Results: Enterprise Video Streaming Performance
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.
Once the drive 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.
After 100 runs, there wasn't much of a difference between the best and worst. Both are well above the drive's specification. Those few dips that fall below would only require a few megabytes of buffer to overcome. Overall, the consistency is very impressive, but because the maximum sequential write speed is so low, we're left wanting more.
These results were only achieved after a lot of troubleshooting. Initially, we were seeing 800-1000 ms delays, from five to 30 times during every write. That's the sort of catastrophic failure that plagued the SSD business years ago. We tried multiple Intel motherboards and different test utilities, come up with the same numbers each time. We kept in constant contact with Micron, which provided much-appreciated support. Although we can't point our finger at a specific cause, it might be related to PCIe power states. When we added another PCIe device, the dips went away. Given that other devices (even Micron's P320h) didn't have any issues in the same configuration, we're not ready to rule out driver issues, either.
Considering that the cost/GB of RAM is about $7/GB, it may not be such a bad idea to use RAM storage + backup generators instead of traditional non-volatile flash nand.