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More on the Flash Module for the P9500


Headshot 100X100.jpgBy Calvin Zito, @HPStorageGuy  vexpert 2012 logo.gif

Last week, I had a blog post and video I did of the Flash Module for the P9500 - something I learned about while at HP Discover.  Things were just a wee bit busy for me and I didn't have time to learn much about the Flash Module while at Discover, but I called Ayman Abouelwafa.  Ayman is a senior architect in our enterprise storage lab and my go-to engineering guy when I need to understand something about P9500.  Ayman was in one of my first video blogs and was very helpful in doing a video we did talking about our collaboration with Hitachi Japan. 

 After talking to him, I realized there was a lot I didn't get from my 4 minute conversation at HP Discover - so here's a bit more of what I learned from Ayman.  First he told me about some new firmware.

Performance Accelerator

  • Ayman and his team worked with Hitachi Japan on Performance Accelerator, a new firmware-based program that significantly enhances the back-end random performance, targeting SSD and flash media. 
  • This significantly expands the P9500 frame-limit for random IOPs.  Ayman told me the firmware enables around a million IOPs per P9500.  Wow!
  • There were 32 areas of microcode that were modified to create the Performance Accelerator Data Path
  • These changes improve random reads by about 2.8x and random writes by ~ 1.6x.  Sequential performance wasn't affected.

More on the Flash Module for P9500

I had Ayman help me better understand some slides he had sent me about the new Flash Module and P9500.jpgthe Flash Media Drives (FMD) for the P9500.  First just some of the specs - pretty straightforward.

  • Each Flash Module Drive (FMD) is 1.6TB of capacity. The minimum configuration is 4 FMDs (6.4TB) and up to 48 FMDs (76.8TB) can be installed in one Flash Module Chassis
  • Up to 2 Flash Module Chassis and 96 FMDs (153.6TB) can be installed in a 1 DKC system
  • Up to 4 Flash Module Chassis and 192 FMDs (307.2TB) can be installed in a 2 DKC system

Finally, Ayman helped me understand some of the performance testing his lab has done.  This was impressive stuff and really what I wanted to share with you.  Ayman said conservatively he was able to see 1 million IOPs at SSD response times with FMD's in a P9500.

He also did some comparative testing of SSD and FMD's.  Ayman tested 7D + 1P parity groups of FMDs and SSDs to get some relative performance differences between the two.  Here's what he saw: 

  • As with any performance data, your results may vary but I think this relative performance that I'll talk about gives you a good idea on the difference between SSD and FMD performance with the P9500.
  • For a single parity group, random read IOPs were 400% faster while random writes were a little less than 2X faster.  Sequential reads were 300% faster (GB/sec) while sequential  writes were the same.
  • For 2 parity groups, random reads were about 300% faster and random writes were 200% faster. 
  • I asked Ayman when should a customer go with SSD vs. Flash Module Drives - his answer was that it is something you should discuss with your pre-sales storage architect but if your looking at more than 1 parity group (more than 8 drives) you should look at FMD.

Pretty impressive for P9500 customers!  Check out the P9500 product page for more on the P9500:

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About the Author


I have worked at HP and now HPE since 1983, all of it around storage but 100% focused on storage since 1990. I blog, create videos, and podcasts to help you better understand HPE Storage.

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