Adaptec Series 5
The new Series 5 RAID controllers are available in seven different versions. The models with a four-digit model number are low-profile cards that easily fit into 2U rackmount servers: the 5405 has four internal ports; the 5445 has four internal and four external ports; model 5805 (the one we looked at) offers eight internal ports; and finally, the 5085 has eight external ports. The five-digit model numbers represent the enterprise-class devices with 12+4, 16+2 or 24+4 ports, where the last four ports are available externally; all the others are for internal use. All Series 5 controllers utilize a x8 PCI Express interface and the same 1.2 GHz dual core storage processor along with 512 MB DDR2 memory. Only the four-port entry-level model comes with half the cache capacity. The battery backup unit is optional.
Adaptec said that the engineers primarily addressed the shortcomings in sequential throughput of former product generations. Why we decided to expand our IOMeter benchmark suite and include some sequential read and write benchmarks to verify this information.
Product Family Features
If you are familiar with Adaptec’s ASM (Adaptec Storage Manager), you’ll immediately be able to handle the Series 5 cards. The Java-based utility has to be installed on your management system or the server it’s installed in, but you can also utilize the command line interface (CLI) or web configuration options.
The full lineup of server operating systems is supported: there are drivers for Windows XP and Vista (for workstation systems), Server 2003 and 2008, Red Hat Enterprise Linux, SuSe Linux Enterprise Server, SCO OpenServer, Unixware, Sun Solaris 10 and FreeBSD. The only missing driver would be for Mac OS X, which might be interesting for high-end audio/video workstations.
Since Raidcore has been the most advanced controller brand thanks to its Fulcrum host-based RAID (which isn’t really hardware-dependant), Adaptec had some work to do to catch up. The result, however, is impressive. It is still not possible to install two Series 5 cards and create RAID arrays across both cards like you can with Ciprico/Raidcore hardware, but that doesn’t really seem necessary thanks to the support of SAS expanders. The list of RAID features is quite remarkable now:
- RAID levels 0, 1, 1E, 5, 5EE (hot spare used and turned into "hot space"), RAID 6 supported
- Nested RAID 10, 50, 60 supported
- Online Capacity Expansion
- Global, dedicated, pooled hot spares
- Copyback Hot Spare (the spare becomes hot spare again once a defective drive has been replaced)
- Automatic or manual rebuild
- Background initialization and quick initialization
- RAID level migration (switch from one RAID level to another one if target capacity permits)
- Multiple arrays per drive
- Bootable array, staggered spin-up, dynamic sector repair, selectable stripe size
Adaptec RAID 5805 (PCIe, 8 Internal Ports)
We looked at the 8-port version RAID 5805, which offers two SFF-8087 ports for internal use. The external version RAID 5085 should perform identically, but offers two external SFF-8088 connectors instead.