The matrix-vector multiplication is the key operation for many computationally intensive algorithms. In recent years, the emerging metal oxide resistive switching random access memory (RRAM) device and RRAM crossbar array have demonstrated a promising hardware realization of the analog matrix-vector multiplication with ultra-high energy efficiency. In this paper, we analyze the impact of nonlinear voltage-current relationship of RRAM devices and the interconnect resistance as well as other crossbar array parameters on the circuit performance and present a design guide. On top of that, we propose a technological exploration flow for device parameter configuration to overcome the impact of nonideal factors and achieve a better trade-off among performance, energy and reliability for each specific application. The simulation results of a support vector machine (SVM) and MNIST pattern recognition dataset show that the RRAM crossbar array-based SVM is robust to the input signal fluctuation but sensitive to the tunneling gap deviation. A further resistance resolution test presents that a 4-bit RRAM device is able to realize a recognition accuracy of ∼ 90%, indicating the physical feasibility of RRAM crossbar array-based SVM. In addition, the proposed technological exploration flow is able to achieve 10.98% improvement of recognition accuracy on the MNIST dataset and 26.4% energy savings compared with previous work.