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Starting with the largest-sized blocks of 32 KB, we observed a maximum throughput of 112 MBps when performing 100 percent read operations, and a maximum one-node throughput performance of 190 MBps when splitting reads and writes 50/50.
Since these numbers were near the maximum theoretical throughput for the single Gigabit Ethernet port on the test workstation, we had reached the maximum capability of the test workstation. When we added a second, the results were similar; the 6500 Cluster was able to service both workstations at extremely high levels of throughput.
Next we sought to maximize the test unit's transaction processing. Using 50/50 read-to-write operating with 512-byte blocks, we increased the number of workers (again, each with 48 outstanding IOs per target) until the IO/s reached a plateau. The plateau was found at six workers, which together generated a maximum processed transaction load of 71,008 IOps.
Administration of the IceWeb 6500 storage appliance is not for the faint of heart. Several trips to the command line were necessary to configure the unit for our test network and to activate Apache and the unit's browser-based GUI. Once there, several additional steps were necessary to setup and configure the system's storage pools and to provision them as iSCSI.
Copious knowledge of storage and RAID systems is required for this process. Even if the included wizards are deployed, the administrator must still make informed decisions about how and how many drives to allocate. The company says it's hard at work to further develop these interface capabilities, and is planning a major update early next year.
Somewhat uniquely, the 6500 Cluster also can act as an iSCSI initiator, and is capable of interacting with other SAN storage systems on a network. This enables it to perform its replication and deduping services on other boxes on the network, regardless of brand. As such, the company is positioning the device to provide core infrastructure for small and medium businesses and for state and local governments.
For companies with an able IT department that are seeking a high-performance, high-availability system with no single point of failure for mission-critical database, e-mail, virtualization or other applications, the CRN Test Center believes that the 6500 Cluster is worthy of strong consideration. IceWeb systems are available through an exclusive distribution agreement with Promark Technologies.
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