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    Introducing SNIA’s Workload I/O Capture Program

    January 17th, 2013

    SNIA’s Solid State Storage Initiative (SSSI) recently rolled out its new Workload I/O Capture Program, or WIOCP, a simple tool that captures software applications’ I/O activity by gathering statistics on workloads at the user level (IOPS, MB/s, response times queue depths, etc.)

    The WIOCP helps users to identify “Hot Spots” where storage performance is creating bottlenecks.  SNIA hopes that users will help the association to collect real-use statistics on workloads by uploading their results to the SNIA website.

    Using this information SNIA member companies will be able to improve the performance of their solid state storage solutions, including SSDs and flash storage arrays.

    How it Works

    The WIOCP software is a safe and thoroughly-tested tool which runs unobtrusively in the background to constantly capture a large set of SSD and HDD I/O metrics that are useful to both the computer user and to SNIA.

    Users simply enter the drive letters for those drives for which I/O operations metrics are to be collected.   The program does not record anything that might be sensitive, including details of your actual workload (for example, files you’ve accessed.)   Results are presented in clear and accessible report formats.

    How can WIOCP Help You?

    Users can collect (and optionally display in real time) information reflecting their current environment and operations with the security of a tool delivered with digital authentication for their protection.

    The collected I/O metrics will provide information useful to evaluate an SSD system environment.

    Statistics from a wide range of applications will be collected, and can be used with the SSS Performance Test Specification to help users determine which SSD should  perform best for them.

    How can Your Participation Help SNIA and the SSSI?

    The WIOCP provides unique, raw information that can be analyzed by SNIA’s Technical Work Groups (TWGs) including the IOTTA TWG to gain insights into workload characteristics, key performance metrics, and SSD design tradeoffs.

    The collected data from all participants will be aggregated and publicly available for download and analysis. No personally identifiable information is collected – participants will benefit from this information pool without comprising their privacy or confidentiality.

    Downloading the WIOCP

    Help SNIA get started on this project by clicking HERE and using the “Download Key Code”: SSSI52kd9A8Z.

    The WIOCP tool will be delivered to your system with a unique digital signature.  The tool only takes a few minutes to download and initialize, after which users can return to the task at hand!

    If you have any questions or comments, please contact: SSSI_TechDev-Chair@SNIA.org

    Updated Client Solid State Performance Test Specification Now Available

    June 26th, 2012

    SNIA’s Solid State Storage Initiative has just released a revised Client SSS Performance Test Specification (PTS-Client) which adds a new write saturation test and refines existing tests.

    The Solid State Storage Performance Test Specification (PTS) is a device-level performance test suite for benchmarking and comparing performance among SAS, SATA and PCI Express SSDs

    Revision 1.1 of the PTS-Client updates tests for IOPS, throughput and latency to more accurately reflect the workload conditions under which Client SSDs are used.  The PTS-Client v1.1 also adds a Write Saturation test that measures the initial Fresh-Out-of-Box state of SSDs and their performance evolution as data is randomly written to the device.

    Eden Kim, Chair of SNIA’s SSS Technical Working Group, describes the primary updates to PTS-Client v1.1 as adjustments to preconditioning ranges and test boundaries.   Taken together, these parameters create a repeatable test stimulus that more accurately reflects the workload characteristics of SSDs used in a single user environment The PTS-Client v1.1 also adds an easily understandable description of each test, which helps the user to understand the purpose of the test, the test flow, and guidance on how to interpret the test results.

    Sample test results using the PTS-Client v1.1 have been posted to the SNIA SSSI Understanding PTS Performance webpage.


    Recommended Reading List on SSDs and Performance

    February 3rd, 2012

    SSSI has developed an extensive library of educational materials about SSD performance and how to use the SSS Performance Test Specifications to measure it.  If you’re new to SSDs or simply want to become more knowledgeable on the subject, we can help.

    Below is a list of white papers, presentations, webcasts, and even a video that discuss SSDs, SSD performance and how it should be measured.  The list is in the recommended order of reading / viewing, and ranges from basic overviews to technical details.  Hope you find this useful.

    1. What more logical place to start than Solid State Storage 101?  This white paper talks about SSDs, how they work and how they fit into system architectures.
    2. Another white paper, NAND Flash Solid State Storage for the Enterprise, looks at Flash memory in more detail and how SSD controllers work.
    3. Facing an SSS Decision? Here is How SNIA is Helping Users Evaluate SSS Performance is a presentation that starts to delve into SSD performance and the basic principles of the SSS Performance Test Specification.
    4. The presentation Validating SSS Performance also introduces the SSS PTS, but in additional detail.
    5. The Solid State Storage Performance Test Specification (SSS PTS) White Paper provides an easily understandable introduction to the SSS PTS.
    6. Here’s a video of our own Eden Kim Describing the SSS PTS at Storage Visions 2012.
    7. SNIA Solid State Storage Test Specification is a more technical description of the contents of the SSS PTS.
    8. Now that you’ve read all about them, the actual SSS PTS documents can be downloaded here.
    9. And finally, SSSI has put together a webpage on Understanding SSD Performance, which explains the test results generated from the SSS PTS and what they mean to users.

    You can find a lot of other informative material related to SSDs on the SSSI Education page.

    If you have any questions, comments or requests, please comment on this post or send a message to asksssi@snia.org.

    Understand SSD Performance Project

    January 17th, 2012

    At last week’s Storage Vision conference, SSSI announced the Understanding SSD Performance project, which is intended to educate users about how to use the SSS PTS (Performance Test Specification) to make intelligent decisions about SSD performance.  You can find the press release here.

    The project outcomes so far include a new webpage at www.snia.org/forums/sssi/pts, a white paper (www.snia.org/forums/sssi/knowledge/education), and a webcast.

    Join us for the webcast on January 19 at 11AM Pacific Time by going to www.brighttalk.com/webcast/663/40549.


    Quick PTS Implementation

    November 11th, 2011

    PTS ProcedureNeed an abbreviated version of the SNIA SSD Performance Test Specification (PTS) in a hurry?  Jamon Bowen of Texas Memory Systems (TMS) whipped up a simple implementation of certain key parts of the PTS that can be run on a Linux system and interpreted in Excel.

    It’s a free download on his Storage Tuning blog.

    This is a boon for anyone that might want to run a internal preliminary test before pursuing a more formal route.

    The bash script uses the Flexible I/O utility (FIO) to run through part of the SSSI PTS.  FIO does the heavy lifting, and the script manages it.  The script outputs comma separated (CSV) data and the download includes an Excel pivot table that helps format the results and select the measurement window.

    Since this is a bare-bones implementation the SSD must be initialized manually before the test script is run.

    The test runs the IOPS Test from the PTS.  This test covers a range of block sizes, read/write ratios and iterates until the steady state for the device is reached (with a maximum of 25 iterations).  Altogether the test takes over a day to run.

    Once the test is complete, the downloadable pivot tables allow users to select the steady-state measurement window and report the data in a recommended format.

    See Mr. Bowen’s blog at http://storagetuning.wordpress.com/2011/11/07/sssi-performance-test-specification/ for details on this valuable download.