Application Accelerator Reviews
Enterprise application accelerator reviews focus in on both intensive synthetic workloads as well as real world application performance. Application accelerators generally take the shape of a PCIe card and come in a variety of NAND flavors including SLC, eMLC and MLC. While MLC NAND is preferred for high density application accelerators with capacities up to 2.2TB, some vendors prefer eMLC or SLC NAND for a better performance profile. Storage vendors also often pair caching software with these types of solutions, to let the cards accelerate larger pools of spindle-based storage.
by Kevin OBrien

Fusion-io ioDrive2 Duo SLC Application Accelerator Review (1.2TB)

The Fusion-io ioDrive2 Duo is a full-height, half-length application accelerator that, when paired with SLC NAND, offers 1.2TB of low-latency, high-endurance storage for today's most demanding applications. While branded as a second generation product, the naming is somewhat misleading as Fusion-io has long been a pioneer in the memory-as-storage range with their assorted ioMemory products. That experience shows not just in product development and spec sheet highlights, but all the way through to management as well; Fusion-io boasts the most robust drive management software suite on the market with ioSphere. Still, pretty software and proven drive design are only part of the equation. Enterprises deploy these products with one goal in mind; reduce application response times by attacking storage system latency. The SLC iteration of the ioDrive2 brings laser-focus to this issue, offering read access latency of 47µs and write access latency of 15µs. This compares to read access latency of 68µs in the MLC-based ioDrive2 (they have the same write latency) and while roughly 20µs doesn't sound like much, it can be a virtual eternity for applications that have been tuned for use with flash storage.

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by Kevin OBrien

Virident FlashMAX II MLC Application Accelerator Review (2.2TB)

The Virident FlashMAX II is a half-height, half-length PCIe application accelerator (AA) that's available with MLC flash media. The FlashMAX II is available in capacities up to 2.2TB, making it the largest available AA in this form factor. As with any product in this class however, density may be nice but ultimately performance is a substantial driver of adoption. The FlashMAX II offers mixed 4K IOPS (75% read, 25% write) of up to 200,000, along with 325,000 4K read IOPS.

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by Kevin OBrien

Intel SSD 910 Series Enterprise PCIe Review

The Intel SSD 910 is Intel's first effort at a PCIe-based application accelerator for the enterprise. Pitched by Intel as the ultimate data center SSD, the SSD 910 may be the first effort by Intel in this form factor, but the components used are well known. The controller in the 910 is an Intel/Hitachi collaboration that has been released in a few Hitachi enterprise SSDs (SSD400M, SSD400S.B) and has a history of strong mixed workload performance. Of course Intel's own 25nm MLC NAND and firmware is involved as well, leading to an integrated application accelerator that's full of Intel storage IP. The net result is performance out of the SSD 910 that can reach up to 2GB/s sequential reads and 1GB/s sequential writes in normal mode and writes of up to 1.5GB/s in high performance mode.

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by Kevin OBrien

Micron RealSSD P320h Enterprise PCIe Review

The Micron RealSSD P320h is a half-height, half-length (HHHL) application accelerator that leverages SLC NAND and a PCIe Gen 2 x8 interface to drive quoted performance of 3.2 GB/s sequential read and up to 785,000 random read IOPS. The P320h architecture is a departure from many of the other recent application accelerators we've reviewed that generally RAID together several flash drives. The Micron offering is different, instead using RAIN (redundant array of independent NAND) with custom controller, which is similar to the approach taken by Fusion-io and Virident. This architecture lets Micron boast some heady speed and latency claims while offering a high-level of data security on the drive. In this review, we test a pair of the 700GB cards and will see not only how quick they go on their own, but how the P320h scales in Windows Server 2012.

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by Kevin OBrien

LSI Nytro WarpDrive WLP4-200 Enterprise PCIe Review

The LSI Nytro WarpDrive WLP4-200 represents LSI's second-generation effort in the enterprise PCIe application acceleration space. LSI builds on an extensive history of enterprise storage products with the newly rebranded line of acceleration products dubbed LSI Nytro. The Nytro family includes the PCIe WarpDrive of course, but also encompasses LSI's Nytro XD caching and Nytro MegaRAID products that leverage intelligent caching with on-board flash for acceleration, offering customers an entire suite of options as they evaluate high-performance storage. The Nytro WarpDrive comes in a variety of configurations, including both eMLC and SLC versions, with capacities ranging from 200GB up to 1.6TB.

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by Kevin OBrien

Fusion-io ioDrive Duo Enterprise PCIe Review

As part of StorageReview's continued advancements in both testing protocol and enterprise lab development, we're taking a renewed look at first generation flash drives that we have previously reviewed. These re-reviews of early PCIe flash storage devices gave us the opportunity to refine and re-calibrate our enterprise review process before rolling out new reviews of second generation PCIe storage cards and application accelerators. We have been going through our revised testing methodology over the last several months with first and second-generation cards supplied from industry leaders as we hone in on testing protocols that are more relevant to the enterprise storage buyer. In this review, we're again working with the 640GB Fusion ioDrive Duo - this time using more sophisticated tests across both Windows and Linux.

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by Kevin OBrien

OCZ Z-Drive R4 Enterprise PCIe SSD Review

When we first reviewed the OCZ Z-Drive R4 last year, the PCIe SSD amazed us with it's class leading performance numbers, as well as its ridiculous IOPS/$ performance. It was so fast in fact, that it made us re-develop our testing platform to better accommodate the burgeoning PCIe SSD space, dedicating a testing platform specifically for enterprise storage solutions. In this re-review, we look at the Z-Drive R4 in our enterprise testing environment to better emulate what enterprise users should expect out of the R4.

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by Kevin OBrien

LSI WarpDrive SLP-300 Enterprise PCIe SSD Review

When we first reviewed the LSI WarpDrive in March of last year, we absolutely loved its performance in the then-emerging PCIe SSD storage solution space. Much has changed since the initial review: StorageReview has updated our enterprise testing platform and enterprise SSD testing methodology and EMC has qualified the WarpDrive in their server caching solution, VFCache. LSI continues to improve the platform by purchasing SandForce, the controllers used in the WarpDrive solution, to bring more technology in-house.

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by Kevin OBrien

OCZ Z-Drive R4 SSD Review

The OCZ Z-Drive R4 was announced in early August as an update to OCZ's line of enterprise PCIe SSDs. The Z-Drive R4 works the same way as prior Z-Drives - there are up to eight SandForce SF-2282 powered SSDs with SLC or MLC NAND on a PCI Express board that are connected via hardware and software to deliver ultra-high performance in server and high-performance computing environments. In terms of performance numbers, this translates to maximum read speeds of 2,800 MB/s and writes of 2,800 MB/s with 4KB random write IOPS of 440,000.

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by Kevin OBrien

Fusion-io ioDrive Duo Review (640GB)

Fusion-io has built an entire brand around speed - their ioDrive PCIe SSDs have long been touted as some of the fasted storage devices on the market. If your enterprise needs even more performance in a single PCIe slot, then there's the Fusion-io ioDrive Duo, which basically doubles down on performance. We put a 640GB Duo to work to see if lives up to the promises of speed, speed and more speed.

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