Consistent SSD Performance Is Critical for Your Storage-Intensive Workloads

Your storage-intensive workloads require consistency and fast response time. Learn how Intel Optane DC Solid State Drives (SSDs) blow regular NAND SSDs out of the water when it comes to consistent performance.

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Solid state drive (SSD) specs often quote typical latencies—the time required by an SSD to fetch data requested by the system. But typical isn’t always representative of your workloads. You also need consistency.

Think of latency as the wait time at your favorite coffee shop from the moment you walk in until you get your beverage. Sometimes no one is waiting in line, and you get your drink almost immediately. That’s low latency. But at other times, you’re sixth in line, and those before you have complex beverage orders. You could wait for many long minutes. That’s high latency.

Most often, the reality is somewhere in the middle, but you still care when you experience a high-latency instance—and, in fact, you might have to plan for high latency to ensure you make it to work on time.

The extent to which an SSD’s latency varies is called its quality of service (QoS). QoS takes into consideration both typical latencies and longer, less frequent latencies. If some fraction—even a small percentage—of latencies for a data request are long outliers, they can have a major impact on the performance of your app, and they can hurt the user experience and your ability to meet service-level agreements (SLAs).

Intel Optane DC SSDs Deliver Consistent Low Latency for Demanding Workloads

Compared to Intel 3D NAND SSDs, Intel Optane DC SSDs provide much lower—and more consistent—latency for read and write operations.

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Figure 1. The orange area isn't the x-axis; it shows the highly consistent, low latencies of the Intel Optane SSD DC P4800X

In Figure 1, the blue dots show individual read-response times for an Intel 3D NAND SSD. You can see a wide variation in read-response time. In sharp contrast, the orange dots show tightly clustered read-response times for the Intel Optane DC SSD P4800X. Intel Optane DC SSDs exhibit consistently low latency and excellent QoS, with read-response times up to 60 times better than that of a high-endurance NAND SSD under the random-write workload measured.[1]

The graph doesn’t tell the whole story, though. Intel Optane DC SSDs are that much better because—among other reasons—they’re not built on NAND, but on an entirely new memory technology that doesn’t require garbage collection. To get all the details and find out what this means to real-world use cases for storage-intensive workloads, download “Achieve Consistent Low Latency for Your Storage-Intensive Workloads” today.

[1] Based on Intel testing as of November 15, 2018: Response time refers to average read latency measured at queue depth 1 (QD1) during 4K random-write workload using FIO 3.1. Configuration: 4K 70/30 read/write performance at low QD. Measured using FIO 3.1. Common configuration: Intel 2U Server System, CentOS 7.5, kernel 4.17.6-1.el7.x86_64, 2 x Intel Xeon Gold 6154 processor at 3.0 GHz (18 cores), 256 GB DDR4 RAM at 2,666 MHz. Configuration: 375 GB Intel Optane SSD DC P4800X compared to 1.6 TB Intel SSD DC P4600. Intel microcode: 0x2000043; system BIOS: 00.01.0013; Intel Management Engine (Intel ME) firmware:; baseboard management controller (BMC) firmware: 1.43.91f76955; FRUSDR: 1.43. The benchmark results may need to be revised as additional testing is conducted.