In the previous post in the series I introduced SSDs to the mix and examined the relative performance of storing a transaction log on an 8-drive 7.2k SATA array versus a 640-GB SSD configured as a 320-GB RAID-1 array. The transaction log was NOT the I/O bottleneck in the system and so my results showed only a limited 2.5%-3.5% performance gain from substituting the RAID-1 SSD.

Several people pointed out that many people use such an SSD in a RAID-0 configuration instead of RAID-1, so I promised to try the same set of tests using the SSD as a 640-GB RAID-0 array.

Now, the merits of using a single SSD in a RAID-0 configuration are mixed. If used just on its own, there's no redundancy but the performance should be better, so I'd make sure my client understood the risk involved and made sure that for critical data some form of redundancy is added (e.g. synchronous database mirroring).

I re-ran the 100-GB table population tests with the transaction log on the RAID-0 SSD to see what extra performance gain could be had. To be honest, I didn't expect much, as I know the transaction log isn't the limiting factor.

Here are the graphs for the tests. On the top is the SSD configured for RAID-1, on the bottom is the SSD configured for RAID-0. Each test was performed 5 times and the average time used for the graph.



You can see that in the RAID-0 configuration, there's a higher performance gain – peaking at just over 6%.

The average perf gain for the RAID-1 SSD over the SATA array across all tests was 2.04%.

The average perf gain for the RAID-0 SSD over the SATA array across all tests was 4.25%.

Clearly the RAID-0 SSD outperformed the RAID-1 SSD (and they both outperformed the SATA array in all tests), as we'd expect, but not by much, as again, the transaction log *isn't the bottleneck*. We should see much better gains by altering the data file configuration – so that's what I'll do next.

Thanks for following the series and for all the comments. Please bear in mind that I'm taking things slowly so I won't jump straight to the best configuration – I want to analyze the changes as we go along.

PS I tried increasing the number of SQL Server connections in the test from 16 to 32 as someone suggested in a comment – the performance got 10% worse! Decreasing the number of connections didn't help either.