VelociRaptors In RAID 5, A Case Study In Speed

If you were the type to think of 2.5" drive technology only in terms of notebook products, then recently, Western Digital probably helped expand your horizons a bit.  With the release of their VelociRaptor 300GB SATA hard drive, mainstream users were exposed to the advantages of the high transfer rates associated with 2.5" platters rotating at 10K RPM, with four access heads pulling data.  Though packed in a 3.5" form-factor for desktop system compatibility, the 2.5", dual 150GB platter platform that the VelociRaptor was built on allows it to outperform virtually all standard 3.5" SATA drives on the market today, even WD's 10K RPM Raptor WD1500 series. 

However, the VelociRaptor is definitely targeted to the performance enthusiast, with a price tag currently at $1/GB (MSRP $299).  Regardless,
when you consider the upside potential performance gains and the fact that a hard drive is easily the slowest component and limiting factor in many areas of overall system responsiveness, it's obvious this new Raptor will do well from a retail perspective.  But what about the Data Center?  Actually, when you consider the average 146GB 10K RPM SAS drive retails for about the same price as the new VelociRaptor but with half the capacity, just maybe a few folks in IT will poke their heads up out of their cubicles long enough to give the VelociRaptor a look as well.  Of course, that all depends on the usage model, as clearly there are other advantages to SAS in terms of error reporting and recovery, but if the metrics are all about reliable, cost-efficient performance, there may be a solid case for the VelociRaptor in that storage server as well.  Article Update, 6/28:  We should throw in one rather significant caveat here however.  Currently these new drives do not have an industry standard connector layout.  They won't fit in a 2.5" sled for a standard hot-swap chassis config but we've been told WD is planning on coming out with a new model that will offer a standard (3.5" presumably) connector layout.

Regardless, it was with a few of these questions in mind that we decided to RAID up not two but three WD VelociRaptor drives in a RAID 5 configuration with an
Areca PCIe X8 hardware RAID card, to see what the numbers looked like.  This is only a quick-take on read performance but it certainly gives you a sense of scale and what these drives are capable of in the right environment.



WD VelociRaptor 300GB X 3 - RAID5 Areca PCIe Hardware SATA RAID
Windows Vista SP1 - NTFS


WD VelociRaptor 300GB X 3 - RAID5 Areca PCIe Hardware SATA RAID
Windows Vista SP1 - NTFS


A quick gander at the graph above shows relatively linear performance across the entire 600GB volume with some small vallies along the way.  The burst speed recorded was robust 598MB/sec, according to HD Tach, which is about on par with what we've seen from WD's Raptor WD1500 line in this configuration.  However, average read performance is through the roof, with a 209.4MB/sec land speed record set for what we've seen in our labs and about a 33% performance gain over what we've seen with Raptor WD1500 drives in RAID 5 on the Areca controller.  Finally, random access clocks in at a snappy 7.2ms. 

So in short, whether you an end user with just a need for speed, or an enterprise user looking for mission critical performance, the VelociRaptor definitely has strong merits.  Straddling the cost line between standard, bulk SATA drives and high-end 10K RPM SAS, WD's new beast offers an interesting and compelling paradigm.


The Data Center, HotHardware's new community for IT professionals, is sponsored by Dell's Future of Storage. This article is part of our ongoing series of topics and discussions related to IT, Enterprise Storage and related storage technologies.

Via:  HotHardware
Comments
Rendus 6 years ago
So... Where's the article? I see a decent teaser for something, but... Other than two artificial benchmarks...

Oh. Wait. That's it? Wow. "Fast hard drives are even faster in artificial benchmarks when RAIDed together. News at 11."
Dave_HH 6 years ago

[quote user="Rendus"]So... Where's the article? I see a decent teaser for something, but... Other than two artificial benchmarks...

Oh. Wait. That's it? Wow. "Fast hard drives are even faster in artificial benchmarks when RAIDed together. News at 11."[/quote] 

Legitimate question, Rendus!  This article is actually a follow-up.  The original launch article is here:
http://www.hothardware.com/Articles/Western_Digital_Velociraptor_300GB/

Wink

Rendus 6 years ago
So, where's this article's follow-up? The one where real-world testing is done? Where it's compared to a RAID-5 of other drives?

