Insights, Best Practices and Forward Thinking from the Customer Facing Team, Solution Architects and Leaders on Extreme Performance Applications, Infrastructure, Storage and the Real-World Impact Possible

Violin Packs in More Density, Power & Performance in VMmark Benchmark

by VIOLIN SYSTEMS on August 7, 2013

Recently, VMware posted a blog that highlighted the results of a VMmark 2.5 benchmark test comparing the density, power, and performance characteristics of traditional hard disk drive (EMC CX3-80) and flash-based storage (Violin 6616 flash Memory Arrays). VMmark 2.5 – in addition to running performance metrics – also collects power measurements on the servers and storage in the configuration.

Detailed configuration and findings can be found on the blog, but to break it down simply: flash-based storage is the clear winner when it comes to storage density, power and performance:

  • Application Performance: Violin produced application workload scores that are 1.9 times higher than EMC, enabling more workload consolidation.
  • CPU Utilization and Storage Latency:With Violin, CPU utilization was on average 1.53 times higher than EMC.
  • Raw Power Consumption: Violin is nearly 50% less than EMC in terms of watts drawn, creating more “green” in the data center.
  • Space Requirements and Density: Violin is 92% denser than EMC, achieving 9 tiles in 3U versus 7 tiles in 30U; allowing a 29% increase in the number of virtual machines that can run on the server hardware.

What is the impact of flash memory storage to your business?

The residual effect of packing in more density, power, performance in 3U translates into a greener data center, accelerated applications, and near instant access to data and reports that gives your business a competitive advantage.

Here are real-life examples of what our customers have achieved with Violin flash Memory Arrays.

Accelerated Application Performance

A large financial services customer moved their business-critical applications on Violin flash Memory Arrays from their EMC storage. The customer is currently supporting 4 applications, and expects to grow to over 20 applications over the next 12 months. These first 4 applications now generate more reports, meet their SLAs, and batch processing jobs no longer impact required maintenance operations. Overall, their applications now run at 5X the performance; and random writes are 18X faster than their EMC storage.

Another customer, Pella Corporation, needed a primary storage solution for Oracle, SQL Server, and other business-critical applications. With Violin, they saw immediate and dramatic improvements: nightly mass data loads previously took 7 hours for the original pass; with Violin, it took less than half that time, all while tripling batch throughput. Read more about the Pella case here.

Improved CPU Utilization and Storage Latency

How efficient CPUs run and how fast storage systems respond are the two key drivers for application performance boosts. An efficient CPU gets more work done because it isn’t waiting on I/O from slow storage systems with high latency.

A leading European healthcare insurance provider recently switched from EMC VMAX to Violin flash Memory Arrays. Why? The customer needed to update their data warehouse environment on a daily basis with market/customer information through multiple data sources – which was then mined with Business Intelligence tools to better understand customer profiles, identify risks, trends and needs. Their existing EMC storage limited the data sets (600,000 customer records) that could be run during the available nightly 9-hour window. Violin conducted a performance assessment, and it became apparent that their application was I/O intensive and that their existing EMC storage array was, in fact, the bottleneck. I/O latencies were up to 105ms, while the server CPU and the memory were only recording low, single-digit percentage utilization rates.

Violin reduced batch-processing times by 50% (4.5 hours), allowing the customer to double the amount of transactions completed during the allotted time period. Giving them enough room to integrate their total customer base of 1.4 Million records. Note that an interesting side effect was that the database copy for production testing now took 10 hours compared to 50 hours with EMC.

Efficient Space and Density 

Violin helped a European government services agency deploy scalable virtual desktops, providing better performance at a fraction of the infrastructure costs.  Moving their desktop IT services for 6000 users to a cloud-based infrastructure allowed savings of £9 Million over 4 years for the customer.

Reduced Power Consumption

Recently, a large financial services customer significantly reduced power and cooling costs by switching to Violin and recognized savings in hundreds of thousands over a period of three years.

Another customer, Anglia Ruskin University, calculated that the total power consumption has been less than 60-70% of comparable Windows-based PCs when they ran their VDI deployment on Violin. This includes all server and storage power consumption. Read more about the Anglia case here.

What could your business achieve if it ran at the speed of memory?