Free space and write performance

In previous post On Benchmarks on SSD, commenter touched another interesting point. Available free space affects write performance on SSD card significantly. The reason is still garbage collector, which operates more efficiently the more free space you have. Again, to read mode on garbage collector and write problem you can check Write amplification wiki page.

To see how performance drops with decreasing free space, let’s run sysbench fileio random write benchmark with different file sizes.

For test I took FusionIO 320 GB SLC PCIe DUO™ ioDrive card, with software stripping between two cards, and there if graph how throughput depends on available free space ( the bigger file – the less free space)

The system specification and used scripts you can see on Benchmark Wiki

On graph you can see two line ( yes, there are two lines, even they are almost identical).
First line is result when FusionIO is formatted to use full capacity, and second line is for case when I use additional space reservation ( 25% in this case, that is 240GB available). There is no difference in this case, however additional over-provisioning protects you from overusing space, and keeps performance on corresponding level.

It is clear the maximal throughput strongly depends on available free space.
With 100GiB utilization we have 933.60 MiB/sec,
with 150GiB (half of capacity) 613.48 MiB/sec and
with 200GiB it drops to 354.37 MiB/sec, which is 2.6x times less comparing with 100GiB.

So returning to question how to run proper benchmark, the result significantly depends what percentage of space on card is used, the results for 100GiB file on 160 GB card, will be different from the results for 100GiB file on 320 GB card.

Beside free space, the performance also depends on garbage collector algorithm by itself, and the card from different manufactures will show different results. Some new coming cards make high performance in case with high space utilization as competitive advantage, and I am going to run the same analysis on different cards.

2 thoughts on “Free space and write performance

  1. Igor

    It’s very possible – I’d say rather likely – that different SSD controllers will show different degrees of speed decrease in this scenario – some smaller than FusionIO and some
    (possibly) larger.
    Any plans to run that test also on Intel X25 E and/or X25M G2 and/or Sandforce-based SSDs?



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