ion SR70mach5 SpeedServer™

The new performance-optimized SSD-RAID Server from ION Computer Systems® is also price-optimized.  Based on ION’s award winning SR-71mach5 SpeedServer family and technology, the SR-70mach5 SpeedServer™ is a 1U rackmount server with optimized RAID and Standard Endurance SSDs.
ION SR-70mach5 SpeedServer

The SR-70mach5 SpeedServer is based on an Intel® ServerBoard and comes with (2) 3.4GHz 8-core Intel® Xeon® V4 processors, 9TB RAID 5 usable with Intel® DC SSDs and 64GB DDR4 RAM.  The server includes (4) Intel® 10GBASE-T Server NICs and has two open PCI Express 3.0 x16 slots for further customization.  The SR-70mach5 SpeedServer supports Windows Server 2016 or 2012 R2, all popular Linux distributions and Open-E DSSV7 or Open-E JovianDSS storage appliances.

Yes, that did say price-optimized, too.  This very high-performance server with 9TB SSD RAID 5 storage lists for $15,000.  That’s about $1.63 per GB for fast, reliable, quiet, low-power storage.  Intel rates these S3520 SSDs at 2M hours MTBF, much like a disk, but it is important to note that the Uncorrectable Bit Error Rate (some use the term Nonrecoverable Read Errors per Bits Read), or UBER, is 1/10th that of enterprise performance disks and 1/100th that of enterprise capacity disks. That means that the probability of not being able to read data from a drive during a RAID rebuild, for example, is much lower than with any spinning disk technology available.

You are wondering about endurance, because that was the specification that has hurt SSDs historically.  The Intel® DC S3520 SSDs used in ION’s SR-70mach5 SpeedServer are endurance rated for one full drive re-write per day (DWPD) for five years.  That is before ION’s over-provisioning of the SSDs, which ION believes will double their endurance. Did you know that those Enterprise Capacity spinning disks are rated for 550TB per year for 5 years?  On a 2TB disk, that is only 0.75 DWPD.  On a 10TB disk, that is just 0.15 DWPD.  Compared to disks, the SSDs in ION’s SR-70mach5 SpeedServer are also the high endurance choice! 

Maybe, you suggest, enterprise performance disks are the fair comparison for endurance.  The manufacturers do not state a limit on drive writes for these disks, but if you accept the manufacturer’s stated value for sustained transfer rate of 241Gb/s on a 10k RPM spinning disk, you can write 2.6TB per day, assuming that you write sequentially in big blocks and never stop writing.  To a 1.8TB 10k performance disk, that works out to less than 1.5 drive re-write per day.  That is in exactly the same range as the 1-2 DWPD as the Intel SSDs in ION’s optimized SR-70mach5 SpeedServer.

Let’s mention power, too, because you probably have to pay for your electricity.  Typical power consumption on the Intel S3520 SSDs is about half that specified for the Enterprise Performance Disk.  Idle power for the SSD is just over 10% of what the disk uses at idle. Eight performance disks would consume about 30W more.  And system fans would then have to spin faster, and consumer more power, to remove the additional heat.  Have you looked at how power much those fans consume?  It’s a lot.  So, let’s be conservative and say that ION’s SR-70mach5 SpeedServer consumes about 50W less than a comparable (except for performance) disk-based system.  That works out to a bit over 1kWh per day.  Of course, air conditioning probably consumes that much more.  So, just comparing comparable systems based on capacity, the all-SSD server would save about $150 per year, here in NY.

Reliability, endurance, power consumption. That is probably already enough justification, but you cannot really understand the reasoning behind all-SSD systems unless you talk about performance.  The SR-70mach5 SpeedServer is capable of almost 300,000 IOPS (Input/output Operations Per Second) for 8kB Random Reads, where as that 8-drive disk based system can only manage about 1,600 IOPS.  In case you are wondering, the SR-70mach5 SpeedServer costs about 4¢ per IOPS. At under 300W, it delivers about 1,000 IOPS per Watt.  We suggest that you compare that to your spinning disk-based system.  Or your hybrid system, which still suffers from most of the weaknesses of disk, but costs much more than just disk. (ION’s thought on hybrid storage? Why pay more for less?)

There are really two sides to storage performance. IOPS is one, but to understand that, you really need to understand what average latency will be, or how long an application must wait, on average, for the completion of a read or write that it just requested. For ION’s SR-70mach5 SpeedServer performing 285,000 I/Os per second, the answer is about 0.42 milliseconds (ms) or 420 microseconds (μs). A disk that wasn’t already doing something needs about 2ms to move its heads and then waits for the right part of the platter to come around. When a disk is busier and allowed to perform operations out of order, it can sometimes improve that latency, but not a lot, because waiting for a particular operation’s turn to come around adds more time.

Performance Update
Full performance data is available at
Highlights include 8kB random reads at 285k IOPS and 420 microsecond average latency and 64k random read/write (OLTP) at 6,915 IOPS and 11.6 millisecond average latency for local accesses.  When deployed as a Windows Server 2016 file server, 8kB random reads are delivered at 296k IOPS with 1.08 millisecond average latency and IOmeter file server performance is measured at 45k IOPS and 1.74ms average latency.  ION likes to call that kind of performance disk-impossible.

We know: you have questions; you need to try one; all of this is a bit hard to believe.  We understand.  Just ask, and we will help you make that decision.
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One Reply to “ion SR70mach5 SpeedServer™”

  1. It looks like increasing SSD density will enable solid state solutions to achieve more TB per rack unit in 2017 than will be possible with disks. That means that this year, SSDs will lead disks in IOPS, latency, power consumption and capacity. For now, disks are still cheaper, but the adage “You get what you pay for,” is still valid.

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