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Lab Insight: Optimal SQL Server Performance – Intel Optane SSD vs. FC SAN

Companies of all sizes are seeking ways to optimize their use of IT infrastructure, by utilizing a mixture of on-premises and cloud computing resources. In many cases, companies are choosing to retain their mission critical applications on-premises or operate these workloads in clouds where they can maintain a high degree of control over both the IT infrastructure and management of these applications. This enables companies to closely control application service levels, as well as ensure data governance, privacy and other security requirements are met.

With the recent introduction of new CPU’s along with faster memory, I/O busses and storage technologies, it is important for IT organizations to understand how to optimally operate their business- critical applications that leverage the latest innovations to help both increase performance while also increasing operational efficiency. Recently, new storage technologies including memory-based access protocols together with very low-latency solid-state storage media can provide an order of magnitude increase in performance for applications using transactional databases.

Additionally, many mission-critical applications that utilize commercial databases such as Oracle or SQL Server have multiple OS and database high availability capabilities that meet or exceed DBA and application owners’ requirements. Moreover, some traditional best practices for operating business critical database applications are changing to include the use of local hardware redundancies combined with operating system and database high availability solutions to meet application availability requirements.

Evaluator Group was asked to evaluate the performance and availability of features of two different storage solutions when used for SQL Server based applications. Our criteria included availability and reliability, along with price and performance. Our testing found that using local Intel® OptaneTM SSD NVMe media, together with Microsoft Windows Failover Clustering and SQL Server Always on Availability delivered an HA solution that meets enterprise availability and performance requirements significantly better than using a traditional, all-flash enterprise class FC storage array.

Findings include:

  • Intel Optane SSD outperformed an all-flash FC SAN storage system, yielding 4.3X the performance
  • Intel Optane SSD enabled a 77% reduction in cost per transaction compared to all-flash FC SAN storage
  • All configurations, including Intel Optane SSD configurations were high-availability SQL Server deployments

Related to this document:
Lab Insight: Test Validation: Evaluating Server Based Storage Performance for Enterprise Workloads, Lab Insight: Latest Intel Technologies Power New Performance Levels on VMware vSAN – 2018 Update,

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December 1, 2022

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