I am trying to make a comparison between a system setup using Hadoop and HBase and achieving the same using Oracle DB as back end. I lack knowledge on the Oracle side of things so come to a fair comparison.

I am looking for what kind of Oracle setup is required to handle a certain work load (hardware, OS, software stack, etc.).

The work load and non-functional requirements are roughly this:

  1. 12M transactions on two tables with one simple relation and multiple (non-text) indexes within 4 hours. That amounts to 833 transactions per second (TPS), sustained. This needs to be done every 8 hours.

  2. Make sure that all writes are durable (so a running transaction survives a machine failure in case of a clustered setup) and have a decent level of availability?

    With a decent level of availability, I mean that regular failures such as disk and a single network interface / tcp connection drop should not require human intervention. Rare failures, may require intervention, but should be solved by just firing up a cold standby that can take over quickly.

  3. Additionally add another 300 TPS, but have these happen almost continuously 24/7 across many tables (but all in pairs of two with the same simple relation and multiple indexes)?

Some context: this workload is 24/7 and the system needs to hold 10 years worth of historical data available for live querying. Query performance can be a bit worse than sub-second, but must be lively enough to consider for day-to-day usage.

The ETL jobs are setup in such a way that there is little churn. Also in a relational setup, this workload would lead to little lock contention. I would expect index updates to be the major pain. To make a comparison as fair as possible, I would expect the loosest consistency level that Oracle provides.

I have no intention of bashing Oracle in favor of some non-relational DB solution. I think it is a great database for many uses. I am trying to get a feeling for the tradeoff there is between going open source (and NoSQL) like we do and using a commercially supported, proven setup.


1 Answer 1


Firstly, I will say that this workload is by no means heavy by Oracle standards; thousands of commits/sec are possible, easily. Secondly, however, what matters here is not your database and it's not your server: it's your storage. There are many options here; you won't go too wrong with something like NetApp (I don't work for them, just a satisfied user) and the question is, what size? Here ORION is your friend. Whatever storage array you choose, this will take care of your first level of resilience, if your first node fails you simply mount the disks on another and start back up again, and Oracle will perform crash recovery so no data will be lost.

My advice is, get some numbers at a lower level - MB/s, IOPs - by performing a representative benchmark and take those to your nearest storage vendor and ask them what they've got. With NetApp at least, you can start fairly small and grow, adding another head for more resilience/better performance, adding shelves for more capacity, etc etc. Then test the crap out of it with Orion!

  • So, If I understand correctly, I cannot expect this kind of performance when using normal boxes with commodity disks. You'd need specialized storage hardware. The data volume for all ten years of history would be in the 8-10 TB range. Nothing enormous.
    – FvV
    Jan 19, 2011 at 12:51
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    You probably could with good disks and plenty of them (making sure redo got dedicated spindles) but that wouldn't meet your "fire up a cold standby" requirement (you meant active-passive clustering right? cold standby isn't a common Oracle terminology)
    – Gaius
    Jan 19, 2011 at 14:29

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