Supermicro SuperServer 6014H-32
Posted on: 02/26/2006 06:00 AM

This is generally the part of the review where we would take the opportunity to break down what test systems were on our bench and go through the specific synthetic and real-world benchmarks we planned on running. Unfortunately, that won't be possible today as we experienced unexpected problems with our evaluation unit. Supermicro and I worked dilligently to resolve these issues so we could present benchmarks along with this article but to this point no resolution has been found. In the future, expect us to revisit this article and add performance data. Possibly after another unit has been received from Supermicro.

Serial Attached SCSI

Due to the fact that we were unable to provide performance numbers for this article, I thought it would be a good idea to supplement it with some additional information on Serial Attached SCSI (SAS). It's something we haven't dealt with before in our testing so discussing its features and merits sounds like a good idea to me.

The point of SAS was to take the best attributes of two established technologies (SATA and SCSI) and to combine them to offer a next-generation storage solution. With SAS, you have the opportunity to leverage the reliability and performance of SCSI and add to that the benefits of the updated serial architecture. The flexibility of this solution is also one of its biggest assets. A single controller can accomodate larger, more inexpensive disks for storage purposes and higher performance disks which offer greater reliability for the mission critical applications we're forced to deal with at the office.

The serial architecture, as most of us are probably aware, is a point-to-point architecture. Devices do not share a common bus as they did with traditional SCSI (parallel). In your traditional SCSI system, each SCSI device would need to share the bandwidth of a single bus (320MB/sec). This would work fine for a few devices, but as you added additional devices to the system you would come closer to exhausting the capabilities of that single bus.

With SAS, each device is afforded the maximum bandwidth which will vastly improve scalability. The first generation SAS link is capable of 3.0Gb/second. Second generation SAS links should be capable of 6.0Gb/second. One other glorious feature of SAS is the ability to combine multiple links to create 2x, 3x or 4x connections for even more scalable bandwidth.

In the future, we'll be adding our own exhaustive performance analysis of traditional SCSI vs. SAS. In the short-term, there are plenty of documents available on the web for your perusal. HP has published several PDFs which test the performance of this new bus under a variety of circumstances (TPC, Exchange, iometer, etc).

Now that we've spent a moment or two discussing SAS, let's wrap up this article with a few final thoughts regarding the Supermicro 6014H-32B.

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