LSI MegaRAID Helps ION SpeedServer Break One Million IOPS Barrier

CRN knows how to pick a winner. ION Computer Systems, recipient of CRN's 2010 Product of the Year award for its SR-71 SpeedServer, on Tuesday announced that the machine has exceeded one million input-output transactions per second (IOps), a barrier never before crossed by machines of this class. When the CRN Test Center first reviewed the server in July, 2010, its makers were proud of IO rates for read operations that hovered around 400,000.

The performance increase was realized on an enhanced version of the SR-71 that was accessing 24 Intel solid state drives using the latest MegaRAID 9265-8i 6Gbps SAS controller cards from LSI along with LSI's latest FastPath SSD optimization software. ION was demonstrating its gambit in Las Vegas at the Intel Solutions Summit, Intel's annual two-day confab that concluded Tuesday. Intel and LSI also were on hand to verify the results, which were measured using the IOmeter open-source benchmark utility.

According to ION CTO Keith Josephson, the fastest performance was achieved while performing random reads of 1-KB chunks of data, and would only be possible with SSDs. "The combination of very high IOPS with very low latency enabled by the MegaRAID controllers allow ION’s SR-71 application engine to deliver performance that simply cannot be achieved with any disk based solution,’ he said in a statement. During times of peak throughout, response time averaged around 200 microseconds.

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Next: LSI's RAID Controller

LSI too has been busy. The company on Tuesday officially unveiled the MegaRAID SAS 9265-8i, the dual-core RAID controller that broke the 1 million IOps barrier in the ION system. The SAS 9265-8i delivers eight internal SAS ports, and the MegaRAID SAS 9265-8e, with eight external ports.

Each of the ports on the otherwise identical cards offer a transfer rate of 6Gb/s and are rated to perform at greater than 200,000 IO/s against a RAID 5 array. According to the company, this represents a 3X improvement over its previous-generation MegaRAID adapters. The rate can easily exceed 465,000 IOps on the same configuration if also using its MegaRAID FastPath software and if connected to eight SSDs.

Both are available now through high-tech distributors, the MegaRAID SAS 9265-8i lists for $780; the MegaRAID SAS 9265-8e lists for $995.