SCI 2010 Jun 29 latest SPECsfs2008 benchmark results analysis including NFS and CIFS

In CIFS/SMB throughput, FAS3140, HPE, NetApp, NFS throughput, NS-G8, ORT, SPECsfs, SPECsfs2008, Symmetrix, VMAXby Administrator

We now return to analyze the latest SPECsfs® 2008* benchmark results. There were three new CIFS benchmarks from NetApp and two new NFS benchmarks from HP.  All of the new benchmarks showed up in one or another top 10 result.  For this report there were no new CIFS vs. NFS comparisons to show.

Latest SPECsfs2008 results

(SCISFS100629-001) (c) 2010 Silverton Consulting, All Rights Reserved

(SCISFS100629-001) (c) 2010 Silverton Consulting, All Rights Reserved

We have a new top performing NFS system, the HP BL860c i2 4-node HA-NFS cluster, such performance more than doubles the nearest competitor.  Apparently this configuration contains four standard BL860c i2 server blades running HA ServiceGuard and HP-UX file services with 1480 SAS/15Krpm drives attached via MSA 2324fc controllers. Its smaller brethren, a 2-node version came in at a respectable #3.

HP’s new blade has two processors with 4-cores each and for these configurations ran with 10Gbe ports, 8 for the 4-node and 4 for the 2-node configuration.  One possible criticism of these results was that the benchmark driving system blades and the storage system node blades were all in the same blade enclosure. Such a configuration may enjoy an unfair advantage utilizing faster within the enclosure switching but pretty impressive performance, nonetheless.

(SCISFS100629-002) (c) 2010 Silverton Consulting, All Rights Reserved

(SCISFS100629-002) (c) 2010 Silverton Consulting, All Rights Reserved

The three new CIFS benchmarks from NetApp 3140 with FC disks, FC disks with Flash Cache and SATA disks with Flash Cache came in #2 through #4 respectively.  Recall that “Flash Cache” is the new name for NetApp’s PAM-II card and provide additional system cache.

  • The 3140 with only FC drives had 224 drives and was the top performer
  • The 3140 with FC drives and Flash Cache used 56 drives (only ¼ the drives) but included 512GB more cache to roughly match the all FC drive performance.
  • The 3140 with SATA disks and Flash cache had 96 drives and came in the slowest of the bunch ~5% below the all FC drive configuration.

The rest of these results were reported on earlier.  EMC’s NS-G8 with V-max and NAND based SSDs still dominates this category.  However NetApp 3140’s results showed another way to use NAND storage to compensate for less or slower drives.

(SCISFS100629-003) (c) 2010 Silverton Consulting, All Rights Reserved

(SCISFS100629-003) (c) 2010 Silverton Consulting, All Rights Reserved

Next we turn to overall response time results.  Here one can see the new HP BL860c i2 HA-NFS clusters in a three way tie with NetApp’s 3140 at 7th place.  Pretty amazing ORT performance for what is essentially a HP-UX system running on a their latest blade configuration, serving up NFS.

(SCISFS100629-004) (c) 2010 Silverton Consulting, All Rights Reserved

(SCISFS100629-004) (c) 2010 Silverton Consulting, All Rights Reserved

For CIFS ORT, we can see some significant difference in the NetApp 3140’s with and without Flash Cache.  Both Flash Cache subsystems had significantly better ORT performance than the all FC drive system.  Indeed, the NetApp 3140 with FC drives and Flash Cache had an CIFS ORT of 1.25msec whereas the NetApp 3140 with only (4 times as many) FC drives and no Flash Cache had an CIFS ORT of 1.84 msecs.  While, the 3140 with SATA disks and Flash cache came in at a respectable 4th place with a CIFS ORT of 1.48msec.  Flash Cache looks to us like having a lot more cache, probably just as expected.

Significance

Our scorecard for SPECsfs 2008 submissions now stands at 31 NFS vs. 15 CIFS results.  Given the preponderance of CIFS usage in the field this still seems more skewed than necessary.  I would encourage more vendors to submit CIFS results to address this unbalance.  It’s good to see NetApp benchmarking their Flash Cache on CIFS and that it works just as well here as NFS.  Finally, I predict HP’s BL860c 4-node result will be hard to beat other than by other blade enclosure systems.

This performance dispatch was originally sent out to our newsletter subscribers in June of 2010.  If you would like to receive this information via email please consider signing up for our free monthly newsletter (see subscription request, above right) or subscribe by email and we will send our current issue along with download instructions for this and other reports.  Also, if you need an even more in-depth analysis of NAS system features and performance please take the time to examine our recently revised (April 2019) NAS Buying Guide available for purchase from our website.

A PDF version of this can be found at

SCI 2010 June 29 Latest SPECsfs(R) 2008 performance results

Silverton Consulting, Inc. is a Storage, Strategy & Systems consulting services company, based in the USA offering products and services to the data storage community.


* SPECsfs2008 results from http://www.spec.org/sfs2008/results/