Intel Optane-boosted cluster is giant whale in tiny benchmark puddle

Intel Optane

Intel has chosen a small and under-populated benchmark performance pond in which to be a large price/performance fish.

The company has achieved a record price/performance on the IOmark VM benchmark using a 4-node Intel+Optane clustered server setup running VSAN.

This benchmark is owned by the Evaluator Group and measures server virtualization workloads (VMs) run against storage systems – generally small storage arrays.

The Intel benchmark score was 1,152 IOmark-VMs at a price of $216.23 / IOmark-VM. The highest recorded VM score is for an IBM FlashSystem V900 which achieved 1,600VMs at a price/performance of $470.00/VM in December 2015.

IOmark VM table of tested systems

The Intel Optane run rig comprised four Intel RS2208WF Xeon SP Platinum 8168 servers, each with 2 x 375GB DC P4800x Optane SSDs for caching, plus 76TB of DC P4500 3D NAND SSDs across the four nodes for capacity storage. 

The previous lowest price/performance was for a Coho Data 2000f dual-chassis storage system rated at 960 VMs and $302.08/VM. Intel’s Optane-enhanced server scores 28.4 per cent better.

The IO benchmark is not that popular, with just nine entries since August 2015. And Intel is the first entrant since August 2016. Several of the submitted systems are no longer available, such as two from Coho Data, a dead company, and  four-year old HP MSA arrays.

Also, all the other submitted systems area external arrays while the Intel system is a cluster consisting of four server nodes. However the usable tested capacities are in the lowball area – between just 5.6 and 28.6TB.