Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in

AMCC/3Ware Sidecar

External RAID Storage
By

external raid storage

The 3Ware Sidecar specifically targets Apple users; this becomes obvious when reading the datasheet and also in looking at the device, because its design goes well next to an Apple Power Mac G5. Since it is based on eSATA, though, the Sidecar can also be used with PCs, and the RAID controller cards by AMCC/3Ware are PC and Mac compatible anyway.

Like Accusys, AMCC/3Ware runs hardware accelerated RAID, which is based on the 3Ware StorSwitch architecture instead of an Intel XOR accelerator. AMCC uses only 128 MB instead of 256 MB cache, and it does not support RAID 6 with double redundancy. Differences cannot be found in everyday operation and management, but on the performance side: while Accusys provides better throughput, the 3Ware solution offers between 10% and 70% higher I/O performance, depending on the I/O benchmark profile and command queue depth. The Sidecar with the 9650SE hence is predestined for server environments, where I/O performance is typically more important than throughput.

The read performance of the Sidecar is mostly on par with that of the Accusys iRAIDer, but 3Ware loses ground on write performance, where it is approximately 15% slower. Another issue to consider might be performance on degraded RAID 5 arrays: 3Ware is considerably slower in this area.

There also is another advantage of AMCC over Accusys: the controller card is more compact, and hence can also be installed into low-profile rackmount servers. Unfortunately, the three-year warranty only applies to the controller card; the Sidecar only has a one-year warranty.

external raid storage

external raid storage

external raid storage

external raid storage

Display all 4 comments.
This thread is closed for comments
  • 0 Hide
    cruiseoveride , May 3, 2008 1:00 AM
    How does this compare to a DIY Linux Software RAID? Price? Performance? Reliability?
    Unlike a hardware solution, if the controller card dies, you can forget about getting your data back since there is no "Standard" for RAID. On Linux you could just put the drives into another PC, as the meta-data for software RAID on Linux is not going to change across different versions of Linux.
  • 0 Hide
    candide08 , May 5, 2008 7:24 PM
    Thanks for the article - you have convinced me not to even consider either of these.

    RAID 10 should be faster than any individual drive for reads and writes, and it should also be faster than RAID 5.

    Something is wrong here - either with the hardware or the tests.
  • 0 Hide
    mutsu , May 15, 2008 1:40 PM
    Actually performance isn't capped at 1 cable. There are a number of solutions that have multiple connections using iscsi, some even route between the connections dynamically on the server side and you can bond the ethernet connections on the client side to achieve performance maxing out the quantity of connections on the client machine. Of the ones that we tested (day job) there were only a few that met performance needs. All the arrays max the cable(s) out with straight read/write, but the performance on a number of array's drops drastically when you staring hitting them with more clients (20+) for read/write scenarios. Of course, these solutions are only really useful if you have, say, 100K (or more. Alot more in some cases) lying around.
  • 0 Hide
    a_k_a , August 23, 2008 6:41 PM
    It's a crying shame that storage "solution" providers (and Tom's Hardware) don't look at the needs of the laptop marketshare. This would be just what I need, but the controller cards are deal-breakers.