by Adam Armstrong

SuperMicro SuperChassis 846BE1C-R1K28B Review

The SuperMicro SuperChassis 846BE1C-R1K28B is a 24-bay JBOD. The drive trays are hot-swappable and made for 3.5” HDDs (though an adaptor can be used to put in 2.5” HDDs or SSDs). If one were to use 8TB drives, such as HGST’s He8 drives, it would bring total maximum capacity up to 192TB. The SuperChassis can also be used as a Headunit and supports both Single and Dual Intel and AMD processors, and supports a variety of motherboards.

The concept of a storage shelf, or JBOD, is one of the more basic in storage architecture. The chassis essentially houses the drives, connecting to a host machine via SAS cable and HBA in the host. This type of arrangement continues to be popular where enterprise users want to keep the storage local to the host, but have perhaps grown out of available drive bays, or have other unique requirements and aren't in need of a full-on SAN with it's own storage controllers. In fact, looking forward, we'll be showing these same configurations of hard drives paired with caching solutions, to show how flash and software can benefit large arrays of hard drives in an enterprise environment. The use cases for JBOD continue to expand with new technology and powerful compute power on the host side. 

The SuperMicro SuperChassis 846BE1C-R1K28B is designed with budget/cost-effectiveness in mind. This DAS is made to be easy to use and maintain. The drives are hot-swappable coupled with redundant power supplies; this makes the SuperChassis like likely to cause serious downtime issues. The JBOD is aimed at business that need a low cost method of adding storage to their existing system.

The SuperMicro SuperChassis 846BE1C-R1K28B has a list price of $1,400 (unpopulated) and comes with a warranty that covers 3-year labor, 1-year parts, and 3-months advanced replacement.

SuperMicro SuperChassis 846BE1C-R1K28B specifications:

  • Form Factor: 4U
  • CPU support: Single and Dual Intel and AMD processors
  • Storage capacity:
    • 24 x 3.5" hot-swap SAS or SATA HDD
    • Optional 2.5” adapter trays can be added
  • Expansion slots: 7 x full-height & full-length
  • Expander: LSI SAS2 expanders
  • Environmental:
    • Operating Temperature: 5°C ~ 35°C (41°F ~ 95°F)
    • Non-Operating Temperature: -40°C ~ 60°C (-40°F ~ 140°F)
    • Operating Relative Humidity: 8% ~ 90% (non-condensing)
    • Non-operating Relative Humidity: 5% - 95% (non-condensing)
  • Cooling:
    • 3 x 80mm hot-swappable PVM cooling fans
    • 2 x 80mm rear hot-swap exhaust PWM fan
  • Power: 1280W Redundant High-efficiency Digital Power Supplies w/ PMBus 1.2
  • AC Input:
    • 1000W Output @ 100-140V, 8-12A, 50-60Hz
    • 1280W Output @ 180-240V, 6-8A, 50-60Hz
  • DC Input:
    • 1000W: +12V/83A; +5Vsb/4A
    • 1280W: +12V/106.7A, +5Vsb/4A
  • Dimensions (LxWxH): 26.5”x17.2”x7”
  • Weight (without disks): 75lbs.

Design and build

The SuperMicro SuperChassis 846BE1C-R1K28B 24-bay JBOD is a 4U direct attached storage. Running across the front of the platform are the hot-swap drive bays, four rows of six bays. To switch out a drive, simply press the maroon button, a small handle pops out, and the drive just needs to be pulled out and another swapped in. On the bottom left hand side are the indicator LED lights. The bottom right hand side has SuperMicro branding. At the top of either side are metal ear handles for racking and unracking the device. 

Going around to the rear of the device, that are two hot-swappable redundant power supplies on the left hand side. The center is dominated by two cooling fans. On the right hand side are 4 mini-SAS HD ports and one RJ45 port.

Testing Background and Comparables

For testing the SuperMicro SuperChassis 846BE1C-R1K28B 24-bay JBOD we used to test 24 HGST Ultrastar Helium He8 8TB drives in a mirror setting. We also ran the same tests with 20 HGST Ultrastar Helium He8 8TB and 4 HGST Ultrastar SSD800MR SAS3 500GB for SSD tiering.

Drives used in the JBOD for testing:

Management

Management isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when one thinks of JBODs. However for our SQL server test we setup a large mirror storage pool of HGST he8 8TB helium Drives as well as a mirror pull with SSD cache using HGST Ultrastar SSD800MM SAS3 400GB. 

On the Storage Spaces main screen volumes and storage pools need to be setup. 

Users need to select the physical disks to be used for the storage pool, in this case the He8 drives.

Once completed users need to name the virtual disk.

And select the size of the virtual disk out of the existing capacity.

Once the location, name, and size have been decided users need to confirm the settings.

And confirm the tiering settings, Mirror (RAID10) layout in this case.

 

Application Performance Analysis

StorageReview’s Microsoft SQL Server OLTP testing protocol employs the current draft of the Transaction Processing Performance Council’s Benchmark C (TPC-C), an online transaction processing benchmark that simulates the activities found in complex application environments. The TPC-C benchmark comes closer than synthetic performance benchmarks to gauging the performance strengths and bottlenecks of storage infrastructure in database environments. Our SQL Server protocol for this review uses a 685GB (3,000 scale) SQL Server database and measures the transactional performance and latency under a load of 30,000 virtual users.

Using Storage Spaces configured Mirror RAID we saw the JBOD give up 3,874.65 TPS and looking at SSD tiering the number almost doubled with 6,307.92 TPS

Average latency shows us a more fantastic difference. When only populated with the helium He8 drives the latency was 2,990ms. However, when we add in the SSD cache the latency dropped to 6ms almost five-hundred times faster.

Conclusion

The SuperMicro SuperChassis 846BE1C-R1K28B 24-bay JBOD is a 4U direct attached storage unit with cost-effectiveness and flexibility in mind. With 24 drive bays, that can fit with 3.5” or with an adaptor 2.5” drives and supports both SAS and SATA, the JBOD can have a maximum capacity of 192TB with 8TB HDDs. Like a large majority of what SuperMicro offers, the 846BE1C JBOD offers a lot of flexibility as to what processors and motherboards it supports if users choose to use the 846BE1C as a headunit.

For testing the 846BE1C JBOD instead of comparing it to another JBOD, we choose to compare running all 24 bays with the highest capacity drive currently available, the HGST Ultrastar Helium He8 8TB, versus the same set up with 4 of the drives replace with SSDs, HGST Ultrastar SSD800MR SAS3 500GB, for tiering. We also used Storage Spaces to do the initial configurations. While the SSD tiering did provide better results, no surprise there, what was surprising was the difference in the results. In the SQL server test we saw almost double the TPS from the non-tiered test, 3,874.65 TPS, versus the tiered, 6,307.92 TPS. The biggest difference was in latency with the non-tiered running a very high 2,990ms and the tiered running almost five-hundred times faster at 6ms.

Pros

  • Affordable and flexible design
  • Up to 192TB of capacity with 8TB drives
  • Excellent performance with SAS3 interconnects

Cons

  • Additional 2.5" bays on the rear would improve space efficiency

The Bottom Line

The SuperMicro SuperChassis 846BE1C-R1K28B 24-bay is a SAS3-capable 4U JBOD offered with lots of flexibility and capacity at an affordable price.

SuperMicro SuperChassis 846BE1C-R1K28B product page

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