Solid-state vendor grabs storage world record

Used SPEC's OLTP benchmark.

Solid state disk vendor Texas Memory Systems has claimed an SPC benchmark world record using industry standard server and network hardware.

SPC stands for the Storage Performance Council, a vendor-neutral body which has devised several benchmarks to compare and contrast storage system performance in various scenarios. The SPC-1 benchmark is based on a workload designed to be representative of typical online transaction processing (OLTP) environments, such as airline ticket sales. It emphasises storage read and write access over sheer capacity or streaming I/O performance.

Texas Memory Systems (TMS) provides DRAM-based solid state disk arrays that look like hard drive arrays to storage-using applications, but respond many times faster to I/O requests. There is no waiting for a disk drive's head to move to the right disk track when an I/O request is received.

The RamSan-400 can have 32- to 138GB capacity and uses either Infiniband or 4Gbit/s Fibre Channel to link to servers. The test set-up used "white box" servers with 4GB of memory to operate the SPC-1 benchmarking application, QLogic QLE2462 host bus adapters and SANbox 5600 fabric switches.

In the SPC-1 benchmark, it delivered a 291,208.58 SPC-1 IOPS (input/output requests per second), with an average response time of 0.86 milliseconds per I/O request.

In comparison, an IBM DS8300 Turbo hard-drive array-based system recorded 123,033.40 SPC-1 IOPS, less than half the TMS number. TNS, Sun, IBM, Dell, Fujitsu, HP and 3PAR have all submitted systems to the SPC-1 benchmark.

EMC has recently announced a DMX-4 drive array which can use flash memory-based SSDs instead of hard drives. It is expected that these will be significantly faster in responding to I/O requests than a hard drive-only DMX-4. Flash memory SSDs are expected to be 30 percent more expensive per GB than the fastest hard drives. A RAM-based SSD is more expensive, and faster, still and, to that extent, comparing its performance to a hard drive-based array is like comparing a Ferrari to a BMW.

The SPC benchmarks are representative of typical workloads seen in real-life which means that performance recorded in a benchmark may not actually represent what a customer will actually achieve. Customers are advised to run their own benchmarks to determine real world performance.

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Chris Mellor

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