Today I’m going to dive into the hardware I selected for FreeNAS, starting with the motherboard, CPU, and memory. FreeNAS runs on any PC hardware, but building a reliable and scalable storage solution means picking higher-end components. I selected a Supermicro X10SL7 server-class motherboard with 14 (!) SAS/SATA ports paired with an Intel Xeon E3-1231v3 (Haswell) CPU and ECC memory from Crucial.
The world of storage can be confusing, with obscure terms hiding massive differences in technology and performance. Such is the case for the latest PCI express SSDs: They are much faster than traditional SAS or SATA SSDs, but many aren’t sure exactly why. In this article, I will try to explain the real difference.
How fast is a hard disk drive? How about the various flavors of SATA and Fibre Channel? Check out this handy Pack Rat infographic to answer the question, “how fast is it?”
It is tempting to think of storage as a game of hard disk drives, and consider only The Rule of Spindles. But RAM cache can compensate for the mechanical limitations of hard disk drives, and Moore’s Law continues to allow for ever-greater RAM-based storage, including cache, DRAM, and flash. But storage does not exist in a vacuum. All that data must go somewhere, and this is the job of the I/O channel.
STEC may not have been quite ready to reveal their next-generation ZeusRAM solid-state disk (SSD), but they are demonstrating it anyway at EMC World in Boston this week. The ZeusRAM is a fundamentally different animal from the existing ZeusIOPS drive in one critical way: Rather than using flash memory for primary data storage, the ZeusRAM uses DRAM. This improves reliability and longevity and ought to raise the bar on performance as well.
Like clockwork, VMware has cranked out another update to their flagship enterprise product, ESX 3.5. The last update came out in early November, 2008, and included some major new functionality. What’s in store this time to intrigue storage folks? Not much. For more information on earlier updates, see my articles: Storage Fixes in VMware ESX […]
I continue to be amazed by the level of interest I’m seeing in Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) and 10 Gb Converged Ethernet among storage people. As I noted after my Charlotte virtualization seminar, end users at the largest enterprises seem to think that FCoE is their future, not just one of several options. But […]
Just over three months after releasing Update 2 for ESX 3.5, VMware has released Update 3. That last Update brought major storage changes like VSS support, hot VMFS extension, Storage VMotion across Fibre Channel and iSCSI, and support for 10 Gb Ethernet and 8 Gb FC support. For more information on Update 2, see my […]
This is part of an ongoing series of longer articles I will be posting every Sunday as part of an experiment in offering more in-depth content. There has been a lot of discussion in the storage industry about Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE), making it the toast of Storage Networking World, but this technology remains relatively unknown […]
VMware just released Update 2 for VMware ESX Server 3.5 (Virtual Infrastructure), and it includes some storage fixes of note: Support for Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) for filesystems Windows Server 2003 and Windows Server 2008 guests. This means VMware services like VCB and SRM can now signal Windows Server to quiesce filesystems before creating a […]