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Jens Axboe's blog - New storage toy

Jan. 14th, 2010

09:57 am - New storage toy

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Since I do a lot of work on the IO side of the Linux kernel, I have an assortment of various types of disk drives and storage. I've been lucky enough to receive various types of SSD drives, which enabled me to research and test new ideas for these types of devices. I love doing performance work and squeezing the most out of what you have, and the performance characteristics of SSD devices rekindled that interest.

Earlier this week I received a new storage toy that'll take this to a whole new level - a Sun F5100 flash array. This beast packs 80 SLC flash modules (or FMods, in Sun speak) into a 1U box. Each module is essentially identical to the ones on the F20 card, which I already have used a lot for testing. It's 24GB in size, has a sequential throughput of approximately 200MB/sec reads and 150MB/sec writes, or 25K/15K IOPS. That's pretty fast by itself, multiply that by 80 and you are now burning holes in the fabric of time - 1.6 million IOPS, or well over 10GB/sec throughput.



Internally the modules are connected through SAS expanders, of which there are 4 on the back, each with 4 ports. Ideally you'd connect 16 controllers to reach the full potential of the box, setting up zoning to drive 5 modules per port. The box essentially has its own UPS with 4 energy modules at the front, so you never need to use barriers on this device. And it's running surprisingly quiet, which is always a big plus for things you have a few meters away from the desk :-)

Currently the box has 40 modules installed, 40 more are on the way. I have just a single SAS controller, more are on their way as well. Once the additional controllers arrive, I'll be putting it through the paces and posting some numbers. I have some soft multi-queue block IO support in progress that has been waiting for a potent device to be unleashed. This will be interesting...

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