A Look at Enterprise Performance of Intel SSDsby Anand Lal Shimpi on February 8, 2012 6:36 PM EST
Intel's SSD 520 in the Enterprise
I went through the basic premise of SandForce's controller architecture in our review of the 520. By integrating a real time data compression/deduplication engine in the data path of the controller, SandForce can reduce the number of physical writes it commits to NAND. It's an interesting way of combating the issue of finite NAND flash endurance. It works very well on desktop systems (BSOD issues aside), and for many enterprise workloads it should do similarly well. By writing less, you can get more endurance out of your NAND, making it an ideal technology for use in the enterprise where NAND endurance is more of a concern.
The limitations are serious however. You cannot further compress something that is already compressed and data sets that are truly random in makeup can't be compressed either. If your enterprise workload triggers either of these conditions, or if you're working with encrypted data, you're not going to get a big benefit from SandForce's technology.
There are still a lot of enterprise workloads (including portions of ours) that just revolve around reading and writing simple text (e.g. pages of a review, or tracking banner impressions). For these workloads, SandForce could do quite well.
Intel's SSDs have often been used in datacenter environments, including the consumer drives for reasons I've already described. Armed with a full set of Intel SSDs I put all of them through our newly created Enterprise SSD suite to see how well they performed.
|Enterprise SSD Comparison|
|Intel SSD 710||Intel X25-E||Intel SSD 520||Intel SSD 320|
|Capacities||100 / 200 / 300GB||32 / 64GB||60 / 120 / 180 / 240 / 480GB||80 / 120 / 160 / 300 / 600GB|
|NAND||25nm HET MLC||50nm SLC||25nm MLC||25nm MLC|
|Max Sequential Performance (Reads/Writes)||270 / 210 MBps||250 / 170 MBps||550 / 520 MBps||270 / 220 MBps|
|Max Random Performance (Reads/Writes)||38.5K / 2.7K IOPS||35K / 3.3K IOPS||50K / Not Listed IOPS||39.5K / 600 IOPS|
|Endurance (Max Data Written)||500TB - 1.5PB||1 - 2PB||Not Listed||5 - 60TB|
|Power Safe Write Cache||Y||N||N||Y|
It's worth pointing out that the Intel SSD 520 and 510 are both 6Gbps drives, while many servers deployed today still only support 3Gbps SATA. I've provided results for both 3Gbps and 6Gbps configurations to showcase the differences.
Note that although we debuted these tests in previous reviews, the results here aren't comparable due to some changes in the software build on the system.
Intel Core i7 2600K running at 3.4GHz (Turbo & EIST Disabled)
Intel H67 Motherboard
Intel 220.127.116.115 + Intel RST 10.2
|Memory:||Qimonda DDR3-1333 4 x 1GB (7-7-7-20)|
|Video Card:||eVGA GeForce GTX 285|
|Video Drivers:||NVIDIA ForceWare 190.38 64-bit|
|Desktop Resolution:||1920 x 1200|
|OS:||Windows 7 x64|