Was today the proverbal day that he!! froze over?

January 29, 2008 – 8:33 pm

Storage I/O trends

The upper Midwest, well, make that the Midwest in general was hit by high winds and a nasty cold front today, nothing all that unusual for January, especially in the Minneapolis area where the temperature yesterday was 40 to 45 with light rain and by about noon today about zero “F” without the wind chill. So in the face of old man winter and the cold, I had a chuckle today reading the announcement that an SPC (Storage Performance Council) SPC1 (IOPS) benchmark had finally been published for an EMC CLARiiON CX3-40.

Now for those of you who cover or track or cheerlead or dread EMC, you probably know there position on benchmarks, or at least of some of their bloggers and in particular, SPC and if not, read here for some perspective. My position has always been the best benchmark is your actual application in a real and applicable workload scenario, however also realizing that not everybody can simulate or test their applications, there is the need for points of reference comparison benchmarks such as SPC, Microsoft ESRP, TPC, SPEC among others.

Heres’ the caveat, take these benchmarks with a grain of salt; use them as a gauge along with other tools as they are an indicator of a particular workload. I am a fan of benchmarks that make sense, can be reproduced consistently and that are realistic representations, not a substitute for your actual applications. They are tools to help you make a better informed decision however that is all they are, a relative comparison.

Nuff rambling for now on that, why did I chuckle this morning and think that He!! had perhaps finally froze over, and don�t get me wrong, Minneapolis and the Midwest for that matter is far from being He!!!, granted its cold as crap during the winter months. The reason I chuckled is that EMC did not in fact submit the SPC1 benchmarks for the CLARiiON CX3-40, instead, one of their competitors namely Network Appliance (aka NetApp) did the honors for EMC along with a submission for their FAS3040.

So besides the fact that there is plenty of wiggle and debate room in the test for example NetApp using RAID6 (e.g. RAID-DP) and Mirroring on the EMC (I�m sure we will hear EMC cry foul), EMC can keep their hands clean on their party line about not submitting an SPC1 result, or at least that�s a card they could choose to play.I would like to see the DMX4 particularly with the new FLASH based SSDs in a future SPC test submission; however, I�m not going to hold my breath at least yet.

However it is ironic that EMC has in fact submitted other benchmark tests scenarios in the past including for Microsoft ESRP among others. Speaking of SPC submissions, TMS (Texas Memory Systems) also posted some new SPC results the other day.So maybe he!! did not really freeze over today with EMC finally submitting an SPC test, however it made for good warming chuckle on a cold morning.

Now, even though EMC has not officially submitted the SPC1 result, even though it is posted on the SPC website, that leaves only one major storage vendor yet to have their midrange open storage systems represented on the SPC results, and that would be HDS with their AMS series, maybe He!! will still freeze over…


Greg Schulz – www.storageio.com