We once again return to analyze the latest SPECsfs® 2008* benchmark results. There were two new NFS benchmarks, one from EMC on their VNX VG8 gateway with 5-X blades (1 standby) which used SSDs and the other from IBM with their new Scale Out NAS (SONAS) product using disks. There was also one new CIFS benchmark from EMC using a similar VNX VG8 storage system using more SSD storage.
Latest SPECsfs2008 NFS results
Figure 1 SPECsfs2008* Top 10 NFS throughput
Higher is better on this chart. Both new NFS benchmarks broke into the top 10 with blazing throughput performance.
The EMC VNX VG8 with 4-VNX 5700s as its backend, with ~75TB of SAS SSDs and 5TB of 15Krpm disk storage which achieved 497K NFS throughput operations per second. However, such performance is remarkable regardless of what it took to get there.
Taking a different tack, IBM SONAS used 1975-15Krpm disk drives across 16-storage and 10-interface nodes to achieve 403K NFS throughput operations per second. Another impressive feat, this time using only lots of disks and servers. In addition, IBM interface and storage nodes had ~2.4TB of cache memory, of which, 512GB was non-volatile Flash.
Figure 2 Top 10 NFSv3 ORT
The EMC VNX VG8 with SSDs also broke into the top 10 in overall response time (ORT) with 0.96 msec.. This is the first NAS system to break the 1 msec ORT barrier for NFS.
Obviously having mostly SSDs on the backend helped here but NFS ORT is also heavily dependent on system overhead. Moreover, ORT is an average of system supplied response times across all NFS workload levels. So an ORT under 1 msec. means that for most of the NFS benchmark response time was under 1 msec. Looking at the chart in the original report EMC’s VG8 VNX system was still supplying under 1 msec. response time at over 295K NFS throughput ops/sec. One needs to realize that only three other systems are even able to do more than 300K NFS ops per second and none of them appear in the top 10 NFS ORT chart above.
Figure 3 SPECsfs2008* Scatter plot NFS throughput vs. disk drive count
Next we turn to a perennial favorite, our scatter plot showing NFS performance vs. number of disk drives in a system. We exclude all the SSDs from this analysis and to try to show some other components of system performance. One can easily discern the almost 2000 disk drive IBM SONAS system here but the other outlier is the HP BL860c (#3 on the top 10 NFS througput ops/sec chart).
The correlation here is pretty tight, almost an R**2 of 0.9 which says that if you want a high performing NFS system throw lot of disks at it. According to the linear regression equation, a system with ~2500 disk drives should be able to achieve over 500K NFS ops/sec. beating the EMC VG8 VNX system with 75TB of SSDs.
As for CIFS, the new EMC VG8 VNX system used a larger SSD configuration so cannot be compared to their NFS run discussed above. EMC’s VG8 VNX CIFS submission had around 96TB of SSDs with another 5TB of disks.
Figure 4 SPECsfs2008* CIFS top throughput results
EMC’s VNX VG8 system came in at the new number one with a blistering, over 660K CIFS throughput operations per second. Almost need a log scale to see the other competitors here. However, one must realize there are really no other top-end, enterprise CIFS systems submitted yet other than the three EMC systems. The other two EMC systems had V-Max backends with disk drives and no SSDs. For example, NetApp only shows their midrange systems here.
Figure 5 Top CIFS ORT results
Once again, we see the EMC VNX VG8 gateway with SSDs as the #1 CIFS ORT. Also when looking at the original report, one can see that the EMC VNX VG8 system sustained over 460K CIFS ops/sec while still responding in under 1 msec. No other CIFS system benchmarked can even achieve that high a throughput level.
So lots of SSDs can supply amazingly high NFS and CIFS throughput. The fact that that EMC’s VNX VG8 also was able to achieve great response time is testament to the system effectiveness and other optimizations that allows SSDs to perform so well.
On the other hand if you just want raw throughput, IBM SONAS and HP BL860c have shown that with enough drives and servers one can dial up just about any throughput imaginable. It’s a pity that few other enterprise class systems have submitted CIFS benchmarks so we can see if a similar strategy works just as well for CIFS systems.
As always we welcome any recommendations for improvement of our SPECsfs2008 analysis. We also now include a top 30 version of these charts and other charts plus further analysis in our NAS briefing which is available for purchase from our website.
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A PDF version of this can be found atSCI 2011 Mar 18 latest SPECsfs2008 benchmark results analysis for NFS and CIFS (PDF 798.3 KiB)
Silverton Consulting, Inc. is a Storage, Strategy & Systems consulting services company, based in the USA offering products and services to the data storage community
 Available at http://www.spec.org/sfs2008/results/res2011q1/sfs2008-20110207-00177.html as of 14 Mar 2011