This Storage Intelligence (StorInt™) dispatch covers recent Microsoft Exchange 2010 Solution Review Program (ESRP) v3.0 results. Since we last discussed this from 1K-to-5K mailbox category nine months ago, there have been eight new ESRP submissions. Future dispatches will report on the under-1K and over-5K mailbox categories, but all previous ESRP V2 and ESRP V3 performance dispatches are available on SCI’s website.
Latest ESRP V3.0 results
We start our ESRP analysis with Exchange database and log access latency results. Recall that this chart is sorted by database read latencies.
Figure 1 Top ESRP database-read latencies
For Figure 1, the new submission for the Fujitsu Eternus JX40 came in as number one. One possible reason for Eternus’s good response times is the use of lagged DAG for replication. The other new additions to this chart since last time were the HP P2000 G3 iSCSI systems coming it at #5 and 6. One can see a nice mixture of SAS (#1, 3, 4, 9 & 10), iSCSI (#5, 6 & 7) and FC systems (#2 & 8). However, there doesn’t seem to be high correlation between latency and interface used in ESRP workloads.
There has been much controversy on my blog about ESRP’s latency numbers. Microsoft caps latencies at 20 msec., which means ESRP reports will never exceed that duration. Nonetheless, I feel that good latency is still something to strive for regardless of any cutoff. Others suggested ESRP latencies were now a pass-fail grade and should not be ranked. Clearly, I disagree with this sentiment.
We now turn to normalized ESRP database transfers per second.
Figure 2 Top 10 Database normalized transfers per second
There are five new submissions on this chart namely, the (#2 & 3) HP iSCSI systems and (#7, 9 & 10) HP E5700 systems at 120, 80 and 40 TB respectively. Unclear what #1 HP P2000 SAS G3 MSA did that was so great but it’s a screamer in both normalized and un-normalized data base transfers/sec. But there were plenty of other systems using SAS both from HP as well as other vendors that didn’t show this level of performance.
Next we examine log playback performance.
Figure 3 Top log playback times
This is one of my favorite ESRP metrics because:
- It’s independent of Exchange and ESRP configuration parameters, i.e., it uses similar 1MB log files for any and all storage subsystems
- It’s a mixture of log and database processing that’s done as fast as the storage system and server(s) can accomplish it.
There have been only two new submissions here (#1 & 2), the new HP P2000 iSCSI systems that used 10GBE interfaces. However, all the HP P2000 storage systems performed well in log processing.
Another of my favorite ESRP reported metrics is DB backup activity. ESRP publishes two measurements on database backup activity 1) Data backed up as an average MB/sec/database and 2) Data backed up as an average MB/sec/server. Neither backup metric is entirely useful from our perspective so we have computed a new one. Specifically, we multiply the average MB/sec/database times the number of databases to calculate a total database backup in MB/sec.
Figure 4 Top 10 total database backup rates
Figure 5, summarizes our new metric and ranking the top 10 storage systems in total database backup rates. One would think that more disk drives would provide better backup performance but that isn’t the case here. The result with the most disk drives is #10 the Fujitsu Eternus storage with 144 drives and the one with the least disk drives is #2 Dell PowerEdge R510 with 12 disks. The #1 HP E5700 120TB solution had 56 drives, close to average for all submissions in this 1K-to-5K mailbox category.
My main problem with ESRP currently reported backup measures is that they are somewhat arbitrary. The MB/sec/DB metric could vary all over the place depending on how many databases were in the Exchange configuration for the same storage configuration. Similarly, the MB/sec/server measure could also substantially change depending on the number of servers used in your submission. On the other hand, the total database backup rate should give a truer accounting of the backup rate of the storage regardless of the server or database configurations. Naturally, this is a matter of opinion.
Well in our second ESRP analysis on the 1K-to-5K mailbox category we had quite a lot to discuss. We are constantly trying to better understand Exchange 2010 storage performance and our new chart on total database backup is one result of that analysis.
Nevertheless, if we only had three charts to depict Exchange performance as revealed by ESRP report they would be 1) average database transaction latency, 2) average log playback time, and 3) our new total database backup chart. We believe that these three charts provide the best complete view of storage system performance for Exchange, showing storage response time, transaction processing speed and sequential throughput.
So, why report on normalized transactions per second? It does illustrate what can be accomplished with the right Exchange and storage environment but it’s not an exclusive storage performance metric. Just compare the log playback and normalized transactions processing rankings to see the relatively low correlation between them. We believe such a low correlation indicates that Exchange configuration parameters can highly influence database transaction processing results. This is not true for log processing results.
Finally, as discussed in prior dispatches, ESRP/Jetstress results seem destined to be difficult to compare but in our view, merit the effort. As such, feel free to contact us with any constructive ideas on how to improve. In that regard, our contact information can be found below or on our website at SilvertonConsulting.com.
[This performance dispatch was originally sent out to our newsletter subscribers in July of 2011. 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 SAN storage system features and performance please take the time to examine our recently revised (May 2019) SAN Storage Buying Guide available for purchase from our website.]
Silverton Consulting, Inc. is a Storage, Strategy & Systems consulting services company, based in the USA offering products and services to the data storage community
 ESRP results from http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/exchange/ff182054.aspx, as of 28 April 2011