Friday May 28, 2010

New Whitepaper: Advanced Compression 11gR1 Benchmarks with EBS 12

[June 23, 2010 Update:  Our Server Technologies team has just released Note 1061366.1 that lists recommended Advanced Compression patches applicable to all customers, including E-Business Suite environments]

In my opinion, if there's any reason to upgrade an E-Business Suite environment to the 11gR1 or 11gR2 database, it's the Advanced Compression database option.  Oracle Advanced Compression was introduced in Oracle Database 11g, and allows you to compress structured data (numbers, characters) as well as unstructured data (documents, spreadsheets, XML and other files).  It provides enhanced compression for database backups and also includes network compression for faster synchronization with standby databases.

In other words, the promise of Advanced Compression is that it can make your E-Business Suite database smaller and faster.  But how well does it actually deliver on that promise?

Apps 12 + Advanced Compression Benchmarks now available

Three of my colleagues, Uday Moogala, Lester Gutierrez, and Andy Tremayne, have been benchmarking Oracle E-Business Suite Release 12 with Advanced Compression 11gR1.  They've just released a detailed whitepaper with their benchmarking results and recommendations.

This whitepaper is available in two locations:
Vision Database:  Up to 68% compression and up to 36% improved performance

The results, even with our EBS Vision demonstration database, were impressive:
  • Reduced 21.9 GB of tables down to 6.9 GB (68% reduction, average 3:1 compression ratio)
  • Self-service performance improved up to 36%
  • Purchasing performance improved up to 10%
  • Order-to-Cash batch flow performance improved up to 33%
  • Payroll performance improved up to 25%
They also found some other interesting effects:
  • Some SQL execution plans changed, reducing performance
  • Performance was improved at the cost of up to 6% increased CPU usage, with the variance depending upon how much DML is performed
  • In the case of the Order-to-Cash batch flow, the average CPU consumption actually decreased by 7%
Line chart showing order to cash batch flow cpu usage for Oracle 
E-Business Suite Release 12 and advanced compression

Oracle using this in production with EBS 12 today

We can now share the news that we've been using Advanced Compression in our Oracle Global Single Instance (GSI) production environment since 2009.  This same team has been working to analyse the results of using Advanced Compression with our Oracle E-Business Suite Release 12 global single instance that we use to run Oracle's own business. 

The results there are very impressive:
  • Reduced EBS 12 database size from 17 Terabytes to 13 Terabytes
  • Compressed ~260 tables and over 700 associated indices and LOBs after migrating to SecureFiles
  • Total space saved: 68 TB across our primary, standby, and associated testbeds
Other E-Business Suite-specific observations about Advanced Compression

This whitepaper makes detailed E-Business Suite-specific observations in the following areas:
  1. Index compression
  2. Recommended patches
  3. SQL Plan regression analysis
  4. DML intensive operations
  5. Row chaining on UPDATE transactions
  6. ITL contention
  7. High transaction tables
  8. SecureFiles LOB compression
The whitepaper concludes with specific recommendations on planning your Advanced Compression conversion in your E-Business Suite environment, and then lists all of the tables compressed in the Vision testbed as well as Oracle's own EBS 12 production instance.

Have you used Advanced Compression with EBS?

Naturally, compression ratios and performance impacts or benefits will vary for every Apps environment.  If you've used this technology, we're very interested in hearing about your experiences with Advanced Compression in your environment.  You're invited to share your experiences here or drop me an email directly.

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Tuesday Jan 05, 2010

New Whitepaper: Symmetrical Network Acceleration with EBS 12

Andy Tremayne, my esteemed colleague and fellow blogger, has published a new whitepaper that discusses the effects of network acceleration appliances on traffic optimization for E-Business Suite environments: 
From Andy's crisp prologue:
Network appliances can be used to reduce bandwidth and latency effects through the use of data stream compression and object caching. The focus of this whitepaper is the deployment of Oracle E-Business Suite across an enterprise wide area network (WAN). Internet-facing applications may benefit from other specialized technologies such as Internet based Content Delivery Networks (CDN) and Internet-based network optimization strategies such as caching, route optimization, and protocol optimization.

The two main types of acceleration appliances are classed as Asymmetric and Symmetric. Asymmetric acceleration uses a centrally-located single appliance whereas Symmetric acceleration requires an appliance at either end of a network link, or in some cases, a single central appliance and corresponding software client on each remote computer.

Architecture diagram showing network appliances linking geographically dispersed locations to the E-Business Suite

As is Andy's wont, this whitepaper is packed with thoughtful analysis, architectural insights, recommendations, diagrams, in-depth quantitative benchmarks, and detailed charts that compare:
  • Traffic reduction improvements for different transaction types
  • Socket to servlet data transfer rates
  • Response times in optimized and unoptimized testbeds
  • Traffic reduction for low network bandwidth activities
  • Optimization results for high network bandwith activities
This whitepaper is critical reading for network architects grappling with the challenges of providing E-Business Suite access to geographically-diverse locations.

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Saturday Mar 29, 2008

Two Essential Tools for Diagnosing E-Business Suite Network Issues

Network problems seem to be on the rise again, either due to the increase in service demands, integration of different technologies such as Voice Over IP (VoIP), and the inevitable increases in uptake of technologies at new locations. Not only do network administrators have to concern themselves with various WAN optimization techniques, but they also have to deal with ad-hoc problems as they occur. As we all know too well, intermittent problems are the most difficult and resource intensive to address.

Network Diagnostic Tools for Oracle E-Business Suite

There are two diagnostic tools available in the Oracle E-Business Suite:
  • The Network test Form - available in all versions
  • The Client Analyzer - introduced in 11.5.10
Commonly, many people have found it difficult to understand the output of these tools and how they can be used to troubleshoot network problems. The Oracle E-Business Suite Network Utilities white paper explains:
  • How these two utilities work - they actually test a "form round trip"
  • How to understand the figures and what they tell you 
  • How end-users can help narrow down the source of problems and even identify which part of the system is not performing
Getting Into the Details

This last point needs a little more explanation, as this previously underused form now becomes an additional tool in a holistic approach to system performance troubleshooting. The techniques in the paper show the following:
  • How end users can gather diagnostic information saving the time and expense of deploying specialized personnel
  • How to compare the E-Business Suite measurements with standard network utilities such as ping
  • How to interpret the information to isolate a problem to the network, middle tier, or other system component.
The techniques do not require specialized skills and therefore much progress can be made towards identifying the root cause of the problem by junior system administration staff and suitably experienced end-users. Understanding the purpose of the tools and how to interpret their output enables end-users to collect the requisite diagnostic information and perform rudimentary diagnosis when performance problems occur. Inevitably, this means that this reduces the load on the support infrastructure as well as freeing up having to wait for hours for a problem to occur.

In addition to showing example usage of the tools, the paper presents sample output for users to compare with their own measurements, and thereby draw conclusions more quickly and effectively.

The chart below shows an example of how the Network Test form measurement maps to the network ping time.

Form Measured Latency Chart: Chart showing simulated Forms Measured Latency vs Actual Network Latency

By comparing the Network Test form measurement with the network ping time, you can identify:
  • If there is a problem in the network
  • If there is a problem in the middle tier
  • If there is a problem in the network and middle tier
  • Or Whether there is a problem in another system component
A couple of important points ......
  • Understand the limitations of these tools
  • Know which figures to use and how much they can be expected to fluctuate in a given scenario
  • If ping (ICMP) traffic is blocked for security reasons, the paper describes two Linux utilities that could be used to measure the network ping time
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