Broadcom RAIDCore SATA RAID controllers, based on the Fulcrum architecture, stunned the competition last year, leaping ahead performance-wise past established storage players, such as 3Ware, Adaptec and LSI Logic.
The Broadcom RAIDCore solution relies largely on "Controller Spanning," based on the Fulcrum architecture, which allows for the creation of arrays spanning across several controllers. RAID arrays may be created over a maximum of four controllers and can even be distributed flexibly over different drives. The advantage is obvious as more drives mean substantially more storage capacity. Also, a balanced distribution of drives over several PCI-X slots allows more bandwidth (if configured correctly).
We wanted to find out what happened when four Broadcom RAIDCore controllers were paired separately with eight SATA drives, resulting in a total of 32 drives. Broadcom RAIDCore provided us with the necessary controller cards along with 32 Hitachi 7K250 drives. We also used a Dual-Xeon motherboard from Supermicro, which offered the requisite PCI-X bandwidth.