The above chart is from our last Exchange  Solution Review Program (ESRP) performance dispatch released in our October newsletter (sign-up upper right). The 1K mailbox and under category for ESRP represents Exchange storage solutions for SMB data centers.
As one can see from the above the NetApp FAS2040 has done well but an almost matching result came in from the HP P2000 G3 MSA system. What’s not obvious here is that the FAS2040 had 8 disks and the P2000 had 78 so there was quite a difference in the spindle counts. The #3&4 runs from EMC VNXe3100 also posted respectable results (within 1sec of top performer) and only had 5 and 7 disks respectively, so they were much more inline with the FAS2040 run. The median number of drives for this category is 8 drives which probably makes sense for SMB storage solutions.
Why log playback
I have come to prefer a few metrics in the Exchange 2010 arena that seem to me to capture a larger part of the information available from an ESRP report. The Log Playback metric is one of them that seems to me to fit the bill nicely. Specifically:
- It doesn’t depend on the Jetstress IO/rate parameter that impacts the database transfers per second rate. The log playback is just the average time it takes to playback a 1MB log file against a database.
- It is probably a clear indicator of how well a storage system (configured matching the ESRP) can support DAG log processing.
In addition, I believe Log Playback is a great stand-in for any randomized database transaction processing. Now I know that Exchange is not necessarily a pure relational database but it does have a significant component of indexes, tables, and sequentiality to it.
My problem is that there doesn’t seem to be any other real database performance benchmark out there for storage. I know that TPC has a number of benchmarks tailored to database transaction activity but these seem to be more a measure of the database server than the storage. SPC-2 has some database oriented queries but it’s generally focused on through put and doesn’t really represent randomized database activity and for other reasons it’s not as highly used as SPC-1 or ESRP so there is not as much data to report on.
That leaves ESRP. For whatever reason (probably the popularity of Exchange), almost everyone submits for ESRP. Which makes it ripe for product comparisons.
Also, there are a number of other good metrics in ESRP results that I feel have general applicability outside Exchange as well. I will be reporting on them in future posts.
Sorry, I haven’t been keeping up with our chart-of-the-month posts, but I promise to do better in the future. I plan to be back in synch with our newsletter dispatches before month end.
The full ESRP performance report for the 1K and under mailbox category went out to our newsletter subscriber’s last October. A copy of the full report will be up on the dispatches page of our website sometime this month (if all goes well). However, you can get performance information now and subscribe to future newsletters to receive these reports even earlier by just sending us an email or using the signup form above right.
For a more extensive discussion of block storage performance in ESRP (top 20) and SPC-1&-2 (top 30) results please consider purchasing our recently updated SAN Storage Buying Guide available on our website.
As always, we welcome any suggestions on how to improve our analysis of ESRP results or any of our other storage system performance discussions.