An Oracle blog about ZFS Storage

  • December 2, 2014

Scream Safely! Introducing ZFS Storage ZS4-4 and OS8.3

Turbocharged storage!!!

That's the best way to describe our Oracle ZFS Storage ZS4-4 (released today). It's our 4th generation high-end Oracle ZFS Storage Appliance, and it comes with our just-released OS8.3 software. This new platform uses the latest hardware technology, and combined with OS8.3, doubles the performance of the record-setting previous generation, and also offers new innovations in security and Oracle Database 12c analytics.

In short, it's a beast.

(sounding now like a guy describing a new car on a game show) The 2-node high-availability configuration has eight 15-core Intel Ivy Bridge-EX processors, for a total of 120 cpu cores (that's 50% higher than the ZS3-4 it replaces). It also boasts 3TB of DRAM (more DRAM than most NAS appliances have in flash).

Here are the highlights:

The design feature that lets us take advantage of all of that DRAM is called hybrid storage pools (HSPs) - a DRAM-centric, multi-layer caching architecture that speeds up I/O ('cuz what good is a turbo charger that's not coupled to the engine?), significantly increasing performance without sacrificing capacity. The ZS4-4 design lets us pack 10x to 20x more DRAM than competitive platforms could even use, and can deliver up to 90% I/O from DRAM in some environments, easily out-pacing all-flash NAS competitive solutions.

The New OS8.3 Software

OS8.3 (a.k.a. 2013.1.3) is the latest version of the ZFS Storage Software. In addition to powering ZS4-4, it adds new features like Encryption (a separately priced option) and Oracle Database 12c analytics.


New to the software lineup is Oracle ZFS Storage Appliance inline encryption, which offers highly secure, granular and easy to implement storage-level encryption. Strong AES 256-bit data-at-rest encryption combined with a two-tier key architecture protects against security breaches, legal exposures, and meets regulatory requirements (check the release notes for compatibility with older ZFS Storage models).

Database Integration (as we engineer our stuff to work together)

Oracle Intelligent Storage Protocol is a unique communication technique that sends "hints" from the Oracle Database 12c to the ZFS Storage appliance. It dynamically tunes Oracle ZFS Storage for optimal database performance: Reducing manual activities, simplifying deployment, and reducing risk.

The new version (Oracle Intelligent Storage Protocol v1.1) provides support for database and pluggable database level analytics, broken down by database or pluggable database names. If a specific pluggable database is affecting overall storage system performance, OISP v1.1 can easily identify the culprit. Competitive systems do not provide this level of visibility. Try it today by using the ZFS Storage Appliance Simulator software.

Bottom Line: Why Should I Care?

For starters, the new platform doubles the performance of the previous generation (isn't that enough?), which can be critical in avoiding bottlenecks and accelerating your applications. It also helps you sleep at night because now you can encrypt your data, at the project, share or LUN level, making sure your data is secure. If you are using Oracle Database 12c (or will be soon), now you can simplify and accelerate storage performance tuning and troubleshooting at the pluggable database level with our Oracle Intelligent Storage Protocol v1.1 feature.

For More Information

Hat Tip to Carlos A. Ortiz and Nasim Tanner, who provided the provided the steak here. I just added the sizzle. - Bob

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