Database systems have always been at the core of the IT landscape. Companies typically put their most valuable information in databases and use it to drive key business processes. Not only is storage an increasingly large cost component of database investments, but storage architecture can significantly and directly impact performance, availability, and recoverability of any database installation.
Making matters more difficult, today's data centers have multiple, distinct application workloads, each with different I/O profiles and distinct levels of value to the business. Because of this, IT organizations can expect that requirements for performance, high availability, and capacity planning will vary between production, development/test, and data warehouse environments. Over time, as IT organizations grow and database storage infrastructure scales the complexity of managing storage requirements across the environment will increase. This leads to a preference for a holistic view of storage architecture requirements for databases, and begs the question: how can IT architects to design a storage environment that is cost-effective yet meets changing needs for performance, availability, and recoverability at different points in a database's lifecycle? Additionally, and perhaps even more importantly, enterprises may demand that IT architects exploit synergy between the database software and the storage architecture.
Oracle RAC 10g is a particularly interesting case study in this regard. Whereas Oracle's "grid" architecture offers customers many useful features and the ability to use server resources more effectively, it is incumbent on storage vendors and IT architects to extend these concepts to the storage architecture in a useful way.
In this paper, we explore the interaction between Oracle databases and EMC and Network Appliance storage architectures and how this impacts storage architecture requirements, given the specific needs of Oracle databases; how EMC's and NetApp's approaches differ from one another with respect to performance, scalability, and high availability; and which storage platforms Oracle itself has chosen to run its Global IT consolidated applications.
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