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Lab Insight: Comparison of Hybrid Flash Storage System Performance

Published April 17, 2015. Test validation conducted by Russ Fellows comparing Hybrid Flash Storage System Performance. Products tested include Dell SC 4020 (all-­flash) Dell PS6210XS (hybrid) and Competitor (hybrid).

Test Validation: Comparison of Hybrid Flash Storage System Performance

Storage systems have changed dramatically over the past five years, primarily due to the benefits of utilizing solid-­‐state technologies. While high-­‐end enterprise systems have seen some advances due  to solid-­‐state, midrange storage systems have seen the most dramatic enhancements.

Every organization  has  critical applications, many  of which can benefit from the use of  solid-­‐state technology to reduce storage latencies and increase application performance. Larger organizations often have multiple applications that need storage performance, along with substantial  capacity needs. In these cases, utilizing an all-­‐flash storage system can be the best option.   For  mid-­‐sized and smaller organizations, a better option is deploying a hybrid storage system that  combines  large  capacities  of spinning media with the acceleration potential of solid-­‐state.

For hybrid storage systems, there are two approaches to placing data on the appropriate media: tiering (which moves data) or caching (which makes a copy of data).   Both of these approaches can provide enhanced performance and lower cost capacity than all-­‐flash storage systems. However, tiering  and caching  are  optimized  for  different  workload  patterns,  providing  significantly  different  results  for primary and secondary applications.

In this lab evaluation, three systems were tested, with a focus on midrange enterprise storage products.  The systems tested included a Dell Storage PS Series system and a Dell Storage SC Series system. These two  systems  were  compared  against  a  competing  midrange  SAN  storage  product  of  a  similar configuration and price.  The two systems tested included a hybrid SSD+10Krpm array for the PS Series and an all-­‐flash array for the SC Series. The testing did not include additional NL-­‐SAS capacity with  the SC4020.

Multiple test case scenarios were constructed in an effort to highlight the performance of each system while running the same workload. These tests utilized synthetic workload generation tools, which are detailed in the Appendices.

We evaluated three systems and characterized their performance as follows:

•    Dell SC 4020 (all-­‐flash): Excellent performance for entire capacity range tested

•    Dell PS6210XS (hybrid):  Good performance for both SSD and spinning media tier

•    Competitor (hybrid): Good performance for SSD cached data only


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