This 'article' had all the quality of a HardOCP forum post wherein someone states 'lol raptors r fast in raid am i rite? lol'
Dave_HH 6 years ago

[quote user="Rendus"]So, where's this article's follow-up? The one where real-world testing is done? Where it's compared to a RAID-5 of other drives?

This 'article' had all the quality of a HardOCP forum post wherein someone states 'lol raptors r fast in raid am i rite? lol'[/quote]

Rendus, again, this was more of a fun experiment than anything else.  We did full VR testing in the original piece that I linked above.  We may come back and look at various RAID setups with the VRs but in time.  This wasn't meant to say anything is better than anything else, just that here's a taste of what things look like.  Obviously it created a bit of buzz so we'll likely come back with more.  Be patient though! Big Smile

amdcrankitup 6 years ago
Had me on the frst article.Definately want one just waiting for price drop!
brownfoxone 6 years ago
Dude! ATI Radeon TOTALLY Rocks! Best video card EVER and this new one is going to totally KICK!

JT
http://www.Ultimate-Anonymity.com
Dave_HH 6 years ago
Huh? Whatchoo talkin' 'bout Willis? This is an article about the WD VelociRaptor hard drive.
rapid1 6 years ago
I am strongly considering running a raid config on my next pc probably raid 5. But I am inexperienced with raid on a personal for performance as much as for data integrity spectrum. I was thinking of doing 4 of the new Seagate 500 GB striped in raid 5 but any suggestions what config I should use would be appreciated. Remember I'm looking for speed and data integrity so does that sound decent or any better suggestions would be welcome including a seperate raid card or on board MB raid or a combination.
dizowned 6 years ago
rapid,
what you've described is about as good as your going to get for typical home use. I wouldn't say that you need a standalone raid controller as that they can be expensive. Using a decent mainboard with onboard raid should be fine, and a raid 5 with nice reliable drives will also be fine. If you want speed I'd honestly have to recommend the Raptor series - although I'm biased as that I've been running a 4 drive Raptor setup for the last 3 years and these puppies are still putting out some nice numbers.
Dave_HH 6 years ago

[quote user="dizowned"]rapid,
what you've described is about as good as your going to get for typical home use. I wouldn't say that you need a standalone raid controller as that they can be expensive. Using a decent mainboard with onboard raid should be fine, and a raid 5 with nice reliable drives will also be fine. If you want speed I'd honestly have to recommend the Raptor series - although I'm biased as that I've been running a 4 drive Raptor setup for the last 3 years and these puppies are still putting out some nice numbers.[/quote]


Hey Guys, Unfortunately I would not recommend RAID 5 with an onboard integrated RAID controller.  You're speaking of the RAID capabilities of the average Southbridge, right?  In that case you're looking at "software RAID", which for RAID 0 or RAID 1 is just fine beause it as relatively low CPU overhead.  However, for RAID 5, the CPU will be doing all the parity calculations and in a RAID 5 set, with three or four drives, that's going to eat up any performance gain you'll realize from a RAID 5 config.  RAID 5 on any Southrbridge (Intel's ICHR or NVIDIA's MCP ) that we've seen is actually slower by a lot. 

For RAID 5 you really need a hardware based RAID controller, and preferably in a PCIe slot, for best performance.  This is what we use:  http://hothardware.pricegrabber.com/search_getprod.php/masterid=16593069

 

It has a little Intel IOPs CPU on it and really works great.  We've even had a drive go bad in the array at one time.  Just popped another identical drive in, created a hot spare in the RAID BIOS and the card automatically rebuilt the array back to normal (which is the way RAID 5 is supposed to work).  Pretty sweet but yes, one of these cards will run you around $300ish so it isn't cheap. 

