The performance of the different arrays that we tested with the Toshiba MK01GRRB/R drives exhibited expected scaling and consistent performance. The 15K 2.5" HDDs provide great performance in comparison with other drives and have many other benefits.
The increased performance density from these HDDs help to decrease power and cooling costs, and also eases the requirements for larger bulky HDDs. Space in the datacenter is at a premium, and with smaller racks becoming commonplace in all new installations, these types of solutions are in dire need.
SSDs have begun to challenge the 2.5" HDD market, but retain a higher price premium per GB. SSDs tend to command up to eight times the cost of a comparable 2.5" 15K HDD, relegating them to caching and tiering models in the majority of deployments.
While the uptake of MLC SSDs is hastening the conversion to SSDs, it must be taken into consideration that SSDs still only comprise 3% of the overall storage capacity in datacenters worldwide. The pace of data creation, and thus the need for storage, is exploding. Current estimates predict that the amount of stored data worldwide is doubling every two years.
SSDs can also require significant changes in the infrastructure of the deployment, with faster backplanes needed to capitalize on the increased speed. For existing infrastructure, SSDs aren't always the best option, and when more speed is required, 15K HDDs can fill the role.
The benefits over larger HDDs are very clear, with up to a 33% reduction in overall power consumption and tremendous gains in speed. The increasing use of caching and tiering provides an excellent application for these types of HDDs. Even in highly random workloads, 15K HDDs can provide significant performance increases.
Overall the Toshiba MK01GRRB/R series is a great fit for those looking for high performance HDD's. We have been utilizing them with our tests of caching software and they provide the consistent performance required for our baseline results. As we move further with extended HDD testing from other vendors, the MK01GRRB/R series will set the bar against which others will be measured.