In article, EMC kills SPEC benchmark with all-flash VNX , (http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/02/23/enc_vnx_secsfs2008_benchmark/ Chris Mellor, calls this a “watershed benchmark”, and continues, “The previous top SPECsfs2008 NFS v3 score was 403,326 ops/sec from an IBM SONAS (Scale-Out NAS) . EMC's result was 497623 ops/sec.
“SPECsfs2008 is the latest version of the Standard Performance Evaluation Corporation benchmark suite measuring file server throughput and response time, providing a standardized method for comparing performance across different vendor platforms. SPECsfs2008 results summarize the server's capabilities with respect to the number of operations that can be handled per second, as well as the overall latency of the operations.” (http://www.spec.org/sfs2008/).
Clearly, EMC's result are better than IBM's published results ( http://www.spec.org/sfs2008/results/sfs2008nfs.html). However, without getting into minutiae, in comparing the basic storage technology used by EMC (http://www.spec.org/sfs2008/results/res2011q1/sfs2008-20110207-00177.html) and IBM (http://www.spec.org/sfs2008/results/res2011q1/sfs2008-20110204-00176.html), almost (93%) all of EMC's drives are solid state disks (SSD) and all of IBM's storage uses 15K rpm hard disks. The advantages of SSDs are well known and is certainly an acceptable storage technology for this benchmark. An observation that should be noted is that SSD technology provides from over one to approximate two orders of magnitude in random io ops/sec performance over 15K rpm drives1, yet EMC only reported a slight improvement over IBM's result in this benchmark. Is cost perhaps the reason?
The cost between 200GB SAS Flash and 450-600 GB 15K SAS drives is in the wide range of 5-30X. The performance capability of SSDs, in this benchmark, allowed EMC to use about ¼ the number of overall drives than IBM used. Since It appears the dollar cost of actual storage per SPECsfs2008_nfs.v3 ops/sec result for the EMC result appears significantly higher than for IBM's results.
It is not clear why a customer would spend so much extra for EMC's SSDs rather than standard high performance spindles for a 23% performance advantage. It almost appears as though EMC simply wanted a benchmark result to be slightly higher than IBM's.