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3Ware Escalade 7410
  July 3, 2001 Author: Terry Baranski  
Evaluation unit provided by 3Ware, Inc.


Introduction

Over the last couple years, 3Ware has made quite a name for themselves in the ATA RAID market. In particular, their Escalade 6000 series (reviewed back in February) earned the company a good reputation amongst RAID enthusiasts as a manufacturer of high-performance ATA RAID cards - in fact, the Escalade 6410 handily left all the competition in the dust until the introduction of the Adaptec ATA RAID 2400A in May.

It's thus no surprise that 3Ware's successor to the 6000 series - the Escalade 7000 Series Storage Switch - has been highly anticipated. 3Ware quickly sent us an Escalade 7410 after the card's announcement, allowing us to present a first look at the card's performance.

The Hardware...

The 7000 series brings a number of additional and improved features such as 64-bit PCI support, a 64-bit ASIC, improved packet-switching, and RAID 5 hardware XOR functionality. The 7000 series also sports TwinStor and StorSwitch (the latter of which was formally known as DiskSwitch; both of these features were discussed in our Escalade 6410 review), features that the Escalade 6000 series proved were more than mere marketing. The card's full specs:

  • RAID levels 0, 1, 10, 5, and JBOD
  • On-board microprocessor
  • Four ATA-100 channels (1 drive per channel)
  • Hot swap and hot spare support
  • Stripe size selectable from 64K to 1MB
  • 64-bit/33MHz PCI
  • TwinStor, StorSwitch support
  • Windows 98/Me/NT/2000, Red Hat Linux, SuSE Linux (Driver also available in open source kernel 2.2.15 and beyond), and FreeBSD support
  • 3 year warranty
Included with the card:
  • Four single-connector ATA cables
  • Driver/utility disks
  • Installation guide
  • Two Y-splitter cables (used to connect two drives to a single power supply connector)
Somewhat surprisingly, the Escalade 7410 (as well as the 7810) is a half-length PCI card. Despite the fact that full-length cards are pretty darn cool looking, we suspect that most users prefer half-length cards due to space concerns. Other than that, the card looks like one would expect, with four ATA connectors, two 3Ware ATA-100 controllers, and an on-board microprocessor.

The Software...

The software that accompanies the Escalade 7410 remains virtually unchanged from that of the 6410. Its BIOS allows for standard functions such as array creation, deletion, and rebuilding. A write cache setting is also present - as with the Escalade 6410, this refers to the cache on the drives themselves.

The Escalade's software utility, 3DM, provides event notification functionality in the case of critical events such as drive failures - the utility can either send an email or trigger a local event in Windows. The adapter's rebuild rate and audible alarm may also be toggled.

The Benchmarks...

The following tests were run with the card's write cache setting enabled and a stripe size of 64k. Driver version 1.10.01.032 was used along with BIOS release 7.1.1.

WinBench Results...

Let's begin with single-drive scores to use as a baseline.

Ziff Davis WinBench 99 under Windows 2000 Professional using NTFS - Baseline Scores
Benchmark 3Ware Escalade 6400, 1 Drive3Ware Escalade 7410, 1 driveAbit SL6, 1 DriveAdaptec ATA RAID 2400A, 1 drivePromise Ultra 66, 1 Drive
Business Disk WinMark 99 (KB/sec) 4454 4406 6484 6110 5884
High-End Disk WinMark 99 (KB/sec) 15200 15160 16220 14940 14460
Disk/Read Transfer RateStorageReview.com
Beginning (KB/sec)29800 29633 29800 29700 29733
End (KB/sec)17500 17500 17500 17400 17500
Disk Access Time (ms)14.04 15.38 15.22 15.62 15.26
Disk CPU Utilization (%)3.11 3.12 2.91 2.67 3.04

No big surprises here... The 7410's access time is reported somewhat higher relative to the 6400, though one can not draw any conclusions from this.

WinBench RAID 0 Scores...

Ziff Davis WinBench 99 under Windows 2000 Professional using NTFS - RAID 0 with 2 Drives
Benchmark 3Ware Escalade 6400, RAID 0, 2 Drives3Ware Escalade 7410, RAID 0, 2 drivesAdaptec ATA RAID 2400A, RAID 0, 2 drives
Business Disk WinMark 99 (KB/sec) 3944 3676 6116
High-End Disk WinMark 99 (KB/sec) 13540 13400 17840
Disk/Read Transfer RateStorageReview.com
Beginning (KB/sec)59600 59200 59000
End (KB/sec)35000 34900 34800
Disk Access Time (ms)15.2 15.18 15.52
Disk CPU Utilization (%)3.07 3.21 2.64

