Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Expired storage battery causes database performance slow

Early Monday morning, I was told our data warehouse loading process took much longer than before.
The application has been running fine for months, and there was no recent changes made on application, system, or database. The data volume is about the same as before.
AWR reports showed that the bottleneck was on system IO, looks like storage IO performance is much worse than before. So I asked the storage engineer the check storage battery status of StorageTek.

Yes, our batteres expired!

Vendor is delivering new batteries for us, replacing batteries should solve our issue.

A few years ago, when I first started as a DBA, I encountered similar issue on an OLTP database.
All of sudden, one database became very slow. I spent much more time, but still couldn't figure out what went wrong. Only after a few days, our storage engineer noticed the battery expiration in HDS.
After replacing new batteries, database performance became normal again.

Why expired batteries affect the system I/O?
Joshua Townsend has a very good article on storage basics.
In storage, there is some amount of cache RAM acting as a buffer to physical disks, I/O operations on cache is much faster than the disks.
In case of battery expiration, storage will disable the cache, all the I/O operations directly goes to the disks, which are much slower than cache RAM.

For details, please visit Joshua's blog:

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