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Virident flasher claims Oracle database streak record

Solid disks thrust into willing 80-core NEC box

Intelligent flash storage arrays

Exit Exadata, Fusion-io and Violin Memory - so to speak: the Oracle database random IO speed record has been smashed by an 80-core NEC server fitted with eight Virident flash drives.

A single Xeon-based 80-core NEC Express 5800/A1080a GX server, fitted with eight 1.4TB Virident FlashMax solid-state drives (11.2TB of flash storage) did 1.2 million random input-output operations per second (IOPS) with an Oracle database using 8K blocks. The IO bandwidth was 9.4GB/sec. Virident says this is at least twice the level of the competing products.

Is it?

Virident compares its products with those from Fusion-io, Oracle's Exadata, and Violin Memory.

Virident's Shridar Subramanian, VP of marketing, said that a Fusion-io run "achieved 100,000 requests per second with a single ioDrive Duo, and scaled up to 600,000 requests per second [IOPS] with eight ioDrive Duos”. That's half the Virident/NEC number.

How does Oracle's own Exadata product compare?

Subramanian said: "For Exadata products, the 1 million IOPS is typically achieved using multiple 'storage server' units. Our performance was achieved using single server with multiple FlashMAX cards." Regarding Violin Subramanian said: "Their best performing SLC flash array 6616 performs 1 million IOPS at 4K block size. FlashMAX cards were able to deliver 1.2 million IOPS with 8K IOPS (or 2.2 million 4K IOPS)."

ESG Labs has blessed Virident's claims with its own paper, which talks of a 40-core NEC system with 8 FlashMax drives doing up to 2.2 million IOPS with 4K blocks on an Oracle database. Subramanian says of this and the 80-core case: "In both scenarios, each Virident FlashMAX drive was driving close to its maximum throughput of about 1.1 to 1.2GB/s. This is the reason why IOPS approximately doubled when the block size is halved from 8K to 4K. Also note that in both scenarios the performance was throughput limited and not CPU bound."

The ESG paper says that performance scales linearly as FlashMax cards are added to a system, and that ESG saw no "write-cliff" drop-off in performance during its testing, with performance levels quoted being sustained numbers.

Virident's position is that its solid-state drive technology is a better SSD mousetrap than competing products and it's got the numbers to prove it. ®

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