VMware ESXi 6.0 Windows 10 VM speed comparison between Intel 750 Series NVMe SSD and Samsung 950 PRO M.2 NVMe SSD
1) install an Intel SSD 750 Series 400 GB NVMe PCIe card in the one on the left
(related articles here)
2) install a Samsung 950 PRO M.2 NVMe M.2 SSD into the one on the right
(related articles here)
This motherboard and chipsets supports the full speeds NVMe is capable of, given the PCIe 3.0 x 4 lanes. Note that the latest Skylake Intel NUC Kit NUC6i3SYH has PCIe 3.0 x4, but caps out at 1600 MB/sec throughput for NVMe devices, as Intel's manual page 45 confirms.
3) format those two brands of delicious NVMe as VMFS5 as they become an ESXi datastore, then build a nice default Windows 10 VM one one, then clone it to the other
The video appears below, showing the two systems booting each booting a Windows 10 VM simultaneously.
Interesting to note, with the Intel 750, you need to install a VIB (driver) for decent speeds, but the Samung 950 "just works" and exhibits good speeds using just ESXi 6.x's built in NVMe driver.
For these tests (which were consistent across off camera runs), I went with the highest system fan speed to avoid any thermal throttling during even the most extended abuse, with the BIOS configured the same way I did my Windows 10 ATTO benchmarks.
This strong ending gives you a real sense of how glorious it is to be able to deploy a new Windows 10 VM from Template (a full clone) in a mere 18 seconds. Now that's what I'm talking about!
Samsung Specifications state:
2,500 MB/sec reads and 1,500 MB/sec writes.
According to ATTO, my highest numbers from 3 runs, under Windows 10 natively:
2,598 MB/sec reads and 1,576 MB/sec writes.
Now let's look at the numbers for ATTO run inside a VM:
2,578 MB/sec reads and 1,568 MB/sec writes.
Despite the diminished speeds at the very important 4.0K size seen on the 4th row of the graphs, these results are still pretty darn good overall. It would appear that both the Samsung Windows 10 drivers and the VMware ESXi 6.0 NVMe drivers are fairly mature, even in this brave and wonderful new world of NVMe where the speeds that blow away any SATA3 device out there. Some of my many NVMe articles were published rather long ago. It's about time for the future of storage to arrive, and it was worth the wait and cost. Let's hope the cost delta between a SATA3 and NVMe SSDs continues to fall throughout 2016, as more and more folks find themselves with a little M.2 interface on their motherboard, or a M.2 to PCIe adapter.
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Listen to the discussion about Intel 750 versus Samsung 950, at 1 hour and 7 minutes: