4k Random Read/Write
We precondition the HGST FlashMAX II for 9,000 seconds, or two and a half hours, receiving performance reports every second. We plot this data to illustrate the drives' descent into steady state.
This dual-axis chart consists of 18,000 data points, with the IOPS on the left and the latency on the right. The red dots signify IOPS, and the grey dots are latency measurements during the test. We place latency data in a logarithmic scale to bring it into comparison range. The lines through the data scatter are the average during the test. This type of testing presents standard deviation and maximum/minimum I/O in a visual manner.
Note that the IOPS and Latency figures are nearly mirror images of each other. This illustrates that high-granularity testing gives our readers a good feel for latency distribution by viewing IOPS at one-second intervals. This should be in mind when viewing our test results below. This downward slope of performance only happens during the first few hours of use, and we present precondition results only to confirm steady state convergence.
Each level tested includes 300 data points (five minutes of one second reports) to illustrate performance variability. The line for each OIO depth represents the average speed reported during the five-minute interval. 4k random speed measurements are an important metric when comparing drive performance, as the hardest type of file access for any storage solution to master is small-file random. One of the most sought-after performance specifications, 4k random performance is a heavily marketed figure.
The HGST FlashMAX II averages 350,532 IOPS at 256 OIO (Outstanding I/O), beating its rated speed of 340,000 IOPS, but trailing the two Micron offerings by a large margin. The Micron P320h tops the chart with 788,071 IOPS, with the Micron P420m hot on its heels with 774,958 IOPS. The P320h and the FlashMAX II are not direct competitors due to drastically different price points from the P320h's SLC NAND; we include the P320h as a frame of reference for comparison to SLC products.
Latency is often the most important metric, and the FlashMAX II provides lower latency where some common applications reside, from 8 to 32 OIO.
The FlashMAX II provides lower latency up to 230,000 IOPS, where the Micron SSDs take over due to higher peak performance. The benefits of SLC are clear in this test; the P320h's latency remains flat until it reaches its peak speeds.
The FlashMAX II averages 119,662 IOPS at 256 OIO, leading its MLC competitor the P420m, which averages 98,304 IOPS. The P320h predictably leads this test with the SLC helping to score an impressive 209,288 IOPS.
The FlashMAX II exhibits a tight and consistent performance envelope during the test, much like the P320h, albeit at a higher latency. The P420m is tuned for read-centric applications, and experiences performance variability at higher OIO.
The P320h distances itself from the pack in this test, but the FlashMAX II performs admirably during heavy write workloads, besting the P420m in this test.
Our write percentage testing illustrates the varying performance of each solution with mixed workloads. The 100% column to the right is a pure 4k write workload, and 0% represents a pure 4k read workload.
The mixed testing illustrates the tremendous read performance of the Micron products, but as we mix in heavier write workloads the results shift in favor of the FlashMAX II in comparison to its MLC counterpart, the P420m. Another point of interest is the tight performance envelope of the FlashMAX II, even more tightly defined than even the P320h in some cases. The P320h delivers much higher performance, of course, but the tight predictable performance from the FlashMAX is commendable.
The Micron P420m experiences a significant increase in latency, and variability, as we mix in heavier write workloads. The latency does not scale well in comparison to the P420m IOPS results in this same test, giving the FlashMAX II a decisive win in the 4k mixed workload testing.
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