Pure Storage Performance

Black sports car. Non-branded car design.

Here is an update on performance of our all flash array, since we’ve had it running for a few months in our production environment.  Since our systems are heavy reads, the obvious benefits can be seen from the graphs below where there is a clear reduction in wait time since our upgrade in August.  The graphs illustrate total wait time by individual SQL Server data file.  The scale is in days of wait on Y axis and time in weeks on X axis. This data is taken from two different servers running on Pure Storage.

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I want to share some more phenomenal results achieved through the upgrade to the new storage device.  Before and after of some key metrics speak for themselves.  Below are Total I/O, Total Read I/O, Total Write I/O, O/S Disk Queue Length, Page Read and Write per Second, SQL Disk Read Latency and SQL Write Latency.  Again, this data is from two of our servers.
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Our database restores and backups completed in one-third the time, and for a number of our most common database queries, response times are as much as eight times faster. Routine database maintenance tasks are also completed much sooner, including one that has gone from three hours to 15 minutes.

On a separate note, I want to mention that availability of snapshots has been a great bonus for us.  Now we can restore a copy of production data for free on the device due to this feature. Our total data reduction ration is 3.2 to 1.

One useful tip I found with getting signed out from the UI management console is that pressing Ctrl+Q signs you right back in with your saved credentials.

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Again, special thanks to Dennis Friedley of Pure Storage for his follow-ups and superb customer service.

Flash Storage Upgrade: My Experience With Pure Storage

We’ve recently completed a project to upgrade storage which runs our database clusters of relational and OLAP data.  The experience has been delightful enough to be worthy of a blog post.

Our previous device, EMC VNX-5300, which is a hybrid of flash and spinning disk has been struggling with the load our systems generate.  SolarWinds and Newrelic, aside from performance monitor, have been good friends in helping us to identify IO as our primary bottleneck.

It’s been just a little over three years since our storage upgrade to VNX-5300 but the playing field has changed significantly since then.  A few days into research, we realized that for the same money we paid three years ago for our hybrid solution, we could now get more storage and ALL of it flash.  Software is the reason all SSD arrays are now cheaper than legacy spinning disk or hybrid systems. Some bright minds figured out a way to compress and deduplicate data layered on storage devices resulting in a significant reduction of actual data being stored.  More about actual ratios and performance in my next post.

Picking up the latest copy of Gartner report and running some Google searches helped us zero in on a few leaders in the storage space.  Given that we’ve had a successful relationship with EMC in the past, it topped our list.  SolidFire which has been acquired by NetApp was our second contender.  Considering that both SolidFire and our CTO are out of Boulder, CO we had a personal connection with this company.  Pure Storage got on our list for several reasons.  The company has been listed as the first to sell all flash arrays, dating back to 2009 hence capturing significant market share.  Customer satisfaction with the products and support appeared to be through the roof.  Given stringent time and budget constraints we set off to select our next partner.  EMC’s proposal came in very interesting after a significant discount and promotion but lacked references and felt like a Beta product.  NetApp’s product was the most expensive of the three and lacked flexibility with the amount of storage that we could get.  Their offering with the least amount of storage we could buy was way more than we needed.  A gradual expansion of their array, also was not an option. It would have required a significant investment for a sizable chunk of additional storage all of which would not have been necessary.

Pure was the fastest to provide customer references in Colorado and Florida.  Within a week, we had a chance to go through a list of our questions with people in charge of storage upgrades in their companies.  Needless to say all three companies we surveyed were more than satisfied with their selection of the storage vendor. The feedback we got from one customer was that they also did their own research during a six month period going through the same storage providers and concluded that Pure was the way to go. Interesting enough all three customers we interviewed had switched from EMC to Pure. Some of them now were repeat customers of Pure, upgrading additional systems.

Once we decided to go with Pure and issued a PO, the device arrived at our office within ten days.  We had a Pure engineer installing it in our production data center within three days.

Thanks to Dennis Friedley of Pure Storage and George Orr of Corus360, the execution of this transaction from engagement to setup and configuration has been more efficient and straight forward than any other.  As mentioned earlier, more on performance of the array to follow.