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SanDisk ULLtraDIMM DDR3 400GB SSD Enterprise Review (Page 12)

By: Paul Alcorn from Nov 10, 2014 @ 8:05 CST
TweakTown Rating: 97%Manufacturer: SanDisk

Final Thoughts


The transition to flash exposed the underlying weaknesses of storage protocols and infrastructure. Each step in the path to the NAND merely adds another layer of latency, and MCS avoids the traditional pitfalls of the storage stack by moving storage from remote locations, such as PCIe and SAS/SATA connections, to the memory bus. Confining I/O traffic within the NUMA architecture, where applications and operating systems reside, provides access to a massively parallel bus designed to scale linearly with no performance degradation as administrators add more devices. Marrying the unadulterated connection of the memory bus with the inherent advantages of the Guardian Technology Platform yields impressive performance benefits and ultra-low latency.

ULLtraDIMM deployments will employ upwards of four devices in parallel. Synthetic workloads do not reveal full application performance of the storage medium, but are a good indicator of scaling and performance available to applications. Our results indicate near-linear scaling in a multitude of workloads, making it is easy to extrapolate performance with multiple devices. We will circle back for TPC-E and TPC-C testing with Benchmark Factory when we obtain additional samples for a comparison with the leading PCIe competitors found in the PCIe SSD category of our IT/Datacenter section. The storage device presents as a standard block device that permits its utilization in a multitude of scenarios, including with complementary technologies like caching and tiering applications.

One of the most telling metrics came during our base latency test. The ULLtraDIMM provided 1/3 of the latency of the competing drives, which is desirable for sporadic or bursty workloads. The underlying SSD performance is exposed once sustained workloads are applied, but the genius of the design lies in parallelism from multiple devices. The ULLtraDIMMs regularly outperformed the SATA 6Gb/s Samsung 845DC PRO with lower latency, and higher performance across the board. The 12Gb/s SAS HGST SSD800MH proved to be stout competition, but requires an HBA or RAID controller.

The ULLtraDIMM design removes complexity, components, and cabling from server designs. The enhanced density will enable smaller blade and microserver designs. Removing the need for power-consuming and expensive hardware is a big plus. Optimized storage multiplies server efficiency, ultimately requiring fewer servers overall.

Diablo is in the driver seat for future memory channel storage devices with the recently awarded patent for interfacing a co-processor and I/O devices with main memory systems. The flexible MCS architecture also provides a solid platform for future non-volatile memory technologies, and storage protocols. The architecture will eventually evolve into a cache line interface at the application level, which will be the catalyst for rethinking how applications and operating systems utilize system memory.

The Supermicro test platform delivered great performance, and is indicative of the tight OEM integration between SanDisk, Diablo, and their partners. SanDisk offers a complete product portfolio with object storage and caching software, along with SATA, SAS, PCIe products, and now the ULLtraDIMM. The ULLtraDIMM closes the performance gap between storage devices and system memory, and the refined solution features easy-to-use and intuitive management software. Robust endurance, power-loss protection, end-to-end data protection, device-level redundancy, and a five-year warranty, are the hallmarks of an advanced storage solution. Tacking on extreme performance, scalability, and low latency is icing on the cake, winning the SanDisk ULLtraDIMM and Diablo MCS architecture the TweakTown Editor's Choice Award.

TweakTown award
Quality, Design, Build and Warranty98%
General Features96%
Performance Consistency96%
Power Consumption and Efficiency96%
Overall TweakTown Rating97%

The Bottom Line: SanDisk's ULLtraDIMM redefines the concept of low-latency storage. The MCS architecture provides unrivaled latency performance and scalability. The Guardian Technology Platform delivers a bevy of enterprise-class features, such as power loss protection, end-to-end data protection, 10 DWPD of endurance and a five-year warranty.

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