DataCore Software has published the first Storage Performance Council SPC-1 results recorded using the iSCSI standard for storage connectivity, and the numbers are impressive.
DataCore called the challenging SPC-1 transaction and database-style workloads "the only objective standard for storage performance comparisons." DataCore said the results, available at storageperformance.org/results/, show that DataCore's SANmelody Disk Server using iSCSI trailed only solid state storage systems and DataCore's own Fibre Channel-based SANmelody in price/performance.
Compared to DataCore's Fibre Channel mark, the iSCSI results represent about half of the absolute performance (9,298.56 SPC-1 IOPS versus 19,949.73 SPC-1 IOPS), but the total cost for the iSCSI configuration is also reduced by half, so the price/performance is similar ($4.06/SPC-1 IOPS for Fibre Channel versus $4.86/SPC-1 IOPS for iSCSI).
DataCore said the absolute performance of the iSCSI configuration "is comparable to that of many, much more expensive 'name brand' Fibre Channel arrays at a fraction of the cost." The configuration used standard Ethernet adapters rather than more expensive TOEs (TCP offload engines) or accelerators usually proposed for iSCSI storage network implementations.
"We know we could have run even faster using TOEs," said DataCore CTO Ziya Aral, "but we wanted to show what could be done with standard Ethernets that people can buy at any computer store for less than $50 per connection. Not only did we want to show that iSCSI has come of age for these types of demanding benchmarks, but also that storage networks for the 'rest of us' are now practical. Take a standard server plus standard disks plus standard Ethernet plus DataCore software and it yields anything but standard performance."
Aral added that "the real world efficiency of this configuration isn't bad either." The iSCSI server benchmarked had a peak IOP rating of more than 80,000 IOPs (input/output operations per second), or about one-fifth that of the Fibre Channel-equipped SANmelody server (400,000 IOPs). "But that translated into one-half the real world workload, or about twice the efficiency we might have expected," Aral said.
Evaluator Group senior analyst Randy Kerns said the results are more about DataCore than iSCSI. "DataCore focuses on performance, so it's important to them for their marketing message to present their performance data," Kerns said. "This information is really about DataCore and not iSCSI implementation."