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Make Sense of All-Flash Array Vendors' Wild Flash Performance Claims - Podcast 2014

1 May 2014

The performance numbers of all-flash arrays are soaring into the stratosphere, but it’s often difficult to interpret vendors’ claims of millions of IOPS, tens of megabytes per second and hundreds of barely negligible microseconds. Not only do the manufacturers use differing conditions to test flash performance, but workloads also rarely, if ever, mimic the real-world environments of their customers. As a result, it can be difficult to compare array performance accurately.

The good news is that users will likely see a substantial performance boost no matter which choice they make, according to , President of Demartek.

Dennis Martin, president and founder of Demartek LLC, an analyst organization which operates its own on-site test lab in Golden, Colo., has done extensive flash performance testing. In this podcast interview with SearchSolidStateStorage, Martin explains the importance of I/O per second (IOPS), throughput and latency for varying types of workloads, the significance of block size and random or sequential workloads and the chances that a million IOPS or microsecond latency will matter to the average enterprise data center. In this podcast a variety of question are answered including:

Of IOPS, throughput and latency, which figure do you think is the most important one for an enterprise end user trying to sort out the performance claims of all-flash array vendors?

Can you give me examples of real-world applications that would need high IOPS versus high throughput versus low latency?

The performance claims of the major vendors of all-flash arrays are getting higher and higher, and cracking the million-read IOPS threshold is becoming commonplace. How important is a million IOPS for the average enterprise data center?

Vendors often use a block size of 4K to get their maximum IOPS, and they use larger block sizes of 64, 128 or even 256K to get their throughput figures. Can you explain how the block size affects the performance figures?

How does the random or sequential nature of the workload used in the test environment affect the performance numbers?

In the final analysis, what recommendations do you have for IT pros trying to sift through the performance claims of all-flash array vendors?


To get all of the answers to these questions visit and listen to the interview. You can also read the transcript and download the MP3 file.