Dave_HH 6 years ago

[quote user="Davo"] Hey Guys, Unfortunately I would not recommend RAID 5 with an onboard integrated RAID controller.  You're speaking of the RAID capabilities of the average Southbridge, right?  In that case you're looking at "software RAID", which for RAID 0 or RAID 1 is just fine beause it as relatively low CPU overhead.  However, for RAID 5, the CPU will be doing all the parity calculations and in a RAID 5 set, with three or four drives, that's going to eat up any performance gain you'll realize from a RAID 5 config.  RAID 5 on any Southrbridge (Intel's ICHR or NVIDIA's MCP ) that we've seen is actually slower by a lot. 

For RAID 5 you really need a hardware based RAID controller, and preferably in a PCIe slot, for best performance.  This is what we use:  http://hothardware.pricegrabber.com/search_getprod.php/masterid=16593069

It has a little Intel IOPs CPU on it and really works great.  We've even had a drive go bad in the array at one time.  Just popped another identical drive in, created a hot spare in the RAID BIOS and the card automatically rebuilt the array back to normal (which is the way RAID 5 is supposed to work).  Pretty sweet but yes, one of these cards will run you around $300ish so it isn't cheap. [/quote]


Ackkk... I edited the typos out of that one but the system doesn't catches it in the email notifications so make sure you go to this thread to read it again.  Didn't mean to say "memory controller".  Smile

ice91785 6 years ago

Sorry to post semi-off topic here.....but Davo, you should write up an article just discussing RAID in general around your labs...hardware you use, configurations you set. I would be very interested to see how engineering buffs like you and Marco throw storage together (whether it be in the form of servers or on singular rigs).

What do you think buddy?

 

Dave_HH 6 years ago
Heya Ice, not off topic at all. No worries... RAID is always an interesting dicussion point for sure. We'll be revisiting that I think in the near future. We have lots of ideas actually. I personally use RAID 5 in my rig. It offers nearly the speed of RAID 0 with the parity checking and resilancy of RAID 1. For end users, if you have the budget, it's worth it. If a drive fails you just replace it and rebuild, no data loss. However, you definitely need a hardware RAID card for it, in my opinion, because of the overhead. That's where the cost comes in.

Regardless, more to come in this space, I assure you.

Thanks!
recoveringknowitall 6 years ago

My comment is deffinately off topic, but relevant I feel. i just noticed that techspot put together a 08' builders guide... I'd love to see Hot Hardware do 1 as well!

Check it out HERE

Dave_HH 6 years ago

Yes, this is something we've done before too with our Holiday Shopping guide but would like to have as a regular occuring segment. http://www.hothardware.com/Articles/Holiday_Gift_Guide_Extravaganza/

 

ice91785 6 years ago

[quote user="Davo"]Yes, this is something we've done before too with our Holiday Shopping guide but would like to have as a regular occuring segment. http://www.hothardware.com/Articles/Holiday_Gift_Guide_Extravaganza/[/quote]

This also we be fun to see from you guys every 6 months or so......*thinks quickly, gets a abicus and slides beads for 27 minutes* ... Davo are you aware its been about 6 months since you have done this article? That means that you guys should do a "gift guide" for us again! Big Smile

As far as RAID is concerned as I said before I would like to know just how you have storage set up around you lab and servers.....as specific as you wanted to get...I get enough "what RAID is" from reading but I guess I want it straight from the horse's mouth as to how real-life billionaire businesses (such as HH Cool) and everyday consumers take adavantage of it

Endersothergame 6 years ago

[quote user="Davo"]Heya Ice, not off topic at all. No worries... RAID is always an interesting dicussion point for sure. We'll be revisiting that I think in the near future. We have lots of ideas actually. I personally use RAID 5 in my rig. It offers nearly the speed of RAID 0 with the parity checking and resilancy of RAID 1. For end users, if you have the budget, it's worth it. If a drive fails you just replace it and rebuild, no data loss. However, you definitely need a hardware RAID card for it, in my opinion, because of the overhead. That's where the cost comes in.

Regardless, more to come in this space, I assure you.