Ziff Davis WinBench 99 under Windows 2000 Professional using NTFS - RAID 0 with 3 Drives
Benchmark 3Ware Escalade 6400, RAID 0, 3 Drives3Ware Escalade 7410, RAID 0, 3 DrivesAdaptec ATA RAID 2400A, RAID 0, 3 drives
Business Disk WinMark 99 (KB/sec) 3992 4040 6206
High-End Disk WinMark 99 (KB/sec) 14820 14740 17620
Disk/Read Transfer RateStorageReview.com
Beginning (KB/sec)85833 88700 88333
End (KB/sec)52300 52400 52200
Disk Access Time (ms)15.18 15.14 15.44
Disk CPU Utilization (%)3.20 3.18 2.71
Ziff Davis WinBench 99 under Windows 2000 Professional using NTFS - RAID 0 with 4 Drives
Benchmark 3Ware Escalade 6400, RAID 0, 4 Drives3Ware Escalade 7410, RAID 0, 4 DrivesAdaptec ATA RAID 2400A, RAID 0, 4 drives
Business Disk WinMark 99 (KB/sec) 4372 4300 6384
High-End Disk WinMark 99 (KB/sec) 15080 15180 16900
Disk/Read Transfer RateStorageReview.com
Beginning (KB/sec)102667 107000 109333
End (KB/sec)69600 69833 69633
Disk Access Time (ms)15.4 14.96 15.02
Disk CPU Utilization (%)88.80 88.83 88.3

The 7410's RAID 0 Diskmark scores come in lower than that of a single drive, something that obviously doesn't reflect reality. Unfortunately, issues with WinBench's Diskmark tests continue with the Escalade 7410. As we'll see, the Diskmark results for all RAID levels are clearly unrepresentative - we'll refrain from commenting on them further.

The adapter's sustained transfer rate is very impressive, as was the 6400's. There's no doubt that the 107MB/sec "limitation" is caused by the PCI bus (the testbed's motherboard contains only 32-bit/33MHz slots) as opposed to the card itself.

WinBench RAID 1 Scores...

Ziff Davis WinBench 99 under Windows 2000 Professional using NTFS - RAID 1 with 2 Drives
Benchmark 3Ware Escalade 6400, RAID 1, 2 Drives3Ware Escalade 7410, RAID 1, 2 DrivesAdaptec ATA RAID 2400A, RAID 1, 2 Drives
Business Disk WinMark 99 (KB/sec) 3608 3560 5158
High-End Disk WinMark 99 (KB/sec) 11660 11520 13580
Disk/Read Transfer RateStorageReview.com
Beginning (KB/sec)47600 49667 29600
End (KB/sec)27467 27900 17400
Disk Access Time (ms)13.5 13.42 15.50
Disk CPU Utilization (%)3.10 3.17 2.54

Two things are notable about the 7410's RAID 1 WinBench scores, both echoing the unit's predecessor. First, the 7410's RAID 1 access time clocks in about 2ms lower than a single-drive configuration. This indicates that the adapter load balances linear reads based on which drive's read/write head is closer to the requested data. Second, the 7410's RAID 1 STR is significantly higher than that of a single drive configuration. This is TwinStor in action.

WinBench RAID 10 Scores...

Ziff Davis WinBench 99 under Windows 2000 Professional using NTFS - RAID 10/01 with 4 Drives
Benchmark 3Ware Escalade 6400, RAID 10, 4 Drives3Ware Escalade 7410, RAID 10, 4 DrivesAdaptec ATA RAID 2400A, RAID 01, 4 Drives
Business Disk WinMark 99 (KB/sec) 3892 3694 5244
High-End Disk WinMark 99 (KB/sec) 13000 12680 9718
Disk/Read Transfer RateStorageReview.com
Beginning (KB/sec)59933 59600 59167
End (KB/sec)46633 35000 34867
Disk Access Time (ms)13.5 15.22 15.64
Disk CPU Utilization (%)3.04 3.20 2.64

The 7410's RAID 10 access time matches that of a single drive configuration. This is interesting as it suggests that TwinStor isn't load balancing linear reads in RAID 10 like it does in RAID 1. We're at a loss as to why this is the case considering that the Escalade 6400 appears to balance such reads.

WinBench RAID 5 Scores...

Ziff Davis WinBench 99 under Windows 2000 Professional using NTFS - RAID 5 with 3 Drives
Benchmark 3Ware Escalade 6400, RAID 5, 3 Drives3Ware Escalade 7410, RAID 5, 3 DrivesAdaptec ATA RAID 2400A, RAID 5, 3 Drives
Business Disk WinMark 99 (KB/sec) 2120 1842 3816
High-End Disk WinMark 99 (KB/sec) 4792 4370 5378
Disk/Read Transfer RateStorageReview.com
Beginning (KB/sec)58833 59167 59067
End (KB/sec)34933 35000 34833
Disk Access Time (ms)15.2 15.32 15.60
Disk CPU Utilization (%)3.11 3.11 2.69

Ziff Davis WinBench 99 under Windows 2000 Professional using NTFS - RAID 5 with 4 Drives
Benchmark 3Ware Escalade 6400, RAID 5, 4 Drives3Ware Escalade 7410, RAID 5, 4 DrivesAdaptec ATA RAID 2400A, RAID 5, 4 Drives
Business Disk WinMark 99 (KB/sec) 2378 1894 5620
High-End Disk WinMark 99 (KB/sec) 6488 4758 12760
Disk/Read Transfer RateStorageReview.com
Beginning (KB/sec)81900 87300 83113
End (KB/sec)52233 52400 52200
Disk Access Time (ms)15.3 15.16 15.68
Disk CPU Utilization (%)3.10 3.22 2.70

Access time remains about the same, while STR increases as one would expect.

