MacroSAN files great SPC-1 benchmark. But where did the US storage vendors go?

Chinese vendor MacroSAN’s new test result adds to near total far East domination of the SPC-1 storage benchmark.

SPC-1 measures the ability of the storage array to run input-output operations, measured in calculated SPC-1 IOPS. MacroSAN last month managed 11,000,576 SPC-1 IOPS, the second fastest on the board behind Huawei. Its MS7000G2-Mach array test rig used 288 x 1.6TB NVMe SSDs and 16 active:active controllers. MacroSAN has developed a virtualized multi-engine (controller) system architecture featuring distributed cache sharing, across a low-latency, high-speed switch matrix, between the engines.

US vendors shun SPC-1

Our records show 41 SPC-1 benchmark results, with only three from US vendors; NetApp and IBM. Notable absentees include Dell, HPE and Pure Storage.

NetApp has the number 14 (A800 array) and 30 (EF570 system) slots in the SPC-1 IOPS rankings, while IBM’s DS8888 sits at number 20. The IBM result dates from 2016 so is far from current while NetApp’s were recorded in 2018 and 2017 respectively.

In other words, US storage vendors have abandoned the SPC-1 benchmark test while Far East suppliers have embraced it with both hands. This applies particularly to Chinese vendors, who have 9 of the top 10 results.

With the present state of US-China trade relations and the near-complete absence of US suppliers from the SPC-1 benchmark, it is questionable whether it has any use at all in North America, or the West generally. Far East vendors on the other hand must love it.

SPC-1 league table

MacroSan is sandwiched between Huawei and Fujitsu at the top of the SPC-1 benchmarks.

Huawei recorded 21,002,561 IOPS this month with a monster Dorado 18000 V6 array using 576 x NVMe SSDs. This is a class apart from the chasing pack.

A Fujitsu ETERNUS DX8900 S4 is third with 10,001,522 IOPS, reported in March 2019. That used 576 x 400GB SAS SSDs. The difference with the MacroSAN box is stark, as a look at the top 3 SPC-1 results table shows; 

Top 3 SPC-1 results.

The 10 million IOPS ETERNUS system cost $6.4m while the 11 million IOPS MacroSAN box cost 4.2m, despite having more than double the Fujitsu system’s capacity; 209,379GB vs 90,452GB. It was also faster, having a lower general response time, 0.337ms vs 0.418ms. That’s partly down to NVMe SSDs being faster than SAS variants.

MacroSAN

MacroSan is the China’s first voting member of Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA).

IDC classed the company in the “others” category in a 2016 survey of China’s all-flash array storage market. In 1Q 2017 MacroSan remained in “others” category, with an estimated $2.5m in all-flash array revenue. An IDC chart shows that grew 131.7 per cent by 1Q 2018 to around $6m giving it the number 4 slot in Chinese all-flash storage revenues. This was ahead of Huawei, which had the number 8 rank.

IDC chart showing Chinese storage market supplier shares in 1Q 2018.

We have no more recent numbers but MacroSAN looks to be a an active supplier in the Chinese storage market.

MacroSAN was founded in 2010 and is backed by venture capital. There have been five funding rounds, the last for $7.8m and it has raised CN¥113m in total, $16.8m at today’s rates. That’s peanuts in the overall startup storage funding scheme of things. MacroSAN has 30 branch offices across China. It says it has experienced more than 60 per cent revenue growth annually since inception.

LinkedIn lists 138 employees. According to the company, 51 per cent of staff are in R&D – and 15 per cent of sales revenue is set aside to fund this work. The company has registered more than 50 patents.

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