RAIDCore Unleashes SATA to Take Out SCSI

Adaptec 2200S

Firmware: B6008

Adaptec's 2200S enjoys an excellent reputation. The dual-channel controller with 64 bit PCI and 66 MHz clock speed sticks to low-profile measurements and is thus suitable for flat 19" systems. With 15 drives per channel, a total of 30 drives are possible - and come hand in hand with the bandwidth problems mentioned in the introduction when the 320 MB/s per channel has been exhausted by correspondingly fast hard drives. Five fast 15,000 rpm drives suffice in any case for this scenario.

A 64 MB cache is integrated into the 2200S; a battery buffer is available for an extra charge. Operating system support is generous: Caldera Open, Novell Netware 5.1 and 6, RedHat Linux, SCO Open Server, SCO UnixWare, SuSE Linux and all current Windows versions. Two 68 pin VHDCI jacks are available for operating external devices.

Initialization can be accelerated for test purposes: If "clear" is selected, the entire array is merely overwritten - there is no XOR initialization. That saves time: 10 minutes instead of 75 minutes is incredible - even if we can't recommend it for productive use.

While hard drives within a RAID array should be the same size and ideally run using the same firmware, Adaptec is putting forward the opposite. Whatever you hook up together, you can use the capacity to the full. This is called Optimized Disk Utilization.

We were initially somewhat surprised at the benchmark measurements when we only managed 150 MB/s for sequential reading in Winbench 99 2.0 (which drew us a pretty data-transfer diagram). As our measurements with IOMeter show, however, the controller can deliver up to just shy of 200 MB/s in RAID 5, depending on the block size used (see benchmarks).