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Test Setup

RAID Scaling Charts, Part 1
By
System Hardware
Processor AMD Opteron 875 (Egypt 90 nm, 2.2 GHz, 2x2 MB L2 Cache)
Motherboard Iwill DK88 Dual Opteron Board
Chipset: Nvidia nForce Professional 2200, BIOS: 1.4
RAM 2x 1024 MB DDR-400 (CL 3.0-3-3-8)
Micron 18VDDF12872G-40BD3
Graphics Card ATI RagelXL
System Hard Drive 120 GB 7,200 RPM, 8 MB Cache, SATA/300
Samsung HD120IJ
Benchmark Hard Drives 8x 320 GB 7,200 RPM, 8 MB Cache, SATA/300
Samsung HD321KJ
RAID Controller Areca ARC-1220 8-Port PCIe RAID6-Controller
Firmware V1.43 2007-4-17
DVD-ROM Teac DV-W50D
Software
ATI Graphic Windows integrated
Nvidia nForce Professional Version: 6.70
OS Windows Server 2003 Enterprise Edition, Build 3790 SP2
Benchmark Software
Performance c’t h2benchw 3.6
I/O Performance IOMeter 2003.05.10
Fileserver-Benchmark
Webserver-Benchmark
Database-Benchmark
Workstation-Benchmark

All tests were performed at controller defaults.

Experiences

All tests were run with two to eight Samsung HD321KJ, but using only 80% of the capacity; we did not use the full capacity of 320 GB per drive, in order to keep the test runs short. This reduced the test run times and made sure that the drives operated at maximum performance, because they never reached the inner sectors of the rotating media, which deliver the lowest transfer rates.

It took four to six hours to complete one benchmark session for one RAID configuration, including throughput, access time and I/O benchmark runs. Initialization was required for all RAID arrays except the RAID 0 setups; this took an additional 20 minutes.

We also made a nice discovery with regard to drive power supply: we first attached multiple drives to a single power rail of the power supply used. This seemed to work well, as the spinup typically draws enough power to cause trouble and we didn’t encounter problems. However, single drives dropped out of the RAID array during the benchmarks once in a while. We blamed the drive when it first happened, and pointed at the RAID controller after experiencing the problem a second time. Then we split the power supply to three different rails and voilá - the problems disappeared.

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