Wednesday Jan 30, 2008

Wow! NetApp posts EMC SPC benchmark

In a gutsy move, NetApp just posted a Storage Performance Council (SPC) Benchmark....on the EMC CLARiiON! 

Now EMC has made clear statements that they "don't participate in performance benchmarking" - EMCer Chuck Hollis blogs about this in detail.  But this is not entirely true - as EMC is an active member in SPEC NAS performance benchmarks.  So the real issue is that EMC does not participate in SPC disk array performance benchmarks.  They have been pressured to do so, but it is ultimately their choice (until now it seems).  

In a pretty bold move - NetApp looks to have acquired an EMC CLARiiON disk array and posted some benchmarks for them.  NetApp even issued a press release on it.  Now to stay above the fray (I expect a pretty heated battle over this), I won't offer any opinions or judgments.  What I will do is post commentary from EMC and non-EMC bloggers below; as well as the public SPC results...


(For the record, I do consider the SPC Council to be a good and fair 3rd-party benchmark organization that tries to replicate real customer workload behavior accurately.  They are supported by Sun, IBM, HP, NetApp, Hitachi, Fujitsu, LSI Logic and Dell...)

Relevant Blogs:  

EMC CLARiiON CX3 Model 40 pictured at right (no SnapView):

SPC-1 Submission Identifier: A00059
SPC-1 IOPS(tm): 24,997.49
SPC-1 Price-Performance(tm): $20.72/SPC-1 IOPS(tm)
Total ASU Capacity: 8,465.016 GB
Data Protection Level: Mirroring
Total Price: $517,851

EMC CLARiiON CX3 Model 40 (SnapView enabled):

SPC-1 Submission Identifier: A00060
SPC-1 IOPS(tm): 8,997.17
SPC-1 Price-Performance(tm): $59.49/SPC-1 IOPS(tm)
Total ASU Capacity: 7,054.148 GB
Data Protection Level: Mirroring
Total Price: $535,251

One stat that industry insiders are pointing out is that the EMC CLARiiON took a 2.7x hit in performance with snapshots enabled (~25,000 IOPS down to ~9,000 IOPS).  This looks to be a pretty high performance penalty and may be something EMC needs to address. 

What of Sun StorageTek SPC results?   

As stated above, we're big SPC Benchmark supporters.  It is just another good tool that gives customers more intel into choosing the best storage system for their business.  You can find a ton of Sun benchmarks on SPC, two notable ones in this midrange disk array space are:

Read more on the Sun StorageTek 6140 here and on the StorageTek 6540 here...




Tuesday Oct 02, 2007

Sun breaks World Record - but where's EMC???

Well, the Sun StorageTek 9990V disk system just posted the fastest Storage Performance Council (SPC-1) benchmark in enterprise datacenter history at 200,245.73 IOPS... (SPC-1 simulates the random I/O workloads required to support typical database, OLTP or email server applications)

I do have to say, however, that I brought this up to a colleague of mine who quickly refuted me saying, "but EMC wasn't in the benchmark, so are we really the world's fastest?"

My answer was yes - if someone doesn't show up to a title fight, then they don't get the title.  Why didn't EMC show up to the contest?  You can Google the answer to hear claims like "benchmarks don't translate to real world performance" or that "there is no good independent performance metric for storage."

But this is not a position held by the majority of disk storage players mind you - one need only look at the vendors participating on the SPC website, maybe you have heard of a few?  

But the real irony is that EMC is an active participant in SPEC for their NAS products.  So, my question is - why doesn't EMC publish how they test the performance of their systems like Symmetrix?

You see, even if EMC is not a part of the SPC (yet!) - we would like to see them publish how they test their systems performance.  You see, the value in SPC is not only in the benchmark and its results - but the fact that customers can see exactly HOW these systems were tested.  Putting the power of knowledge where it should be - in the hands of the customer.   

So the above vendors and SPC deserve credit for supporting a great philosophy - "free and open exchange of ideas and information to ensure fair and vigorous competition between vendors as a means of improving the products and services available to the general public."  (See About SPC)

In free and open idea exchange, customers win.  They need good, fair competition - and if you are a customer, would you rather make your purchase on information from a vendor spec sheet or a vendor-neutral independent auditor? 

So, congratulations to the Sun StorageTek 9990V (also sold as Hitachi Universal Storage Platform and HP StorageWorks XP24000) for being the fastest monolithic enterprise disk array on the planet!

But also keep in mind that it's not only the fastest - it also offers storage virtualization and thin provisioning so customer's get more utilization out of their products while protecting their infrastructure investments...a pretty good deal if you ask me. 



SPC Disclosure statement  
Systems Compared: Sun StorageTek 9990V, IBM DS8300 Turbo, Fujitsu ETERNUS 1100
SPC-1 Submission Identifiers: A00055, A00049,  A00053
SPC-1 IOPS(tm): 200,245.75, 123,033.40, 115,090.06
SPC-1 Price-Performance(tm): $17.31, $18.99, $16.12
Total ASU Capacities GB: 26,000.00, 9,103.36, 10,854.40
Data Protection Level: Mirroring
Total Prices: $3,466,309, $2,336,626, $1,855,100


My storage team and I focus on three of the most important aspects in any industry: customers, competitors and market trends. There is insight to gain and share in this role, so here is our take on Sun and Storage.


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