So who needs 735MB per second (per drive)?

April 12, 2013

Howdy folks,

I just spent the last few days standing around IDF in Beijing showing off Adaptec’s latest 7 series controller. We also had on display our new range of HBAs. Yes, Adaptec is back in the HBA game … it’s been a long time since we had one, but SAS HBA is back on the menu at Adaptec and we are pretty excited about getting back into this business, especially in light of the growth of datacenters and operating systems that make good use of HBAs (as well as RAID).

That’s all great, but where does the 735MB per second per drive come from in the heading?

In the corner of the booth we had a system (lent to us by our good friends at Chenbro) that has a 12Gb SAS backplane. Installed in that were 4 Seagate (as yet unreleased I believe) 12Gb SAS SSDs. All that was connected to a prototype 12GB SAS RAID controller that our backroom boffins are working on (and I was lucky enough to borrow for a few days).

A simple Iometer script running a 1MB streaming read off the 4 drives set in RAID 0 (on top of a Windows filesystem) produced 2950Mb per second. Sit down and do the maths and you’ll see a speed from each drive that is way, way faster than anything we’ve ever seen (or in fact is possible) from 6GB technology.

So I stood there wondering … who actually needs this sort of amazing speed? Well datacenter is an obvious choice. Along with the amazing MB/sec speed comes some pretty crazy IOP numbers which is really what the datacenter operators are looking for, but the streaming speed will also excite (I think) a lot of the video world.

Whichever way you look at it, these new drives, and the associated technology that goes along with them, are an exciting step forward in performance for disk-based systems. Yeah yeah yeah … I know you can get some amazing speed from your flash drive, but that’s a finite single source of storage – whereas SSD disk-based storage can grow exponentially, which simplifies management and allows for massive implementations of high-speed storage.

So I really wonder … who is looking for this stuff?