Benchmark Storage Performance

We have recently deployed Veeam Backup and Replication version 7 within our environment. The proof of concept (PoC) worked without problem but now that the backup system has over 50 Tb of virtual machines to backup every night, the environment is struggling. This blog post will focus on how we benchmarked the storage used by the Veeam repositories, to make sure the application was provided with the resources it required.

There are many tools available to generate load on storage systems and report back how quickly the tasks where completed. The two I normally use for Windows systems are SQLIO & IOMETER, with SQLIO being my prefirred choice. Microsoft provide SQLIO as a free download via this link.

There are instructions within the SQLIO install directory and this blog post by Brent Ozar will get you going quickly.

Benchmarking Systems

When you run your benchmarks, becareful not to grind your production storage array into the ground with your artificial workload. It is normal for SQLIO to utilise every IOP possible and this can result is starving other systems of the storage resourses they require, if it is shared infrastructure. So be sure to involve the other system stakeholders in your plans are, BEFORE running the tests.


Becareful not to read to much into the results and for the numbers to have any real meaning, you must make sure the tests are 'fair'. To start with, be sure to configure a test file larger than the storage array's cache memory. Also the sample period must be long enough to see how the array manages large loads over time. 5 minutes is good but 15 minutes is better, depending on how long you have access to the system for.

It is possible to use the raw results from SQLIO and maybe copy / paste the 'interesting' numbers to an Excel spreadsheet to compair. However, I recommend you read Jonathan Kehayias's blog and automatically parse the results.

Now it is possible to schedual a benchmark to run automatical and output its results to a text file, which can than be parsed into Excel for analysis.

SQLIO Results in Excel

The results above show that the Veeam backup repository is working at a high standard 'for spinning rust' and the difference between using the VMware LSI SAS SCSI adapter and the paravirtual scsi controller (PVSCSI).

102 Responses to “Benchmark Storage Performance”

  1. gravatar Mose Siers

    You actually make it seem so easy with your presentation but I find this matter to be really something which I think I would never understand. It seems too complex and extremely broad for me. I’m looking forward for your next post, I’ll try to get the hang of it!|

  2. gravatar itess

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