Exadata flash cache latency .4 milliseconds

The central point of my Exadata presentation is that data flows from the disks and into and out of memory caches in a different way on Exadata when using a Smart Scan than in non-Exadata Oracle databases.  An interesting consequence of the way data is cached in Smart Scans is that it is cached in flash memory which is slower than regular RAM.  Non-Smart Scan table accesses may use the faster block buffer cache in the database server’s RAM.  I have on my presentation that it takes about 1 millisecond to read from flash memory versus 10 nanoseconds on regular RAM.  I got those numbers from an Exadata class put on by Oracle and from memory statistics published on the internet.  But, I couldn’t remember if I had verified the 1 millisecond number for flash cache access experimentally so I did a simple test that came back with about .4 milliseconds to read 32K from the flash cache.  This is still much slower than RAM but faster than I thought.

Here are my test scripts, logs, and a spreadsheet calculating the result: zip

I slightly modified the script from my previous post to set autotrace on and timing on.

SQL> select sum(BLOCKS) from test;


Elapsed: 00:00:00.73

The query ran in .73 seconds.

NAME                                 VALUE
------------------------------- ----------
physical read total IO requests       1841
cell flash cache read hits            1837

Almost every IO was cached in flash memory so I’ll do the calculation as if all the execution time for the query is accounted for by the flash cache reads.

.73 seconds X 1000 milliseconds per second = 730 ms

730 ms/1837 flash cache reads = .4 milliseconds/flash cache read (rounded up from .397)

So, this isn’t perfect but it is one piece of evidence that the flash cache reads are about .4 milliseconds on the Exadata V2 system this was tested on.

– Bobby

PS.  I determined that the flash cache reads were 32 K using the following information:

  7239  physical reads

NAME                                MB
--------------------------- ----------
physical read total bytes   56.5546875

NAME                                 VALUE
------------------------------- ----------
physical read total IO requests       1841

56 megabytes read/1841 physical IOs is about 32K.  Also, 7239 physical blocks read/1841 physical IOs is about 4 8K blocks per read = 32 K.  So, these tests appear to show that 32K flash cache reads take about .4 milliseconds.


About Bobby

I live in Chandler, Arizona with my wife and three daughters. I work for US Foods, the second largest food distribution company in the United States. I have worked in the Information Technology field since 1989. I have a passion for Oracle database performance tuning because I enjoy challenging technical problems that require an understanding of computer science. I enjoy communicating with people about my work.
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