Friday Jun 29, 2007

Swingbench Order-Entry doesn't scale-up with equal load

In my previous post, I pointed out some considerations to deploying the Swingbench Order-Entry benchmark on large systems. The main bottle-neck in this case was the database size. When scaling too small of a database to huge transaction rates, concurrency issues in the data prevent scaling. Luckily, Swingbench has a way to adjust the number of "Users" and "Orders"... or so it would seem.

Adjusting Users and Orders
I used the "oewizard" utility to create the maximum number of customers and orders - 1 million each. This created a database that was about 65GB total. The "oewizard" is a single threaded process and therefore takes a little time... Be patient. After doing my 1st run, I was a little concerned at the difference in performance.

Scale-up differences
In the real-world as database size grows, often transactions bloat. This is often noticed by enterprising DBAs and performance analysts. Eventually, this will lead to a re-coding of SQL or some changes in the transaction logic. So as a real-world database scales-up it will go through a series of bloating and fixing.

When designing a benchmark to show scale-up and make comparisons of systems at various database sizes, it is desirable to ensure transactions are presented with a similar load. If this is not the case, it should be noted and comparisons should NOT be made across database sizes. The "Order Products", "New Registration", and "Browse Order" transactions which are part of the SwingBench Order-Entry test, all experience transaction bloat as the database size is increased.

The following response time chart shows the effects of "one" user running on databases of 25,000 and 1,000,000 orders.

The moral-- beware of comparing results of differing database sizes using the Swingbench default Order-Entry kit.

Monday Jun 11, 2007

Swing and a miss... Benchmarking is not \*that\* easy.

I applaud tools that aim to make life easier. The cell phone is a wonderful invention that when combined with my palm pilot was wonderful. Now Apple has taken it as step further with the music, movies, internet and birthed the iPhone - nicer still!

Over the past year, I have been seeing more and more IT shops experiment with benchmark tools. One such tool is a kit developed by Dominic Giles of Oracle called Swingbench. Swingbench is a benchmark toolkit that is easy to install and run. Now the DBA can install the benchmark schema and with a few clicks... Wham they are benchmarking! Now comes the hard part - What do these results mean?

After about the 4th call of a customer having performance issues with their application "Swingbench", I was compelled to take a deeper look.

Luckily, all of the performance problems were easily solved by someone who benchmarks for a living. They were typically misconfiguration issues like: filesystem features, lack of io, lack of memory, too small of a dataset, ect... The scary part, these situations all used the supplied "demo" schema's.

By pursuing the Swingbench documentation, I saw that the demo schema's top out at a 100GB database size. This is also alarming. Most IT shops that buy servers or deploy multi-node RAC configurations have more disk than the modern laptop. So you can imagine my surprise when I saw a bake-off of an enterprise class machine that is essentially doing no IO and choking to death on latches... simply the wrong test for the environment.

Event                                               Waits    Time (s) Ela Time
-------------------------------------------- ------------ ----------- --------
latch free                                      4,542,675   1,137,914    79.04
log file sync                                     242,359     164,671    11.44
buffer busy waits                                 102,540      61,887     4.30
enqueue                                            35,142      42,498     2.95
CPU time                                                       25,310     1.76

Benchmarking, is simply not \*that\* easy. It takes time to scale up a workload that can simulate your environment. No question that Swingbench gives you a nice head start. It allows you to encapsulate your transactions, run simple regression tests, but you have to take the time to customize the kit to include your data and transactions. The demo schema's are simply a starting point.

This blog discusses performance topics as running on Sun servers. The main focus is in database performance and architecture but other topics can and will creep in.


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