QLogic 10000 Series Accelerating Database Infrastructure Using Oracle Real Application Clusters 11g R2 and QLogic FabricCache© Adapters User Manual


An Oracle White Paper

July 2013

Accelerating Database Infrastructure

Using Oracle Real Application Clusters 11g R2

and QLogic FabricCache© Adapters

Accelerating Database Infrastructure

Using Oracle Real Application Clusters 11gR2 and QLogic FabricCache

Executive Overview

Thousands of companies world-wide use Oracle Real Application Clusters (RAC) running on cost effective server hardware, to run mission-critical applications for their business.

Today’s more powerful servers, increased use of virtualization and increased datacenter density allow for large-scale implementations of database applications based on Oracle RAC. This presents challenges for shared storage subsystems to keep up with demands for highly-accessible, highly available shared storage for database systems such as Oracle RAC.

Storage subsystems, consisting of large arrays of spinning disks, have been challenged to provide adequate I/O capacity and transaction latency to support applications such as Oracle RAC that require high performance. While using flash memory for server-side I/O acceleration has become a popular method to bridge this performance gap, clustered applications such as Oracle RAC have an additional requirement for shared access across all nodes that limits the viability of typical "Captive Cache" solutions. A new "Shared Cache" paradigm is needed to support clustered application environments to allow maximum utilization of datacenter server resources.


This paper introduces the concept of database infrastructure acceleration through the use of caching host bus adapters (HBAs) to optimize server storage throughput across all nodes within the cluster. The enabling technology for Oracle RAC database infrastructure acceleration is provided by QLogic in the form of their FabricCache™ adapter technology. The benefits of using FabricCache adapters for RAC database storage access are discussed here, as are topics such as implementation considerations and costs.

What is Database Infrastructure Acceleration?

Over the past decade, the cost of server hardware used for running enterprise databases has gone down dramatically. However, to meet business demand, IT infrastructures have also grown dramatically over the same time span. This growth presents challenges to IT: unevenness in business demand, added application functionality, difficulty scaling management and support, and managing cost. In order to be a strategic asset to the business, IT needs to face such challenges proactively.

A large amount of IT assets are typically used to manage databases, which are in turn strategic assets for the business. For IT infrastructure used to manage databases to be “optimized”, that infrastructure should be simple to manage, effectively utilized, protected from failure, and able to deliver maximum value to the business at all times.

A key factor in delivering an optimized database infrastructure is providing adequate resources for storage I/O. Database management systems generate large amounts of I/O, and the performance they


Accelerating Database Infrastructure

Using Oracle Real Application Clusters 11gR2 and QLogic FabricCache

deliver can be impacted by I/O throughput capacity and transaction latency. Thus, optimization of the I/O capabilities of the database infrastructure can pay big dividends when I/O workloads are high, extending the capabilities of the infrastructure and allowing the hosted databases to deliver maximum performance to business users.


It is important when undertaking the optimization of database infrastructure to manage capital cost by utilizing, as much as possible, existing assets. It’s also important to control deployment costs of such a solution, so that the full return on the initial investment is recovered as quickly as possible. At the same time, it’s important that the solution also provides for low operational costs by enhancing the value delivered by the existing infrastructure without increasing complexity.

Protecting Your Investment

Standard Adapter Technology. QLogic’s FabricCache adapters can be utilized in place of the current standard adapters from any vendor. The capability of the FabricCache adapter can be used to extend the life of your existing infrastructure and future proof your server investments.

No need to upgrade or replace storage system. By functioning as a plug-in replacement for the existing HBA, QLogic’s FabricCache adapters can optimize server and database I/O without requiring any changes to the storage subsystem. This makes it possible to improve application I/O performance without an expensive storage system upgrade or replacement, which could be a major capital cost to IT and a significant impact to operations.

Controlling Deployment Costs

No changes to storage network. QLogic’s FabricCache adapter replaces only the server HBA in the I/O path. This means that the rest of the I/O system, e.g. cabling, fabric and the storage subsystem itself, remain completely unchanged. This in turn means that deployment of FabricCache adapters can be done very quickly, and with almost no disruption to IT operations.

No upgrades or configuration changes to existing applications. Since FabricCache adapters only change the HBAs being used by the servers, the performance advantages that are brought by FabricCache can be utilized by Oracle RAC (and indeed any other applications that need to do significant amounts of I/O) without any configuration changes.. I/O paths that are used by RAC can be left unchanged, so RAC is ready to go as soon as the FabricCache adapters are installed and the servers are rebooted.

Improved Utilization

Database Servers. FabricCache adapters, by improving application throughput for Oracle RAC when it is experiencing I/O throughput issues, effectively increases the I/O headroom on the database servers being used by Oracle RAC. This can make it possible for Oracle RAC instances to be driven to higher transaction rates before experiencing I/O issues.

Storage Subsystem. FabricCache adapters can improve utilization of the storage subsystem by offloading much of the read I/O traffic to the server-side cache maintained in the servers. This means


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