—Virident Systems, Inc., a performance leader in flash-based Storage Class Memory (SCM) solutions, today announced that ESG Lab validated benchmarks created by Virident to accurately measure enterprise flash-storage performance. The ESG Lab brief documents the challenges of benchmarking enterprise solid-state drives (SSDs) using current tools and concludes that Virident’s General Public License (GPL) licensed SSDBench benchmark utility is ideally suited to address the challenges associated with predicting the performance of SSDs with real-world application workloads.
“If your organization is using or evaluating flash-based solid-state storage, you should download SSDBench and take it for a test drive,” said Brian Garrett, vice president at ESG Lab. “As you consider the benefits of this valuable and relatively expensive new technology, you owe it to yourself and your organization to perform a thorough analysis of your investment.”
In the brief, ESG Lab documents the challenges of accurately benchmarking SSDs that are driving the need for the new benchmark methodologies included in SSDBench. The challenges include:
The biggest challenge associated with benchmarking solid-state storage is the dramatic difference in speed compared to traditional disk drives.
Flash-based solid-state performance changes over time. To account for this, SSDs need to be conditioned with reads and writes to achieve a steady state. Performance testing of a flash device without conditioning yields results that are higher than users will see in production over time.
A flash memory cell supports a finite number of writes. Flash controllers address this issue with a set of spare erased cells and algorithms that spread writes as evenly as possible over all the cells in a device. This technology, which is known in the industry as wear leveling, impacts write performance over time. In the worst case, a poor wear-leveling algorithm can lead to a dramatic drop in performance for write-intensive workloads that is referred to in the industry as the “write cliff.”
Performing I/O at the speed of flash introduces a number of performance and tuning challenges for storage architects. Performance of SSDs can vary dramatically over time due to a number of factors, including the queue depth being exercised and the size of I/O requests.
Experienced storage professionals recognize the need to test performance with a combination of low-level characterization tests and real-world application workloads. Characterization testing with only reads or only writes is a poor indicator of performance for real-world applications, which tend to be a mix of reads and writes.
“Virident created SSDBench because we found our customers didn’t have an industry-accepted means to effectively and accurately measure SSD performance,” said Shridar Subramanian, vice president of product marketing at Virident. “We believe there should be a common benchmarking methodology that models realistic application behavior for SSDs so that customers can appropriately weigh the pros and cons of the multitude of solutions there are in the market. SSDBench is an effective way for customers to determine, prior to their purchase, if an SSD solution they are considering provides adequate performance to ensure a strong ROI.”
SSDBench is a freely available General Public License (GPL) benchmarking tool that Virident Systems built for solid-state application workload performance analysis. SSDBench leverages well-known open source benchmarks including FIO, IOZone and INNOSim. Characterization tests run for hours instead of minutes and employ a variety of block sizes and queue depths, with a goal of characterizing performance over time. Application workloads evaluate SSD performance for a variety of real-world applications that benefit from the speed of flash (e.g., analytics, high-frequency trading and OLTP databases). A freely available spreadsheet template automates the graphical presentation of results.
Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG) is an integrated, full-service IT analyst and business strategy firm, world-renowned for forward-looking market intelligence, analysis, and consulting services that deliver proven, measurable results. Recognized as one of the world’s top 10 analyst firms by offering a unique blend of capabilities — including world-class market research, hands-on technical product testing, and expert consulting methodologies such as the ESG Strategy Lifecycle — ESG is relied upon by IT professionals, technology vendors, institutional investors, and the media for actionable IT and business intelligence.
Virident Systems enterprise-class Storage Class Memory (SCM) solutions deliver unconditional, consistent performance that supports the most data-intensive content and applications. The inherent advantage associated with this disruptive technology revolutionizes computing by speeding application response time and optimizing datacenter efficiency for new levels of ROI. Virident Systems is backed by strategic investors, Intel®, Cisco® Systems and a leading storage hardware and software solutions provider, as well as venture investors Globespan Capital Partners, Sequoia Capital, and Artiman Ventures. For more information, visit www.virident.com.
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