Archive for November, 2012

ZFSBuild2012 – Mission Statement

We wanted to take a moment to discuss what to expect from the series of ZFSBuild2012 articles we are posting. These articles are not intended to be a performance shootout for hardware, software, networking, or anything else.

We have obviously run benchmarks as part of this project, but the benchmarks are not the primary goal of the project. The goal of this project is to share information about how to build a low cost, high performance, easy to manage ZFS based SAN. We have built and heavily tested this design. The ZFSBuild2012 design can deliver over 100,000 IOPS and costs about $7k to build.

We have received a lot of requests for benchmarks that people would like to see and comparisons that people would like to see us make between various solutions. While it might be interesting to make thousands of comparisons between every possible operating system and configuration combination, it is not the focus of this series of articles.

We will be posting benchmark results in an effort to explain the performance difference between the ZFSBuild2012 design and the ZFSBuild2010 design. It is probably not a spoiler to let everybody know that the ZFSBuild2012 design is much faster than the ZFSBuild2010 design. Over the past two years, we learned a lot of things about designing better ZFS based SANs and the underlying hardware got a lot faster. The purpose of comparing the two designs is merely to show how much performance can be gained from the new design. We used the same benchmark tools that we ran back in 2010, and we even used the same blade for running the benchmarks, so the benchmarks we will post comparing the two designs are a true apples to apples test.

We will also be posting benchmarks comparing the performance of InfiniBand using different configurations of the same hardware with Nexenta. Again, the purpose of those benchmarks will be to help people find the correct way to configure InfiniBand. It is not meant to be a fanboy style shootout about various driver settings.

Unfortunately, it was not practical for us to run benchmarks comparing 10GigE, FC, and InfiniBand. While we do have access to this tech, we did not have all of this tech installed into the same blade center, so there was no good way for us to run a true apples to apples style comparison of the various network interconnects. Additionally, we did not want to buy more networking hardware just for the purposes of installing into the test blade center for the purpose of running benchmarks. But like we already mentioned, this series of articles is not intended as a shootout. The purpose of these articles to share information about how to build a reasonably low cost SAN that can deliver over 100,000 IOPS.

Ultimately, it is up to you to choose what you do with the information shared in our series of article on the ZFSBuild2012 design. We used Nexenta for most of the benchmarks and we deployed the unit into production using Nexenta, but we are not trying to convince anybody to give up their favorite storage appliance software in favor of Nexenta. We chose to use Nexenta Community Edition in the ZFSBuild2012 solution because it offered excellent performance and because it can automatically notify the admin of a failed drive (including flashing an LED on the drive bay when it is time to replace a failed drive). We fully understand that some people will choose to run a bare operating system (such as OpenSolaris, OpenIndiana, or FreeBSD) and others will choose to run FreeNAS or ZFSGuru. There is nothing wrong with that. You should run what ever you are comfortable with.

We hope you enjoy the ZFSBuild2012 series of articles.  (We will be posting the ZFSBuild2012 articles soon)


Friday, November 30th, 2012 Benchmarks 10 Comments

ZFSBuild2012 – Benchmarking complete

Benchmarking for ZFSBuild 2012 has completed.  We’ve got a bunch of articles in the pipeline about this build, and we’ll be releasing them over the next few weeks and months.  Stay tuned!

Thursday, November 29th, 2012 Hardware 1 Comment