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NetApp has sweetened the company's SPC-2 benchmark results

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March 13, 2013

NetApp's own marketing department has sweetened the company's SPC-2 benchmark results in a further attempt to help NetApp stand out from the rapidly increasing crowd, emphasizing the price-to-performance characteristics of its latest E-5500 storage disk array.

The Storage Performance Council (SPC) is a storage industry benchmark organizational body that helps the IT industry provide common and accepted standards, in an objective storage array transaction performance (SPC-1) as well as large-scale, sequential data movement performance (SPC-2) test results.

With SPC-2, enterprise data suppliers can say that their system moved so many MB/sec of data with a particular price/performance level.

Those benchmark results enable valid and accurate comparisons to be made between different suppliers' disk storage arrays when performing the various benchmark tests.

What NetApp's numerical alchemists have done is to refine the good SPC-2 result they obtained with their E-5500 storage array and increase the numerical difference between it and other systems by using a new measure calculated from the benchmark data.

IT industry insiders call this "Doing a Dot-Hill" after that supplier employed similar creativity to make its array stand out from competing products.

The E-5500 is NetApp's latest E-Series disk array, and it is aimed at the large data sets and high-performance computing (HPC) segment of the IT industry.

SGI is OEM'ing the E-5500 disk array controller and populating it with drives, calling the result its IS-5600. The E-5500 disk controller has an ASIC instead of the expected X86 commodity processor controller. It can manage 384 drives compared to the previous model's 192 drives and scale to 1.2 PB instead of just 576 TB, delivering about 2.5X on average more IO performance.

NetApp product and solutions marketing manager Brendon Howe said that the company had set out to "design a new product that provides industry-leading bandwidth per dollar spent while improving density and reliability."

The Sunnyvale headquarted company said that SGI had run an SPC-2 test of its IS-5600 series which "demonstrates the highest throughput per spindle by more than 2.5 times over the nearest non-NetApp published result."

However, there is no such throughput-per-spindle SPC-2 measure. Instead, the council's test results providing throughput in MB/sec (MBPS) and price/performance is the configuration's list price divided by the MBPS figure.

This wasn't a good enough way of showing the E5500's data-moving prowess, so NetApp's number-crunchers devised a new way of presenting the results, dividing the MBPS total by the number of disk drive spindles in the tested configuration, and so came out on top of the list by a wide margin.

Now NetApp can say the test results "demonstrate the highest throughput per spindle by more than 2.5 times over the nearest non-NetApp published result."

Well, not exactly. We added in the XIV result, using data from an SPC-2/E energy efficiency version of the benchmark. NetApp is still ahead by a good margin though, at 73.80 MBPS per spindle.

We also added the all-flash TMS RamSan 630 to the table to indicate that a MBPS/spindle measure is useless for an all-flash array.

The NetApp statisticians' wizardry shows that the E-5500 ASIC and firmware can move sequential data on and off disk drives faster than any other storage array in this particular set of tested systems.

NetApp's 'geniuses at numerology' have spun the SPC-2 stats and lifted NetApp above the also-rans at the top of the SPC-2 sequential data moving heap.

In other IT news

Hewlett-Packard and SAP are currently talking about the possibility of introducing an as-a-service edition of SAP's Hana in-memory computing solution to the enterprise segment.

Anita Paul, senior director of HP's industry transformation consulting practice for Asia Pacific and Japan says she will shortly meet part of SAP's development team to discuss creating the new service.

For its part, Amazon Web Services recently started offering Hana-as-a-service in its usual elastic mode of operation. SAP can also boast several hardware partners for the platform, with IBM, Cisco, Fujitsu and HP, among others, all capable of cooking up a server with the correct technical specifications.

And of course, HP entering the market with managed Hana-as-a-service will be a good endorsement of the platform, and also a sign of a much tighter HP/SAP relationship.

Adding Hana-as-a-service will, Paul said, satisfy HP clients in two different ways. One will come from stating enterprise customers' desire to run the system, as Paul said many want HP to provide the platform.

The second is a desire for XaaS from HP's consulting services, a trend Paul said she embraces wholeheartedly because the nature of XaaS offers better value for customers.

That it can also mean better profit margins for HP, which hosts such systems in its own data centres and may also have the chance to provide hardware through an internal transaction (hardware sells to consulting), is another welcome by-product of such deals in today's IT industry.

Paul said that this kind of engagement can also be good for sysadmins and architects, as in her experience customers who walk the XaaS path are happy to outsource some operations, but not design.

Source: NetApp.

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