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The Escalade 7000 Series Revisited: 3Ware's Escalade 7450

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The Escalade 7000 Series Revisited: 3Ware's Escalade 7450
 November 19, 2001 Author: Terry Baranski  


IOMeter Scores...

Base Scores...

Baseline with 1 Drive

The 7450 turns in a score very similar to the 7410 with a single drive.

RAID 0...

RAID 0 with 2 Drives
RAID 0 with 3 Drives
RAID 0 with 4 Drives

Scores between the 7450 and 7410 are again very similar. The largest difference is the 7450's 1.5MB/sec lead in sequential writes in three and four drive arrays.

RAID 1...

RAID 1 with 2 Drives

Again, scores are virtually the same between the 7450 and 7410. Unfortunately, Sequential Write CPU usage also remains the same... Readers of the 7410 review may recall that the adapter had an apparent driver issue that caused CPU usage to top out at 100% in the Sequential Write test in RAID levels 1, 10, and 5. The 7450 also exhibits this behavior in RAID 1:

IOMeter - Sequential Write Pattern - CPU Utilization (%)
All LoadsLinearVery LightLightModerateHeavy
3Ware Escalade 7410, RAID 1, 2 Drives30.36 % 35.03 % 42.00 % 100.00 % 100.00 %
3Ware Escalade 7450, RAID 1, 2 Drives33.15 % 34.38 % 40.82 % 100.00 % 100.00 %

UPDATE:

After the initial benchmarks, 3ware sent us updated drivers (1.10.01.042) for the 7x50 series meant to address the high CPU usage issue seen above. The table below compares the 7450's RAID 1 Sequential Write CPU usage with the two drivers:

CPU Utilization per IOs Outstanding - 3Ware Escalade 7450, RAID 1, 2 Drives
All LoadsLinearVery LightLightModerateHeavy
New Drivers 33.67 35.19 41.92 42.31 43.49
Old Drivers 33.15 34.38 40.82 100.00 100.00

The new drivers decrease CPU utilization by about 58% under moderate and heavy load - CPU usage under linear, very light, and light loads is unaffected, however. Despite the improvement, the numbers are still much higher than is desirable. Hopefully, a future driver release will lower them even further.

RAID 10...

RAID 10 with 4 Drives

The 7450 scores (surprise surprise) about the same in RAID 10 as the 7410. This goes for CPU usage as well:

IOMeter - Sequential Write Pattern - CPU Utilization (%)
All LoadsLinearVery LightLightModerateHeavy
3Ware Escalade 7410, RAID 10, 4 Drives36.29 % 48.29 % 49.71 % 100.00 % 100.00 %
3Ware Escalade 7450, RAID 10, 4 Drives36.16 % 48.56 % 49.15 % 100.00 % 100.00 %

UPDATE:

Below is the CPU usage comparison table for RAID 10:

CPU Utilization per IOs Outstanding - 3Ware Escalade 7450, RAID 10, 4 Drives
All LoadsLinearVery LightLightModerateHeavy
New Drivers 36.18 48.72 49.00 49.92 50.97
Old Drivers 36.16 48.56 49.15 100.00 100.00

As with RAID 1, CPU usage is improved with the new drivers, but not as much as we'd all like.

At this point, some readers may be asking themselves why 3Ware even bothered to release a card that performs exactly the same as its older brother. Keep in mind what we said earlier: the 7450 is aimed at improving RAID 5 performance. Let's have a look at its RAID 5 scores!

RAID 5...

RAID 5 with 3 Drives
RAID 5 with 4 Drives

It's here that significant performance differences arise between the 7450 and 7410. In the File Server, Workstation, and Database access patterns, the 7450 consistently scores 5-15% better than the 7410. The Database pattern enjoys the greatest improvement out of the three - likely because it incorporates the greatest percentage of writes. Looking at Random Write scores, one sees that the 7450 scores significantly better than the 7410 - especially under light loads.

The largest improvement, however, arrives in Sequential Write tests. The 7410's average score of 25MB/sec was double that of the competition in its own right. The 7450, however, weighs in at an unprecedented 45MB/sec with a 4-drive array - a very impressive performance boost, especially considering that it comes from firmware alone.

Adding to the good news is the fact that the aforementioned Sequential Write CPU usage issue isn't present under RAID 5 as it was with the 7410:

IOMeter - Sequential Write Pattern - CPU Utilization (%)
All LoadsLinearVery LightLightModerateHeavy
3Ware Escalade 7410, RAID 5, 3 Drives5.30 % 43.52 % 46.51 % 100.00 % 100.00 %
3Ware Escalade 7450, RAID 5, 3 Drives3.99 % 4.41 % 4.31 % 4.57 % 5.32 %

IOMeter - Sequential Write Pattern - CPU Utilization (%)
All LoadsLinearVery LightLightModerateHeavy
3Ware Escalade 7410, RAID 5, 4 Drives5.23 % 17.69 % 39.18 % 100.00 % 100.00 %
3Ware Escalade 7450, RAID 5, 4 Drives4.03 % 4.38 % 4.67 % 4.81 % 4.76 %

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