Flexible Data Storage Across Networks: iSCSI put to the Test

Adaptec ISA 1500 Storage Array

The Storage Array is 24" (60 cm) long, and requires a rack that is correspondingly deep.

Adaptec's iSA 1500 Storage Array is a 1U rack system that houses four Serial ATA (SATA) drives, and can be connected to local networks or SANs using the iSCSI interface. In this case, the choice of SATA devices makes a lot of sense, as the drives in question are MaXLine-II models made by Maxtor, designed with constant operation in mind. Choosing SCSI components would only have driven up the cost of the system without providing any tangible added value. SCSI hardware only pays off if the application calls not only for constant operation, but also constant heavy loads and maximum performance.

The system connects with the network using two Intel 82546EB Gigabit network ports. The load created by TCP/IP packaging operations is handled by a fast Intel Xeon processor on a Supermicro X5DPR-IG2+ board. This board is based on Intel's E7501 server chipset, and comes equipped with 1 GB of ECC memory in the standard configuration.

The system boots from flash memory which is attached via UltraATA/100 and comprises a full Linux installation. An IP address can then be assigned to the system using a Linux console. After this is done, the device can be remotely configured and administered using the Adaptec Storage Manager software, accessed via the system's third network adapter, an Intel Pro/1000 card. Note that Adaptec differentiates between the network port for configuration and the other two ports for data.

The 1U module houses an entire Xeon system. The upper network port is used for remote configuration, while the other two, on the bottom right, are for data.
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