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Reviews: Revenue-Generating Storage Appliances From Barracuda, ION

As part of Storage Week 2015, the CRN Test Center looks at two storage appliances that present revenue opportunities for solution providers.

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ION Performance

Like the Test Center, Josephson uses IOmeter to benchmark the data transfer rates and transaction processing performance of all the company's new systems. To fully tax the SpeedServer and the 10-Gbps network to which they all were attached, Josephson combined simulated workstations with physical ones. He set up five dual-Xeon machines, each with two 10-Gbps Ethernet NICs. On the server were four 1-TB shared partitions against which the workstations would run their workloads.

The fastest sustained throughput we observed was 9.5 GBps, with random reads of 32K blocks. When the block size was increased to 64K, the rate dropped to 1.475 GBps. And with 4K blocks, the server sustained a rate of 3.0 GBps and more than 1 million IOps. During this last test, we observed an average latency of about 1.1ms. "The best-case scenario on most off-the-shelf systems with a couple of disks is at least 2ms latency or more," said Josephson, for comparison. When running IOmeter's simulated Web server test, the SR-71 sustained about 8 GBps, and a simulated file server delivered 3.1 GBps. This file server simulator combines a range of block sizes between 512 and 64K bytes with an 80/20 read/write split in 100 random order. In this test, the server sustained 287 IOps.

At the time of our visit, ION was in the process of configuring a small army of SpeedServers for an MSP that provides local computing services for airlines and the Federal Aviation Administration. Josephson recalled a recent visit to the customer's facility, describing a computer display of a map of the U.S. covered by tiny colored specs. "When they zoomed in, you realized that each spec represented an airplane flying over the U.S. at that moment," he said. "Zoom in a little more and you can see each plane's flight number, course settings and altitude." The customer's software also logs all flights and provides reporting. "They're a careful customer," he said. "They use a separate system for development. Another for piloting their projects and a third for production. They do things exactly right, and we like that."

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