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EMC comes off the bench(mark), publishes SPC numbers for VMAX, VNX

EMC, which has downplayed the significance of industry benchmarks, today published its first Storage Performance Council (SPC) block benchmarks for its unified storage systems.

Results for the VMAX 400K and VNX 8000 arrays were strong, but not dominant. The VMAX 400K achieved the highest SPC-2 (bandwidth) result for MB per second with 55,643.78 and finished second behind the Hewlett-Packard XP7 (based on Hitachi technology) for price/performance at $33.58 per SPC-2 MBps.

The VNX 8000 finished second in SPC-1 (transactional) performance and fourth in price per SPC1 IOPS.

The big surprise is that EMC published benchmark numbers at all. The vendor has long insisted that customers should do application performance testing instead of relying on SPC numbers, although it has published benchmarks for file storage.

In an EMC Pulse blog about the benchmark results, authors Jeff Boudreau and Fidelma Russo say they still favor application performance testing. “We continue to believe that application performance testing is the best predictor of real-world performance, especially for critical workloads,” they wrote.

However, customer requests have prompted EMC to benchmark.

“The world’s changing and our customers are changing,” said Jonathan Siegal, VP of marketing for EMC Core Techologies. “Customers have more choices, and there’s a lot of noise out there.”

The Pulse bloggers added: “By publishing these SPC results, customers can use these standard assessments to help simplify their initial high-performance storage evaluations and eliminate much of the ‘noise’ in their screening process.”

The VMAX 400K system EMC tested was an all-flash model with eight 512 GB engines and 32 200 GB solid-state drives (SSDs) per engine for 4 TB of global memory and 264 SSDs. The storage connected to the host system with 128 Fibre Channel links.

The list price for the system tested was $4.9 million, although SPC used a discount price of $1.9 million for its price/performance calculation.

SPC-2 uses three workloads executed separately to gauge system performance. The Workloads are large file processing, large database query and video on demand. Besides the VMAX and HP XP7, other enterprise systems that have run the same benchmark include the Eternus DX8700 S2, IBM DS8870 and XIV Gen3, and Hitachi Data System VSP.

The VNX 8000’s 435,067.33 SPC-1 maximum IOPS finished second behind Huawei
Oceanstor Dorado 5100’s 600,000 IOPS rate. Its price/performance rating of $0.41/IOPS finished behind Infortrend EonStor DS 3024B ($0.17/IOPS), the second-place X-IO ISE 820 G3 and third-place Dell SC 4020. The SPC-1 test measures a system’s performance on an OLTP IO workload.

The VNX tested was also an all-flash system, with 40 100GB eMLC SSDs for 3.9 TB of capacity and four 300GB SAS disk drives for the VNX operating system and other system information.

The system had 256GB of DRAM and was connected with 32 8-GBps FC links to 16 host systems. The list price was $317,000, but a street price of $177,000 was used for price/IOPS.

To see active results on the SPC web site, click here for SPC-2 and here for SPC-1.

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