Micron 9400 Pro 30.72TB Performance
Our first test was to see sequential transfer rates and 4K random IOPS performance for the Micron 9400 Pro. Please excuse the smaller-than-normal comparison set. In the next section, you will see why we have a reduced set. The main reason is that we swapped to a multi-architectural test lab. We actually tested these in 17 different processor architectures spanning PCIe Gen4 and Gen5. Still, we wanted to take a look at the performance of the drives.
Overall the sequential and 4K random read/ write numbers were about what we would expect from a modern NVMe SSD and close to the rated speeds.
Just to put that into perspective given our theme of modern drives, like the Micron 9400 Pro in modern server platforms seeking a 2:1 to 4:1 consolidation ratio, here is the Intel DC P4510, a popular and later drive in the 2018-2020 era compared to the Micron 9400 Pro:
When we look at read latency, we saw 10-20% lower latency at lower queue depths but then scaling into the 50-60% range at the higher queue depths. A 50% improvement in latency from the previous generation means the latency is half. That is an enormous gain.
Looking at the write side of the equation, the performance is even better with 50% lower latency even at QD4. That is absolutely stunning. This is the reason we put the percentage delta in these charts because that QD4 improvement may seem small given the higher QD256 latency on the older drive skewing the chart’s scale.
Micron 9400 Pro 30.72TB Application Performance Comparison
For our application testing performance, we are still using AMD EPYC. We have all of these working on x86 but we do not have all working on Arm and POWER9 yet. The Micron 9400 Pro drive performed very well even getting top honors in a test.
As you can see, there are a lot of variabilities here in terms of how much impact the Micron 9400 Pro has on application performance. Let us go through and discuss the performance drivers.
On the NVIDIA T4 MobileNet V1 script, we see very little performance impact, but we see some. The key here is that the performance of the NVIDIA T4 mostly limits us, and storage is not the bottleneck. Here we can see a benefit to the newer drives in terms of performance, but it is not huge. That is part of the overall story. Most reviews of storage products are focused mostly on lines, and it may be exciting to see sequential throughput double in PCIe Gen3 to PCIe Gen4, but in many real workloads, the stress of a system is not solely in the storage.
Likewise, our Adobe Media Encoder script is timing copy to the drive, then the transcoding of the video file, followed by the transfer off of the drive. Here, we have a bigger impact because we have some larger sequential reads/ writes involved, the primary performance driver is the encoding speed. The key takeaway from these tests is that if you are mostly compute-limited but still need to go to storage for some parts of a workflow, the SSD can make a difference in the end-to-end workflow.
On the KVM virtualization testing, we see heavier reliance upon storage. The first KVM virtualization Workload 1 is more CPU limited than Workload 2 or the VM Boot Storm workload, so we see strong performance, albeit not as much as the other two. These are KVM virtualization-based workloads where our client is testing how many VMs it can have online at a given time while completing work under the target SLA. Each VM is a self-contained worker. We know, based on our performance profiling, that Workload 2, due to the databases being used, actually scales better with fast storage and Optane PMem. At the same time, if the dataset is larger, PMem does not have the capacity to scale, and it is being discontinued as a technology. This profiling is also why we use Workload 1 in our CPU reviews. Micron’s blistering random IOPS performance is really helping here. On Workload 2, and the VM Boot Storm, we see the performance of the new drives really shine. Micron’s story around the 9400 Pro is not just that it is a fast SSD but that it enables the consolidation of servers in terms of performance and capacity.
Moving to the file server and nginx CDN, we see much better QoS from the new Micron 9400 Pro 30.72TB versus the PCIe Gen3 x4 drives. Perhaps this makes sense if we think of a SSD on PCIe Gen4 as having a lower-latency link as well. On the nginx CDN test, we are using an old snapshot and access patterns from the STH website, with caching disabled, to show what the performance looks like in that case. Here is a quick look at the distribution:
Here the Micron 9400 Pro 30.72TB drive performed extremely well, topping the charts. We ended up with more throughput as well as lower latency and lower tail latency on an application that is very important to us.
Now, for the big project: we tested these drives using every PCIe Gen4 architecture and all the new PCIe Gen5 architectures we could find, and not just x86, nor even just servers that are available in the US.