[DLSLUG-Discuss] FusionIO and hi!

Alan Johnson alan at datdec.com
Sat Sep 13 13:07:42 EDT 2008


I finally joined the list, and the NH list, so I wanted to pop in and say
hi.  So, HI!

Also, I know many of you have been interested in this new T-Shirt I got with
some hardware we bought at AIRS.  It reads, "FusionIO -- You can't spin fast
enough."  I wanted to reiterate that and let you know it is true.  Check out
the FusionIO website <http://www.fusionio.com> and then look at this tgdaily
video <http://www.tgdaily.com/content/view/39231/135/> that talks about the
next generation of cards they have in development now.

It is pricy at $30/GB, but if you have a need for speed, it is very worth
while.  The only other faster option is more RAM for disk cache, and that is
much more expensive than $30/GB, especially if you are talking about 8GB
chips to cram as much as you can into a single server.  Also, if you compare
it to other solid state disks, it is compedative: some of the high-end stuff
is around $25/GB and FusionIO blows the doors off their performance.  Of
course, I expect the prices to come down greatly over the next couple of
years anyway, as will happen with all SSDs for sure.

Anyway, to bring it home for those of you that haven't heard the story, we
have one 160GB drive in production now at AIRS (my full-time job).  It is in
our most pained database server for our biggest client (yes, our biggest
client gets their very own database server because of performance issues).
The performace has been so good since we put this thing in production on
Labor Day weekend, that we have now ordered another 320GB drive for our
primary database server, and the matching 160GB and 320GB units to go in the
equivilent machines in our backup data center.  That $28.8K of product all
together, half of which goes in our back datacenter just in case: the
performace is so much better that it would hurt to much to loose it in even
in a fail-over situation.

But enough of the touchy feely crap; let's get down to hard numbers.  First,
you can believe the marketing numbers in their data sheets on the web site.
I saw 107K transactions/s durring our bench marking and we had a hard time
getting bonnie++ to flex this thing hard enough because of some limitations
with running parallel instances of bonnie++.  So, I'm sure we could have
gotten more out of it if we had less RAM in the machine. *Less* RAM? What?
Yeah, it is a long story, but 20GB of RAM and kinda tripps bonnie++ up a bit
because of the way it clears the disk cache.  Anyway, compare that 107K tps
report (no cover sheet; just fish guts) to our 4-disk RAID 5 being replaced
which maxed out at 2.7K durring the same tests.  Marketing materials say
120K and I don't doubt it at all.

Now, benchmarks are fun and good for burn in, but our practical concern is
with MySQL queries.  Interestingly, we saw about the same performace between
the FusionIO and our 4-disk RAID 5 with a single long query.  Our other DB
servers have 10-disk RAID10, but we could not compare to those without
blocking up our production replication ring;all of this is on 15KRPM 2.5"
SAS drives.

So, this 4-disk 15K SAS RAID 5 can really serve some bits on a single
request all by itself.  So, we found disk IO was not be the bottleneck in
the case of a single query.  So, where we get into trouble is with
concurrent requests.  So, we picked 4 bad queries from our slow log to run
all at once.  So, on the disk array, the longest of these 4 queires took 343
seconds.  So, we flushed all the disk caches, run the same 4 queries on the
FusionIO, and the longest query took 12 seconds!  So, we did this for 6
different sets of queries, 10 times each, and saw an average of better than
95% reduction in run time on the longest query for all 6 sets.  So, so, suck
your toe.

The only down side is that this is bleeding edge hardware.  We were in a bit
of a panic when we first put it in and the system reset it self when we hit
the FusionIO really hard.  Within a couple of days, a new driver came out
and it has been smooth saling from there on.  They also had some hiccups
getting our corproate credit setup and getting the drive shipped, then they
didn't communicate this well at all, but I think we have it all streghtened
out now.

How does this all tie back to Linux, you might ask.  Well, loosely, but
there is a credibility story.  These guys clearly have a very high-end
market, and while they are working on Windows drivers and other operating
systems, the only drivers available at this time are for Linux.  And not
just 1, but 10 distros/versions: CentOS, Debian Etch and Lenny, Fedora Core
6 8 9, RHEL 4 and 5, SLES 10, and my favorite, Ubuntu 8!  But it gets
better.  Are you siting down?  Even if you have trouble, don't sweat it too
much: the drivers are open source!  In fact, I had to build them from source
to get it working on our system because our kernel didn't match the package

Rock on!
Alan Johnson
alan at datdec.com
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