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Another Record Broken: 6 Gb SAS, 16 SSDs, 3.4 GB/s!

RAID Creation, Test Setup, And Throughput

RAID Creation

Since the two RAID controllers had different capabilities and features, we decided to take different approaches for each.

In the case of the fully-featured MegaRAID 9260-8i, as well as the Adaptec RAID 5805 we used before, we created RAID 0 arrays with eight SSDs on each of the controllers. Then we used Windows Vista’s RAID capabilities to build a software-based RAID 0 array using the two RAID 0 volumes. This way we’d be utilizing eight SSDs on each controller and on each PCI Express 2.0 link.

For the MegaRAID 9210-8i, we found that the easiest (and best-performing) solution was one huge RAID 0 array managed by Windows Vista. So, we went into the Storage Manager and created a software RAID 0 array using all 16 available Intel X25-E flash SSDs.

Test Setup

System Hardware
HardwareDetails
CPUIntel Core i7-920 (45 nm, 2.66 GHz, 8 MB L2 Cache)
Motherboard (Socket 1366)Supermicro X8SAX Revision: 1.0 Chipset Intel X58 + ICH10R BIOS: 1.0B
RAM2GB DDR3-1333 Corsair CM3X1024-1333C9DHX
System HDDSeagate NL35 400 GB ST3400832NS 7,200 RPM, SATA/150, 8 MB
Controller I2 x Adaptec RAID 5805 8 Port SAS Controller 512 MB Cache
Controller II2 x LSI MegaRAID 9210-8i (aka Intel RS2BL080) 8 Port SAS HBA
Controller III2 x LSI MegaRAID 9260-8i 8 Port SAS Controller 512 MB Cache
Power SupplyOCZ EliteXstream 800W OCZ800EXS-EU
Benchmarks
I/O PerformanceIOMeter 2006.07.27Fileserver-BenchmarkWebserver-BenchmarkDatabase-BenchmarkWorkstation-BenchmarksStreaming readsStreaming Writes.
System Software & Drivers
DriverDetails
Operating SystemWindows Vista Ultimate SP1
Intel Chipset9.1.0.1007
AMD GraphicsRadeon 8.12
Intel Storage DriversMatrix Storage Drivers 8.7.0.1007

You will find very detailed information on our storage reference test system in the article Tom’s Storage Charts 2009: A New Test Environment.

Throughput

These are really great results. Both LSI controllers take our RAID arrays, using the 16 Intel X25-E flash SSDs, to a whole new level of throughput as they jump over the 3 GB/s level! The 3,005 MB/s average throughput is excellent for a RAID controller, which typically is better at I/O than at high throughput. LSI’s new 6 Gb/s HBA, the 9210-8i, managed to reach more than 14% better throughput, hitting 3,432 MB/s average read throughput across all drives.

The write throughput wasn’t really different than the read results on the LSI MegaRAID 9210-8i, but the 9260-8i RAID card incurred a slight impact. Still, that’s nothing to worry about—this array on those two controllers is probably faster than anything most of you (or us) have ever seen in the storage arena.