IOPS vs. Throughput vs. Latency – Measuring Storage Performance

ParkView Managed Services

Parker Published: January 01, 2022

Applications are the core of your data center. Whether simple or complex, clients and employees expect quick response times from every application they use.

This is why optimizing storage performance remains a top priority for CIOs. Yet, with the advent of flash, the storage industry tends to mislead buyers when it comes to measuring performance.

Vendors frequently discuss performance in IOPS when discussing flash. While it is an important metric, IOPS doesn’t always tell the full story when it comes to performance.

So how do you tackle performance issues when vendors only give you part of the story? Measuring storage performance is more of a combination. IT professionals should gauge latency in addition to IOPS and throughput for a more accurate depiction of what is happening in your storage infrastructure.

Throughput, IOPS, and Latency

Because of the general similarities of IOPS vs. throughput vs. latency, it can be easy to confuse the three while talking about storage performance (or start to use them interchangeably). Some folks have even begun to mix up bandwidth with these performance measures. See their descriptions below, and learn about some conceptual tips that can help you differentiate.


This storage metric describes the amount of data able to flow through a point in the data path over a given time. Throughput is typically the best storage metric when measuring data that needs to be streamed rapidly, such as images and video files.


Many flash vendors use IOPS to measure performance. IOPS, or Input/Output operations per second, measures the number of storage transactions processed through a system each second. This metric is a great way to measure smaller data objects like web traffic logs.

IOPS vs. Throughput

To summarize the difference between throughput vs. IOPS, IOPS is a count of the read/write operations per second, but throughput is the actual measurement of read/write bits per second that are transferred over a network. To visualize this in a typing context, IOPS would be similar to words per second (where words can be different lengths, but only whole words are being measured), and throughput would be characters per second (where characters are the indivisible component). You can also think about this contrast as IOPS vs. read/write speed.

IOPS – Count of read/write operations per second

Throughput – Count of read/write bits per second (bps)


Latency describes the time required for a sub-system to process a single data request or transaction. With flash storage, read latency includes the time it takes to navigate through the various network connectivity. Once this process is completed, latency also includes the time it takes find the required data blocks and to prepare to transfer data.

What’s The Best Storage Performance Metric?

This can be a tricky question to answer because storage requirements can vary between environments, and can even be different based on the specific application. A high-performing storage environment can mean many different things. One thing we can confidently say (based on the popularity of this article) is that the different between IOPS vs. throughput is frequently asked about.

Sometimes high throughput or high IOPS mean success but may not tell the full story. That is why we recommend using latency in addition to IOPS and throughput.

Get Professional Storage Performance Help Today

If you’re in search of more help with storage performance management and optimization, Park Place Technologies can help. Our IT infrastructure managed services, ParkView Managed Services™, acts as a force multiplier for your team by streamlining operations and delivering the resilience required in today’s demanding IT environment. Contact us to learn more about ParkView’s capabilities now!

About the Author

Parker, Park Place Assistant