I/O Meter Performance (Cont'd)

Next, we test with sequential read and writes. Some storage processors (For example Netapp) write sequentially even if the original writes are random, so it is interesting to see how the disks cope with a mixed read/write scenario.

IOMeter Sequential 66% Read and 33% write

Where four SAS disks could read almost as fast as eight SATA disks, once we mix read and writes the SAS disks are slightly slower than the SATA disks. That is not very surprising: both the SAS disks and SATA disks use four platters. That means that the WD 1TB disk has a much higher data density, which negates the higher RPM of the SAS drive. Since the accesses are still sequential, areal density wins out.

As we have stated before, the SSD are especially attractive for mail and OLTP database servers. The real test consists mostly of random writes and reads. Typically, there are about twice as many reads as writes, so we used a 66% random read and 33% random write scenario to mimic OLTP database performance.

IOMeter Random 66% Read and 33% write

The superiority of the Intel SSD drives is simply astonishing. Even eight of the fastest SAS drives are not enough to keep up with one (!) SLC SSD drive. The high seek time of our Western Digital (8.9 ms) also kills performance: 16 drives are slower than four 15000RPM SAS drives. The eight drive score of the Western Digital setup gives us an idea of how many SATA drives you need. It will take about 26-30 SATA drives to get the performance of eight SAS drives… and it will probably take about 40 SATA drives to beat one SLC SSD disk! The more your applications read and/or write randomly, the worse the "get a lot of cheap SATA spindles" plan becomes.
Did you notice something weird in the results? Good, we are glad you are paying attention :-).We'll explain this once we get to the RAID-5 tests. No? Get a good cup of coffee and look again at the benchmark chart...
I/O Meter Performance SQLIO Performance


View All Comments

  • shady28 - Sunday, November 15, 2009 - link

    I would have really like to see single drive performance of SAS 15K drives vs SSDs. The cost of a SAS controller ($60) + a 15K 150Gig drive ($110-$160) is less than any of the high end SSDs, and about the same as a low end SSD. It's a viable option to get a 15K Drive, but very difficult to see what is the best choice when looking at RAID configs and database IOPs.
  • newriter27 - Tuesday, May 5, 2009 - link

    What was the Queue Depth setting used with IOmeter? Was it maintained consistently?

    Also, how come no response times?

  • mikeblas - Friday, April 17, 2009 - link

    Intel has posted a firmware upgrade for their SSD drives which tries to address the write leveling problem. The patch improves matters, somewhat, but the overall performance level from the drives is still completely unacceptable for production applications.

    You can find it here: http://www.intel.com/support/ssdc/index_update.htm">http://www.intel.com/support/ssdc/index_update.htm
  • Lifted - Sunday, April 12, 2009 - link

    I like it! Reply
  • turrican2097 - Monday, March 30, 2009 - link

    Please mention or correct this on your article.
    1) You should mention that the price per GB is 65x higher than the 1TB drives, since you chose to include them.
    2) Your WD is a poor performance 5400RPM Green Power drive: http://www.techreport.com/articles.x/16393/8">http://www.techreport.com/articles.x/16393/8
    3) If you make such a strong point on how much faster SSDs are than platters, you can't pick the best SSD and then use the hardrives you happen to have laying around the lab. Pick Velociraptors or WD RE3 7200RPM and then Seagate 15K7.

    Thank you
  • mutantmagnet - Monday, April 6, 2009 - link

    It's irrelevant. Raptors don't outperform SAS which are better in terms of performance for the GB paid for. There's no need to belittle them when they are clearly aware of the type of point you are making and went beyond it.

    So far I've found these recent SSD articles to be a fun and worthwhile read; and the comments have been invaluable, even if some people sound a little too aggressive in making their points.
  • virtualgeek - Friday, March 27, 2009 - link

    Just wanted to point this out - we are now shipping these 200GB and 400GB SLC-based STEC drives in EMC Symmetrix, CLARiiON and Celerra. These are the 2nd full generation of EFDs.

    Gang - this IS the future of performance-oriented storage (not implying it will be EMC-unique - it won't be - everyone will do it - from the high end to the low end) - only a matter of time (we're currently at the point where they are 1/3 the acquisition cost to hit a given IOPS workload - and they have dropped by a factor of 4x in ONE YEAR).

    With Intel and Samsung entering to the market full force - the price/performance/capacity curve will continue to accelerate.
  • ms0815 - Friday, March 27, 2009 - link

    Since modern Graphic cards crack passwords more than 10 times faster than a CPU, wouldn't they also be greate Raid Controllers with their massive paralel design? Reply
  • Casper42 - Thursday, March 26, 2009 - link

    I would have liked to have seen 2 additional drives tossed into the mix on this one.

    1) The Intel X25-M - Because I think it would serve as a good middleground between the SAS Drives and the E model. Cheaper/GB but still gets you a much faster Random Read result and I'm sure a slightly faster Random Write as well.

    2) 2.5" SAS Drives - Because mainstream servers like HP and Dell seem to be going more and more this direction. I don't know many Fortune 500s using Supermicro. 2.5" SAS goes up to 72GB for 15K and 300GB for 10K currently. Though I am hearing that 144GB 15K models are right around the corner.

    Thanks for an interesting article!
  • MrSAballmer - Thursday, March 26, 2009 - link

    SDS with ATA!



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