It's official: SSDs rule the high end

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

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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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