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Today’s IT departments are under increasing pressure to reduce operational and capital costs, while still providing  a high level of service to their user communities.  Data centers must be efficient in their use of available hardware resources, be resilient to system outages, and adaptable to changing business needs and an evolving technology landscape.  For all these reasons, virtualization of enterprise applications and databases is more critical than ever.  Virtualization has the following characteristics, which provide a variety of benefits:

  • Partitioning: Virtualization allows multiple applications and operating systems to co-exist on a single physical host.  This helps the data center optimize its use of computing resources.
  • Elasticity: Virtual machines (VMs) may be moved between physical hosts to allow for hardware maintenance without application downtime.  New VMs can be provisioned quickly without bringing in new hardware.  And VMs can be migrated easily to newer, more capable servers as the data center expands.
  • Isolation: Because one VM is protected from crashes and viruses in another VM, the application ecosystem in the data center is more robust.

VMWare vSphere is the industry’s leading virtualization platform.  SAP Sybase IQ is SAP’s extreme scale analytics database that can handle petabyte scale data sets, a large number of concurrent users, and ad hoc queries with impressive performance.  VMWare and SAP recently joined forces to test SAP Sybase IQ 15.4 Multiplex on VMWare vSphere 5.1.  Multiplex is IQ’s grid deployment option for massive parallel processing utilizing a shared everything architecture.  The testing methodology was designed primarily to validate functional correctness of IQ in a virtual environment.  Additional testing down the road will focus on optimizing performance.  Although performance was a secondary goal, performance differences between running IQ on a physical machine and running IQ on a virtual machine were measured.  The test results were very positive.  IQ performed correctly, and with minimal degradation in a virtualized environment.  Here are some highlights of the test:

  • A 300 GB TPC-H data and query set was used for the test.

o   Note: TPC-H was used only to provide a standard set of data and queries.  This IQ/vSphere validation test was not audited by the TPC-H council (see: http://www.tpc.org/tpch/ for more information on the TPC-H benchmark).

  • Three types of load and query tests were run:

o   Load: load all the data for the TPC-H tables

o   Power: perform a sequential run of TPC-H queries

o   Throughput: perform a run of TPC-H queries in parallel

  • Tests were run first without VMWare virtualization –a “physical test” – to establish a baseline
  • All the tests ran successfully without any failures, and the “physical test” execution times were close to the “virtual test” execution times: 10 – 15% overhead in virtual test for data loading, and 0 – 8 % overhead in virtual test for the power and throughput tests.  (Query overhead is lower due to the ability of SAP Sybase IQ to cache pages for better query performance.)
  • A vMotion test was also executed.  vMotion saved the state of a running IQ virtual server, moved the VM to a new physical server, and resumed its operation.  vMotion operation was completed in just under three minutes.

With the technology trends of large CPU and memory systems, data center efficiency and resiliency, and cloud computing, SAP Sybase IQ users will be happy to learn that IQ Multiplex can be deployed successfully to VMWare’s virtualized infrastructure.  To learn more, here is a link to VMWare’s white paper documenting the validation test: http://scn.sap.com/docs/DOC-42439

Courtney Claussen | SAP Sybase IQ Product Management |  Email: courtney.claussen@sap.com

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