It's official: SSDs rule the high end

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Recent SPC-1 tests of Texas Memory Systems SSDs suggest that, soon enough, we'll think about spinning disks the same way we think about tape today

Last week, Texas Memory Systems published preliminary SPC-1 test results for its latest SSD-based SAN, the RamSan-630. In so doing, it firmly signaled the beginning of the end for spinning disk in performance-hungry high-end transactional storage applications. It's also made strides toward closing the cost-per-gigabyte gap between traditional disk and solid-state drives.

It should come as no surprise to anyone familiar with the performance characteristics of flash storage that an SSD SAN can handily beat a far larger and more expensive non-flash SAN. The interesting thing is to see exactly how well and how inexpensively it can do the job.

In TMS's case, it presented test results that saw a single RamSan-630 kick out 400,503 SPC-1 IOPS at a total as-tested list price of $419,292. That works out to an incredibly cheap $1.05 per SPC-1 IOPS.

It also easily outperforms the previous SPC-1 record holder -- a combination of two disk-based IBM DS8700s running behind a six-node IBM SVC (SAN Volume Controller) cluster. That test saw the overall system kick out 380,489 SPC-1 IOPS at a heart-stopping street price of over $7 million. In the end, the cost per SPC-1 IOPS worked out to $18.83 -- nearly 18 times as expensive as TMS's flash-based entry.

To be sure, there are a few enormous problems with drawing a direct comparison between a single 3U flash-based array and a hyper-redundant SAN virtualization platform that includes a small data center's worth of hardware. It's nowhere near an apples-to-apples comparison in terms of overall capabilities or redundancy.

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