What SSD should I be looking at for this task?

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What SSD should I be looking at for this task?

Postposted on Tue Jun 19, 2012 4:04 pm

Quite honestly I haven't followed SSD's all that much, nor am I "all knowing" when it comes to reading storage benchmarks. I have several intel and OCZ SSD's and my main system runs a 256GB c300 but those were easy choices given my work loads.

I am putting together a quick and dirty Hyper-V test "server", basically I'm just building it out of desktop parts and I will be using it for testing concepts and deployments. The rest of the system is going to be fast, however the storage is of concern. I would like to be able to run multiple VHD files on a single SSD. I can currently run about two virtualized desktops on a single 7200RPM drive, anything past that and it becomes far too slow. I don't need RAID or anything else as they are simply test machines.

I'm thinking 60GB will be the absolute lowest I would want to go to handle 2 machines and plan on buying a few of them. Ideally I would think that, if I could get away with it, I would run 4 instances on a 120GB.

What SSD, given the sizing and usage, would be my best bet for performance?
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Re: What SSD should I be looking at for this task?

Postposted on Tue Jun 19, 2012 4:41 pm

Almost any SSD will work well for this. I suggest this one or any Intel drive primarily for their reliability.
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Re: What SSD should I be looking at for this task?

Postposted on Tue Jun 19, 2012 5:02 pm

I guess for VHD files a Sandforce based one will be quite alright, because you'll mainly be dealing with OS files and the like. Unless you're running some VM that has a compressed VHD, but I don't know if that is a thing yet :P

Or I'd just get a Samsung 830 and forget about it.
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Re: What SSD should I be looking at for this task?

Postposted on Tue Jun 19, 2012 5:43 pm

I would personally go for the Samsung. The price isn't very different from most other SSDs and it outperforms most of them, while being very good quality.
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Re: What SSD should I be looking at for this task?

Postposted on Tue Jun 19, 2012 5:55 pm

I was looking at the Samsung simply becuase it's generally considered the SSD to get. However, the cheapest 120GB SSD is around $90, so a $60 price difference could get me an extra 60GB SSD. I'd be fine with some el cheapo 120GB SSD so long as it could handle 4 instances running off it.
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Re: What SSD should I be looking at for this task?

Postposted on Tue Jun 19, 2012 8:08 pm

Convert wrote:I was looking at the Samsung simply becuase it's generally considered the SSD to get. However, the cheapest 120GB SSD is around $90, so a $60 price difference could get me an extra 60GB SSD. I'd be fine with some el cheapo 120GB SSD so long as it could handle 4 instances running off it.

If $/gb is a concern I'd go for the Crucial M4. They have improved the performance with firmware tweaks since the big round of reviews came out. I'd be interested in seeing this SSD in new benchmarks.
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Re: What SSD should I be looking at for this task?

Postposted on Wed Jun 20, 2012 12:21 pm

VM's biggest disk issue is insufficient IOPS. Transfer rate differences between SSD's are minor compared to the IOPS differences.

Look at heavily queued 4K writes. Everest II (Vertex 4) and Sandforce SF2281 (Loads of drives, even cheap async ones) are going to be your winners.
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Re: What SSD should I be looking at for this task?

Postposted on Wed Jun 20, 2012 12:50 pm

Chrispy_ wrote:VM's biggest disk issue is insufficient IOPS. Transfer rate differences between SSD's are minor compared to the IOPS differences.

Look at heavily queued 4K writes. Everest II (Vertex 4) and Sandforce SF2281 (Loads of drives, even cheap async ones) are going to be your winners.

That will only help if your VM will actually queue these writes up. If the typical queue depth is more like a regular user's, I'd say that the trace-based benchmarks are a better indication of performance.
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Re: What SSD should I be looking at for this task?

Postposted on Wed Jun 20, 2012 5:56 pm

This is kind of my problem; I'm not sure which of the pretty lines are more important than the others given the usage scenario.

I think I can get my hands on a 120GB Vertex 3 to play with, I should probably see how well it handles 4 VMs so I can get a general feel for performance.
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Re: What SSD should I be looking at for this task?

Postposted on Wed Jun 20, 2012 8:22 pm

My answer is based on real-world experience with VMWare, running on laptops/desktop drives/15K SAS disks/Consumer SSD's

I haven't really poked around with HyperV too much, but VMWare can rapidly hit high IOPS because of the way it manages RAM and virtual pagefiles. Attending a couple of VMWare seminars sales-pitches, they always cite IOPS as the biggest bottleneck to VM performance.

Perhaps HyperV is less demanding, but I'd imagine it's still going to be very IOPS intensive. OP states that he's only getting usable performance from 2 VM's on a 7200RPM desktop disk, seems similar or worse than VMWare to me....
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Re: What SSD should I be looking at for this task?

Postposted on Sun Jun 24, 2012 1:21 pm

Sweet SSD Jesus, OK, so an update.

Things didn't go exactly as planned but it worked out. My original plan was to buy an 8 core AMD desktop setup and I was going to make sure I got a good 6G sata connection for the SSD drive. Well, I stumbled across a used i7 920 setup that miraculously included a 128GB Samsung 830. Total price was less than what the base AMD setup was going to run so I couldn't pass it up. The downside is that I don't have 8 true cores, though I do have hyper threading, and I don't have 6G sata on board.

Here's the crazy part. In the process of hooking up 8 SATA connections I wasn't paying attention and hooked the 830 up to the crappy JMICRON sata controller, which I just realized after starting this post. I am also running 6 instances off the 830 drive right now and they boot and act like they all have dedicated SSD drives to them. It's nuts. The flying Windows 7 logo pieces don't even get to touch before a fixed sized VHD is at the login screen. Differencing disks (whose masters are on a 7200 RPM drive) take exactly one second longer, oh the humanity! While in Windows the systems are equally responsive to all requests.

The results are ridiculous. I didn't anticipate they would all run like they had dedicated SSD drives. Flabbergasted I tell you.

Thanks all for your input! Now to rip the rest of the 7200 drives out of this system and replace them with another SSD.
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Re: What SSD should I be looking at for this task?

Postposted on Sun Jun 24, 2012 1:44 pm

That's what happens when you increase your max iops by 2+ orders of magnitude :P
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