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NetApp commissioned Demartek to evaluate the performance acceleration and storage efficiency benefits of applying its Flash Cache or Flash Accel technology in a user environment, as well as the benefits of using both technologies together.


Two different application workloads were used for these tests. Each has different operating characteristics and I/O profiles.

  • Microsoft SQL Server environment with online brokerage application
  • Microsoft Exchange Jetstress email environment

 

NetApp Flash Accel is server-side caching software that is used with either PCIe flash cards or SSD drives in a server.  NetApp Flash Cache is flash PCIe based hardware and software that is used in FAS and V-Series controllers.

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A summary of the Demartek results.

  • Using either Flash Cache or Flash Accel reduced read latency for the database workload by at least 66% and for the email workload by up to 36%, enabling faster application response time.
  • Corresponding to faster response time which allows server CPU to process more data, using either Flash Cache or Flash Accel improved application IOPS by at least 44% for the database workload, and as much as 56% for the email workload.
  • Flash Accel also reduced write latency by as much as 78% for the database workload.
  • Using either Flash Cache or Flash Accel reduced storage system disk utilization for the database workload by at least 70%, resulting in significant disk and cost savings.
  • Using Flash Accel reduced storage system processor utilization by 54%, resulting in more headroom for additional workloads to be run.

 

Using either technology yields significant improvements, but using Flash Accel in conjunction with Flash Cache maximizes overall performance and storage efficiency.

  • Using Flash Cache or Flash Accel for the database workload reduced storage system disk utilization by 70%.  Combining both caching products further reduced disk drive utilization by 50%, resulting in a total of 86% disk utilization reduction.
  • Adding Flash Accel to a storage system running the database workload that already has Flash Cache reduced storage system processor utilization by 60%.
  • Combining Flash Accel and Flash Cache in metadata mode for the email workload improved performance by 2.5x.

 

In summary, either technology used by itself shows benefits, but the combined use of both technologies maximized storage efficiency.


The detailed report is available here.

 

Mike McNamara

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