The StorageReview In The Lab series examines the behind the scenes and inner workings of our Cincinnati-based enterprise test lab. The content is designed to take a look at the equipment, software and tools that keep the lab going, with an eye toward helping IT administrators get new ideas while also seeing the challenges faced by a growing IT organization.
by Kevin OBrien

In the Lab: Smart Cooling

As the StorageReview Test Lab continues to grow in terms of testing capacity and testing load at any given time, the cooling requirements and associated costs balloon as well. With 2,000-6,000 watts of compute activity throughout the week, or about 7,000 to 20,000 BTU of heating capacity, the costs just to cool the space can get quite hefty. The approach we've taken to address HVAC in our lab and building not only helps save us money, but literally heats our building during the heating months. While our needs may not be representative, most small data centers that start as telco rooms then grow into a rack or more of compute and storage, can have similar problems. 

Read more
by Kevin OBrien

In the Lab: Mellanox SX1024 Switch Configuration

In today's look into the StorageReview Lab, we are working on the initial configuration of a new Mellanox 10/40Gb Ethernet switch, the SX1024. Offering 48 10Gb SFP+ ports and 12 40/56Gb QSFP+ ports, it adds an immense number of ports to our top-of-rack connectivity for high-speed storage arrays and host connections. To get the switch up and running in our lab environment, we make a number of changes from the stock shipping configuration, which in most cases is a blank switch.

Read more
by Kevin OBrien

In the Lab: On-Site Testing Toolkit

At StorageReview, almost all reviews on the site are tested with hardware in our own lab on-premises in Cincinnati. As we grow and expand to testing larger storage systems, the need for proper on-site testing equipment grows. Rather than use gear supplied by a vendor for in-lab visits, we prefer to keep as much control as possible in these environments to ensure data reliability. Of course taking our lab on the road isn't possible, so we've endeavored to create the next best thing, a mini-lab built around an EchoStreams Innovative Solutions very short depth 1U dual-proc server that is easy to transport between locations.

Read more
by Kevin OBrien

In the Lab: Bulk SSD Secure Erasing

When reviewing large batches of SSDs for a certain project, the time always comes where to get back to a clean state, a bunch of SSDs need to be secure erased. This process can't be overlooked, since depending on the workload, not putting a drive back into its factory fresh condition can cause problems switching between workloads. In this lab tip we've documented how to secure erase SSDs by streamlining the process. We've created bulk erasing scripts for Linux server environments, which handle up to 23 SSDs at a time in a Supermicro SuperStorage Server 2027R-AR24NV.

Read more