Wednesday 18 June 2014

SOFS, Storage Spaces, and a Big Thanks to the Intel Technology Provider Program!

What was once the Intel Channel Program and now ITP has been very generous to us over the years.

We make no bones about our support of both the program but also the excellent Intel Server Systems and Intel Storage Systems that we deploy on a regular basis.

With the introduction of the Grizzly Pass product line we received a product that was bang-on with Dell, HP, and IBM feature for feature, construction quality for construction quality, with two very significant advantages to the Intel product:

  1. Flexibility
    • We can utilize an extensive tested hardware list to custom configure our server and storage systems to order way beyond what Tier 1 offers even in their Build-to-Order programs.
    • We are able tune our configurations to very specific performance needs.
  2. Support
    • The folks on the other end of the support line are second to none. Some of the folks we have worked with have been our contact for cases over the last ten years or more! These folks know their stuff.
    • Advanced no questions asked warranty replacement for almost all products is also a huge asset.

This is the product stack we have been working on lately for our Proof-of-Concept testing for Scale-Out File Server failover clusters, Hyper-V over SMB via 10GbE provided for by two NETGEAR XS712T 10GbE switches, and Storage Spaces performance testing.


The top two servers are Intel R1208JP4OC 1U single socket servers supporting the Intel Xeon Processor E5-2600 v1/v2 series CPUs. They have dual Intel X540T2 NICs via I/O Module and PCIe add-in card along with a pair of Intel RS25GB008 SAS HBAs to provide connectivity to the Intel JBODs at the bottom.

Two of the Intel Server System R2208GZ4GC 2U dual socket servers were here for the last couple of months on loan from the Intel Technology Provider program. We have been using them extensively in our SOFS and Storage Spaces testing along with the other four servers that are our own.

One of the Intel Storage System JBOD2224S2DP units in the above picture is a seed unit provided to us by ITP as we are planning on utilizing this unit for our Data Centre deployments. The other two were purchased through Canadian distribution. Currently two are in a dedicated use configuration with the third to be used to test enclosure resilience in a Storage Spaces 3-Way Mirror configuration.

We have been acquiring HGST SAS SSDs in the form of first and second generation units with an aim to get into 12Gb SAS at some point down the road. We still have a few more first and second generation SSDs to go to reach our goal of 24 units total.

The second JBOD has 24 Seagate Savvio 10K SAS spindles that will be worked on in our next round of testing.

Our current HGST SAS SSD based IOPS testing average is about 375K on an 8 SSD disk set up in a Storage Spaces Simple configuration (similar to RAID 0):


We have designs on the board for providing enclosure resilient solutions that run into the millions of IOPS. As we move through our PoC testing we will continue to publish our results here.

We are currently working with Iometer for our baseline and PoC testing. SQLIO will also be utilized once we get comfortable with performance behaviours in our storage setups to fine tune things for SQL deployments.

Again, thanks to Scott P. and the Intel Technology Program for all of your assistance over the years. It is greatly appreciated. :)

Philip Elder
Microsoft Cluster MVP
Co-Author: SBS 2008 Blueprint Book
Chef de partie in the SMBKitchen ASP Project
Find out more at
Third Tier: Enterprise Solutions for Small Business

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