stan Kissel and Jeff CornishA frequent mention in the NCAA report, Kissel is near the heart of the violations. Still, McCroskey defended the man he said was always “cool” with him.“If you ever needed the help and you ever needed a tutor, he was the first guy to always be like, ‘All right, I’m going to try and hook you up with this tutor,’” McCroskey said. “Stan was always a great guy. “Cornish, the former sports director at the Oneida YMCA criticized for illegally paying athletes, also had a good rapport with McCroskey, he said.“When people are saying this stuff, it kind of makes me laugh because I’m like, ‘Well I never received any money,” McCroskey said. “If you didn’t have a father, he was a guy who was always around, there to talk to people if you need him, stuff like that.“I’ve never really looked at him as a booster or that type of guy.”The drug policyAccording to the NCAA’s report, Syracuse violated its own drug policy on more than one occasion.McCroskey said he wasn’t aware of a specific drug policy, just that he wasn’t supposed to do drugs and that he’d receive random drug tests.“(The coaches) never told us about drugs because I guess they assumed most guys didn’t use drugs,” he said.McCroskey mentioned how he received a random drug test “a few times” in between the end of the regular season and beginning of the Big East tournament. But it was never Boeheim or any of the coaches who educated the players on drug tests.“I just heard it from trainers and stuff when they would be like, ‘You guys are going to get a random drug test, so you shouldn’t be doing drugs at all,” McCroskey said. “That was more of the conversation.”Framing of athletesWhen an athlete’s name goes in the media for an academic violation, McCroskey said he frowns upon the circus that ensues.“I don’t like how grown adults, mostly with family and children, like to single out kids,” McCroskey said. “You’re going to have Fab Melo’s name in the paper, right? And Syracuse fans will go crazy and say, ‘Oh, that’s a dummy’ and this and that.“People don’t understand that has to follow them for the rest of their lives, you know what I mean, so it better be true.”He said too many people think of student-athletes as “dumb squares,” but in fact they’re very aware of what’s going on. Sometimes, he added, athletes are just afraid to speak up and defend themselves.Reaction to the sanctionsMcCroskey didn’t expect the NCAA to come down as hard as it did, and expressed his sympathy for the current SU players who won’t get to play in the postseason.“It’s really unfortunate for the players because at the end of the day, Rakeem Christmas, (Trevor) Cooney, all these guys,” he said. “They work hard for years and now they’re the ones getting penalized for something that didn’t even have anything to do with them.”He said he feels for the fans and all those involved since there are a lot of people, both fans and players, in it for the right reason.Said McCroskey: “I’m sure if (the NCAA’s) done all this research and they found stuff, then obviously it is what it is.” Comments Published on March 8, 2015 at 6:59 pm Contact Matt: [email protected] | @matt_schneidmanlast_img read more

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