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


View All Comments

  • Jaybus - Tuesday, October 16, 2012 - link

    Any particular drive is going to be one or the other. Why make a single complex cotroller when you can make two targeted controllers? Reply
  • crackedwiseman - Monday, October 15, 2012 - link

    Any chance we could see some power consumption numbers on the various PCI-E SSDs? It would be interesting to see if the higher levels of integration in the NVMe controller solution are reflected by power savings. Also, its a shame it's not PCI-E 3.0 certified (although I'm sure it will be, given time) - it's not that the extra bandwidth is necessary, but you could achieve the same bandwidth with fewer lanes. Reply
  • cosmotic - Wednesday, October 17, 2012 - link

    Where's the test results from something like an Areca 1882 filled with high-performance SSDs? Reply
  • N00dles71 - Wednesday, October 17, 2012 - link

    Its funny to see all the dreamers here wishing it booted so when they won the lotto they could have one to go with their quad chip triple SLI dream machine.

    Seriously though, the SLC makes it a good sell to the boss who is worried about it dying before its time. Versus SAS hard drives/SSDs you just pull the dead one out and swap in a new one. Not so easy with these cards if you don't have them mirrored. Add the current market cost of a 2nd one to the mirror it does make it a hard sell. You could rely on these running a bit too well so that failure becomes a massive concern. So far we only trust the HP ones to store data that can easily be restored or is our prime business of massive scale market data capture and therefore mostly useless after 30 minutes.

    We have just started using the HP badged (Fusion) IO Accelerator and are well impressed with its performance. We would love to start using it in more servers but even with preferential HP pricing these are not cheap. If this thing was certified to run in Proliant DL 38x & 58x servers at $3000 I think the market just got tipped on its head. I can't see the competition getting much cheaper than around $8000 on the HP cards so Micron are either going to go in hard and disruptive or they might settle for a "cheaper" price closer to the competition to keep margins high. It would be a shame if they did, these devices are just about ready for a big push into the enterprise market that it is ripe for someone to come in and sweep it all up. We would have brought 4 times the number of cards versus the HP ones.
  • klmccaughey - Friday, November 02, 2012 - link

    This is the second Micron review you have done that there is no available product for. The last one was their new SSD drive which still hasn't appeared. I am in the UK. I wrote to them about the last review you did and they said that although Micron was their parent company, they has no information on when a product would or would not be available.

    I don't understand why they send you products for review, yet even months (nearly a year for the first one?) they aren't shipping the product.

    I can understand proof of concept and all that, and I love this PCIE card, but it's all fantasy IT until we can actually get our hands on it :)
  • klmccaughey - Friday, November 02, 2012 - link

    I meant Crucial by the way - Crucial are still only on the M4 and no sign of any of the stuff they send you ending up on the shelf ;) Reply
  • snozzy - Tuesday, November 06, 2012 - link

    Go to cdw.com and search for "micron p320". You can purchase the exact same card used in this review.

    You can also buy these parts though Dell in a 2.5" form factor along with a server. Go configure a R620/R720/R820 with the PCIe SSD option.

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