Articles: Storage

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Testbed and Methods

The stripe block size for arrays was set to 64KB. For WinBench tests, the arrays were formatted in FAT32 and NTFS as a single partition with a default cluster size. The benchmarks were run five times each; the average result was calculated for further analysis. The HDDs didn’t cool down between the tests. When building RAID arrays we increased the number of drives by adding new drives to IDE channels once by one.

For our testing we used the following benchmarks:

Our testbed was configured as follows:

  • TYAN Tiger MPX (S2466) mainboard;
  • 2 AMD Athlon MP 1200 CPUs;
  • 2x256MB DDR SDRAM Registered ECC by Micron;
  • IBM DTLA 307015 system HDD;
  • Matrox Millennium 4MB graphics card;
  • Windows 2000 Pro SP4.

RAID arrays were created of four Maxtor 6L020L0 hard disk drives (FW: A93.0500). The AAM and write check were disabled.

The controller was tested with the BIOS version and with drivers version We used a special Promise Array Management utility version to control the array status and manage the caching driver work modes. Actually, a very funny thing happened to me when I just started working with this utility.  When I installed the equipment the utility did recognize the controller model name correctly but when I started using it to build up RAID arrays, it offered me RAID 5 among available RAID array types! At first I was very happy thinking: could it be that Promise had implemented software RAID 5 just like HighPoint did a while ago? However, when I clicked “Create array”, the PC sobbed quietly and rebooted. Well, at it least it was worth a try…

The entire test session was repeated twice: with the help of PAM utility we changed the work mode of the caching driver (WriteBack / WriteThrough).

Performance in Intel IOMeter

We will start with the hardest pattern of all: the DataBase.

Intel IOMeter: Database Pattern

Just in case let me remind you that here we check the controller’s ability to work with a mixed stream of requests featuring both: reads and writes of 8KB data blocks with random address. By changing the reads-to-writes ratio, we can figure out how well the controller driver sorts out read and write requests.

As usual, see the table with results in WriteThrough mode:

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