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Benchmarking the MD3000 powervault under linux

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Hardware

I've been spending some time benchmarking the Dell MD-3000 powervault storage array under SuSE 10.2 x86_64 linux. There isn't a lot of information out there on this unit, one of the more useful pages I found is on this blog: Performance of the MD3000 with ORION. In summary: it is ok for the price we paid (half retail), but this storage array, with the guts of an old IBM DS4100 which had an anemic 485 MB/sec internal bus speed, is not able to max out the total sequential read or write performance of the 15 disks it is able to contain. I imagine if you expand it with MD-1000 enclosures this deficit is even more obvious. More on that later.

The setup
Two Dell 1950 hosts, each with two SAS/5e HBA (host bus adapter cards). The idea is to setup a highly available configuration. The SAS/5e cards each have two ports but since the MD3000 has a maximum of 4 ports (two per physical controller module) I am only using ONE port on each card, and four SAS cables. Both Dell 1950 poweredge hosts also have two internal drives connected to PERC5/i configured as a single mirror for the OS. The MD3000 does not support booting a Host OS. It is fully populated with 15 SAS seagate 15k (136gb usable) drives.

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