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Poker, Cheating & Storage Benchmarks

I report and write about storage for a living and I like to play poker in my free time. So what's the connection?

By Paul Travis, January 16, 2009 2:45 PM

Normally, there isn't a connection between poker, cheating, and storage benchmarks. However, I had to laugh this week when I was reading the message boards on Byte and Switch and saw that one of the posters compared cheating at poker to storage benchmarks to make an interesting point. Somebody identified as "magoo75" was responding in a thread about a press release from Pillar Data Systems Inc. bragging that its Pillar Axiom 600 storage system had scored greats results in terms of performance and price-performance on the Storage Performance Council SPC-1 Benchmark Result.

Pillar said its Axiom 600 system beat out comparable products from EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC), IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM), and NetApp Inc. (Nasdaq: NTAP), achieving a SPC-1 performance result of 64,992.77 SPC-1 IOPS with a SPC-1 price-performance result of $8.79/SPC-1 IOPS. Pillar said the numbers represent the most cost-effective SPC-1 result for business-class storage arrays.

We have some cynical IT folks reading and posting messages on Byte and Switch, so it shouldn't come as a surprise that somebody called benchmark numbers a phony representation of real world performance. Magoo75 didn't disagree, but made an interesting point -- and this is where cheating at poker comes in. The post states:

    Dude, lighten up. SPC-1 is a valid single application type performance benchmark. We all know its a game. But the rules are the same for all of the players. It's like everyone at a poker table holding the ace of spades. One guy uses it for a flush, another for 4-of-a-kind and the last for a royal flush. They all cheated, but the royal still wins the pot. The nature of the thing still makes it valid for some.

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