by Brian Beeler

LSI Nytro WarpDrive WFH8-400 Custom Flash Array Build

StorageReview has begun building a 4-card array that features the LSI Nytro WarpDrive WFH8-400 and Super Micro Computer X9DRX+-F motherboard, Super Micro Computer SuperServer 6047R-TXRF 4U enclosure, dual Intel E5-2600-series CPUs and 128GB of DDR3 memory. Follow this log for the ongoing build process and benchmark results. 

Build of Materials 

  • 4X LSI Nytro WarpDrive WFH8-400
    • Unreleased alpha build of next generation PCIe 3.0 Flash Storage
    • Full-height 400GB SLC
  • Super Micro Computer SuperServer 6047R-TXRF
    • Super Micro Computer X9DRX+-F serverboard with 11 PCI-E slots
    • Redundant 600W High-Efficiency Power Supplies
    • Dual Intel E5-2670 CPUs (2.6GHz, 20MB Cache)
    • 128GB RAM (8GB x 16 Hynix DDR3, 64GB per CPU)

Status Reports

We are flashing our alpha cards with the latest firmware build. Super Micro Computer is prepping the hardware on their side and should have the final testing rig to us next week. The excitement around the lab is palpable as Kevin gets the lab, rack, power and networking ready to go. 

The new Super Micro Computer SuperServer 6047R-TXRF arrived today. From here we will start to prep the system for OS installation, as well as get it set up in the Eaton S-Series rack in our Enterprise Test Lab.

As you can see from the shot below, the SuperServer chassis is compact but still leaves plenty of room for the 11 PCIe 8x devices that it supports.

After a quick turn back in Colorado for a re-flashing of firmware, the four LSI Nytros are back in the lab and at home within the the Super Micro server. 


Configuring the four LSI Nytro WarpDrive WFH8-400s for initial benchmarking. In total we are working with 32 SATA 6.0Gb/s LSI SandForce SF-2500-powered SSDs. During our initial large-block sequential write tests, we are measuring total performance in excess of 14GB/s from the group of four.


We've switched to the Super Micro SuperChassis 747 for this storage array, since it offers much more cooling, which was needed as we started to stress 1.6TB of SLC NAND in our benchmarking. All of the same components swapped over, including the X9DRX+-F motherboard.

Looking from the rear of the chassis forward, you can see eight fans (two of which are added to the chassis) that push/pull air through the four LSI Nytro WarpDrive WFH8-400s. The auxiliary fans added directly behind the cards pulls through even more air that helps keep these very early-production cards running cool and stable.

In the past few weeks, we have also been optimizing our tests to properly load an array of this size and still adequately stress the four PCIe 3.0 Nytro WarpDrives. Below are our initial results looking at sustained performance.

In our 128K sequential read and write test with a load of 8T/8Q, we measured the performance of the group of four in aggregate.

Looking at its peak IOPS performance, we used a 8K sequential workload, with 16T/256Q.

We also brought over our traditional mixed workloads, including 8K 70/30, File Server, and Web Server. In these loads we scaled from 2T/2Q to 16T/256Q.

  • 8K 70/30
    • 70% Read, 30% Write
  • File Server
    • 80% Read, 20% Write
    • 10% 512b, 5% 1k, 5% 2k, 60% 4k, 2% 8k, 4% 16k, 4% 32k, 10% 64k
  • Webserver
    • 100% Read
    • 22% 512b, 15% 1k, 8% 2k, 23% 4k, 15% 8k, 2% 16k, 6% 32k, 7% 64k, 1% 128k, 1% 512k

LSI Flash Array Build Discussion