IOMeter Scores...

Base Scores...

IOMeter - Single Drive Baseline
File Server Access Pattern - Total I/Os per second
All LoadsLinearVery LightLightModerateHeavy
3Ware Escalade 6400, 1 Drive 65.77 66.60 75.80 84.57 96.91
3Ware Escalade 7410, 1 drive 65.09 65.55 74.76 82.76 95.59
Abit SL6, 1 Drive 64.11 66.91 76.83 86.75 94.68
Adaptec ATA RAID 2400A, 1 drive 63.79 65.55 74.46 82.32 95.46
Promise Ultra 66, 1 Drive 65.51 67.85 78.11 87.72 96.97
Workstation Access Pattern - Total I/Os per second
All LoadsLinearVery LightLightModerateHeavy
3Ware Escalade 6400, 1 Drive 77.43 77.98 86.38 95.44 110.31
3Ware Escalade 7410, 1 drive 76.32 77.13 85.64 94.24 109.12
Abit SL6, 1 Drive 75.20 77.47 88.26 98.92 110.14
Adaptec ATA RAID 2400A, 1 drive 74.83 77.59 85.07 95.46 111.00
Promise Ultra 66, 1 Drive 76.05 77.96 88.49 99.85 110.34
Database Access Pattern - Total I/Os per second
All LoadsLinearVery LightLightModerateHeavy
3Ware Escalade 6400, 1 Drive 70.04 71.18 78.72 87.25 97.45
3Ware Escalade 7410, 1 drive 69.83 70.46 77.99 85.21 96.46
Abit SL6, 1 Drive 68.64 70.33 79.27 87.89 95.50
Adaptec ATA RAID 2400A, 1 drive 68.74 70.82 80.66 86.70 98.05
Promise Ultra 66, 1 Drive 76.05 77.96 88.49 99.85 110.34
Random Write Pattern - Total I/Os per second
All LoadsLinearVery LightLightModerateHeavy
3Ware Escalade 6400, 1 Drive 109.01 108.73 108.94 109.37 116.02
3Ware Escalade 7410, 1 drive 106.99 106.91 106.81 107.17 114.15
Abit SL6, 1 Drive 104.48 104.36 104.33 105.80 114.16
Adaptec ATA RAID 2400A, 1 drive 131.43 131.07 130.91 130.61 131.04
Promise Ultra 66, 1 Drive 105.25 105.17 105.12 106.68 115.36
Sequential Write Pattern - Total MBs per second
All LoadsLinearVery LightLightModerateHeavy
3Ware Escalade 6400, 1 Drive 27.64 27.66 27.68 27.69 27.37
3Ware Escalade 7410, 1 drive 27.52 27.50 27.48 27.50 27.08
Abit SL6, 1 Drive 27.54 27.48 27.48 27.49 27.15
Adaptec ATA RAID 2400A, 1 drive 26.32 26.31 26.35 26.39 26.11
Promise Ultra 66, 1 Drive 27.60 27.63 27.64 27.62 27.36

The Escalade 7410 delivers the expected single drive performance.

RAID 0...

IOMeter - RAID 0 with 2 Drives
File Server Access Pattern - Total I/Os per second
All LoadsLinearVery LightLightModerateHeavy
3Ware Escalade 6400, RAID 0, 2 Drives 71.71 109.55 122.64 135.94 157.68
3Ware Escalade 7410, RAID 0, 2 drives 71.70 108.91 121.16 135.26 157.58
Adaptec ATA RAID 2400A, RAID 0, 2 drives 70.84 109.12 116.24 139.95 157.76
Workstation Access Pattern - Total I/Os per second
All LoadsLinearVery LightLightModerateHeavy
3Ware Escalade 6400, RAID 0, 2 Drives 84.93 130.58 144.55 158.87 183.84
3Ware Escalade 7410, RAID 0, 2 drives 84.11 129.07 143.26 157.34 184.41
Adaptec ATA RAID 2400A, RAID 0, 2 drives 82.85 130.44 137.74 168.92 186.64
Database Access Pattern - Total I/Os per second
All LoadsLinearVery LightLightModerateHeavy
3Ware Escalade 6400, RAID 0, 2 Drives 82.21 121.60 133.57 146.21 165.85
3Ware Escalade 7410, RAID 0, 2 drives 81.55 119.73 131.70 145.12 166.58
Adaptec ATA RAID 2400A, RAID 0, 2 drives 82.34 121.68 131.35 153.51 168.13
Random Write Pattern - Total I/Os per second
All LoadsLinearVery LightLightModerateHeavy
3Ware Escalade 6400, RAID 0, 2 Drives 191.39 191.77 191.68 192.77 199.15
3Ware Escalade 7410, RAID 0, 2 drives 188.66 188.68 189.16 190.10 195.83
Adaptec ATA RAID 2400A, RAID 0, 2 drives 223.87 223.23 223.29 223.70 222.86
Sequential Write Pattern - Total MBs per second
All LoadsLinearVery LightLightModerateHeavy
3Ware Escalade 6400, RAID 0, 2 Drives 55.28 55.37 55.37 55.39 55.13
3Ware Escalade 7410, RAID 0, 2 drives 54.95 54.88 54.94 54.79 49.67
Adaptec ATA RAID 2400A, RAID 0, 2 drives 46.63 52.63 52.81 52.90 52.03

