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The Results

The list below shows the active filesystems. The /backups_ filesystems are a mirrored copy of the primary filesystems to be used in case one of the RAID arrays is unavailable, allowing the system to be booted for recovery purposes.

The actual filesystems provided to the network are two 2TB filesystems, named /data0 and /data1. Additionally, two 120GB filesystems named /work0 and /work1 are provided for scratch space for network users.

Filesystem      1K-blocks        Used      Avail Capacity  Mounted on
/dev/da0s1a         507630      51894     415126    11%    /
devfs                    1          1          0   100%    /dev
/dev/da0s1d       16244334      37408   14907380     0%    /var
/dev/da0s1e       16244334          6   14944782     0%    /var/crash
/dev/da0s1f       16244334    1607096   13337692    11%    /usr
/dev/da0s1g        8122126         62    7472294     0%    /tmp
/dev/da0s1h        8121252         26    7471526     0%    /sysprog
/dev/da0s2h      120462010          4  110825046     0%    /work0
/dev/da0s3h     2079915614  859342082 1054180284    45%    /data0
/dev/da1s1a         507630     249998     217022    54%    /backups_root
/dev/da1s1d       16244334      38762   14906026     0%    /backups_var
/dev/da1s1e       16244334         62   14944726     0%    /backups_var_crash
/dev/da1s1f       16244334    1686090   13258698    11%    /backups_usr
/dev/da1s1g        8122126        126    7472230     0%    /backups_tmp
/dev/da1s1h        8121252         86    7471466     0%    /backups_sysprog
/dev/da1s2h      120462010          4  110825046     0%    /work1
/dev/da1s3h     2079915614 1474939512  438582854    77%    /data1

Screenshot of capacity
Click to enlarge image

Figure 7: A screenshot showing the filesystem's capacity

Figure 7 is a Windows view of one of the server's filesystems, showing its 1.93TB total capacity. Please note that this system is firewalled from the Internet, so don't bother trying to come visit. It will only bother me and cause me to make unhappy noises at your ISP.

As a basis of comparison to other NAS tests on SmallNetBuilder, I ran iozone on RAIDzilla using a Dell Dimension 8400 w/ 3.6GHz CPU, 2GB RAM running Windows XP Home. The network adapter was an Intel MT1000 connected at 1000Mbps, full duplex w/ 9K jumbo frames enabled. Figures 8-11 were taken using the NAS Performance Charts.

Write performance comparison, small file sizes

Figure 8: Write performance comparison, small file sizes

Figures 8 and 9 show that RAIDzilla tops the charts for 1000 Mbps RAID 5 write performance for file sizes 16 MB and under, but comes in second to the Linksys NSS4000/4100 [reviewed here] for read. Note that the NSS4000 used only 4K jumbo frames while the RAIDzilla used 9K.

Read performance comparison, small file sizes

Figure 9: Read performance comparison, small file sizes

Figures 10 and 11 show a reversed trend for file sizes 32 MB to 1 GB. The Linksys does slightly better than RAIDzilla for write, but RAIDzilla crushes the Linksys for reads.

Write performance comparison, large file sizes

Figure 10: Write performance comparison, large file sizes

Read performance comparison, large file sizes

Figure 11: Read performance comparison, large file sizes

I also did some performance testing between a pair of RAIDzillas using FTP (get /dev/zero /dev/null) and was able to achieve > 650Mbit/sec. Performance of actual file serving is limited by the speed of the disk subsystem, of course.

I haven't done a lot of performance tuning yet, mostly because this level of throughput is more than adequate for my applications.

It may not be the easiest way to go. But by designing and constructing your own NAS, you get a system with all the features you want...and know how to fix it when it breaks!

This article originally appeared as The RAIDzilla Project.

Markup and text Copyright © 2004-2007 Terence M. Kennedy unless otherwise noted.
All pictures Copyright © 2004-2007 Terence M. Kennedy unless otherwise noted.

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