Full credit for this tale should go to my colleague Christo Kutrovsky for the inspiration and basic plan involved.
We recently migrated a large database from Solaris SPARC to Solaris x86-64. All seemed to go well with the migration, but in the next few weeks, we noticed some I/O issues cropping up. Some research led us to find that the ZFS filesystem used to hold the datafiles was killing us on I/O. The default “recordsize” setting for ZFS was 128k.
$ /usr/sbin/zfs get recordsize zfs-data
NAME PROPERTY VALUE SOURCE
zfs-data recordsize 128K default
An Oracle database typically uses 8k for the block size, but in this case it was 16k. We saw basically the same thing that Neelakanth Nadgir described in his blog post, Databases and ZFS:
With ZFS, not only was the throughput much lower, but we used more [than] twice the amount of CPU per transaction, and we are doing 2x times the IO. The disks are also more heavily utilized. We noticed that we were not only reading in more data, but we were also doing more IO operations [than] what is needed.The fix is to set the ZFS recordsize for a datafile filesystem to match the Oracle instance’s
db_block_size. We also read in the ZFS Best Practices Guide that redo logs should be in a separate filesystem with the default ZFS recordsize of 128k. We already had them separate, so we just needed to get our datafiles on a ZFS filesystem with a 16k recordsize.