Flash Feud

So you think you have the flash storage knowledge to be a NetApp Flash Master? Well, now you can prove it-and win a cool prize, too. NetApp recently launched its Flash Feud online contest for those who understand flash technology and how NetApp customers benefit from it. Among the prizes: an iWatch, your own personal drone, or the thrill of driving a fast car around a closed circuit racetrack.


Although the contest is open to anyone 18 years or older in the U.S. or Canada (see the Official Rules for details), it should be of particular interest to database administrators (DBAs). What does flash have to do with being a DBA, you ask? As it turns out, quite a bit.


Everyone knows that flash storage can make databases run faster. But smart DBAs also know that an enterprise-grade flash array also makes databases easier to administer and more dependable. If you want to be as smart as your own DBAs (or maybe even smarter), read on-and then challenge them to take the quiz.


Repair Database Corruption Faster

For a DBA, database corruption is never a pleasant scenario. When a corruption does occur, smart DBAs will use any number of tools to detect inconsistencies and repair the database. This gets the database running again, but unfortunately often results in some data loss within the database tables.


With NetApp All Flash FAS systems, DBAs can quickly recover missing data by rolling back to earlier snapshot copies until they find a clean (non-corrupt) version. Next, they can quickly compare the old database with the new, repaired version to determine which rows and columns are missing-and copy the missing data from the snapshot to the repaired database. This process can shave days (or weeks) off manual database recoveries where backup copies must be restored and then examined.


Eliminate Database Downtime

Enterprise databases are the backbone of operations, and excessive downtime is usually defined as any downtime. Smart DBAs know that their databases increase business productivity, but only when those databases are fully available to all users. NetApp All Flash FAS systems are built on a highly resilient storage infrastructure that eliminates downtime associated with lifecycle upgrades and maintenance events. This design, which does away with “single points of failure,” provides for capacity and performance scaling, database load balancing, and automated upgrades-all of which are performed seamlessly and nondisruptively.


For databases that require the utmost protection against catastrophic loss, the combination of All Flash FAS and NetApp MetroCluster provides a comprehensive disaster recovery solution. The MetroCluster architecture consists of independent storage clusters operating synchronously at sites up to 200 km (124.3 miles) apart. NetApp MetroCluster is a solution that combines array-based clustering with synchronous mirroring to deliver continuous availability at the lowest cost.


Backup Massive Databases in Seconds

Let’s face it, DBAs hate backups. Why? Because traditional backups take up so much bandwidth, which can degrade database performance and create unhappy users. To make matters worse, many enterprise databases are so large that backups must be staggered throughout the week in order to get just one full backup copy, exacerbating the problem. In other words, the bigger the database, the longer the backup, which creates even more unhappy users (and extremely grumpy DBAs).


Smart DBAs know that backups are a must, but the shorter the backup, the better.  Fortunately, NetApp studies have shown that a typical Oracle hot database backup using SnapMirror (with SnapManager) averages between 2 and 10 seconds. In fact, the longest SnapMirror database backup on record-for a 996.5 TB Oracle database-took a mere 120 seconds! If your DBA hates backups, they’ll love an All Flash FAS system.


Work Smarter, Not Harder

Database administrators are extremely risk averse. Who can blame them, when the fate of an entire company possibly rests on their shoulders? Of course, they’d all like their applications to run faster, and more reliably-but they are not willing to take one iota of risk in order get there.


Smart DBAs know that enterprise-grade flash storage systems can improve application performance without introducing undue risks. NetApp shares a common vision and has developed enterprise application solutions to help reduce IT cost and complexity. Find out how your own DBAs can benefit by taking the quiz.


Do you have the flash storage knowledge to be a NetApp Flash Master? Play “Flash Feud,” compete with friends, and win some great prizes.

Larry Freeman