[rt-users] Migrating from Postgres to MySQL

William Graboyes william.graboyes at theportalgrp.com
Wed Jul 29 13:44:51 EDT 2009

Hi Matt,

Raid is not the end-all be-all for disk safety, especially when you step
into terabyte class computing, sorry I am taking this a bit off topic. While
RAID has it's bonuses, there are drawbacks as well, take your standard RAID
5 setup, 4 Disks, 3 active, 1 Hot Spare.  Now lets say that Disk number 2
decided it was going to release it's smoke to the world (never a good
thing), now your array is still alive and it is starting to rebuild onto
disk 4 to make up for the death of disk 2.  During the rebuild process Disk
1 comes across a bad sector, poof, your data is gone.  Just a word of
warning, don't put all your data safety eggs into the RAID basket.

Otherwise I agree that running via NFS from a virtualized server would
probably have perfromance gains over running in the virtual invironment.


On Wed, Jul 29, 2009 at 10:26 AM, Matt Simerson <matt at corp.spry.com> wrote:

> On Jul 29, 2009, at 7:10 AM, Robert Nesius wrote:
> On Tue, Jul 28, 2009 at 3:56 PM, Kenneth Marshall <ktm at rice.edu> wrote:
>> Kage,
>> The main advantage is gained by avoiding I/O through the virtual
>> disk. The layout of the virtual disk tends to turn most I/O into
>> random I/O, even I/O that starts as sequential. The factor of
>> 10 performance difference between random/sequential I/O causes
>> the majority of the performance problem. I have not had personal
>> experience with using an NFS mount point to run a database so I
>> cannot really comment on that. Good luck with your evaluation.
> You're trading head-seeking latencies for network latencies,
> No.
> If this were a standard host environment, that would be true. But in a
> virtual environment, there is the overhead of the disk
> create/maintenance/update processes of the virtualization engine which
> multiply the overhead of the disk. Just run a disk benchmarking utility
> inside a VE running under any platform that uses disk images (vmware, xen,
> parallels, etc...) and then run those same tests on the host node. The
> difference in performance is often an order of magnitude slower for the
> virtual disks.
> Contrast that with NFS performance, which has a small fixed overhead
> imposed by the network (even smaller if you use jumbo frames). If you were
> using a platform with a robust NFS implementation (Solaris, FreeBSD), I'd
> put money on the database performing better on NFS than inside most virtual
> machines. If you're using NFS with Linux, you will certainly have
> performance issues that you won't be able to get past.
> If the virtualization environment provides raw disk access to the VE, my
> bet is off. Examples of virtualization platforms that [can] do this are
> FreeBSD jails and Linux OpenVZ. On several occasions, I have built VEs for
> MySQL and mounted a dedicated partition in the VE. Assuming you've given
> adequate resources to the DB VE, that works as well as a dedicated machine.
> When I arrived at my current position, the SA team had put the databases
> into the VEs that needed them, along with the apps that accessed them.
> Despite having 6 servers to spread the load across, they had recurring
> database performance issues (a few times a week), particularly with RT. I
> resolved all the DB issues by building a dedicated machine with 4 disks (two
> battery backed RAID-1 mirrors) all the databases to it. The databases have
> dedicated spindles as does the OS & logging. Despite the resistance to the
> "all our DB eggs in one basket approach," the wisdom of that choice is now
> plainly evident. All the performance problems went away and haven't
> returned.
> and those are almost certainly higher.  Hosting your database server
> binaries and such forth in NFS is possible, though again, not optimal both
> from a performance and risk standpoint (NFS server drops, your DB binaries
> vanish, your DB server drops even though the machine hosting it was fine).
> That's not how NFS works. If the NFS server vanishes, the NFS client hangs
> and waits for it to return. That is a design feature of NFS. The consistency
> of the databases is entirely dependency on the disk subsystem of the file
> server.
> I think hosting databases in NFS can cause serious problems - I seem to
> remember older versions of mysql wouldn't support that.  I don't know if
> newer ones do...but I do know in the *very large* IT environment I worked
> in, all database servers hosted the DBs on their local disks or in
> filesystems hosted on disks (SANS?) attached via fibre-channel.
> I would never host a database server on anything but RAID protected disks
> with block level access (ie, local disks, iSCSI, etc). Database engines have
> been explicitly designed and optimized for this type of disk backend.  That
> is starting to change, as a few new DB engines that are designed for network
> storage (like SimpleDB). But none I know of are production-ready.
> Could solid-state drives side-step the random-access issue with
> virtualization, or at least make it suck less?
> Haven't tried it yet, but my guess is no.  However, I have put databases on
> SSD disks with excellent results.
> Based on how many people I know who have said "Wow, my SSD died.  I thought
> those were supposed to be more reliable?" ... I wouldn't bet my service
> uptime on it. ;)
> There's this thing called RAID, that protects against disk failures.... It
> works quite well with SSD disks and delivers performance numbers for a
> couple thousand bucks that would otherwise take a $150,000+ SAN.
> Matt
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