How useful are storage benchmarks?


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There are some things you need to consider when using NetBench. It requires a relatively large test bed. "To get valid performance results, you need at least 60 CIFS clients," says ESG's Garrett. Secondly, test results are dependent on client performance. Nevertheless, NetBench has evolved into the de facto standard for CIFS performance benchmarking.

Industry-standard benchmarks have two main purposes today. To a limited degree, they give users one more perspective in making a purchasing decision. By the same token, they give vendors an additional card to play when trying to close a deal.

Who's responsible for the sorry state of storage benchmarks? The fault lies with the SPC and SPEC by allowing vendors to submit any conceivable configuration and publish all results side by side irrespective of the class of storage and product type. To remedy the situation, test results need to be categorized by product type, configuration standards need to be defined for each category and vendors must strictly adhere to the configurations. Instead of vendors dictating the configuration they wish to show off, the SPC and SPEC need to set rules on permissible configurations. If that happens, we'll have a foundation for an apples-to-apples comparison and it'll be more difficult for vendors to harness standard benchmarks to their advantage by showing only what's favorable to them. Categorization and standards will at least lay a solid foundation, but

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success will still hinge on vendor participation.

This was first published in October 2007

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