SSD and Me


By:   |   Updated: 2008-03-12   |   Comments   |   Related: More > Hardware


I recently purchased 2 laptops with Solid State Drives in them (my loaded Dell XPS 1330 and my wife's Apple MacBook Air), and I have to say, I will never, ever again own a computer that doesn't have a Solid State Drive in it (at least not until they make something even better). These suckers are great, well worth the money IMHO (of course, I am a techie and find huge value in having the latest and greatest of technology to work with, so that may impact things I'm sure). Of things to note:

  1. Obviously, the performance - for boot times, running multiple concurrent applications, paging operations, and anything else that requires large amounts of random IO, these can't be beat today
  2. Power consumption - I've run my laptop for up to 6 hours with a full-brightness on the display - I do have a 9-cell battery, but still, 6 hours of battery time on my laptop is awesome.
  3. Heat - more accurately, the lack of - there is none...the fan never runs, it never gets warm on my lap, etc.
  4. Noise - again, more accurately the lack of - the laptops don't make any noise hardly at all. It's gotten to the point now where I think my keys making that clicky noise as I type is annoying.

I used to leave my systems running all the time, 24*7, just so I wouldn't have to wait for a boot-up and re-launching all my apps, etc. (granted, this is a little over-the-top if I can't wait a few minutes and click 10 or 12 icons and wait another minute or so for them all to launch and load, but hey, you get used to things you have I guess) - now, I freely shut-down my laptop every night and boot-up in the AM with all my 7 or 8 apps that I launch in my startup group. Boot time on this thing is lightning fast (I have a work PC that has a 10k Raptor drive for it's boot system with 16gb of RAM and my laptop smokes it), and starting up applications is a breeze compared to traditional spindles.

I also have to plug a little for the MacBook Air - IMHO again, this is by far the best laptop on the market today for home use. My M1330 is small for certain, but the MacBook Air is TINY - my wife tried using my XPS once and actually taunted me about it being heavy (it weighs just under 4 pounds - no heavyweight for sure, but again, all what you are used to). I love the XPS, don't get me wrong - but if I'm at home on the couch surfing the web, emailing, blogging, navigating pics/videos/etc., etc., I'll go for the Air every time. It's not just the size, but the usability, the gestures, touch integration, etc. makes it so enjoyable to use.

Ok, so back to this blog. So given my pleasure with the performance of the drives, I started thinking it was high time to put them through some tests with regards to SQL Server operations and measure some of the impact they might have on different areas in the engine and otherwise. Over the next few blog posts, I'll be providing some analysis of the performance of different workloads/sql operations on my new laptop and SSD compared to the same operations on some other machines (like my work machine, and hopefully a production-like system or 2).  Things I plan to address are:

  1. SQLIO benchmarks for each system
  2. Checkpoint operations
  3. Backup/Restore comparisons
  4. Bulk load operations
  5. Heavy Sequential and Random read/write workloads
  6. Impact on Fragmentation

I'm open to recommendations of other things I should plan to test against, feel free to email or comment on the post and I'll try to include what I can.

Given that we know the SSD's are much better at Random IO operations than the traditional spindles, I'm expecting any heavy random IO operation to see some significant benefits over the traditional systems. Sequential write IO operations are typically better today on traditional spindles, so we'll verify if that impacts these operations in SQL Server and if so how.

Look for the first in the series to come shortly!






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About the author
MSSQLTips author Chad Boyd Chad Boyd is an Architect, Administrator and Developer with technologies such as SQL Server, .NET, and Windows Server.

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Article Last Updated: 2008-03-12

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