I’m excited to announce a new addition to the Pure Storage team – Charles “Chas” Dye joined us a few months ago as our Database Solutions Architect.  Chas has literally decades of experience as a bonafied DBA, optimizing Oracle physical and logical deployments from both engineering and operations perspective at places like Silver Spring Networks, Yahoo!, Opsware / Loudcloud, and eXcite, focusing on both OLTP and OLAP workloads.  Chas has authored several books on Oracle deployment and optimization, and is also both an aspiring amateur photographer and hawaiian shirt enthusiast, as evidenced in the photo below.

Why does Pure Storage need a database guru?  Pure Storage focuses on three key use cases: databases, virtual servers, and virtual desktops, and often the first two intersect as people are increasingly virtualizing their database infrastructure.    On the database side of things, adoption of Pure Storage typically follows a three-stage process:

  • Step 1: Swap spinning disk for 100% flash and see what happens.  Usually this will result in a clear and immediate benefit for applications which are spindle-bound (just this week I spoke with a customer who took a call center analytics application from 24-hour job processing to 2-hour processing – no optimization required).  But in many cases adding flash just makes evident OS and application bottlenecks further “up stream” from storage that prevent realizing the full potential of flash.
  • Step 2: Optimize OS and database tuning for flash.  There are a myriad of adjustments that one can make to the IO layers of the OS, FS, and database to tweak how block storage is accessed…and much of the “best practices” that DBAs have learned over decades of disk are simply wrong for flash.  Quick tweaks at these layers can make a large impact on end performance.
  • Step 3: Optimize application / query logic.  Finally, when your applications can expect consistent <1ms latency, it allows you to design your applications differently.  Queries are possible that weren’t possible before, and often simplification can lead to improved performance.

Chas’ job here are Pure Storage is to act as a partner to our customers in this journey – to help them understand how to walk down the paths of step 2 and 3 to optimize their applications for flash, and to generalize these learnings and publish them to the community in the form of best practices, whitepapers, benchmarks, and reference architectures.

You’ll see frequent posts on this blog from Chas as he begins publishing his findings, and you can have your first chance at interacting with him this Friday on his inaugural webcast – “Optimizing Oracle for Flash” – register here.