July 14th, 2014 by Adam Armstrong
OCZ Announces the Launch of ZD-XL SQL Accelerator 1.5
Today at the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference, OCZ Storage solutions announced the launch of their next generation SQL Server acceleration solution, the ZD-XL SQL Accelerator 1.5. The new ZD-XL SQL Accelerator 1.5 supports Microsoft SQL Server 2014, 2012 and 2008 R2 versions expanding on the key flash-based storage features that improve I/O access performance. With version 1.5 also comes OCZ's newly redesigned Z-Drive, the 4500, which offers the same performance as the older R4, but in a FHHL form-factor.
We had previously reviewed the ZD-XL SQL Accelerator and found the accelerator easy to configure while it doubled SQL performance. The ZD-XL SQL Accelerator is a tightly integrated hardware and software solution that provides Microsoft SQL Server acceleration in a transparent fashion. SQL Server testing of OLAP and OLTP loads has resulted in performance gains of up to 25x. This is achieved by combining the right software technology with dedicated flash SSD hardware to provide intelligent caching of SQL databases.
The accelerator utilizes an implementation wizard and step-by-step instructions to guide database administrators through the deployment process starting with a configuration wizard. In an early look at the new 1.5 software, OCZ shared with StorageReview screenshots showing the setup of their new SQL Accelerator software.
One significant change over the previous version is the ability to accelerate specific database files, instead of the entire storage device. This gives administrators a new level of precise tuning, allowing them to further improve performation and leverage the flash directly where they need it. It also helps reduce waste where flash might have been previously accelerating databases located on the same storage volume that didn't require it.
Keeping with the original 1.0 version of OCZ's SQL Accelerator is the ability to dedicate a portion of the Z-Drive PCIe SSD as a flash volume and still keep a part active for caching. This process is very unique in the Application Accelerator space, which have traditionally been an all or nothing affair where the SSD can't be used for both purposes at the same time.
The new version has been enriched to enable database administrators the full power of SQL Server 2014. The new features include:
- Flash Buffer Pool Extension support – database pages can be accessed faster by loading them directly from flash.
- Tight integration with SQL Server management – allowing acceleration at a per database level providing a fine granularity for selecting only those database files that need to be accelerated.
- Support for running SQL in a virtualized environment – enabling the flash resources to support multiple VMs running SQL Server workloads concurrently via VMware ESXi and Microsoft Hyper-V.
- Support for High Availability – using Microsoft AlwaysOn Availability Group.
- Remote flash service – enables SQL Server to run on blade servers benefiting from PCIe flash storage.
The ZD-XL SQL Accelerator 1.5 is beneficial to both small to medium business (SMB) as well as large enterprise/data centers. SMBs can benefit by the performance increase that reduces their need to invest in SAN and HDD storage and aides in migration to SQL Server 2014. Large enterprise/data centers will see large database files cached from the SAN onto server-side flash accelerating transactions per minute up to 5 times. Payment processing must be as fast as possible with the quantity of small, time-sensitive, transactions. Storage is often the bottleneck. With the ZD-XL SQL Accelerator 1.5 customers report, “The caching system was innovative, so regardless of how many read or write operations performed, ZD-XL 1.5 maintained superlative and consistent speed that helped us lower processing times on SQL databases.”
The ZD-XL SQL Accelerator 1.5 is available in three capacities: 800GB, 1.6TB, and 3.2TB, in full-height and half-length form factor, and comes with a 5-year warranty.