Mike Nalls

Prove it! Show me your flash data.

Blog Post created by Mike Nalls on Jun 17, 2014

The storage industry is full of big technical claims. Some pan out, others fade away, sometimes the one making the claim hopes no one notices when there is no evidence. Flash technology is no exception. Since performance is the primary solution, vendors are claiming all sorts of performance rates without making the evidence available. HDS is well known for performance and for investing in the public data. We belong to the Storage Performance Council and publish our product benchmark data there for anyone to use when making comparisons between products. In September of last year we published the VSP with Hitachi Accelerated Flash SPC-1 report. Today we published the HUS VM with Hitachi Accelerated Flash SPC-1 report.

 

SPC-1 (and SPC-2) have been available for many years now providing objective, audited public performance data. The SPC-1 is designed to demonstrate the performance of a storage system in business critical applications primarily random queries and updates such as transaction oriented databases. The HUS VM made it into the top ten among its peers in terms of price performance. It's one thing to achieve performance at any cost and another to do so with real world pricing. Specifically, the HUS VM achieved 304,127 SPC-1 IOPS at $1.18/SPC-1 IOPS. Like most benchmarks, there is more to the story and some level of understanding required to make a comparison.

 

We all tend to focus on the highest number since it gets the attention, but sometimes there is other performance data that reveal compelling information. One is response time. It may be that a company may never reach the upper performance limit, but they will all notice response time. Characteristic of Hitachi storage products is consistency. They perform consistently under increasing workloads. The HUS VM displayed a response time under 1ms across the range of workloads up to 100%.

Response time.jpg

The product achieved this performance with only two trays of Hitachi Accelerated Flash containing 20 1.6TB flash module drives. They were mirrored for best performance, even so the price per GB was much lower than competitive systems at $36.56. That may sound very high until you compare it to the nearest competitive system at $129.87. That product had a lower list price, but offered much less capacity for the money resulting in the higher price for the amount of data stored. Hitachi Accelerated Flash is much more density efficient than the small 100GB SSDs used by the competitor to keep the price low.

 

When comparing flash storage system performance it's important to ask for the proof and evaluate in a business context with real world pricing, usability and response time considered.

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