IOMeter - RAID 0 with 3 Drives
File Server Access Pattern - Total I/Os per second
All LoadsLinearVery LightLightModerateHeavy
3Ware Escalade 6400, RAID 0, 3 Drives 73.46 146.34 174.30 194.35 227.12
3Ware Escalade 7410, RAID 0, 3 Drives 74.00 146.36 173.98 195.31 227.42
Adaptec ATA RAID 2400A, RAID 0, 3 drives 72.20 150.71 166.38 203.78 227.37
Workstation Access Pattern - Total I/Os per second
All LoadsLinearVery LightLightModerateHeavy
3Ware Escalade 6400, RAID 0, 3 Drives 86.20 166.87 205.43 227.60 263.69
3Ware Escalade 7410, RAID 0, 3 Drives 86.77 167.64 205.88 228.66 266.08
Adaptec ATA RAID 2400A, RAID 0, 3 drives 83.31 174.56 198.25 242.50 269.35
Database Access Pattern - Total I/Os per second
All LoadsLinearVery LightLightModerateHeavy
3Ware Escalade 6400, RAID 0, 3 Drives 84.31 170.70 190.08 209.49 235.98
3Ware Escalade 7410, RAID 0, 3 Drives 84.63 172.11 190.77 210.96 242.41
Adaptec ATA RAID 2400A, RAID 0, 3 drives 84.23 173.84 186.01 224.89 242.12
Random Write Pattern - Total I/Os per second
All LoadsLinearVery LightLightModerateHeavy
3Ware Escalade 6400, RAID 0, 3 Drives 280.47 281.26 281.78 284.74 289.87
3Ware Escalade 7410, RAID 0, 3 Drives 281.99 282.63 282.69 284.88 291.77
Adaptec ATA RAID 2400A, RAID 0, 3 drives 322.94 321.84 322.43 322.76 321.90
Sequential Write Pattern - Total MBs per second
All LoadsLinearVery LightLightModerateHeavy
3Ware Escalade 6400, RAID 0, 3 Drives 57.87 61.93 61.89 61.83 61.71
3Ware Escalade 7410, RAID 0, 3 Drives 63.07 65.71 65.72 65.74 65.45
Adaptec ATA RAID 2400A, RAID 0, 3 drives 5.77 5.18 4.92 5.19 5.19

IOMeter - RAID 0 with 4 Drives
File Server Access Pattern - Total I/Os per second
All LoadsLinearVery LightLightModerateHeavy
3Ware Escalade 6400, RAID 0, 4 Drives 74.87 169.28 225.49 251.12 293.66
3Ware Escalade 7410, RAID 0, 4 Drives 74.74 168.94 224.15 251.67 296.02
Adaptec ATA RAID 2400A, RAID 0, 4 drives 73.23 172.93 214.46 261.87 296.13
Workstation Access Pattern - Total I/Os per second
All LoadsLinearVery LightLightModerateHeavy
3Ware Escalade 6400, RAID 0, 4 Drives 87.28 188.96 265.44 294.50 338.69
3Ware Escalade 7410, RAID 0, 4 Drives 88.06 189.49 265.57 296.22 344.50
Adaptec ATA RAID 2400A, RAID 0, 4 drives 85.30 196.68 253.88 313.81 346.24
Database Access Pattern - Total I/Os per second
All LoadsLinearVery LightLightModerateHeavy
3Ware Escalade 6400, RAID 0, 4 Drives 85.71 192.41 245.70 272.60 308.59
3Ware Escalade 7410, RAID 0, 4 Drives 87.28 192.80 245.28 274.34 312.80
Adaptec ATA RAID 2400A, RAID 0, 4 drives 82.73 208.56 240.27 294.58 317.20
Random Write Pattern - Total I/Os per second
All LoadsLinearVery LightLightModerateHeavy
3Ware Escalade 6400, RAID 0, 4 Drives 372.29 372.26 374.17 375.69 381.89
3Ware Escalade 7410, RAID 0, 4 Drives 367.00 368.86 365.54 373.11 378.17
Adaptec ATA RAID 2400A, RAID 0, 4 drives 416.83 415.66 416.07 417.31 416.69
Sequential Write Pattern - Total MBs per second
All LoadsLinearVery LightLightModerateHeavy
3Ware Escalade 6400, RAID 0, 4 Drives 57.97 62.07 62.08 62.09 62.02
3Ware Escalade 7410, RAID 0, 4 Drives 61.44 65.78 65.77 65.78 65.48
Adaptec ATA RAID 2400A, RAID 0, 4 drives 3.75 3.14 3.16 3.14 3.15

