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Multi-million operations per second on a single Google Cloud Platform instance

The emergence of affordable high IOPS storage, such as Google Compute Engine local SSDs, enables a new generation of technologies to re-invent storage. Helium, an embedded key-value store from Levyx, is one such example — designed to scale with multi-core CPUs, SSDs, and memory efficient indexing.

At Levyx, we believe in a “scale-in before you scale-out” mantra. Often times technology vendors advertise scale-out as a way to achieve high performance. It is a proven approach, but it is often used to mask single node inefficiencies. Without a well balanced system where CPU, memory, network, and local storage are properly balanced, this is simply what we call “throwing hardware at the problem”. Hardware that, virtual or not, customers pay for.

To demonstrate this, we decided to check Helium’s performance on a single node on Google Cloud Platform with a workload similar to the one previously used to showcase Aerospike and Cassandra (200 byte objects and 100 million operations). With Cassandra, the data store contained 3 billion indices. Helium starts with an empty data store. The setup consists of:

  1. Single n1-highcpu-32 instance — 32 virtual CPUs and 28.8 GB memory.
  2. Four local SSDs (4 x 375 GB) for the Helium datastore. (Note: local-SSDs is limited in terms of create time flexibility and reliability compared to persistence-disks, but the goal of this blog post is to test with highest performing GCP IO devices).
  3. OS: Debian 7.7 (kernel 3.16-0.bpo.4-amd64, NVMe drivers).
  4. The gists and tests are on github.

Scaling and Performance with CPUs

The test first populates an empty datastore followed by reading the entire datastore sequentially and then randomly. Finally, the test deletes all objects. The 100 million objects are in memory with persistence on SSD, which acts as the local storage every replicated system requires. The total datastore size is kept fixed.
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  • Single node performance of over 4 Million inserts/sec (write path) and over 9 Million gets/sec (read path) with persistence that is as durable as the local SSDs.
  • 99% (in memory) latency for updates < 15 usec, and < 5 usec for gets.
  • Almost linear scaling helps with the math of provisioning instances.

Scaling with SSDs and Pure SSD Performance

Cloud Platform provides high IOPS, low latency local SSDs. To demonstrate a case where data is read purely from SSDs (and not take advantage of memory), let’s run the same benchmark with 4K object size x 5 million objects, and reduce Helium’s cache to a minimal 2% (400 MB) of total data size (20GB). Only random gets performance is shown below because it is a better stress test than sequential gets.

Take aways:
  • Single node SSDs capable of updates at 1.6 GB/sec (400K IOPS) and random gets at 1.9 GB/sec (480K IOPS).
  • IOPS scaling with SSDs.
  • Numbers comparable to fio, a pure IO benchmark.
  • With four SSDs and 256 threads, median latency < 600 usec, and 95% latency < 2 msec.
  • Deterministic memory usage (< 1GB) by not relying on OS page caches.image (10).png
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Cost Analysis

The cost of this Google Cloud Platform instance for one hour is $1.22 (n1-highcpu-32) + $0.452 (4 x Local SSD) = $1.67. Based on 200-byte objects, this boils down to:

  • 2.5 Million updates per dollar
  • 4.6 Million gets per dollar

To put this in perspective, New York’s population is ~8.4 million; therefore, you can scan through a Helium datastore containing everyone’s record (assuming each record is less than 200 bytes. Eg: name, address and phone) in one second on a single Google Cloud Platform instance for under $2 per hour.


Helium running on Google Cloud Platform commodity VMs enables processing data at near memory speeds using SSDs. The combination of Cloud Platform and Helium makes high throughput, low latency data processing affordable for everyone. Welcome to the era of dollar store priced datastores at enterprise grade reliability!

For details about running Helium on Google Cloud Platform, contact info@levyx.com.

- Posted by Siddharth Choudhuri, Principal Engineer at Levyx

Feed Source: Google Cloud Platform Blog
Article Source: Multi-million operations per second on a single Google Cloud Platform instance

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