15 Mar, 2009
Posted by Bhavin Turakhia
This is my 3rd post on Solid State drive technology (read Solid State Drives vs Hard disk drives). Offlate I have been making a ton of posts on storage, given that in a high-performance, data-intensive environment, applications eventually bottleneck at the slowest component in the chain – the disk (no surprise there considering it is the only device with moving parts).
With the numerous SSD options floating around in the market, it is hard to figure out which way to go without adequate research. Infact, a wrong choice can result in slowing down your application (check Solid State Hard drives have poor random write performance).
Here are my notes on selecting your SSD platform for maximum performance -
Check the random write IOPs
Different SSDs have different performance. SSDs fare worst on random writes (4K or smaller blocks). Therefore when checking an SSD – always check the maximum random write IOPs it delivers
Single cell (SLC) vs Multi-cell (MLC)
SSDs are either single cell (SLC) or multi-cell (MLC). SLC memory has the advantage of faster transfer speeds, lower power consumption and higher cell endurance. However, since they store less data per cell, SLC costs more per megabyte of storage than MLC.
Managed Flash Technology
I first wrote about Managed Flash Technology in my earlier article on SSDs - Solid State Drives vs Hard disk drives. MFT was developed by EasyCo. MFT essentially converts multiple random writes into a single linear write by collating them and writing them out together. MFT can pretty much be used in conjunction with any SSD. EasyCo’s website has interesting benchmark comparisons of SSDs with and without MFT. For instance, on the Mtron PRO 7000, MFT increased the random IOPs for 4K blocks from 123 to a whopping 16,180
Fusion-io claims to have produced the fastest SSD in the world. With Steve Wozniak on their team, I would be inclined to believe their claims. The spec sheet of their latest drive – the iodrive duo – boasts a random write performance of 180,530 IOPs. That is insane. Additionally multiple ioDrives can be configured into a RAID array for additional performance and reliability.
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