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.

Adaptec's Serial ATA RAID 2810SA

We tested the controller using disks of various size and capacity to determine whether the controller was limited by the bus speed of the server, the speed of the disks attached or the RAID processor itself. We tested using 160-GB, 7,200-RPM Barracuda 7200.7 disks from Seagate; 7,200-RPM, 80-GB DiamondMax Plus 9 and 7,200-RPM, 250-GB MaXLine Plus II disks from Maxtor; and 10,000-RPM, 74-GB Raptor WD740 disks from Western Digital. We used DE400 removable drive enclosures from StorCase Technology to house the drives and the hot-swap capabilities of the controller.

This RAID Really Cooks

Using the open-source IOMeter benchmarking tool and a beta release of the commercial HD Tach benchmark tool from Simpli Software, we put the 2810SA controller through its paces under both Windows 2000 Server and Windows 2003 Server. No discernable performance difference was noted between operating systems. The 2810SA topped out at 134-MB-per-second read and 102-MB-per-second write performance when doing large 2-MB block transfers. Worst-case performance occurred when using 64-Kb block writes ranging from 6- to 16-MB per second.

Our tests revealed that while disk geometry and spindle speed had little impact on large block transfer tests, there was a significant performance delta on small block transfers. Our tests prove that the controller is not throughput bound by disk; rather, it's most likely bound by the read and write performance of the RAID hardware on the controller. Even so, the 2810SA benchmarks out as one of the fastest ATA controllers ever tested at Network Computing. In all test cases, CPU utilization hovered between zero and six percent.

One additional metric of note is performance during a volume rebuild: Using HD Tach, we were able to clearly demonstrate that the controller tops out around 60 MB per second when a rebuild process is in progress and that read performance on large block transfers suffers the most during a rebuild operation.

Icing on the Cake
After benchmarking controller performance, we turned to the management tools and features of the RAID controller. Adaptec's driver suite includes a Web tool called Adaptec Storage Manager, Browser Edition, which provides a Web GUI interface for controlling, monitoring and configuring the 2810SA controller.

  • 1