Windows Storage Performance Benchmarking : a predefined set of benchmarks & analytics!

A while ago we were looking into a way to benchmark storage performance on Windows systems. This started out with the objective to see how Storage Spaces held up under certain configurations and eventually moved towards us benchmarking existing OnPremise workloads to Azure deployments. For this we created a wrapper script for SQLIO that was heavily based upon previous work from both Jose Baretto & Mikael Nystrom. Adaptations were made to make it a bit more clean in code and to have a back-end for visualization purposes. At this point, I feel that the tool has a certain level of maturity that it can be publically shared for everyone to use.

Storage Performance Benchmarker Script
The first component is the “Storage Performance Benchmarker Script“, which you can download from the following location ;

I won’t be quoting all the options/parameters, as the BitBucket page clearly describes this. By default it will do a “quick test” (-QuickTest true). This will trigger one run (with 16 outstanding IO) for four scenario’s ; LargeIO Read, SmallIO Read, LargeIO Write & SmallIO Write.

The difference between the “Read” & “Write” part will be clear I presume… 🙂 The difference between the “LargeIO” & “SmallIO” reside in the block size (8Kbyte for SmallIO, 512Kbyte for LargeIO) and the access method (Random for SmallIO & Sequential for LargeIO). The tests are foreseen to mimmick a typical database behaviour (SmallIO) and a large datastore / backup workload (LargeIO). When doing an “extended test” (-QuickTest false), a multitude of runs will be foreseen to benchmark different “Outstanding IO” scenario’s.

Website Backend
You can choose not to send the information (-TestShareBenchmarks false) and the information will not be sent to the backend server. Then you will only have the csv output, as the backend system is used to parse the information into charts for you ; Example.

2015-08-20 07_40_02-Storage Performance Benchmarker []

By default, your information will be shown publically, though you can choose to have a private link (-Private true) and even have the link emailed to you (-Email you@domain.tld).

On the backend, you will have the option to see individual test scenarios (-TestScenario *identifying name*) and to compare all scenarios against each other.

For each benchmark scenario, you will see the following graphs ;

  • MB/s : The throughput measured in MB/s. This is often the metric people know… Though be aware that the MB/s is realised by multiplying the IO/s times the block size. So the “SmallIO” test will show a smaller throughput compared to the “LargeIO”, though the processing power (IOPS or IO/s) of the “SmallIO” may sometimes be even better on certain systems.
  • IO/S : This is the number of IOPS measured during the test. This provides you with an insight into the amount requests a system can handle concurrently. The higher the number, the better… To provide assistance, marker zones were added o indicate what other systems typically reach. This to provide you with an insight about what is to be expected or to which you can reference.
  • Latency : This is the latency that was measured in milliseconds. Marker zones are added to this chart to indicate what is to be considered a healthy, risk or bad zone.

The X-axis will show the difference between different “Outstanding IO” situations ;

Number of outstanding I/O requests per thread. When attempting to determine the capacity of a given volume or set of volumes, start with a reasonable number for this and increase until disk saturation is reached (that is, latency starts to increase without an additional increase in throughput or IOPs). Common values for this are 8, 16, 32, 64, and 128. Keep in mind that this setting is the number of outstanding I/Os per thread. (Source)