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Results: Enterprise Video Streaming Performance

Intel SSD DC S3700 Review: Benchmarking Consistency

Enterprise video streaming is a demanding workload within the enterprise space. Companies want more HD streams with higher bit-rates and no stuttering. A storage solution well-suited for enterprise-class video delivery has completely different capabilities than something designed for databases. At the end of the day, you're basically looking for exceptional large-block sequential write performance. You also need a high level of consistency that traditionally isn't seen from consumer SSDs. For a more in-depth analysis, take a look at page 10 of Intel SSD 910 Review: PCI Express-Based Enterprise Storage.

Briefly, once the drive in question is in a steady state, we write its entire capacity 100 times. We use 8 MB transfer sizes and a queue depth of four, recording timestamps for each individual write. The graph below reflects 100-point averaging, so that you can better visualize the results.

Now this is what we're talking about. Normally, it's pretty easy to pick out the best- and worst-case runs (either by average, lowest dip, number of dips, and so on), but this drive is so incredibly consistent that's it's really hard to tell them apart. This is exactly the type of graph you want to see from an enterprise-oriented SSD. There are no major dips, all of the data points are packed pretty tightly, and performance is constant across the full drive capacity.

Even though Intel specifies performance consistency using random 4 KB writes, we're curious to see how it stacks up in an admittedly much easier workload. We take all of the 8 MB sequential writes from our worst-case run, and determine the overall average and worst-case one-second performance. 

We averaged 465 MB/s across the entire drive in our worst-case run. The worst-case one-second performance was within 92.4% of the average. In fact, there were only two one-second averages below 95% of the average. Ninety percent of the one-second averages were within 99% of the average. We've been performing this type of testing for a while now, and this is the best performance we've ever seen from a SATA-based drive.

When we look at the required buffer sizes required to maintain a certain transfer speed, Intel's consistency story surfaces once more.

Best-Case Buffer Size
Worst-Case Buffer Size
450 MB/s
7 MB
50 MB
460 MB/s28 MB74 MB
470 MB/s185 MB228 MB
475 MB/s6,967 MB7,008 MB

As you approach its average, the SSD DC S3700 requires a very small memory buffer. As soon as you exceed its average, memory requirements go up exponentially.

These are the types of tests we love doing; they separate very good drives from great drives, and you're only able to get a sense for a given product's potential when you dive in deep like this.

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