Storage Informer
Storage Informer

Tag: Solid State

The One Million IOPS game

by on Sep.26, 2009, under Storage

The One Million IOPS game

Few months back I saw an press release on Reuters from Fusion IO and HP claiming to hit 1 Million IOPS with a combination of Five 320GB ioDrives Duos and Six 160GB IO drives in an HP Proliant DL785 G5 which is a 4 Socket server with each socket having 4 cores, that makes a total of 16 cores in the server. I went saying wow that is amazing, a million IOPS is something any DBA running a high performance Database would like to get hands on. But when I did a quick search on the Internet for on how affordable the solution would be, I was horrified to see the cost which was clsoe enough to buy me couple of Mercedes E class sedan, all though the performance was stellar the cost and 2KB chunk size made me say which application does a 2KB read/write anyways, the default windows allocation is 4KB.

As time went by I got busy with other work till our Nand Storage Group  told us that they are coming up with a product concept based on PCIe to show a real 1 Million IOPS with 4KB block sizes which application in real world uses. This triggered the thought on what takes to achieve a 1 Million IOPS using generically available off-the shelf components.  I hit my lab desk to figure out what it takes.

Basically getting a Million IOPS depends on Three things: 1. Blazing fast Storage drives. 2. Server hardware with enough PCIe slots and good  processors.3. Host Bus Adapters capable of handling the significant number of IOPS Setup:   Intel Solid State Drives was my choice, there has been a lot discussed and written about the performance of Intel SSD’s and that was easy choice make. I selected Intel X25-M 160GB MLC drives made using 34nm process. These drives are rated for 35K Random 4KB read IOPS and seemed like a perfect fit for my testing. Then I started searching for the right Dual Socket server, this Intel® Server Systems SR2625URLX with 5 PCIe 2.0 x8 provided enough slots to connect HBA’s. The server was configured with Two Intel Xeon W5580 running at 3.2Ghz and 12GB of memory. Search for the HBA was ended when LSI showed their 9210-8i series (Code named as Falcon) which has  been rated to perform 300K IOPS. These are entry level HBA’s which can be configured to hook up up to Eight drives to eight Internal ports. Finally I had to house the SSD’s some where in a nice looking container, and a container was necessary to provide power connectivity to the drives. I zeored in on Super Micro 2U SuperChassis 216 SAS/SATA HD BAY, this came with Dual power supply and without any board inside it, but it provided me an option to simply plug in the drives to the panel and not worry about getting them powered. The other interesting thing about this Chassis is that, it comes with Six individual   connectors on the back plane so all each connector handles only Four drives, this is very different from active back planes which routes the signal across all the drives connected to them, this allowed me to just connect 4 drives per port on the HBA.  I also had to get a 4 slot disk enclosure ( Just some unnamed brand from local shop) in total I had capability to connect 28 drives. With all the hardware in place, I went ahead and installed Windows 2008 enterprise server edition and Iometer (Open source tool to test IO performance). 2 HBA’s were populated fully utilizing all 8 ports on them while other 3 HBA’s were just populated with 4 ports only.  The drives were left without a partition on them. Iometer was configured with two manager processes with 19 worker threads 11 on one Manager and 8 on the other. The 4KB Random reads were selected with Sector alignment set to 4KB. The IOmeter was set to fetch last update on the result screen.

Result: Once the test started with 24 drives, and felt I was short of few thousands to reach 1M IOPS so I had to find the 4 bay enclosure to connect another 4 more SSD’s taking the total number of SSD’s to 28. There was a Million sustained IOPS from the server with an average of 0.88 ms latency and 80-85% of CPU utilization.Conclusion: Recently we demonstrated this setup at Intel Developer Forum 2009 at San Francisco, this grabbed attention of many visitors due to the fact that this is something an ITNext Steps: I would be spending sometime to get this setup running with a RAID config and possibly use a real world application to drive the storage. This needs a lot of CPU resources and I have in mind one upcoming Platfrom from Intel which will let me do this. . I come up with followup experiments.-Bhaskar Gowda.


