Please click here to view or download a detailed introduction to Myce’s Enterprise Class Solid State Storage Testing Methodology as a PDF.
All testing is performed on a world-class, OakGate Technology test unit, please click here for a Review of Myce’s OakGate test platform.
We perform two sets of Performance Tests:
1. A full set of the Storage Network Industry Association’s (‘SNIA’) tests with mandatory parameters, as specified in their Solid State Storage Performance Test Specification Enterprise V1.0.
2. A set of tests, known as the ‘Myce/OakGate Full Characterisation Test Set’, that provides readers with a fuller characterisation of the solution.
We also test Power Efficiency.
Before we move on, let’s remind ourselves of some basics –
When reviewing the performance of a Solid Sate Storage solution there are three basic metrics that we look at:
1. IOPS – the number of Input/Output Operations per Second
2. Bandwidth – the number of bytes transferred per second (usually measured in Megabytes per second, ‘MB/s’)
3. Latency – the amount of time each IO request will take to complete (usually, in the context of Solid State Storage solutions, measured in Microseconds, which are millionths of a second).
It is true to say that IOPS and Bandwidth had all been growing rapidly before the advent of Solid State Storage, but Latency can only be significantly decreased by eliminating mechanical devices, and thus Latency is the single most important aspect that Solid State solutions deliver to enhance performance.
Latency in a technical environment is synonymous with delay. In the context of a Solid State solution it is the amount of time between an IO request being made, and when the request is serviced.
Bandwidth, also commonly referred to as ‘Throughput’, is the amount of data that can be transferred from a storage device to a host, in a given amount of time. In the context of Solid State solutions it is typically measured in Megabytes per second (MB/s).
A great enterprise Solid State solution offers an effective balance of all three metrics. High IOPS and Bandwidth is simply not enough if Latency (the delay in an IO operation) is too high. As we will see in the test results presented below, as Latency increases IOPS will inevitably decrease.
Queue Depth is the average amount of IO requests outstanding. If you are running an application and the Average Queue Depth is one or higher and CPU utilisation is low, then the application’s performance is most probably suffering from a ‘Storage Bottleneck’.
Another important factor to remember is that Solid State Storage performance is influenced by previous workloads, not just the current workload, and especially by what has previously been written to the drive. As specified in the SNIA Solid State Storage PTS the goal of all good Enterprise level testing is to provide consistent circumstances, so that results can be compared fairly across different Solid State solutions – it is for this reason that all of our tests start with a purge of the drive, so that it starts in a ‘Fresh Out of the Box’ (FOB) state. Most tests then have a pre-conditioning phase where the drive is put into a ‘Steady State’ before the test phase begins. Put briefly, a ‘Steady State’ is achieved when the performance of the drive no longer varies over time and settles into a consistent level of performance for the workload in hand. You can find a detailed explanation of ‘Steady State’ and how it is determined in the SNIA tests in our Enterprise Testing Methodology paper, which can be viewed or downloaded as a PDF by clicking here.
For interest, here are some generally accepted assumptions that differentiate the use and therefore the approach to testing Enterprise/Server and Consumer/Client Solid State solutions:
Enterprise/Server Solid State Storage assumptions:
1. The drive is always full
2. The drive is being accessed 100% of the time (i.e. the drive gets no idle time)
3. Failure is catastrophic for many users
4. The Enterprise market chooses solutions based on their performance in steady state, and that steady state, full, and worst case are not the same thing
Consumer/Client Solid State Storage assumptions:
1. The drive typically has less than 50% of its user space occupied
2. The drive is accessed around 8 hours per day, 5 days per week, and typically data is written far less frequently
3. Failure is catastrophic for a single user
4. The consumer/client market generally chooses solutions based on their performance in the FOB state
Now let’s head to the next page, to look at the results of our SNIA IOPS (Input/Output Operations per Second) Test…..