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Martin: Best practices for SSD testing

Understanding how solid-state storage will work in your environment is crucial. In this Storage Decisions video, Dennis Martin, president of the testing and analysis firm Demartek, explains what to consider in solid-state drive (SSD) testing.

Martin suggested that administrators determine how well solid-state storage can handle critical applications and multiple workloads from virtual machine (VM) environments. "The apps that are the most critical, you run those apps against the SSD system, whatever it is, whether it's storage-side, server-side or network-side, test it that way," he said.

He noted that VM workloads offer their own unique challenges because of the amount of the data and variety of operating systems that could be involved. "By the time that all goes out to the storage, it all looks like a messy I/O workload, because it's all coming through the same pipes and getting out into the storage."

Also, the amount of data stored on an SSD can affect its performance, Martin said, and recommended testing a drive when it's nearly at full capacity. "Because all those pages have to have been written, and the garbage collection is happening in the SSD … if you text it when it's nearly empty versus when it's nearly full, you get different results," he said.

Martin cautioned that administrators with their own preexisting SSD testing scheme should maintain those standards as well. "I'm sure you have a lot of other test criteria you do before you accept any system … and of course, you want to do that."

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