Monday, March 1, 2010

Are SSD Hard Drives An Option For Increasing SQL Server 2005 And Dynamics AX 4.0 Performance?


In this Dynamics AX 4.0 hard drive shooting match, I wanted to find a solid performing 2.5” form factor product that could be used on my HP MSA70 RAID Array. The Hewlett Packard Storage Works MSA70 will accept SATA 2.5” hard drives but the question is which one to buy!

Test Server Configuration
ASUS NCCH-DL Motherboard
http://www.epinions.com/review/Processor_Xeon_3_4_Ghz_800mhz_2mb_L2_Cache_40k2512_IBM_40K2512_0000435908469/content_499236703876
Transcend 32GB SSD, 2.5- Inch, SATA, MLC SATA Hard Drive
PDP Systems Patriot Warp 32GB Solid State - SATA-300, 2.5 32 GB SATA Hard Drive
Western Digital 250GB Scorpio Black SATA 7200 RPM 2.5IN 16MB WD2500BEKT 250 GB Hard Drive

The test server does not use SAS technology but it does implement a software level raid that I find easy to work with. I was able to get full control over the stripping in my drives.

Transcend 32Gb SSD:
In both my ASUS NCCH-DL server and a SATA II desktop motherboard, I could only get a sustained average read of 57.5 Mbs. The drive set me back $145.

PDP Systems Patriot Warp 32Gb SSD:

The drive came to life in my SATA II desktop motherboard with an average read of 145.4Mbs and an average read of 101.3Mbs on the ASUS NCCH-DL server. The drive set me back $130.

WD2500BEKT 250Gb 2.5” SATA Hard Drive:

The Western Digital WD2500BEKT has 16Mb of cache and spins at 7200RPM. Many people today would consider this just a slow notebook hard drive but in the right computer or RAID Array this drive can become a powerful force. I got a sustained average read of 139.4 Mbs using this hard drive on a SATA II desktop motherboard. I placed the drive in my ASUS NCCH-DL motherboard and could never get an average read rate better than 51.4Mbs. Do not be misled by these results though. All they show is that the drive is optimized for SATA II operation. The drive set me back $70.

Summary
While I have not tested the Intel SSD hard drive offerings, I still wanted to share my results with these drives to encourage a form of fiscal restraint for those fellow database administrators looking to increase the performance of their systems. SSD drives are still overpriced for the performance that they offer. You can buy two 250GB hard drives that are just 10Mb slower for the same cost as one of these SSD offerings!

2 comments:

Eugene said...

Did you followup on this idea?
Have you implemented these in dev/prod?

Reuben Gathright said...

Yes, I managed to put a SSD drive in place to store the SQL Server data for Dynamics AX 4.0. I noticed a performance increase of about 10% when closing the monthly inventory which was updating 25,000 transactions for the period.

The prices of these SSD drives have fallen now to the point where it could be a worthwhile option if bought in 128Gb sizes.