Banging on about that card again …

April 15, 2014

I know I harp about this card, but only because I think it deserves more of a rap than it normally gets … so please read on …

Are you using SSD Drives?

It has become very common for system integrators to use SSD drives instead of 10K or 15K SAS drives when developing high-speed (eg database) servers. When configured in RAID 10 for maximum redundancy and performance, this makes amazingly fast server storage.

Very often you will only be using 4, 6 or 8 drives in this configuration, which sends you on the search for the “right” controller to suit your customer needs (both in performance and budget).

So what is the right controller in this environment?

71605E

Initially you may consider that this is:

(a)    an entry-level card with reduced RAM (therefore not suitable for your needs); or

(b)   a 16-port controller when you only need 4 or 8 ports; or

(c)    that this card does not support cache protection which you wish to promote to your customer for maximum protection and performance; and finally

(d)   you are concerned whether this card’s on-board processor is fast enough to handle the IOPs that the 4 or more SSD are capable of sustaining.

Those are all valid and essential considerations when developing a performance server, but please read the following item which will help you determine that this is in fact the right card for your requirements …

  1. RAID 10 does not require a great deal of memory (very little in fact) for its RAID function, so the 256Mb on the card is more than sufficient – the RAID 10 will perform just as fast on this card as on a card with 1Gb memory.
  2. The fact that this card has 16 ports is just a bonus to you. If you are only using 4 then it acts exactly as a 4-port card. The main consideration here is the price. Please look at your supplier price list to see why the 71605E is in fact a good value card in this respect.
  3. This card does not support cache protection. That is true, but cache protection only protects the data writes sitting in the cache on the RAID card – and the critical factor here is that when using SSD drives only, the controller will prompt you to turn off the cache – SSDs work better when we don’t cache the writes to the array. So the fact that you can’t protect the cache doesn’t matter because there are no writes in the cache (because it’s turned off for the array).
  4. The processor on the 71605E is exactly the same as the processor on the rest of the Adaptec 7 Series cards, and can handle IOPs in excess of 450,000 – which is as fast as any controller on the market today. This is in fact the fastest 6Gb processor on the market today.

So the next time you have a configuration requiring all SSD in a RAID 0, 1 or 10, consider the 71605E – it is much, much more than an entry-level card in this environment.

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