The 7410's RAID 0 scores are very, very similar to that of the Escalade 6400. In 2 and 3-drive configurations, scores remain virtually identical save for the 7410's slight lead in sequential write performance with 3 drives. With 4 drives, the 7410 is 1-2% faster than the 6400 under the Workstation, File Server, and Database tests. In Random Write tests, the 7410's performance is actually a bit worse, while its Sequential Write performance comes in about 3MB/sec higher.

The Escalade 7410's 1-2% performance increase relative to the Escalade 6400 - a minor one - is enough to tie the Adaptec 2400A for the ATA RAID 0 performance crown. Scores for the two cards are nearly identical in the Workstation, File Server, and Database tests, with the 2400A pulling ahead in the Random Write test while the 7410 returns the favor in Sequential Writes.

RAID 1...

IOMeter - RAID 1 with 2 Drives
File Server Access Pattern - Total I/Os per second
All LoadsLinearVery LightLightModerateHeavy
3Ware Escalade 6400, RAID 1, 2 Drives 74.43 116.88 126.98 135.37 152.29
3Ware Escalade 7410, RAID 1, 2 Drives 74.19 116.26 125.48 131.86 152.15
Adaptec ATA RAID 2400A, RAID 1, 2 Drives 65.78 115.10 119.16 138.96 151.85
Workstation Access Pattern - Total I/Os per second
All LoadsLinearVery LightLightModerateHeavy
3Ware Escalade 6400, RAID 1, 2 Drives 87.17 131.54 137.33 149.93 169.88
3Ware Escalade 7410, RAID 1, 2 Drives 87.38 130.60 135.79 146.33 169.10
Adaptec ATA RAID 2400A, RAID 1, 2 Drives 68.70 117.66 123.59 146.68 159.35
Database Access Pattern - Total I/Os per second
All LoadsLinearVery LightLightModerateHeavy
3Ware Escalade 6400, RAID 1, 2 Drives 81.77 109.63 113.54 122.89 139.90
3Ware Escalade 7410, RAID 1, 2 Drives 80.60 109.01 112.13 120.13 140.01
Adaptec ATA RAID 2400A, RAID 1, 2 Drives 70.95 115.48 121.78 137.32 145.32
Random Write Pattern - Total I/Os per second
All LoadsLinearVery LightLightModerateHeavy
3Ware Escalade 6400, RAID 1, 2 Drives 106.62 106.59 106.78 107.48 113.70
3Ware Escalade 7410, RAID 1, 2 Drives 104.88 105.10 105.13 105.57 112.46
Adaptec ATA RAID 2400A, RAID 1, 2 Drives 131.55 130.66 130.58 130.32 129.33
Sequential Write Pattern - Total MBs per second
All LoadsLinearVery LightLightModerateHeavy
3Ware Escalade 6400, RAID 1, 2 Drives 27.71 27.70 27.71 27.71 27.40
3Ware Escalade 7410, RAID 1, 2 Drives 25.18 27.40 27.33 27.09 27.09
Adaptec ATA RAID 2400A, RAID 1, 2 Drives 25.16 26.29 26.37 26.40 26.09

The 7410's scores again virtually match those of the 6400. The only difference is the 7410's extremely high CPU utilization in the Sequential Write test. As outlined the table below, there's some type of issue (a driver issue, most likely) with CPU usage in this particular test.

IOMeter - Sequential Write Pattern - CPU Utilization
RAID 1 with 2 Drives
All LoadsLinearVery LightLightModerateHeavy
3Ware Escalade 6400, RAID 1, 2 Drives 3.83 % 4.30 % 4.26 % 5.66 % 5.83 %
3Ware Escalade 7410, RAID 1, 2 Drives 30.36 % 35.03 % 42.00 % 100.00 % 100.00 %
Adaptec ATA RAID 2400A, RAID 1, 2 Drives 2.41 % 4.31 % 3.27 % 3.23 % 3.39 %

The 7410's 6400-like RAID 1 performance may disappoint some, yet it's probably unreasonable to expect significantly higher RAID 1 random IO performance than that delivered by these two cards. It may seem that the optimal case would be a 2x performance improvement relative to a single drive; however, this is an impossibility since all SR IOMeter tests include a certain percentage of writes. Before a write can occur in a RAID 1 array, both drives must seek to the location of the write. This is an issue since, when a given write isn't preceded by a write (the usual case in our IOMeter tests since a large majority of IO's are reads), each drive's read/write head sits at a different location before the write. Therefore, since the write cannot complete until 2 separate read/write heads seek to the proper location (as opposed to a just single head in a single-drive configuration), the average access time for such a write in a RAID 1 array is higher than that of a single drive.

