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Building a Hign I/O Workhorse Raid Card Advice needed


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This is quite an interesting little project for me as I need to build a very high I/O machine on the cheap.. Therefore a nice HP DL380 with 16 x 15k disks is out of the question.

My proposal is attached and its based on 8 x 120GB SSD's but my problem is which RAID card to get to handle 8 SSD's in RAID10 without being the bottleneck.

Any suggestions for a better RAID Card would be appreciated


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Direct answer to your question:

If you're planning to have 8 ssd sata II:

- Get a LSI 3ware 9650SE 8LPML with the maximum cache (512MB) and the battery backup cache.

- Get a Areca ARC1220 (8 ports version but with no more than 256MB of cache ) or the 12 ports model ARC 1230 or 1231 with the 2GB cache and the battery backup cache.

If you're planning to have 8 ssd sata III:

- Get a LSI 3ware 9750-8I which is almost the only decent card supporting sata 3 drives.

Also, i don't have any idea on what you're planning to do but if you need raid 10, you should also try raid 5/6 I/Os and speeds with the card of your choice as you might be really supprised with perfs almost as good as raid 10 with this number of drives.

Alternative solution, buy a pci express based ssd like fusion-io products or ocz pci-express based ssd.

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Thanks for your response it has been very useful

In terms of what we are using it for, we are converting Oracle Databases to SQL Server which is done via a process of copying out the data from the Oracle Server into raw data files and then import them into SQL Server with the same tool.We will have 2 VM's running on this machine to host the 2 databases via VMWare Workstation. The VM's will be hosted on a single 128GB SSD which we already have.

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I've found the 3Ware (now LSI) are the easiest to work with and the most reliable, mostly because it has a CPU and RAM on card. Some other controllers I've used (Intel, Adaptec, Promise) pale in comparison. Yeah the 3Ware is more expensive but that price means something in this case. Either way, make sure you install the management software and make sure to label your drives/cables/ports. You'll have to swap at some point, so make sure you make it foolproof. As far as models, I've (am) used 9550, 9650 in 4, 8 and 12 ports.

Sorry to list Promise as an example. bleh. B)

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As you will use the array to host VM, you should create 2 raid 10 and use each as a raw device and if ntfs formated with at least 16KB clusters and aligned. The system of each VM should be hosted elsewhere.

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