Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?
IBM Data Storage

IBM Flash Memory Breaks 1 Million IOPS Barrier 77

alphadogg writes to tell us that IBM is claiming a victory on the flash storage front. Their new research project "Quicksilver" is claiming data transfer speeds of more than 1 million input/output operations per second (IOPS). "IBM said Quicksilver is two and a half times faster than its own SAN Volume Controller coupled with IBM's DS4700 storage. It would also be two and a half times faster than technology from Texas Memory Systems, which says it has the world's fastest storage with an IOPS rate of 400,000. "
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

IBM Flash Memory Breaks 1 Million IOPS Barrier

Comments Filter:
  • by Yvan256 ( 722131 ) on Friday August 29, 2008 @02:06PM (#24798109) Homepage Journal

    Then I'm not buying IBM flash memory, end of story.

  • Yay! (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Does this mean I can wear out my flash drive more quickly? WOO!
  • Bit error rate? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Toffins ( 1069136 ) on Friday August 29, 2008 @02:14PM (#24798219)
    That's very fast. I wonder how low the bit error rate is.
  • Time to market? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Naughty Bob ( 1004174 ) * on Friday August 29, 2008 @02:16PM (#24798265)
    They don't even commit to a date when this might be viable.

    Given that current systems are 3 or more orders of magnitude slower than the stated amount, I'm pretty safe in saying that this announcement is meaningless outside of the lab. Kudos, but.... next!
  • by afidel ( 530433 ) on Friday August 29, 2008 @02:22PM (#24798333)
    While managing to achieve 1M IOPS is somewhat impressive, it's not hard to do for an optimal theoretical situation. Xiotech was showing 500,000+ IOPS from three of their new Emprise 5000 storage shelfs at Storage Networking World this spring, but it was all video and synthetic sequential reads. That same system would only pull about 20K IOPS on the SPC-1 real world benchmark.
    • by afidel ( 530433 ) on Friday August 29, 2008 @05:04PM (#24801255)
      I stand corrected, from the talkback link I followed a trail to an IBM blog with a LOT more details here [ibm.com], and this is the 70/30 SPC-1 benchmark numbers with cache disabled. This is freaking phenomenal performance! The storage is only 4TB, but if you put your logs, flashback, and temp tables on this beast and pinned your busiest tables in ram you would have a screaming OLTP database. I guess it's now just a matter of price, but a rack of x-series boxes with flash card's shouldn't be THAT expensive. Unless IBM asks for a crazy markup it should be affordable for most enterprises (ok, pretty much a given with IBM but still).
  • It's the 1 MIOPS /mark/. If it was a barrier, you wouldn't be /able/ to break it.

  • soooooo... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Taibhsear ( 1286214 ) on Friday August 29, 2008 @02:50PM (#24798695)

    How does this translate into normal transfer speed units like MB/s? Otherwise I have no point of reference to tell if I am impressed or indifferent.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      More importantly, how many Libraries of Congress per lunar month is this?

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by JJJK ( 1029630 )
        about 15946
        ...using google calculator, 10 TB for a LoC and 640 GB/s.

        So... do you measure velocity in furlongs per forthnight?
        • by alx5000 ( 896642 )

          My car gets 40 rods to the hogshead, and that's the way I likes it!

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by afidel ( 530433 )
          It's not freaking 640GB/s, there's only one switch in existence that can do that much (Cisco 7000, the Brocade DCX-Backbone is the only other one that's close and it's 6.4Tb/s total per chassis). It's ~4.4GB/s, 1.1M peak IOPS * 4KB chunks...
        • My car gets 40 rods to the hogshead yada yada yada
    • by Hecatomb00 ( 1350893 ) on Friday August 29, 2008 @03:10PM (#24798995)

      How does this translate into normal transfer speed units like MB/s? Otherwise I have no point of reference to tell if I am impressed or indifferent.

      All I know is it is fast. This is a huge win in my book. I am really tired of finishing before my standard hard drive can seek out my porn.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        All I know is it is fast. This is a huge win in my book. I am really tired of finishing before my standard hard drive can seek out my porn.

        Why don't you give it a head start?

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by afidel ( 530433 )
      You can normally assume that for that level of IOPS they are 4K blocks, so 4GB/s, pretty damn impressive as that's saturating 4*10Gb/s links.
    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      You kidding me? It can make the Kessel Run in less than twelve parsecs. That's smoke'n

    • Re:soooooo... (Score:5, Informative)

      by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Friday August 29, 2008 @03:14PM (#24799047) Journal
      IOPS are a normal measure for server hardware. It's the number of I/O operations per second the device can perform. Most server workloads, particularly database servers, require a lot of small I/O operations per second. With a single mechanical disk, it's pretty easy to work out the number. Pretend the time taken for each read is zero (it isn't, but it's really tiny so we can ignore it). Then take the reciprocal of the seek time. For a cheap disk, this is around 9ms. Google says the reciprocal of 9ms is 111Hz [google.com], so a 9ms seek time translates to 111 IOPS. Fast drives have average seek times down at around 4ms, which gives 250 IOPS. So, to put this in perspective, it's as many independent operations per second as 4,000 individual high-end disks, or almost 10,000 cheap ones.

