Solution Briefs


The adoption of flash-based storage in the data center has provided customers with revolutionary application performance improvements, based on the ability of flash devices to process I/O functions much faster than traditional hard disk drives (HDDs). However, deploying flash devices as simply faster HDDs and using existing software infrastructure, misses a tremendous opportunity to improve application performance with new software interfaces. These interfaces take advantage of the byte-addressable, “memory-like” features of a flash storage device like SanDisk's Fusion ioMemory™ PCIe Application Accelerators.

Working with the Oracle MySQL™, Percona and MariaDB communities, SanDisk has created an optimized solution that focuses on solving specific performance problems in the database. This solution uses a new flash-aware file system called NVMFS (Non-Volatile Memory File System), which is uniquely capable of translating standard Portable Operating System Interface (POSIX)-compliant file interfaces into “flash-aware” calls to the underlying device. With NVMFS, open source databases like Oracle MySQL, Percona Server and MariaDB can become “flash-aware” and solve many daunting performance problems.

While the performance of open source databases has improved in many areas over many releases, there are two problem areas in MySQL that can significantly benefit from the use of these “flash-aware” interfaces:

Oracle MySQL, Percona Server and MariaDB write all table space data twice to ensure data integrity during system failure, which leads to twice the amount of actual data per write. This “double-write” problem exists for both spinning media and flash.

These databases have supported compression for a long time, but the implementations have been shown to perform poorly on flash. Generally, most customers do not run compression with production workloads on flash, due to severe latency and throughput penalties.

These problems can be addressed by using both SanDisk NVMFS and Fusion ioMemory PCIe devices with a combined approach of hardware and software that uniquely enhance these open source databases. This significantly improves I/O performance, provides consistently low latency, reduces latency variation, and enhances the life expectancy of flash devices.

The SanDisk NVMFS Atomic Writes feature solves the double-write problem. That results in a significantly increased life expectancy of devices at similar throughputs, while providing consistent and lower I/O latency. The Atomic Writes feature uses flash-aware interfaces to write an entire database commit in one operation.

Working with the MySQL community, SanDisk has helped to enhance compression in these databases to enable customers to get the benefit of compression with little performance impact. With this NVMFS compression, applications see up to a 50% increase in capacity1 while driving transactions per second at a rate within 10% of the uncompressed rate.

Combining Atomic Writes with NVMFS compression reduces write operations by close to 75%1, compared to running uncompressed and without atomic writes. This significantly enhances the life expectancy of flash devices and reduces latency.

About SanDisk NVMFS

NVMFS is a new POSIX-compliant file system designed and developed by SanDisk. It is designed from the ground up for the newest generation of flash and non-volatile memory devices, enabling them to overcome many of the suboptimal features of traditional file systems that were not designed for these technologies. It eliminates duplicate logic and leverages new primitives for optimal flash performance and efficiency.

NVMFS provides low latency I/O and high throughput, leveraging the full capabilities of the underlying flash block device. This makes it an ideal match for high performance database environments. Popular relational databases such as Oracle MySQL, MariaDB, and Percona Server can use the flash-aware interfaces exported by NVMFS (Atomic Writes, PTRIM, etc.) to bypass I/O inefficiencies in the database itself. This in turn achieves much greater throughput and much lower transaction latencies.

The modern database bottleneck is I/O latency – the time it takes to submit and complete one or more operations in parallel. Databases typically need to log small amounts of data quickly during transaction commits, making the time it takes to write data to a persistent state important. The low-latency architecture of NVMFS makes it a perfect fit for ACID (Atomicity, Consistency, Isolation, Durability)-compliant updates.

Highlights: SanDisk's NVMFS Solution for Oracle MySQL, Percona Server, and MariaDB

  • Provides optimal flash performance and efficiency by eliminating duplicate logic and leveraging new flash-aware interfaces
  • Enables the majority of customers to significantly increase their flash storage efficiency by using compression, with little to no impact on transaction throughput
  • Enhances life expectancy of flash devices by reducing write operations to flash by close to 75%1

Supported Environments

  • Flash Hardware
    • Fusion ioMemory™ SX300 and PX600 PCIe Application Accelerators
    • One device per system
  • Operating Systems (Linux)
    • RHEL/Centos 6.4, 6.5
    • SLES 11 SP2
    • Oracle Enterprise Linux 6
  • Databases
    • Oracle: MySQL 5.7.4 (Atomic Writes) and MySQL Labs release (compression)
    • Percona: Percona Server 5.5, 5.6 (Atomic Writes)
    • MariaDB: MariaDB 5.5 (Atomic Writes), 10 (Atomic Writes and compression)
  • SanDisk NVMFS 1.0.2 supports only MySQL database deployment
    • There is no support for Fusion ioMemory PCIe devices used for data that does not belong to a MySQL database.
    • Future releases will add support for additional applications or deployment mix.


For workloads that compress well. Improvements will vary, depending on the load.


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