IBM Elastic Storage Server (ESS) is a software defined storage solution which packages IBM Spectrum Scale software along with Power8 processor based I/O intensive servers bundled with storage enclosures. ESS offers a highly efficient software RAID implementation which replaces the traditional RAID hardware. ESS stands out from traditional RAID by providing an optimized Declustered RAID, Reed Solomon codes and much more.

IBM recently announced a new release for the Elastic Storage Server (ESS) product line. This new offering for ESS with all Flash Storage has something interesting to offer in terms of performance.

This release is indeed good news for both our existing ESS customers who are currently using spinning disks and potential customers, who are looking forward to leveraging the capabilities of a high performance all flash storage solution. This all flash storage system can deliver about 30% greater streaming performance compared to the previous GS offering. The SSDs used are of type 3D V-NAND which is the latest technology in flash memory. 3D V-NANDs have better capacities, lesser power consumption, twice the speed and around ten times longevity of a regular NAND based SSD. Coupled with a high speed 100 Gbps Ethernet network or infiniband infrastructure, this all Flash storage system will be very suitable for workloads like MapReduce Analytics, high performance computing and analytics, genomics, weather, SAP/HANA etc.

Internal performance tests on this new offering shows some interesting numbers. Performance tests were carried out on the three available models : GS1S, GS2S and GS4S. Here are the specifications of each of these models:

For performance tests, all 15 TB Flash modules were used in all the GS models. The numbers are based on 4 MB Blocksize and 100% reads without any cache hits. Writes are approximately 20% lesser than read performance. IOR benchmark tool was used with POSIX-IO for performance measurement. The reads were sequential.

The performance numbers for each of the models is as shown below in the table:

ESS 5.2 performance matrix

With this release, ESS has stepped up it’s play in the high-performance workloads space, thereby greatly enabling customers.

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