With the above in mind, the Escalade 7410 scores no better than the 6400 in RAID 1 due to the very nature of RAID 1 itself as opposed to any shortcomings of the adapter. Testing this theory, we took our Workstation access pattern (normally 80% reads and 20% writes), changed it to 100% reads, and ran it on a both a RAID 1 array and a single drive. Comparing these results to the Workstation results given above (which, of course, used an 80/20 read/write ratio) should shed some light on this issue.

Intel IOMeter - 3Ware Escalade 7410
Baseline - Workstation Access Pattern 100% Read
All LoadsLinearVery LightLightModerateHeavy
Workstation Access Pattern 100% Read StorageReview.com
Total I/Os per second 78.24 78.67 92.38 104.16 128.77
Total MBs per second 0.61 0.61 0.72 0.81 1.01
Average I/O Response Time (ms) 12.77 50.84 173.18 614.22 1986.29
CPU Utilization (%) 0.87 0.92 1.05 1.22 1.85
I/Os per % CPU Utilization 85.80 85.92 88.33 85.41 69.46
RAID 1 with 2 Drives - Workstation Access Pattern
All LoadsLinearVery LightLightModerateHeavy
Workstation Access Pattern StorageReview.com
Total I/Os per second 87.38 130.60 135.79 146.33 169.10
Total MBs per second 0.68 1.02 1.06 1.14 1.32
Average I/O Response Time (ms) 11.44 30.62 117.81 437.21 1512.71
CPU Utilization (%) 1.08 1.82 1.99 2.24 3.08
I/Os per % CPU Utilization 80.91 71.76 68.24 65.33 54.90
RAID 1 with 2 Drives - Workstation Access Pattern 100% Read
All LoadsLinearVery LightLightModerateHeavy
Workstation Access Pattern 100% Read StorageReview.com
Total I/Os per second 90.10 156.42 185.50 206.55 242.35
Total MBs per second 0.70 1.22 1.45 1.61 1.89
Average I/O Response Time (ms) 11.09 25.57 86.24 309.77 1055.61
CPU Utilization (%) 0.95 1.68 2.06 2.26 3.07
I/Os per % CPU Utilization 96.30 93.02 90.01 91.56 78.97

Results above confirm our suspicions. Note that when all IO's are reads and multiple IO's are outstanding, the Escalade 7410 performs twice as well in RAID 1 than it does with a single drive. This indicates that the 7410's RAID 1 load balancing feature (a.k.a. TwinStor) is capable of delivering a "perfect" 2x performance increase in RAID 1. Adding writes to the access pattern, however, reduces the card's RAID 1 performance significantly.

RAID 10...

IOMeter - RAID 10/01 with 4 Drives
File Server Access Pattern - Total I/Os per second
All LoadsLinearVery LightLightModerateHeavy
3Ware Escalade 6400, RAID 10, 4 Drives 75.01 176.90 197.87 216.07 247.23
3Ware Escalade 7410, RAID 10, 4 Drives 75.71 175.31 198.03 212.61 248.84
Adaptec ATA RAID 2400A, RAID 01, 4 Drives 65.75 174.74 191.14 226.44 247.90
Workstation Access Pattern - Total I/Os per second
All LoadsLinearVery LightLightModerateHeavy
3Ware Escalade 6400, RAID 10, 4 Drives 86.34 198.34 228.41 249.93 283.44
3Ware Escalade 7410, RAID 10, 4 Drives 86.41 196.96 227.13 245.82 284.57
Adaptec ATA RAID 2400A, RAID 01, 4 Drives 68.41 179.67 198.49 237.18 258.64
Database Access Pattern - Total I/Os per second
All LoadsLinearVery LightLightModerateHeavy
3Ware Escalade 6400, RAID 10, 4 Drives 81.18 178.29 192.74 208.61 238.42
3Ware Escalade 7410, RAID 10, 4 Drives 80.97 176.52 190.55 203.78 238.25
Adaptec ATA RAID 2400A, RAID 01, 4 Drives 72.16 180.54 194.88 225.38 242.80
Random Write Pattern - Total I/Os per second
All LoadsLinearVery LightLightModerateHeavy
3Ware Escalade 6400, RAID 10, 4 Drives 185.73 186.26 186.38 187.52 193.09
3Ware Escalade 7410, RAID 10, 4 Drives 180.68 180.83 181.90 183.11 191.90
Adaptec ATA RAID 2400A, RAID 01, 4 Drives 179.04 181.98 181.84 183.27 192.58
Sequential Write Pattern - Total MBs per second
All LoadsLinearVery LightLightModerateHeavy
3Ware Escalade 6400, RAID 10, 4 Drives 30.29 31.46 31.47 31.45 31.38
3Ware Escalade 7410, RAID 10, 4 Drives 24.94 31.26 31.22 26.94 26.93
Adaptec ATA RAID 2400A, RAID 01, 4 Drives 1.74 1.60 1.60 1.61 1.58

As the 7410 scores performs identically to the 6400 in both RAID 0 and RAID 1, logic predicts similarity in RAID 10. Indeed this is the case - there are no significant performance differences between the two cards save for somewhat lower sequential write performance for the 7410 under certain loads. Unfortunately, high CPU usage is also present here, as shown by the table below.