      By the way, for a workload with a lot of independent reads or writes you'd be surprised how slow a hard disk is. With a 512byte block (common on hard drives) you get a maximum throughput of around 50KB/s for a random access pattern on a cheap drive, going up to around 125KB/s on an expensive one. Even very cheap flash can do better than this, so for moderate sized databases (a few GBs) with a very heavy access load flash works out a lot cheaper.

      Oh, and for reference each of the ops in this test was up to 640KB, giving a maximum of around 640GB/s data transfer.

      • by jebrew ( 1101907 )

        Those IOPS aren't spot on, you've got to take into account sequential vs. random. I've got a USB drive here that barely pushes 25 MB/s, and has a seek time of ~6ms (old ide in an old usb case...mostly for beating with a stick), yet I can get ~2000 IO/s using sequential reading.

        Otherwise, that's a good explanation.

        • by Amouth ( 879122 )

          he is damn close for random iops though.. almost everything does sequential well.. as there is no seek time past the start.. so flash vs spindle is pointless.. where spindels hurt is random..

          he was doing random - and was close enough for the net

          • by jebrew ( 1101907 )
            Good point. There are a lot of factors to take into account. I just felt like his post may have been a little misleading without specifying purely random I/O.
      • Anyone that has done some downloading from a news server and par2-ing and unzipping at the same time can relate to that 50KB/s. Or copying multiple folders at the same time.

        I really really will buy a fast SSD once they become available, and I am thinking about buying one or two of of these new WD velociraptors as well. Current hard drives suck. They are slow, noisy and still a bit unreliable (even though they seem to be *much* better than days of old).

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      MB/s is only a measure that's meaningful for sequential reads where the data can be prefetched. Most enterprise storage is based on applications that read randomly all over the disk (like databases and email servers). The benchmark measurement for this type of application is in the number of operations you can do per second. A single hard drive spindle can do between 80 and 150 IO/s, which would generate the number of IO/s times the size of the IO blocks per second.
    • Re:soooooo... (Score:5, Informative)

      by TopSpin ( 753 ) * on Friday August 29, 2008 @03:37PM (#24799373) Journal

      How does this translate into normal transfer speed units like MB/s? Otherwise I have no point of reference to tell if I am impressed or indifferent.

      I'll try to help.

      MB/s is a measure of IO throughput. Often this isn't the most relevant figure for 'enterprise' storage. Certain applications do a lot of random access IO so IOPS becomes more important than throughput.

      Today a typical desktop disk is capable of about 100-150 IOPS. That's a rule of thumb range that varies based on operation size, cache, etc. It works pretty well usually. You can aggregate disks and get almost linear scaling; 12 disks, for instance in a device like this [cdw.com], will give you a maximum of 1200 IOPs, roughly. A common USB Flash device can break 1000 IOPS with certain access patterns.

      The second graph on this page [tomshardware.com] illustrates the extreme IOPS advantage of Flash for certain applications. Disks are limited by head actuation and rotation latency. This is why enterprise storage vendors have been pursuing [theregister.co.uk] Flash aggressively [forbes.com]. That's what this story is all about.

      The dream is to host the same IOPS in with an order of magnitude less physical space, power, heat, etc. If you don't need thousands of IOPS (and most PC users don't) then it isn't very interesting. If you happen to run an OLTP system with thousands of reads/write per second it means a great deal.

  • With a name like Quicksilver, it must not be RoHS compliant.
  • i might be able to get vista to run at near real-time speeds.
  • with 1M IOPS she won't even know how many times she's done ...

  • Does this mean... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Hurricane78 ( 562437 ) <deleted&slashdot,org> on Friday August 29, 2008 @06:55PM (#24803303)

    ...that they will be worn out in 0.1 seconds? (If typical wear-out numbers apply.)

    I'll pass, and rather go with something reliable... ...now where did I put my chisel?

  • meh ... MRAM runs faster than 25 million ops/second !
    http://everspin.com/ [everspin.com]

    Yeah, OK , I work there - std disclaimers apply.

  • I personally have seen their device running standard benchmarks on shipping hardware at over 1 million IOPS. www.thirdio.com Also, a company called Violin Memory claims to have broken the 1 million IOPS barrier recently as well. As IBM's technology is at least a year away, I'd have to say I'm more impressed with faster solutions that are already available.

1 Mole = 007 Secret Agents