The datacenter has an insatiable appetite for speed. Each generational increase in storage performance unlocks more CPU power, allowing more work with less power. Products like the HGST Ultrastar SSD800MH appease the need for performance density in multi-node and micro server applications. This increased performance density equates to lower power consumption and better system efficiency. Full system utilization can increase ROI per system, alleviating licensing burdens in HFT, OLTP, OLAP, and cloud computing architectures.
For OEMs and system integrators, guaranteed NAND supply is important. HGST enjoys many fruits from their cooperation with Intel, and arguably, a guaranteed NAND supply is chief amongst them. Integrating a storage solution into OEM units requires confidence supply will not dry up during periodic NAND shortages. The details of the agreement are not public, but HGST benefits from a lot more than just Intel's microprocessor and NAND technology.
Delivering PCIe-like performance in a 2.5-inch form factor can be better suited to applications where PCIe SSDs may not address High Availability requirements. Addressing performance challenges with multiple PCIe SSDs can be cost-prohibitive, and there are limitations on useable PCIe slots in dense architectures. The pristine performance consistency from the SSD800MH lends itself well to RAID usage and provides a scalable solution for space-constrained systems.
SAS SSDs have higher power consumption due to their Active-Active dual port functionality. We measured power in 11W mode during testing, placing it at a bit of disadvantage since the performance gains are primarily in sequential write. This lowered its efficiency measurements, but the HGST SSD800MH still offered up the best performance-to-Watts ratio of the Dual-Port SAS SSDs in our tests.
The only hiccup was at 64 and 128 OIO during 4k random reads. The SSD800MH still managed to lead the pack with a heavy workload, and peaked at 135,570 IOPS. The 4k write performance was amazing at an unheard-of 102,085 IOPS in steady state, easily the highest we have measured in this form factor. Perhaps most impressive was its excellent consistency characteristics.
The SSD800MH fell to the Toshiba PX02SS in the 8k random read workload, but came roaring back with a convincing win in 8k random write. This robust write performance also provided a huge advantage in the 8k mixed workload testing, and it continued to exhibit the consistent performance characteristics.
The HGST SSD also dominated our sequential testing in easy fashion, posting the highest sequential read/write performance we have recorded in a 2.5-inch form factor SSD. This high performance carried over to server workloads. It led in all tests except fileserver, where the Toshiba PX02SS took the lead. The Toshiba PX02SS also features a higher overall endurance rating, but the high endurance thresholds of both drives will leave very few wanting.
NVMe devices will begin making their debut this year, and many are questioning the future of SAS with the low-weight software stack from NVMe offering significant performance advantages. We do not foresee a complete sea change immediately, but competition will likely become heated in a few product generations as NVMe gains acceptance.
SAS has a long history and is termed the 'Ethernet of storage' for many reasons. Its entrenched infrastructure in the datacenter and its ability to fend off other architectures has allowed it to stand the test of time. The timely update cadence of SAS has also spurred its evolution into a specification that offers enhanced choices as a storage fabric. SAS will continue to be widely deployed, with competition becoming brisk when High-Availability concerns are addressed with NVMe.
The HGST Ultrastar SSD800MH dominates across the board in performance and efficiency, and has tremendous endurance that should satisfy even the most intense workloads, easily winning the TweakTown Editor's Choice Award.