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Web-Server, File-Server, Workstation Patterns

The drives are tested under loads typical of servers and workstations.

The names of the patterns are self-explanatory. The Workstation pattern is used with the full capacity of the drive as well as with a 32GB partition. The request queue is limited to 32 requests in the Workstation pattern.

The results are presented as performance ratings. For the File-Server and Web-Server patterns the performance rating is the average speed of the drive under every load. For the Workstation pattern we use the following formula:

Rating (Workstation) = Total I/O (queue=1)/1 + Total I/O (queue=2)/2 + Total I/O (queue=4)/4 + Total I/O (queue=8)/8 + Total I/O (queue=16)/16.

Under the reads-only load Western Digital’s 7200rpm drives have no rivals. Their opponents are downright poor and hardly any better than the Barracuda LP. It is clear that the Marvell 9123 cannot work with queue depths longer than 32 requests – the graph becomes a horizontal straight line then.

Western Digital’s position does not change when there appear write requests in the load. The Barracuda XT falls behind the Hitachi as the latter has more effective deferred writing. We can recall the problems the Barracuda LP had in IOMeter: Database at short queue depths. Here, they result in the graph becoming flat while the other HDDs’ performance is increasing along with the queue depth (which is important as well-balanced disk subsystems usually work within this range of loads).

The Barracuda LP looks bad for the same reasons when it comes to typical workstation loads. The Barracuda XT on the Marvell 9123 slows down after a queue depth of 16 requests. Well, even on the ICH7 controller this HDD cannot catch up with the Hitachi 7K2000 and is better than the WD Caviar Green at short queue depths only.

When the test zone is limited to 32 gigabytes, HDDs with faster heads lose their advantage. As a result, the Seagate Barracuda XT wins at short queue depths while the Hitachi is similar to the WD Caviar Green in performance. The RE4 is for the first time faster than the Caviar Black. The Barracuda XT on the Marvell 9123 controller suffers a performance hit at queue depths longer than 16 requests.

 
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