Network Computing is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Brits Have SSD Fun

11:30 AM -- While you're probably reading this at work on Monday or Tuesday, I'm sitting here writing on Friday and, after a long week, I'm ready for a bit of rest and relaxation. Luckily, Samsung's British PR firm put together a pretty humorous YouTube video best titled "Why you shouldn't put gamers in charge of IT."

These boffins (A Britishism that translates somewhere between egghead and geek) built a gamer's PC and hooked up 24 of Samsung's 250GB MLC SSDs to create a really fast -- at least for sequential reads since these are MLCs after all -- 6-TB RAID array. While watching the construction video where they solder the leads of two 1,000W PC power supplies together (weren't SSDs supposed to be green?) and hacksaw the CPU coolers to get them in the case is amusing, the best part was watching them come up with tests to show off their new "Precious."

So they copy a ripped DVD from one folder to another faster than the case can fall from their office to the floor, build really high-def 4MB/frame video, delete every speech George W. Bush ever gave (I'm not supposed to be political here, but the urge to make snarky comments is almost overwhelming), and defrag the monster in a matter of seconds. My personal favorite part was the durability test where a guy grabs the SATA cables to all the drives in one hand and jumps up and down on a mini-trampoline. I know that happens in my data center every Friday. They also fire up IOMeter and get this lash-up to top 2,000 MB/s.

But there is one lesson to be learned from the technical details that flash by in the last 15 seconds of the video: Even with MLC SSDs, the performance bottleneck may be in the RAID controller. In this test, they used Adaptec and Areca SATA controllers, but could only hit 1.7 Gbit/s throughput across three RAID controllers. The 2.0-Gbit/s they eventually got required also putting some of the SSDs directly on motherboard ports.

While even mid-range array controllers are probably a bit smarter than the ones used in this test, vendors trying to jump on the SSD bandwagon by just slapping SATA SSDs, even SLC-based ones, into their existing arrays may not be able to deliver the performance their customers are looking for. As in all things Caveat Emptor. For a few laughs see the video at:

  • 1