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Laptop and Desktop SSD Update…

I recently wrote about installing SSDs in my Laptop and Desktop. I thought I would write a quick follow up post to mention how things are going.

I’m really happy with the changes to the performance of the desktop. As mentioned previously, it is now much quieter and really fast. A lot of my VMs run from the 1TB internal data drive, but the things I use most frequently are now sitting on the SSD. I’m starting to forget what life was like before SSD, except when I go to work and use the slowest PC that was ever built. :)

Desktop SSD…

I wrote a couple of days ago about replacing my MacBook Pro hard drive with SSD. At the same time I bought a little SSD to use as the system drive for my desktop. I fitted that this morning, installed a fresh copy of Fedora 18 and mounted the original 1TB hard drive as a data drive.

Like the MacBook Pro, my desktop is a few years old, but still has plenty of grunt (Quad Core and 8G RAM) for what I need it for. I do run the odd VM on it, but any heavy stuff is run on my server, so there is no incentive to go out an buy the latest kit for what is essentially just a client PC.

MacBook Pro Mid 2009 : Replacing hard drive with SSD…

I’ve had my 13″ MacBook Pro since the mid 2009 refresh and it’s been really reliable. Apart from one brief visit to Apple to replace a noisy fan, I’ve had no worries. A few years ago I upgraded from 4G  to 8G RAM, so I’m not stranger to taking the back off it.

Even though it’s quite old by computer geek standards, I really don’t have any performance problems. I do demos with a couple of Linux VMs running Oracle and it works OK. Despite this, I was bored the other night and decided to buy an SSD to replace the internal hard drive. It arrived yesterday, so during last nights insomnia, I decided to fit the hard drive, rather than stare at the ceiling.

The actual hard drive replacement is pretty simple. You can see an example of it here. It takes about 5 minutes.

Gwen Shapira on SSD

If you haven’t seen Gwen Shapira’s article about de-confusing SSD, I recommend that you read it soon.

One statement stood out as an idea on which I wanted to comment:

If you don’t see significant number of physical reads and sequential read wait events in your AWR report, you won’t notice much performance improvements from using SSD.

I wanted to remind you that you can do better. If you do notice a significant number of physical reads and sequential write wait events in your AWR report, then it’s still not certain that SSD will improve the performance of the task whose performance you’re hoping to improve. You don’t have to guess about the effect that SSD will have upon any business task you care about. In 2009, I wrote a blog post that explains.

“Flash” Storage Will Be Cheap – The End of the World is Nigh

A couple of weeks ago I tweeted a projection that the $/GB for flash drives will meet the $/GB for hard drives within 3-4 years. It was more of a feeling based upon current pricing with Moore’s Law applied than a well researched statement, but it felt about right. I’ve since been thinking some more about this within the context of current storage industry offerings from the likes of EMC, Netapp and Oracle, wondering what this might mean.

Cary on Joel on SSD

Joel Spolsky's article on Solid State Disks is a great example of a type of problem my career is dedicated to helping people avoid. Here's what Joel did:

  1. He identified a task needing performance improvement: "compiling is too slow."
  2. He hypothesized that converting from spinning rust disk drives (thanks mwf) to solid state, flash hard drives would improve performance of compiling. (Note here that Joel stated that his "goal was to try spending money, which is plentiful, before [he] spent developer time, which is scarce.")
  3. So he spent some money (which is, um, plentiful) and some of his own time (which is apparently less scarce than that of his developers) replacing a couple of hard drives with SSD. If you follow his Twitter stream, you can see that he started on it 3/25 12:15p and wrote about having finished at 3/27 2:52p.
  4. He was pleased with how much faster the machines were in general, but he was disappointed that his compile times underwent no material performance improvement.

Here's where Method R could have helped. Had he profiled his compile times to see where the time was being spent, he would have known before the upgrade that SSD was not going to improve response time. Given his results, his profile for compiling must have looked like this:

100%  Not disk I/O
0% Disk I/O
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