AWS Outposts is a fully managed service that offers AWS infrastructure, services, and APIs as an on-premises and hybrid-cloud solution. An AWS Outpost can utilize block storage, such as Pure Storage® FlashArray//X or FlashArray//C for application data through iSCSI connectivity. FlashArray™ achieved Outposts Ready designation late last year.

We put the integration to the test to understand some performance characteristics of the solution for critical database applications. To benchmark the performance of FlashArray, we compared it against AWS EBS. 

In this blog post, we’ll dive into the benefits for databases (we used MySQL in our test) when using AWS Outposts with FlashArray. We’ll cover database performance and data mobility, as well as how rich data services can improve the operational efficiency of database environments.  

AWS Outposts with FlashArray – Key Results

When comparing FlashArray to native EBS storage, we found that FlashArray delivers many benefits to applications and databases, such as MySQL and MariaDB. These include: 

  • Higher performance. FlashArray was more than four times faster than an EBS volume.
  • Rich data services such as industry-leading data reduction, efficient snapshots, business continuity, and disaster recovery with active-active clustering, ActiveDR™ continuous replication, and asynchronous replication. 
  • AI-driven data services and operations. Pure1® offers a single view to monitor, analyze, and optimize storage environments from anywhere.
  • Higher availability compared to native EBS storage. EBS provides between 99.8% and 99.999% availability depending on the volume type. FlashArray provides 99.9999% with dual RAID Parity and non-disruptive everything. 
  • Seamless data mobility, data protection, and a consistent multicloud experience in AWS, Azure, and on-premises with Pure Cloud Block Store™.
  • Storage that suits a range of application requirements. 
    • FlashArray//X provides high performance for database applications and efficient consolidation for virtualized environments.
    • FlashArray//C provides higher capacity and lower cost at consistent performance levels for backup and applications without the highest performance requirements.
    • Pure Cloud Block Store for AWS provides rich enterprise data services in the public cloud consistent with industry-leading on-premises primary storage.

As user demand increases, so does the risk that a web application will become unresponsive and result in a loss of user traffic. The ability to provide faster response times ensures that deployments like web applications can scale as user demand increases. In some scenarios, MySQL could be implemented using replication technologies, such as Group Replication or Galera Cluster, to increase the overall scale of an application. If the response times for a single EC2 database instance are too low, you may need to deploy more replicas/nodes. FlashArray//X with iSCSI connectivity increased overall performance by four times. So, that would mean that up to four times fewer nodes/replicas will be needed with FlashArray compared to EBS storage. 

Using FlashArray with AWS Outposts for databases like MySQL isn’t just about performance. Other benefits include:

AWS Outposts with FlashArray Deployment Architecture  

Pure FlashArray is an on-premises primary block storage solution that is AWS Outposts Ready. Outposts customers receive all of the same benefits that FlashArray customers get on-premises. These include consistent low-latency 100% NVMe, industry-leading data reduction, rich enterprise data services powered by Purity, and AIOps-enabled operations. The Evergreen™ architecture and subscription model provide simplicity and ensure you have the latest features with non-disruptive software and hardware upgrades.

To use FlashArray block storage for application data, EC2 instances on an Outpost only need to use the iSCSI storage protocol. It’s even possible to connect multiple FlashArray devices to a single EC2 instance to serve different purposes. For example, archive data can reside on FlashArray//C, and data requiring high performance can reside on FlashArray//X.

Figure 1: EC2 instances on AWS Outposts can connect to FlashArray//X or FlashArray//C.

Data Mobility Between On-Premise and Public-Cloud Infrastructure

An AWS Outpost with FlashArray can easily be architected to provide data mobility between on-premises systems and public-cloud infrastructure. Volumes created on either FlashArray or Pure Cloud Block Store are interchangeable and can be moved or copied between the two with asynchronous replication or snapshot mobility via Purity CloudSnap™. This allows an organization to use the best of both hybrid- and public-cloud infrastructure to achieve its goals.

Figure 2: Seamless data mobility can be utilized between on-premises systems with AWS Outposts and EC2 instances connected to Pure Cloud Block Store.

FlashArray and Amazon EC2 Provide Best-in-Class Response Times  

To quantify the performance benefits that FlashArray provides when used as storage for application data, we deployed a MySQL database, tested it using sysbench with the Percona-Lab TPCC test profile, and compared it against native EBS storage. 

The test profile accepts several arguments that dictate how the test will be run. The three that impact overall performance are: 

  • Threads. The number of threads simulates the number of virtual users accessing the database. 
  • Tables impact the number of tables that are created and interacted with. 
  • Scale impacts the number of warehouses to operate on (increasing the overall size of the database). 

The database is loaded with data using the prepare statement:

Then, we can perform the test using the run statement. Take note of the time argument—the duration to run operations for: 

We ran two comparisons using 32 threads, 10 tables, and a scale of 100 (a 100-gigabyte database):

  • A 2 terabyte EBS volume providing 6,144 IOP capabilities 
  • A volume on FlashArray//X50 R3 connected to the EC2 instance using iSCSI 

Figure 3: Results yielded from the sysbench test showed that when connected to FlashArray using iSCSI, 1,116,673 transactions were completed at a rate of 1,860.99 transactions per second compared to 182,695 transactions at a rate of 304.27 transactions per second for EBS.

Conclusion

Together, Pure FlashArray and AWS Outposts provide efficient MySQL operations, with all-flash performance, cloud scalability, and operational simplicity to accelerate modern applications and break down IT silos.

 

Additional Resources:

Learn more about accelerating Open Source Databases.

Learn more about FlashArray with AWS Outposts Ready designation.

Try an easy to deploy, 30-day trial of Pure Cloud Block Store.