Part 7 – HDDs for Content Applicaitons – HDDs continue to evolve

April 25, 2016 – 2:45 pm
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Part 7 – HDDs for Content Applications – HDD’s continue to evolve

server storage I/O trends

Which enterprise HDD to use with a content server platform
Insight for effective server storage I/O decision making
Server StorageIO Lab Review

Which enterprise HDD to use for content servers

This is the seventh and final post in this multi-part series (read part six here) based on a white paper hands-on lab report I did compliments of Servers Direct and Seagate that you can read in PDF form here. The focus is looking at the Servers Direct (www.serversdirect.com) converged Content Solution platforms with Seagate Enterprise Hard Disk Drive (HDD’s). The focus of this post is comparing how HDD continue to evolve over various generations boosting performance as well as capacity and reliability. This also looks at how there is more to HDD performance than the traditional focus on Revolutions Per Minute (RPM) as a speed indicator.

Comparing Different Enterprise 10K And 15K HDD Generations

There is more to HDD performance than RPM speed of the device. RPM plays an important role, however there are other things that impact HDD performance. A common myth is that HDD’s have not improved on performance over the past several years with each successive generation. Table-10 shows a sampling of various generations of enterprise 10K and 15K HDD’s (14) including different form factors and how their performance continues to improve.

different 10K and 15K HDDs
Figure-9 10K and 15K HDD performance improvements

Figure-9 shows how performance continues to improve with 10K and 15K HDD’s with each new generation including those with enhanced cache features. The result is that with improvements in cache software within the drives, along with enhanced persistent non-volatile memory (NVM) and incremental mechanical drive improvements, both read and write performance continues to be enhanced.

Figure-9 puts into perspective the continued performance enhancements of HDD’s comparing various enterprise 10K and 15K devices. The workload is the same TPC-C tests used earlier in a similar (14) (with no RAID). 100 simulated users are shown in figure-9 accessing a database on each of the different drives all running concurrently. The older 15K 3.5” Cheetah and 2.5” Savio used had a capacity of 146GB which used a database scale factor of 1500 or 134GB. All other drives used a scale factor 3000 or 276GB. Figure-9 also highlights the improvements in both TPS performance as well as lower response time with new HDD’s including those with performance enhanced cache feature.

The workloads run are same as the TPC-C ones shown earlier, however these drives were not configured with any RAID. The TPC-C activity used Benchmark Factory with similar setup and configuration to those used earlier including on a multi-socket, multi-core Windows 2012 R2 server supporting a Microsoft SQL Server 2012 database with a database for each drive type.

ENT 10K V3 2.5"

ENT (Cheetah) 15K 3.5"

Users

1

20

50

100

Users

1

20

50

100

TPS (TPC-C)

14.8

50.9

30.3

39.9

TPS (TPC-C)

14.6

51.3

27.1

39.3

Resp. Time (Sec.)

0.0

0.4

1.6

1.7

Resp. Time (Sec.)

0.0

0.3

1.8

2.1

ENT 10K 2.5" (with cache)

ENT (Savio) 15K 2.5"

Users

1

20

50

100

Users

1

20

50

100

TPS (TPC-C)

19.2

146.3

72.6

71.0

TPS (TPC-C)

15.8

59.1

40.2

53.6

Resp. Time (Sec.)

0.0

0.1

0.7

0.0

Resp. Time (Sec.)

0.0

0.3

1.2

1.2

ENT 15K V4 2.5"

Users

1

20

50

100

TPS (TPC-C)

19.7

119.8

75.3

69.2

Resp. Time (Sec.)

0.0

0.1

0.6

1.0

ENT 15K (enhanced cache) 2.5"

Users

1

20

50

100

TPS (TPC-C)

20.1

184.1

113.7

122.1

Resp. Time (Sec.)

0.0

0.1

0.4

0.2

Table-10 Continued Enterprise 10K and 15K HDD performance improvements

(Note 14) 10K and 15K generational comparisons were run on a separate comparable server to what was used for other test workloads. Workload configuration settings were the same as other database workloads including using Microsoft SQL Server 2012 on a Windows 2012 R2 system with Benchmark Factory driving the workload. Database memory sized was reduced however to only 8GB vs. 16GB used in other tests.

Where To Learn More

What This All Means

A little bit of flash in the right place with applicable algorithms goes a long way, an example being the Seagate Enterprise HDD’s with enhanced cache feature. Likewise, HDD’s are very much alive complementing SSD and vice versa. For high-performance content application workloads flash SSD solutions including NVMe, 12Gbps SAS and 6Gbps SATA devices are cost effective solutions. HDD’s continue to be cost-effective data storage devices for both capacity, as well as environments that do not need the performance of flash SSD.

For some environments using a combination of flash and HDD’s complementing each other along with cache software can be a cost-effective solution. The previous workload examples provide insight for making cost-effective informed storage decisions.

Evaluate today’s HDD’s on their effective performance running workloads as close as similar to your own, or, actually try them out with your applications. Today there is more to HDD performance than just RPM speed, particular with the Seagate Enterprise Performance 10K and 15K HDD’s with enhanced caching feature.

However the Enterprise Performance 10K with enhanced cache feature provides a good balance of capacity, performance while being cost-effective. If you are using older 3.5” 15K or even previous generation 2.5” 15K RPM and “non-performance enhanced” HDD’s, take a look at how the newer generation HDD’s perform, looking beyond the RPM of the device.

Fast content applications need fast content and flexible content solution platforms such as those from Servers Direct and HDD’s from Seagate. Key to a successful content application deployment is having the flexibility to hardware define and software defined the platform to meet your needs. Just as there are many different types of content applications along with diverse environments, content solution platforms need to be flexible, scalable and robust, not to mention cost effective.

Ok, nuff said

Cheers
Gs

Greg Schulz – Author Cloud and Virtual Data Storage Networking (CRC Press), The Green and Virtual Data Center (CRC Press) and Resilient Storage Networks (Elsevier)
twitter @storageio

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