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Fusion-io flush with flash success after demo

Only beaten by expensive, exotic and dedicated kit

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A recent test has shown that decision support queries are faster and cheaper with Fusion-io and Dell, but only up to a point. The pair produced a top three database query benchmark result against the TPC-H standard.

We're used to flashy and eye-catching million IOPS demos from Fusion-io and the likes of HP and IBM, to show off the performance of its ioDrive, a PCI-e-connected flash solid state drive (SSD). This Dell result is more down to earth and is set in the world of business intelligence.

The TPC-H benchmark from the Transaction Processing Performance Council was used, and measures the number of decision support database transactions per hour against a set database size: 100GB in this case. The benchmark provides a variety of measures, the headline ones being the transactions per hour, the system cost, and the cost per transaction.

Dell and Fusion-io ran with Microsoft's SQL database, a dual quad-core Xeon server, four 80GB ioDrives and eight 73GB 15,000rpm SAS drives. The system recorded 28,772 QphH (TPC-H Queries-per-Hour) at a cost of $1.46 per query. The total system cost was $41,998.

Other systems did better, scoring a higher number of QphH, but only two recorded cheaper costs per transaction. The traditional way of getting high results is to throw spindles and cores at the database. The two better results used clustering in one case and an HW-accelerated query module in the other.

CPI scored a massively larger 209,298.9 QphH at an individual transaction cost of $1.25. But it needed a cluster of 12 dual quad-core Xeons, each with two 10,000rpm SATA drives, at a total system cost of $261,623 to get there. This is very much in exotic, dedicated technology territory.

KickFire recorded a result which was both faster and cheaper than Dell and Fusion-io's. Its configuration used a dedicated SQL query hardware appliance, twinned with a pair of quad-core Xeon servers and eight 15,00rpm SAS drives. This set-up recorded 49,229 QphH, at a cost of $0.70 per transaction and a total system cost of $34,425.

Fusion-io stresses that its Dell-based result used Microsoft SQL software, not open source software, and was COTS-based, using commercial, off-the-shelf components. What it's saying is that, if you want to add decision support work to an industry-standard server, and just need the ability to churn through a limited amount of work quickly without using specialised hardware or software, then the ioDrive will do the job for you.

Alternatively, if you want a dedicated box with better performance, lower acquisition and per-transaction costs, then kick decision support ass with KickFire. If you want screaming 200,000-plus QphH performance and have almost a quarter of a million dollars to spend then the CPI cluster is the thing to go for. You can delve more into the results here. ®

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