Determining I/O throughput for a system

At Kscope this year, I attended a half day in-depth session entitled Data Warehousing Performance Best Practices, given by Maria Colgan of Oracle. In that session, there was a section on how to determine I/O throughput for a system, because in data warehousing I/O per second (iops) is less important than I/O throughput (how much actual data goes through, not just how many reads/writes).

The section contained an Oracle-specific in-database tool, and a standalone tool that can be used on many operating systems, regardless of whether or not a database exists:

If Oracle is installed, run DBMS_RESOURCE_MANAGER.CALIBRATE_IO:

SET SERVEROUTPUT ON
DECLARE
lat INTEGER;
iops INTEGER;
mbps INTEGER;
BEGIN
-- DBMS_RESOURCE_MANAGER.CALIBRATE_IO(<DISKS>, <MAX_LATENCY>,iops,mbps,lat);
DBMS_RESOURCE_MANAGER.CALIBRATE_IO (2, 10, iops, mbps, lat);
dbms_output.put_line('max_mbps = ' || mbps);
end;

For us MySQL folks, or even the Drizzle or NoSQL folks, Oracle offers a free standalone tool called Orion. The example given in the slides was:

./orion –run advanced –testname mytest –num_small 0 –size_large 1024 –type rand –simulate contact –write 0 –duration 60 –matrix column

-num_small is 0 because you don’t usually do small transactions in a dw.
-type rand for random I/O’s because data warehouse queries usually don’t do sequential reads
-write 0 – no writes, because you do not write often to the dw, that is what the ETL is for.
-duration is in seconds
-matrix column shows you how much you can sustain

I would be interested to see how other folks measure I/O throughput, and maybe even do a side-by-side comparison of different tools. Orion is available for:

Linux (x86, x86-64, Itanium, Power)
Solaris (SPARC64)
AIX (PPC64)
zLinux
HPUX (PA RISC, Itanium)
Windows

I am working on a larger write-up of the session itself, which had many concise descriptions of data warehousing issues, but I thought that this merited its own post.

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