Storage Performance Metrics: IOPS, Throughput, Latency

Applications are the core of your data center. Whether simple or complex, clients and employees expect quick response times from every application they use. This is why optimizing storage performance remains a top priority for CIOs. Yet, with the advent of flash, the storage industry tends to mislead buyers when it comes to measuring performance.

Vendors frequently discuss performance in IOPS when discussing flash. While it is an important metric, IOPS doesn’t always tell the full story when it comes to performance. So how do you tackle performance issues when vendors only give you part of the story? Measuring storage performance is more of a combination. IT professionals should gauge latency in addition to IOPS and throughput for a more accurate depiction of what is happening in your storage infrastructure.

Throughput, IOPS, and Latency

Throughput - This storage metric describes the amount of data able to flow through a point in the data path over a given time. Throughput is typically the best storage metric when measuring data that needs to be streamed rapidly, such as images and video files.

IOPS - Many flash vendors use IOPS to measure performance. IOPS, or Input/Output operations per second, measures the number of storage transactions processed through a system each second. This metric is a great way to measure smaller data objects like web traffic logs.

Latency - Latency describes  the time required for a sub-system to process a single data request or transaction. With flash storage, read latency includes the time it takes to navigate through the various network connectivity. Once this process is completed, latency also includes the time it takes find the required data blocks and to prepare to transfer data.

What’s The Best Storage Performance Metric?

This can be a tricky question to answer because storage requirements can vary between environments, and can even be different based on the specific application. A high performing storage environment can mean many different things. Sometimes high throughput or high IOPS mean success but may not tell the full story. That is why we recommend using latency in addition to IOPS and throughput.

Want to know other ways to optimize storage performance? Reach out to one of our dedicated storage specialists at 1.877.227.0828.