When I joined Violin I suddenly realised that I was going to be in a minority… a DBA in a world of storage people. DBAs don’t always think about storage – in fact I think it’s fair to say that many DBAs would prefer to keep storage at arm’s length. It’s just disk, right?
Of course all that changed back in 2007 when Oracle released 10g along with the new feature Automatic Storage Management. I confess that when I first heard about ASM I thought “Naah, I won’t be using that”. I couldn’t have been more wrong… before I knew it Oracle had me travelling all round Britain delivering the “ASM Roadshow” to DBA teams who listened with the all the interest of a dog that’s been shown a card trick*. [On one particular low point I found myself trying so hard to explain RAID to a group of stoic, unblinking Welshmen that I suffered some sort of mental breakdown and had to go and stand in the car park for a minute while my co-presenter leapt to my assistance. This was not a good day.]
These days DBAs are becoming more and more involved in storage, which means they have to spend more time talking to their Storage Administrator cousins (unless they have Exadata of course, in which the DBAs are the storage administrators).
During my time working with Exadata at Oracle I began to learn more and more about disk concepts such as Mean Time Between Failure and Annualised Failure Rates… but when I joined Violin I was plunged into a murky new world of terminology such as IOPS, bandwidth, latency and various other terms that probably should have been more familiar to me but weren’t.
I quickly came to the conclusion that people in the database world and people in the storage industry speak different languages. So now that I’ve been working at Violin for a year I thought it was time to try and bridge the divide and offer some translations of what all these crazy storage people are really talking about.
I’ll start with the basics and then get progressively more detailed until either a) I no longer know what I’m talking about, or b) nobody is reading anymore. So that should see me through until about the middle of next week then…
* I confess I stole this line from Bill Hicks. But it describes the scene perfectly and is funnier than anything I could think of…