[Bioclusters] Re: file server for cluster +++ SCSI versus IDE

Dan Yocum bioclusters@bioinformatics.org
Thu, 25 Apr 2002 10:30:53 -0500

Ivo, et al.

I just saw this link on the Alinka Clustering Newletter and thought I'd drop
my 2 cents in.

> > For IDE solution, 8 x 120GB is ideal because you can use 2 channels from
> I have one general question to the list: what are the pros and cons of 
> SCSI versus IDE?  Who of you uses IDE file servers or IDE RAID arrays?  
> How big?  How reliable?  How fast?  Any problems?  Warnings?  Comments?
> Ivo

There's a linux-ide-array mailing list at 
linux-ide-arrays@lists.math.uh.edu where we discuss a lot about IDE RAID

We here at the Sloan Digital Sky Survey have ~18.5TB of IDE RAID arrays on
14 machines.  The largest array we've built is 1.68TB, but you can build
larger using 160GB drives.  Note that you can't have a single FS larger than
2TB - that's a limitation of the kernel.  The CDF experiment here at Fermi
just purchased 32TB of IDE RAID machines (15 2.2TB machines)

The best write/read speeds we're getting is ~124MB/s and 212MB/s,
respectively on a RAID50 array.  This is block transfers using bonnie++ with
2GB filesizes (physical RAM is 890MB).  Some other "special" things needed
to be done to achieve these speeds (see links below).

The 3ware IDE RAID controllers have most of all the same features that the
SCSI RAID controllers have, with their latest firmware revision (7.4), like
background scrubbing, scheduled data integrity checking, etc.  Of course,
hot swap is a given.

We're using 2.4.18 with XFS support.

I wrote a technical note explaining what I did.  It's slightly out-of-date,
but should give you a good idea of what I've done to get the results that I


The CDF people wrote up their own experiences:


Hope that helps.


Dan Yocum
Sloan Digital Sky Survey, Fermilab  630.840.6509
yocum@fnal.gov, http://www.sdss.org
SDSS.  Mapping the Universe.