IOMeter - Sequential Write Pattern - CPU Utilization
RAID 10/01 with 4 Drives
All LoadsLinearVery LightLightModerateHeavy
3Ware Escalade 6400, RAID 10, 4 Drives 4.40 % 5.49 % 5.32 % 6.16 % 7.47 %
3Ware Escalade 7410, RAID 10, 4 Drives 36.29 % 48.29 % 49.71 % 100.00 % 100.00 %
Adaptec ATA RAID 2400A, RAID 01, 4 Drives 0.48 % 1.57 % 1.13 % 0.99 % 0.97 %

RAID 5...

IOMeter - RAID 5 with 3 Drives
File Server Access Pattern - Total I/Os per second
All LoadsLinearVery LightLightModerateHeavy
3Ware Escalade 6400, RAID 5, 3 Drives 54.82 98.35 105.63 112.76 138.97
3Ware Escalade 7410, RAID 5, 3 Drives 56.44 100.12 106.70 113.50 142.53
Adaptec ATA RAID 2400A, RAID 5, 3 Drives 66.32 122.21 130.61 151.12 164.25
Workstation Access Pattern - Total I/Os per second
All LoadsLinearVery LightLightModerateHeavy
3Ware Escalade 6400, RAID 5, 3 Drives 62.84 112.45 119.90 127.68 154.92
3Ware Escalade 7410, RAID 5, 3 Drives 64.22 115.61 123.74 129.52 156.32
Adaptec ATA RAID 2400A, RAID 5, 3 Drives 76.09 141.62 150.58 179.30 190.23
Database Access Pattern - Total I/Os per second
All LoadsLinearVery LightLightModerateHeavy
3Ware Escalade 6400, RAID 5, 3 Drives 51.04 83.21 88.12 92.54 113.08
3Ware Escalade 7410, RAID 5, 3 Drives 52.89 85.09 90.11 93.16 116.71
Adaptec ATA RAID 2400A, RAID 5, 3 Drives 73.08 116.90 125.97 141.94 148.81
Random Write Pattern - Total I/Os per second
All LoadsLinearVery LightLightModerateHeavy
3Ware Escalade 6400, RAID 5, 3 Drives 35.52 42.22 43.10 45.90 55.24
3Ware Escalade 7410, RAID 5, 3 Drives 39.27 44.08 44.92 47.50 58.80
Adaptec ATA RAID 2400A, RAID 5, 3 Drives 93.43 93.33 93.44 93.07 93.85
Sequential Write Pattern - Total MBs per second
All LoadsLinearVery LightLightModerateHeavy
3Ware Escalade 6400, RAID 5, 3 Drives 3.51 5.00 4.74 4.77 4.86
3Ware Escalade 7410, RAID 5, 3 Drives 4.56 28.48 30.43 25.95 25.94
Adaptec ATA RAID 2400A, RAID 5, 3 Drives 12.44 13.74 13.82 13.82 12.98

IOMeter - RAID 5 with 4 Drives
File Server Access Pattern - Total I/Os per second
All LoadsLinearVery LightLightModerateHeavy
3Ware Escalade 6400, RAID 5, 4 Drives 55.75 115.98 134.94 141.66 175.44
3Ware Escalade 7410, RAID 5, 4 Drives 57.26 118.00 137.73 145.23 179.86
Adaptec ATA RAID 2400A, RAID 5, 4 Drives 66.28 139.72 154.54 179.89 191.18
Workstation Access Pattern - Total I/Os per second
All LoadsLinearVery LightLightModerateHeavy
3Ware Escalade 6400, RAID 5, 4 Drives 63.37 127.75 154.47 161.40 196.46
3Ware Escalade 7410, RAID 5, 4 Drives 65.42 130.68 156.99 163.34 198.57
Adaptec ATA RAID 2400A, RAID 5, 4 Drives 75.69 155.76 175.87 208.73 219.65
Database Access Pattern - Total I/Os per second
All LoadsLinearVery LightLightModerateHeavy
3Ware Escalade 6400, RAID 5, 4 Drives 52.35 104.08 112.22 116.31 142.01
3Ware Escalade 7410, RAID 5, 4 Drives 54.27 106.92 113.91 118.18 146.63
Adaptec ATA RAID 2400A, RAID 5, 4 Drives 72.85 131.06 142.63 160.55 167.44
Random Write Pattern - Total I/Os per second
All LoadsLinearVery LightLightModerateHeavy
3Ware Escalade 6400, RAID 5, 4 Drives 37.81 53.79 55.00 57.61 69.41
3Ware Escalade 7410, RAID 5, 4 Drives 40.83 55.34 56.44 59.38 73.42
Adaptec ATA RAID 2400A, RAID 5, 4 Drives 95.45 95.11 95.19 95.54 95.57
Sequential Write Pattern - Total MBs per second
All LoadsLinearVery LightLightModerateHeavy
3Ware Escalade 6400, RAID 5, 4 Drives 3.12 5.59 5.38 5.39 5.40
3Ware Escalade 7410, RAID 5, 4 Drives 4.69 12.66 25.92 23.01 21.82
Adaptec ATA RAID 2400A, RAID 5, 4 Drives 12.33 13.73 13.71 13.70 13.54

