ESG Lab validation report on Virident’s FlashMaxII

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ESG’s evaluation of Virident’s FlashMax, a storage class memory (SCM) PCIe ssd flash platform to accelerate enterprise applications to showcase more valuable feature/functions of product, how it can be used to solve real customer problems, and identify any areas needing improvement. Visit http://www.virident.com/products/flashmax/ for flash storage solutions.

Text of ESG Lab validation report on Virident’s FlashMaxII

  • 1. Lab Validation Report Virident FlashMAX II Storage-class Memory with Sustainable, Multi-dimensional Performance By Brian Garrett, ESG Lab VP, and Mike Leone, ESG Lab Engineer August 2012 2012, The Enterprise Strategy Group, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
  • 2. Lab Validation: Virident FlashMAX II 2 Contents Introduction .................................................................................................................................................. 3 Background ............................................................................................................................................................... 3 Virident FlashMAX II ................................................................................................................................................. 4 ESG Lab Validation ........................................................................................................................................ 5 First Dimension: Small, Medium, and Large Block Sizes .......................................................................................... 5 Second Dimension: Sequential and Random Access Patterns ................................................................................. 7 Third Dimension: Sustained Performance over Time............................................................................................... 9 Fourth Dimension: Real-World, Mixed-Application Workloads ............................................................................. 10 ESG Lab Validation Highlights ..................................................................................................................... 12 Issues to Consider ....................................................................................................................................... 12 The Bigger Truth ......................................................................................................................................... 13 Appendix ..................................................................................................................................................... 14 ESG Lab Reports The goal of ESG Lab reports is to educate IT professionals about data center technology products for companies of all types and sizes. ESG Lab reports are not meant to replace the evaluation process that should be conducted before making purchasing decisions, but rather to provide insight into these emerging technologies. Our objective is to go over some of the more valuable feature/functions of products, show how they can be used to solve real customer problems, and identify any areas needing improvement. Our expert third-party perspective is based on our own hands-on testing as well as on interviews with customers who use these products in production environments. This ESG Lab report was sponsored by Virident. All trademark names are property of their respective companies. Information contained in this publication has been obtained by sources The Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG) considers to be reliable but is not warranted by ESG. This publication may contain opinions of ESG, which are subject to change from time to time. This publication is copyrighted by The Enterprise Strategy Group, Inc. Any reproduction or redistribution of this publication, in whole or in part, whether in hard-copy format, electronically, or otherwise to persons not authorized to receive it, without the express consent of The Enterprise Strategy Group, Inc., is in violation of U.S. copyright law and will be subject to an action for civil damages and, if applicable, criminal prosecution. Should you have any questions, please contact ESG Client Relations at 508.482.0188. 2012, The Enterprise Strategy Group, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
  • 3. Lab Validation: Virident FlashMAX II 3 Introduction Virident Storage Class Memory (SCM) is a class of solid-state storage solutions designed to meet the intensive IO performance needs of business-critical databases, Web 2.0, high-performance computing (HPC), and data center tier-0 application workloads. This report documents ESG Labs hands-on validation testing of Virident FlashMAX II PCI Express (PCIe) SCM drives, with a focus on their multi-dimensional performance capabilities. Background A growing number of organizations are using solid-state storage solutions in the data center. As shown in Figure 1, 34% of respondents to a recent ESG survey are currently using solid-state storage technology in either servers or external storage systems, and another 35% are currently evaluating it or have plans to do so in the next 12 months.1 While early adopters report that improved performance was their primary reason for deploying a solid-state storage solution, theyve achieved a number of additional benefits, including improved power and cooling efficiency, increased environmental tolerance, enhanced longevity, and improved reliability. Figure 1. Current Usage of Solid-state Storage Technology Does your organization currently use any solid-state storage technology in either servers or external storage systems? (Percent of respondents, N=265) Not familiar with solid-state storage technology, 2% Don't know, 2% No plans or interest in solid-state storage technology at this time, 13% Yes, we currently use solid-state storage technology, 34% No, but we are interested in solidstate storage technology, 14% No, but we plan to deploy solid-state storage technology within 12 months, 17% No, but we are currently evaluating solid-state storage technology, 18% Source: Enterprise Strategy Group, 2011. The first wave of widespread solid-state storage adoption began about four years ago, when flash memory became available as a solid-state disk drive tier in enterprise-class disk arrays. More recently, a growing number of organizations have installed PCIe-attached flash storage in servers to create a low-latency pool of primary disk or an extended disk cache. As matter of fact, 21% of respondents to a recent ESG survey indicate that they are currently using flash storage solutions in servers, and 15% plan on doing so in the next 12 months. Early adopters report that an increasing number of performance-critical applications are accelerated with solidstate storage, including OLTP database, ERP financial, OLAP business intelligence, supply chain management, and high-performance computing (HPC) applications. Solid-state storage is also accelerating the performance of consolidated virtual server and virtual desktop infrastructures. 1 Source: ESG Research Report, Solid-state Storage Market Trends, November 2011. 2012, The Enterprise Strategy Group, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
  • 4. Lab Validation: Virident FlashMAX II 4 Virident FlashMAX II FlashMAX II is a small form factor PCIe drive that delivers high-speed, flash-based storage in capacities ranging from 550 GB to 2.2 TB. FlashMAX II is designed to bridge the ever-growing performance gap between server CPU cores and traditional storage solutions. Typical performance issues common to real-world workloads are eliminated as FlashMAX II delivers extremely high levels of predictably fast and sustained performance for mixed-application workloads. Figure 2. Virident FlashMAX II SCM Drive Virident uses unique software and hardware to leverage the benefits of flash technology inside the FlashMAX II SCM drive. The SCM architecture provides storage-like capacity and resilience while delivering memory-like performance in a small, universal form factor. The software layer, called vFAS (Virident Flash management with Adaptive Scheduling), serves as a gatekeeper, granting access to the flash media as efficiently as possible at all times. Without the need for slower, legacy storage protocols or interconnects, major improvements in application performance occur. These improvements occur due to vFASs virtualization of the primary flash media, which is accessible to applications via a standard block device interface. vFAS also intelligently and efficiently manages the asymmetric read/write/erase latencies of flash media to deliver consistent, predictable performance in terms of application response. vFAS maximizes flash lifetime with global wear-leveling techniques. When necessary, data is relocated to less-used parts of the flash media to prevent hot-spots and overuse. Concerns regarding reliability and data availability are put to rest by the support of built-in flash-aware RAID. Data is spread across a RAID group that spans multiple flash chips and is protected by a RAID-5-like scheme, which prevents disruption from media failures while maintaining application data access and operational continuity. The RAID implementation is flash-aware and is tied tightly into the garbage collection and wear-leveling mechanisms. FlashMAX II provides a high level of consistency across all application workloads, whether the drive is brand new or fully utilized. The challenges associated with many first-generation PCIe flash adapters have been addressed with the multi-dimensional performance capabilities of FlashMAX II, which offers: High throughput for small, medium, and large IO block sizes. Similar levels of performance for random and sequential access patterns. High levels of performance for reads, writes, and a mix of reads and writes. Sustained consistent performance over time. Extreme performance scalability with multiple FlashMAX II adapter

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