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Massive IOPS with Drops In Price-Performance - Early 2015 SPC-2 Standings

There is something quite interesting happening on the SPC-2 top 10 results page. Right now, HP (with XP7) and Kaminario, a hot all-flash solution, are leading the performance list. But the next three entries belong to Oracle's ZFS Storage ZS3 and ZS4 lineup. And when you scroll down a bit, the biggest surprise is that the top 10 price/performance storage leader is now Oracle!

In fact, the Oracle price/performance is listed at $12.08/SPC2-MBPS while the HP XP7 chalks up $28.30. This is not a small difference. At scale it seems you could get more than twice the storage for the same price. And when you start to dig into the Oracle ZS series data sheets, you find a number of really attractive built-in features and capabilities including auto-tiering, multi-tenancy, and automated QoS. Despite the low price, the ZS series looks to be broadly applicable, enterprise grade, mixed workload storage.

And in Oracle's favor, the SPC-2 is based on fundamental data center workloads, and doesn't include specific Oracle applications or databases (12C We know Oracle storage arrays perform even better with Oracle workloads as they have "co-engineered" features designed to accelerate and optimize storage IO across the stack. The Oracle ZS in this case is also a good example of the next generation of Data Aware storage solutions coming into the market, with "application-awareness" being a key part of the new advantages these solutions provide, whether the "application" in each case is a VM (e.g. VVOL), a docker container, MS Exchange, or an Oracle 12C Database. Storage is just getting smarter about the workloads it's serving. This is becoming so important that we expect a future SPC benchmark some day that would test out storage workload intelligence.

Now not all vendors submit testing to SPC-2, claiming that they are misrepresentative or misaligned tests compared to real work. But I think the point of a benchmark is that it's an initial comparison point to be taken with a grain of salt, and followed up with a deeper needs analysis, TCO, POC, etc.. If you don't play on the level playing field, then it still seems like you might be hiding something in the rough terrain of real data centers.

And SPC-2 result standings are dynamic to be sure. We'll no doubt see some elbowing under the basket this year as flash drops in price. Yet we see no obvious obstacle on the horizon that would push Oracle out of the top spots here. They look entrenched and have a solid roadmap. If you haven't been thinking of Oracle as an enterprise storage vendor, they certainly deserve some consideration now.

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  • Premiered: 03/18/15
  • Author: Mike Matchett
Topic(s): Oracle ZFS SPC-2


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