In the Workstation, File Server, Database, and Random Write tests, scores between the two Escalades are very similar: the 7410 consistently comes in about 2% higher than the 6400. Sequential write performance is another story, as the 7410 scores upwards of 5 times higher than the 6400 overall. This very impressive increase propels the 7410 far above any other tested ATA RAID adapters.

However, the Escalade 7410's RAID 5 performance in the other 4 tests may disappoint most readers given 3Ware's claims of superior RAID 5 for the 7410 relative to the 6400. As it stands, the 7410's overall RAID 5 performance trails that of the ATA RAID 2400A by a significant margin.

Interestingly, the CPU usage issue witnessed in RAID 1 and RAID 10 is also present in RAID 5:

IOMeter - Sequential Write Pattern - CPU Utilization
RAID 5 with 3 Drives
All LoadsLinearVery LightLightModerateHeavy
3Ware Escalade 6400, RAID 5, 3 Drives 3.93 % 6.32 % 98.19 % 98.58 % 99.27 %
3Ware Escalade 7410, RAID 5, 3 Drives 5.30 % 43.52 % 46.51 % 100.00 % 100.00 %
Adaptec ATA RAID 2400A, RAID 5, 3 Drives 1.07 % 1.46 % 1.16 % 1.09 % 1.31 %
RAID 5 with 4 Drives
All LoadsLinearVery LightLightModerateHeavy
3Ware Escalade 6400, RAID 5, 4 Drives 3.43 % 7.06 % 98.42 % 98.75 % 99.31 %
3Ware Escalade 7410, RAID 5, 4 Drives 5.23 % 17.69 % 39.18 % 100.00 % 100.00 %
Adaptec ATA RAID 2400A, RAID 5, 4 Drives 1.13 % 1.49 % 1.15 % 1.16 % 1.36 %

This issue should be resolved in a future driver and/or firmware release.

RAID 5 + Writes = Performance Disaster?

How much can increased RAID 5 write speeds improve the 7410's overall RAID 5 performance? Quite a bit... We believe that write performance prevents the 7410's RAID 5 performance from matching (or even exceeding) that of the ATA RAID 2400A. To get an idea of the extent to which the inclusion of writes negatively effect the 7410's RAID 5 performance, we ran our Workstation access pattern on a 4-drive RAID 5 array with varying read/write ratios. Normally, this access pattern entails an 80/20 read to write ratio. In the tests below, we ran this access pattern 10 times - starting with a 100/0 ratio and concluding with a 0/100 ratio. So, the first run used a 100/0 ratio (all reads), the second run used a 90/10 ratio (90% reads, 10% writes), and so on up until the 10th run which was all writes.

For each of the 5 graphs below (1 graph per load level), the X axis represents the percentage of writes while the Y axis represents the number of IO's per second achieved.

Note that, particularly as load increases, the largest decrease in performance occurs when going from 0% writes to 10% writes. For example, under heavy load, going from 0% to 10% writes decreases performance by an amazing 26%. Adding another 10% worth of writes (bringing the mix of reads/writes back to the usual 80/20) does another 22% worth of damage. However, as the percentage of writes continues to increase, performance begins to level off. This, quite simply, is because most of the damage has already been done by that point.


Conclusion...

The Escalade 7410 is somewhat of a mixed bag. Those who demand high sequential IO performance will appreciate the adapters's 64-bit PCI support. Although we weren't able to test the card in a 64-bit PCI slot, there's little doubt that it can deliver sequential transfer rates significantly higher than what a 32-bit/33MHz PCI bus allows.

When it comes to random IO performance, the Escalade 7410 currently brings very little performance improvement relative to Escalade 6400. In RAID 0, 1, and 01, this may not be too surprising. (Hindsight is always 20/20, no?) After all, it may not be unreasonable to take a "The Escalade 6400 performs so well that we can't fault the Escalade 7410 for not doing better" type of attitude for these RAID levels.

RAID 5, however, is another story. Although the 7410 features significantly higher RAID 5 sequential write performance relative to the 6400, its overall RAID 5 performance remains disappointing. We hoped for significantly improved scores - what we received, however, was a performance increase averaging only 2%. We are hopeful that these numbers can be improved sometime in the future by new firmware and/or drivers. If this turns out to be the case, we'll take another look at the 7410's performance at that time.


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