Thanks![/quote]

 

OK that I too would like to see, hopefully including ideas one some of the better raid controllers (perhaps with a cost to performance ratio).  I wanna get started with this sort of stuff, but alas there are things even I don't know completely.

alpha754293 6 years ago
You definitely wouldn't want to use those drives for any sort of "mission critical performance". The added error reporting and recovery is what makes SAS drives suitable for "mission critical performance" rather than consumer-level SATA drives (with the exception of Sun's SunFire X4500 system, that's engineered with custom hardware and software (ZFS).

Plus, a lot of OEMs (especially for servers) have already switched to supply 2.5" SAS drives as their standard, which is also backwards compatible with SATA.

I would have liked to have seen what the performance of the drive would have been as it was doing a rebuild operation. THAT'S what would have been a point worth mentioning.
Dave_HH 6 years ago
Heya Alpha and welcome. I sort of disagree. I know lots of folks going the way of lower cost SATA in things like storage servers, as long as you have a decent RAID configuration like RAID 6 or similar. You don't get the error reporting of SAS back to the controller but that's not always a showstopper. Regardless, for real heavy duty stuff, agreed, SAS still has plenty/more of merit.
rapid1 6 years ago
I love the SAS solutions but I just can't stomach the price. I just want something with a bit of pep in the performance end and reliability that's why I chose raid 5 over 0+1. Anyways all the comments are helpful and I appreciate everyone's input.
Anonymous 6 years ago

I recently built a workstation with storage speed in mind and opted not to go with the onboard Intel Matrix raid but rather use an Adaptec 5405 SAS Raid controller and 4 VelociRaptor drives in Raid 5. I chose the Adaptec card because of my past experiences with them and the ultrafast 1.2GB/s bandwidth available as 4 x 300MB/s channels. Needless to say, shelling out $1560 (wholesale) for a storage array on a personal computer is a little excessive to say the least but all said i am extremely happy with the results.

As you can see in the pictures below the benchmarks proved that this combination is lethal (In a good way).

In Summary:

279 MB/s Average read with 440.5 MB/s burst on HD Tune 2.55

302 MB/s Average read with 838 MB/s Burst Speed on HD Tach 3.0.4.0

warlord 6 years ago

i think i just drooled on my keyboard Stick out tongue

Anonymous 6 years ago

[quote user="warlord"]

i think i just drooled on my keyboard Stick out tongue

[/quote]

This system may be sold to make way for an 8 drive system with an adaptec 5805 and the new backplane compliant VelociRaptors. Hot swap bays with lights flashing are teh kewlness.

amdcrankitup 6 years ago

[quote user="warlord"]

i think i just drooled on my keyboard Stick out tongue

[/quote] 

 Dang I just peeed on myself but it all about the money right now. Lol[:'(]

warlord 6 years ago

[quote user="amdcrankitup"]

[quote user="warlord"]

i think i just drooled on my keyboard Stick out tongue

[/quote] 

 Dang I just peeed on myself but it all about the money right now. Lol[:'(]

[/quote]

I wish my pockets where deep enough for a setup like that

ice_73 6 years ago

[quote user="warlord"]

[quote user="amdcrankitup"]

[quote user="warlord"]

i think i just drooled on my keyboard Stick out tongue

[/quote] 

 Dang I just peeed on myself but it all about the money right now. Lol[:'(]

[/quote]

I wish my pockets where deep enough for a setup like that

[/quote] 

 dont we all? heck my dream system would be a skulltrail with 8 ssd's in raid along with 3x4870x2 (third one just for the heck of it), 16gb ram,  and razer keyboards and mice!

timelinedigital 5 years ago

10.5.6 and Areca RAID card update

Just want to spread out this news. People who are using Areca RAID card in 10.5.6 now have the fix to mount the drive back!!!! It's been almost 2 weeks waiting!

Areca RAID Card update for OS 10.5.6. Please email info@timelinedigitalinc.com

or visit their site

http://www.timelinedigitalinc.com/

I have contacted timeline digital and got the fix.

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