Random Read/Write Speed

The four corners of SSD performance are as follows: random read, random write, sequential read and sequential write speed. Random accesses are generally small in size, while sequential accesses tend to be larger and thus we have the four Iometer tests we use in all of our reviews. For our enterprise suite we make a few changes to our usual tests.

Our first test writes 4KB in a completely random pattern over all LBAs on the drive (compared to an 8GB address space in our desktop reviews). We perform 32 concurrent IOs (compared to 3) and run the test until the drive being tested reaches its steady state. The results reported are in average MB/s over the entire time. We use both standard pseudo randomly generated data for each write as well as fully random data to show you both the maximum and minimum performance offered by SandForce based drives in these tests. The average performance of SF drives will likely be somewhere in between the two values for each drive you see in the graphs. For an understanding of why this matters, read our original SandForce article.

Enterprise Iometer - 4KB Random Write

Excluding the two SandForce data points using highly compressible data, the P320h is the new king here. At least in the 700GB configuration the P320h is able to offer better steady state 4KB random write performance than Intel's SSD 910. The drive also delivers over 6x the performance of Micron's 2.5" P400e.

Enterprise Iometer - 4KB Random Read

Random read performance is an even more impressive showing for the P320h at 758MB/s. This is truly the benefit of having 32 NAND concurrently accessible channels, given a heavy workload there's more than enough data to parallelize and stripe across all channels.

Sequential Read/Write Speed

Similar to our other Enterprise Iometer tests, queue depths are much higher in our sequential benchmarks. To measure sequential performance I ran a 1 minute long 128KB sequential test over the entire span of the drive at a queue depth of 32. The results reported are in average MB/s over the entire test length.

Enterprise Iometer - 128KB Sequential Write

Peak sequential write performance is slightly behind Intel's SSD 910 operating in its 38W high performance mode, but still very competitive. At 1357MB/s workloads that need to move large blocks of data will enjoy great performance on the P320h. Micron claims much higher sequential read/write numbers under Linux at 256 concurrent IOs.

Enterprise Iometer - 128KB Sequential Read

Sequential read performance is also very strong at 1817MB/s. The 910 as well as OCZ's Z-Drive R4 manage better performance here.

Introduction Enterprise Storage Bench - Oracle Swingbench
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  • PCTC2 - Monday, October 15, 2012 - link

    I think some of you guys are missing the point. This is an enterprise drive. You are not going to be booting off of it. You are not going to find it cheap or in smaller sizes. This drive, if it was a car, would be the unholy child of a European supercar and a Marauder. I could put one of these in a compute cluster and slam it 24/7 and it would be happy. And I would be happy because it means that I don't have to worry about hitting NAND endurance limits and I have a low-latency, highly parallelized storage device.

    So no. I (and probably anyone else who deals with enterprise hardware) don't care that it isn't bootable. I don't want it bootable. I don't care that it probably costs $5000+ for 700GB. It's cheaper in the long run. If it was to be anywhere close $300, you would have probably have 128GB of raw eMLC NAND, before over provisioning/RAIN/etc. Who in the industry would want such a small PCIe SSD when its strength is the large number of channels and large capacity.

    But would I give my right testicle to be able to eval one of these units, possibly buying enough for all of the servers? Yes. I probably would.
    Reply
  • DukeN - Tuesday, October 16, 2012 - link

    So you'd buy this for all your servers without figuring out how to add disk redundancy for these things?

    Or if you could RAID them, how that would affect the lifetime and TRIM-related performance.
    Reply
  • DataC - Tuesday, October 16, 2012 - link

    Dear PCTC2, I’m with Micron and our engineering team loves your Marauder/Supercar analogy. If you’re serious about that eval unit, we should chat. You can reach me at SSD@micron.com.

    And I promise our eval terms don’t require quite as much commitment as you’ve suggested....
    Reply
  • DukeN - Monday, October 15, 2012 - link

    Sorry, but no enterprise is putting their Oracle or MSSQL clusters on a platform based just on individual disk benchmarks.

    Numbers compared to disk arrays, SAN devices, etc would be welcome. Also, no enterprise will run something like this without redundancy which brings up another slew of questions - TRIM, wear-levelling, etc.

    Thanks
    Reply
  • SQLServerIO - Monday, October 15, 2012 - link

    There are only two cards that I'm aware of that are similar. Fusion-io with their line of cards and Texas Memory Systems which was acquired by IBM recently.

    The big difference between this card and the Fusion-io card is where it stores its LBA's and block mappings. The TMS drive and this drive both store that on the drive either in DRAM or flash on PCB. The fusion-io cards use your system memory.

    On the latency side, fusion-io has very solid latency numbers even on their MLC products. This card between the native PCI-e interface and using SLC make it very competitive.

    I am worried about the driver issues, this is a HUGE problem for those of us running on windows. TMS and fusion-io both have had driver problems but with products that have been on the market for several years now have ironed them out. Micron being very late to the game can't afford to have these issues at launch even though they are disclosing them it will cut them off from a lot of the smaller shops that would buy from them.
    I would like to know how many channels are active out of the 32 available at a time. If they come back and say all 32 that is also concerning pointing to bottlenecks in their custom ASIC with this much SLC flash on board.

    Just my thoughts.
    Wes - www.sqlserverio.com
    Reply
  • FunBunny2 - Monday, October 15, 2012 - link

    And no encryption? In an Enterprise drive? Also, the R/W performance difference is puzzling. Reply
  • jospoortvliet - Tuesday, October 16, 2012 - link

    You should run a load which requires hardware like this on an enterprise OS, not a playtoy as Windows... I think the comment about 32 vs 512 QD made that clear already. MS is nice for SMB with unskilled workers due to familiarity. But prise-performance it's crappy (requires lots of maintenance) and

    Your choices would be:
    https://www.suse.com/products/server/
    http://www.redhat.com/products/enterprise-linux/

    That's what you use at, for example, at the London Stock Exchange. Just google "london stock exchange linux dotnet" and see how MS failed at a real demanding workload and the Stock Exchange lost billions on a bad bet.

    But I guess you'll have to ignore all that as you're not trained for anything else :D
    Reply
  • jospoortvliet - Tuesday, October 16, 2012 - link

    (missing part would of course be "... and it fails completely at more demanding workloads") Reply
  • DataC - Tuesday, October 16, 2012 - link

    I’d like to respond to the drivers concern. I work for Micron in our SSD organization and can certify that we have fully tested our drive in two server-class Windows-based operating systems (in addition to Linux). These are Windows Server 2008 and 2012. This is an Enterprise-class drive and as such we currently do not support desktop operating systems such as Windows 7. Some of the chipset compatibility issues like the H67 fall also into the category of desktop systems and as such we do not explicitly support them. Understandably, while this makes reviewing the card somewhat difficult (most reviewers don’t want to spend $10K+ on a server) we need to be clear that this is not a driver maturity issue but a conscious decision we made to support datacenter, server-grade hardware and OSs. Reply
  • boogerlad - Monday, October 15, 2012 - link

    Ah, just the review I was waiting for. This drive isn't usable as an os boot drive? How unfortunate... Reply

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