Adaptec's new cards are awesome
One card, 28 hard drives... or 256, if you really want...
Adaptec here at Atomic, because its epic 31605
card powered the epic Big Willy.
the spirit of celebrating systems that are
deliciously large and powerful, the
Adaptec engineers dropped by our offices last
week to demonstrate their new range of
SAS/SATA RAID cards. The top of the line one is
52445, and it’s the first card in the world that will directly
support 28 hard drives, regardless of SAS or SATA connection.
It can support more than that indirectly, thanks to the joy of SAS expanders.
Basically you hook up a cable from the card and hook it into an enclosure next
to your server. Inside that enclosure is an expander that connects all the hard
drives to the card through that one cable. Your card can then talk to every
drive in the system. You can connect up to 256 drives to a card, and it doesn’t
matter if those drives are
SAS, SATA or both.
The biggest change from the old series is that the brains of the operation is
now Intel’s IOP348 I/O processor -- the 1.2GHz RAID on Chip formerly known as
Sunrise Lake. The processor and controller in the older series used to comprise
two large and chips that took up a lot of PCB real estate, but now that they’ve
been replaced by one chip, there’s enough room to fit six internal Mini SAS
connectors (each of which fans out into four SAS connectors) onto a PCB the size
of a sound card.
The cool thing about all this is that every card in the new series is based on
the RAID on Chip processor, and there are plenty of versions available that
support various numbers of drives. They all run through 8X PCI-e and all have
512MB of memory (except the baby internal 4 port card which only needs 256MB).
They all have drilled backplanes so the passive airflow you get over the card
can flow out the back of the case.
It was interesting chatting with the engineers, because we found out that there
are a lot more
SATA drives being used in the
server world than we had expected. After
pontificating, we concluded that it’s the media heavy internet that is
responsible for this.
SAS drives are fantastic for databases where
lots of data is read and written randomly at speed, but
SATA drives are much cheaper and perform well
for sequential reads, making them more cost effective for storage hungry and
read heavy tasks.