iXsystems Supports the Iozone Benchmarking Lab with a FreeNAS Certified System

This year, iXsystems donated a FreeNAS Certified storage array to the Iozone test lab in support of its important benchmarking research and development activities. The FreeNAS Certified system provides an ideal mix of open standard protocol support, consistent performance, 10 GbE networking, performance monitoring, and ease of administration to bring a new level of efficiency to the project.

Developing a storage performance benchmark can be done with as little as one computer, but validating the behavior of that benchmark takes an entire high-performance test lab. Don Capps, maintainer of the Iozone benchmark and primary developer of netmist, the load generator used by the SPEC SFS® 2014 benchmark, maintains an extensive performance test lab. This lab serves many functions:

  • Development of new benchmark features
  • Regression testing of new benchmark releases
  • Evaluation of new storage technologies and protocols

Iozone.org develops and distributes file system benchmarking software for a vast array of different platforms and operating systems. SPEC and Iozone.org collaboratively develop the SPEC SFS 2014 benchmark, which is an industry standard benchmark used by vendors and customers to measure the performance of their network storage file servers. The SPEC SFS 2014 benchmark is also used by SNIA and the EPA in its Energy Star for Data Center Storage certification.”

– Don Capps

All of the benchmarking software that SPEC produces is vendor-neutral, and the SPEC SFS benchmark has been protocol-agnostic since the release of SPEC SFS 2014. Systems running NFS, SMB, Lustre, GPFS, or even iSCSI can use these software benchmarking products, and this testing can be done from a wide variety of client platform types. These client nodes can be homogeneous or heterogeneous platform types such as a mix of Windows and Unix operating systems. The benchmarks may also generate activity over multiple protocols within a single test including NFS, SMB, and iSCSI over any network interconnect.

Because of the popularity of the Iozone and SPEC SFS benchmarks with industry partners around the globe, it is critical that these software products are tested for correctness, neutrality, portability, integrity, and reliability. All platforms undergo this testing and certification process inside what’s known as the Iozone.org “test ring”. While there are numerous types of clients that run this benchmarking software, including Windows, AIX, BSD, MacOS, Linux, and Solaris, the one thing they can all leverage is a sturdy, high-performance, and flexible storage system that can be used to validate that the protocols, clients, and software are all working correctly.

This is where the iXsystems FreeNAS Certified server steps in. It provides the backbone of Iozone.org’s testing and validation for SMB, NFS, and iSCSI for all of the various vendor clients that are in the test ring.

I use the FreeNAS for testing while developing industry standard benchmarks. It’s quite nimble, and easy to use while providing excellent performance for all of my benchmark development and testing.”

– Don Capps

This donation will play a key behind-the-scenes role for the important work that Don and his team do on behalf of vendors, SPEC members, companies, and users around the world who are all committed to consistent storage benchmarking.

Nick Principe, Performance Engineering Supervisor

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