NetApp posted some SPC results showing their 3040 box performing pretty well in SPC-1 relative to an EMC box.
There have been rumors that when running multiple features in a NetApp box then performance suffers. Which kinda negates the whole value prop of NetApp (since that’s when people typically choose NetApp – they want one box to do everything).
A realistic test would be to have OTHER apps sharing the array (on other spindles), as is usually the case. Almost nobody dedicates an entire array of that size to a single app.
Have the box do CIFS, NFS, iSCSI AND FC.
Show performance over a significant period of time (another point NetApp detractors use – performance declines over time due to WAFL fragmentation).
THEN show the performance delta as each feature is enabled.
Obviously hard to do and maintain kosher SPC results but it would be a worthwhile addendum and, if successful, would shut up the NetApp detractors (since that’s a usual technique for selling against NetApp). I’d also show performance in degraded mode.
Anyone have any data on NetApp performing either way when used as a multi-role box?
A note on the EMC config and interpreting those benchmarks in general, be they SPC or SPEC or whatever: ALWAYS READ THE FULL DISCLOSURE regarding the test, don’t just look at the graph. If you’re not technical, get a techie to explain it to you.
For instance, looking at the way the EMC box was set up, I highly doubt it was done using EMC’s best practices. To wit:
- They didn’t maximize the write cache
- They seem to not have used separate spindles for the snapshot area (a differentiator since, unlike NetApp, EMC not only allows such a thing to happen but actually encourages it)
- They could have used MetaLUNs more instead of striping using Windows.
I’d be willing to bet dollars to nuts that the NetApp box was set up properly 🙂
Another thing: look at the response times in the graphs.
Like they say, “only believe 50% of the statistics you read”.
EDIT added Feb 22, 2013:
I wrote this before I knew how NetApp tested the EMC gear. The tests for the Clariion were audited by the SPC-1 auditors, and only the best results were shown. MetaLUNs and write caching were both tried but resulted in slower results. EMC was given an opportunity to have the results not published, and after publication they were again given an opportunity to pull the test, neither of which were done. SPC-1 just proved to be an unfriendly workload for the Clariion, that’s all.
To this day EMC is a member of SPC yet has no submissions as of Feb 22, 2013.