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Intel Solid State Drives – SOLID!

by on Sep.02, 2009, under Storage

Intel Solid State Drives – SOLID!

This video gives a whole new meaning to ‘durable computing’…

and for those of you who don’t like math… 70C is 158F (that’s HOT!)

You can read up on SSD reviews at: Anandtech, Tom’s Hardware Guide, Legit Reviews, PC Perspective, and more!


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You show me mine, I’ll expo you yours, OSCON

by on Jul.23, 2009, under Storage

You show me mine, I’ll expo you yours, OSCON

Why do I love the show floor at conferences? It&aposs almost impossible to have a reasonable conversation with the poor folks doing booth duty. Often this is because they might not be working in the area that you are interested in, or the noise level is just too high to have a good talk.

Sadly, I am addicted to technology, and the show floor is a great place for a quick fix.

OSCON is the Open Source Convention put on by O&aposReilly Media and is being held in the San Jose Convention Center. As with any good-sized convention, the big hitters in the technology business are present…

  • Microsoft – OK, these guys seem unusual to be present in an open source setting, but they want to highlight the tools they have created for hosting open source projects. Their booth seems mostly an excuse for people to play Guitar Hero.
  • Sun – as the company which has contributed the most lines of open source code, it&aposs not surprising to see them with a strong presence.

    Again, their booth was more a lounge rather than a place to have technology demos and talks. They did have a great supply of giveaways./li>

  • Amazon – had a smaller booth, and the focus seems mostly on code. They posted a code snippet and a contest for solving a problem with it.
  • Google – Also a very code focused booth. They were talking a lot about, their Soureforge competitor.
  • Facebook – Although I&aposm sure that any of the companies at OSCOn would love to hire really killer technical talent. And certainly there is good talent there. But the Facebook booth seemed to be totally focused on recruiting people. A little obvious, I guess.
  • Intel – as is usually the case, Intel&aposs booth was crammed with technology demos, booth talks and an amazing give-away. I&aposm not sure which of these created the long lines in the booth, but it was pretty full whenever I came by.

The demos showed a good split between hardware geek stuff and software partners.

  • OpenSolaris on Xeon, particularly showing great tools like PowerTop, which now has a pretty gtk interface.
  • SuSE running on a Xeon 5500 (formerly Nehalem) server. They were showing an Oracle database, and the tools available for the administrator here.
  • Moblin, running on Netbooks, Moble Internet Devices and automobiles. This last was really cool – there was a functional open source dialer which successfully called my cell phone!

Because O&aposReilly is a media company, there are some booths which don&apost usually fit in the usual technology conference – publishing companies:

  • No Starch Press- I love the useful technology titles these guys have, and I really love the art work these guys have on their book covers, in particular a robot pouring coffee into the open door in its head.
  • Manning – don&apost know as much about these guys, they seem to have good titles.
  • Linux Pro Magazine
  • O&aposReilly – hosted a lounge and a very nice book store.

And being an open source conference, there is a selection of what I would call "advocacy" booths: Electronic Fronteir Foundation, Free Software Foundation, the ACLU and FOSSFA which is the Free and Open Source Software for Africa group.

I also usually see one or two things that I learn about. One of these was Schooner. These guys are providing engines with Intel Xeon 5500 series processors (formerly Nehalem) and Intel Solid State Disks or SSDs and their optimized version of Linux, memcached and MySQL. What is really cool about this is that they didn&apost just put together some great Intel hardware and push the box out. They have added a bunch of value by optimizing the open source software. As a result, they get fantastic performance improvements.

What was also very cool was to see that Schooner&aposs VP of Engineering is Dave Rodgers, who was the VP of engineering at Sequent Computer Systems when I joined them in the 80s. So it was really cool to see Dave and catch up with him.

It&aposs a cool thing to see the various corporate tribes with their logo-ed T-Shirts herding together and mingling in the various lounges.


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