Tag Archives: flash

Benchmarking With Real Workloads and the Benefits of Flash and Fast Interconnects

Benchmarking is a term heard throughout the tech industry as a measure of success and pride in a particular solution’s ability to handle this or that workload.  However, most benchmarks feature a simulated workload, and in reality, a deployed solution may perform much differently.  This is especially true with databases, since the types of data and workloads can vary greatly.

 

StorageReview.com and MarkLogic recently bucked the benchmarking trend, developing a benchmark that tests storage systems against an actual NoSQL database instance.  Testing is done in the StorageReview lab, and the first round focused heavily on host-side flash solutions.  Not surprisingly, flash-accelerated solutions took the day, with the lowest overall latencies for all database operations, generally blowing non-flash solutions out of the water and showing that NoSQL database environments can benefit significantly from the addition of flash-accelerated systems.

 

In order to accurately test all of these flash solutions, the test environment had to be set up so that no other component would bottleneck the testing.  As it’s often the interconnect between database, client and storage nodes that limits overall system performance, StorageReview plumbed the test setup with none other than Mellanox ultra low-latency, FDR 56Gb/s InfiniBand adapter cards and switches to ensure full flash performance realization and true apples-to-apples test results.

 

StorageReview-MarkLogic-Layout_trans.png

MarkLogic Benchmark Setup

Find out more about the benchmark and testing results at StorageReview’s website: http://www.storagereview.com/storagereview_debuts_marklogic_nosql_storage_performance_benchmark

 

Don’t for get to join the Mellanox Storage Community: http://community.mellanox.com/groups/storage

Product Flash: NetApp EF540 Enterprise Flash Array

 

Written By: Erin Filliater, Enterprise Market Development Manager

Via the Storage Solutions Group

 

Everyone knows that flash storage is a big deal.  However, one of the gaps in the flash storage market has been in enterprise flash systems. Flash caching has for some time been in many enterprise storage environments, but enterprise all-flash arrays haven’t.  This week, that all changed with the launch of NetApp’s EF540 Flash Array.  Targeted for business critical applications, the EF540 features the enterprise features we’re used to in a NetApp system: high availability, reliability, manageability, snapshots, synchronous and asynchronous replication and backup and a fully redundant architecture.  Add to that some impressive performance statistics—over 300,000 IOPs, sub-millisecond latency, and 6GB/s throughput—and you have a system to be reckoned with.

NetApp EF540 transparent-sm.png

NetApp® EF540 Flash Array

 

What does all this mean for the IT administrator?  Database application performance boosts of up to 500% over traditional storage infrastructures mean faster business operation results, decreased time-to-market and increased revenue.  Enterprise RAS features lead to less downtime, intuitive management and greater system ROI.

 

Of course, as mentioned earlier in the week in the Are You Limiting Your Flash Performance? post, the network flash systems are connected to also plays a role in boosting performance and reliability.  To this end, NetApp has equipped the EF540 well with 40Gb/s QDR InfiniBand, 10Gb/s iSCSI and 8Gb/s Fibre Channel connectivity options, all with automated I/O path failover for robustness.

 

Following the flash trend, NetApp also announced the all-new FlashRay family of purpose-built enterprise flash arrays, with expected availability in early 2014.  The FlashRay products will focus on efficient, flexible, scale-out architectures to maximize the value of flash installments across the entire enterprise data center stack.  Given all this and the enterprise features of the EF540, there’s no longer a reason not to jump on the flash bandwagon and start moving your enterprise ahead of the game.

 

Find out more about the EF540 Flash Array and FlashRay product family at NetApp’s website: http://www.netapp.com/us/products/storage-systems/flash-ef540/ and http://www.netapp.com/us/company/news/press-releases/news-rel-20130219-678946.aspx

 

Find out more about how Mellanox accelerates NetApp storage solutions at: https://solutionconnection.netapp.com/mellanox-connectx-3-virtual-protocol-interconnect-vpi-adapter-cards.aspx

Are You Limiting Your Flash Performance?

 

Written By: Erin Filliater, Enterprise Market Development Manager

Via the Storage Solutions Group

As flash storage has become increasingly available at lower and lower prices, many organizations are leveraging flash’s low-latency features to boost application and storage performance in their data centers.  Flash storage vendors claim their products can increase application performance by leaps and bounds, and a great many data center administrators have found that to be true.  But what if your flash could do even more?

 

One of the main features of flash storage is its ability to drive massive amounts of data to the network with very low latencies.  Data can be written to and retrieved from flash storage in a matter of microseconds at speeds exceeding several gigabytes per second, allowing applications to get the data they need and store their results in record time.  Now, suppose you connect that ultra-fast storage to your compute infrastructure using 1GbE technology.  A single 1GbE port can transfer data at around 120MB/s.  For a flash-based system driving, say, 8GB/s of data, you’d need sixty-seven 1GbE ports to avoid bottlenecking your system.  Most systems have only eight ports available, so using 1GbE would limit your lightning-fast flash to just under 1GB/s, an eighth of the performance you could be getting. That’s a bit like buying a Ferrari F12berlinetta (max speed: >211 mph) and committing to drive it only on residential streets (speed limit: 25 mph).  Sure, you’d look cool, but racing neighborhood kids on bicycles isn’t really the point of a Ferrari, is it?  Upgrade that 1GbE connection to 10GbE, and you can cover your full Flash bandwidth with seven ports, if your CPU can handle the increased TCP stack overhead and still perform application tasks.  In terms of our vehicular analogy, you’re driving the Ferrari on the highway now, but you’re still stuck in third gear.  So, how do you get that Ferrari to the Bonneville Salt Flats and really let loose?

 

Take one step further in your interconnect deployment and upgrade that 10GbE connection to a 40GbE with RDMA-over-Converged-Ethernet (RoCE) or 56Gb/s FDR InfiniBand connection. Two ports of either protocol will give you full bandwidth access to your flash system, and RDMA features mean ultra-low CPU overhead and increased overall efficiency.  Your flash system will perform to its fullest potential, and your application performance will improve drastically.  Think land-speed records, except in a data center.

 

Flash and RDMA diagram.png

 

So, if your flash-enhanced application performance isn’t quite what you expected, perhaps it’s your interconnect and not your flash system that’s underperforming.

 

Find out more about the about RoCE and InfiniBand technologies and how they can enhance your storage performance: http://www.mellanox.com/page/storage and http://www.mellanox.com/blog/2013/01/rdma-interconnects-for-storage-fast-efficient-data-delivery/