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23Mar/12Off

Hitachi trounces XIV in SPC-2 Costs

TechOps Guy: Nate

This really sort of surprised me. I came across a HP storage blog post which mentioned some new SPC-2 results for the P9500 aka Hitachi VSP, naturally I expected the system to cost quite a bit, and offer good performance but I was really not expecting these results.

A few months ago I wrote about what seemed like pretty impressive numbers from IBM XIV (albeit at a high cost), I didn't realize how high of a cost until these latest results came out.

Not that any of my workloads are SPC-2 related (which is primarily throughput). I mean if I have a data warehouse I'd probably run HP Vertica (which slashes I/O requirements due to it's design), negating the need for such a high performing system, if I was streaming media I would probably be running some sort of NAS - maybe Isilon or DDN, BlueArc - I don't know. I'm pretty sure I would not be using one of these kinds of arrays though.

Anyways, the raw numbers came down to this:

IBM XIV

  • 7.4GB/sec throughput
  • $152.34 per MB/sec of throughput (42MB/sec per disk)
  • ~$7,528 per usable TB (~150TB Usable)
  • Total system cost - $1.1M for 180 x 2TB SATA disks and 360GB cache

HP P9500 aka Hitachi VSP

  • 13.1GB/sec throughput
  • $88.34 per MB/sec of throughput (26MB/sec per disk)
  • ~$9,218 per usable TB (~126TB Usable)
  • Total system cost - $1.1M for 512 x 300GB 10k SAS disks and 512GB cache

The numbers are just startling to me, I never really expected the cost of the XIV to be so high in comparison to something like the P9500. In my original post I suspected that any SPC-1 numbers coming out of XIV(based on the SPC-2 configuration cost anyways) would put the XIV as the most expensive array on the market(per IOP), which is unfortunate given it's limited scalability to 180 disks, 7200RPM-only and RAID 10 only. I wonder what, if anything(other than margin) keeps the price so high on XIV.

I'm sure a good source for getting the cost lower on the P9500 side was the choice to use RAID 5 instead of RAID 10. The previous Hitachi results, released in 2008 for the previous generation USP platform was mirroring. And of course XIV only supports mirroring.

It seems clear to me that the VSP is the winner here, I suspect the XIV probably includes more software out of the box, while the VSP is likely not an all-inclusive system.

IBM gets some slack cut to them since they were doing a SPC-2/E energy efficiency test, though not too much since if your spending $1M on a storage system the cost of energy isn't going to be all that important(at least given average U.S. energy rates). I'm sure the P9500 with it's 2.5" drives are pretty energy efficient on their own anyways.

Where XIV really fell short was on the last test for Video on Demand, for some reason the performance tanked, less than 50% of the other tests( a full 10 Gigabytes/second less than VSP). I'm not sure what the weightings are for each of the tests but if IBM was lucky and the VOD test wasn't there it would of helped them a lot.

The XIV as tested is maxed out, so any expansion would require an additional XIV. The P9500 is nowhere close to maxed out (though throughput could be maxed out, I don't know).

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