Test System and Methodology
We designed our approach to storage testing to target long-term performance with a high level of granularity. Many testing methods record peak and average measurements during the test period. These average values give a basic understanding of performance, but fall short in providing the clearest view possible of I/O Quality of Service (QoS).
'Average' results do little to indicate performance variability experienced during actual deployment. The degree of variability is especially pertinent as many applications can hang or lag as they wait for I/O requests to complete. This testing methodology illustrates performance variability, and includes average measurements, during the measurement window.
While under load, all storage solutions deliver variable levels of performance. While this fluctuation is normal, the degree of variability is what separates enterprise storage solutions from typical client-side hardware. Providing ongoing measurements from our workloads with one-second reporting intervals illustrates product differentiation in relation to I/O QoS. Scatter charts give readers a basic understanding of I/O latency distribution without directly observing numerous graphs.
Consistent latency is the goal of every storage solution, and measurements such as Maximum Latency only illuminate the single longest I/O received during testing. This can be misleading, as a single 'outlying I/O' can skew the view of an otherwise superb solution. Standard Deviation measurements consider latency distribution, but do not always effectively illustrate I/O distribution with enough granularity to provide a clear picture of system performance. We utilize high-granularity I/O latency charts to illuminate performance during our test runs.
Our testing regimen follows key SNIA principles to ensure consistent, repeatable testing. The first page of results will provide the 'key' to understanding and interpreting our new test methodology. In replicated environments, RAID 0 can be a compelling choice for bleeding edge performance. RAID 5 provides a layer of data security that protects from the loss of a drive. We test RAID 0 and RAID 5 for this evaluation. We utilized an array of 24 Micron P400m SSDs for testing. The drives were configured in RAID via the Windows Server 2012 disk manager.
The demanding nature of our enterprise test lab requires resilient solid state storage for testing, and we selected the P400m specifically due to its consistent performance and heavy endurance capabilities. Top speeds of 60,000/26,000 read/write IOPS and up to 380/310 MB/s of sequential throughput allow the P400m SSDs to push 6Gb/s devices to the limit. We have published the Micron P400m 200GB Enterprise SSD Evaluation, which provides an in-depth look at this heavy-duty enterprise SSD.
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