Difference between SCSI Ultra160 & Ultra320?

Posted on 2004-11-03
Last Modified: 2009-01-05
I was wondering how much difference it would be running backups with an Adaptec 29160 (Ultra160) vs. an Adaptec 29320 (Ultra320). I have two Arrays on my Compaq server. It's a Smart Array 3200 and the drives are Ultra320s.

I don't know the specs on the Smart Array 3200, but I am guessing that would be my bottle neck while doing backups.
Question by:InfoSysNetworks
    LVL 3

    Expert Comment

    Well .. Teoretically .. the difference you can see here ...

    In my experience . the difference seen in RAID 1 against standalone drive is almost negligeble (regarding the mirroring).. except that your ULTRA320 has almost double the speed access in contrast to ULTRA160. Offcourse in practice everything depends on the drives ...
    I have 2 Atlas 15K in one server in RAID 1 delivering tremendeous performance .. but 15000 RPM.. there's a lot of stuff that can go wrong at that speed .. reliability of such drives in contrast to their speed is questionable ...

    My suggestion is to use  10K drives in ULTRA320 in RADI 1. (for reliability)

    All in one . I'd astimate about 80% speed advantage with 15K RPM drives in ULTRA320 over ULTRA160.

    Hope this helps ...

    Author Comment

    What about an existing server with ULTRA320 10k drives but connected to an ULTRA160 controller (Smart Array 3200)? If I need to connect a backup tape drive, do I connect it with a more expensive ULTRA320 SCSI card or is the Smart Array controller (which I believe is Ultra160) a bottleneck and I might as well go and install the less expensive Adaptec Ultra160 SCSI adapter?
    LVL 55

    Accepted Solution

    Depends what the tape drive is, for example Ultrium 460 is Ultra 160 so U320 wouldn't make any difference, The SA3200 is only wide-ultra2 (80GB/s) so not really fast enough for any LTO family but OK for DLT. There again if all the disks are on one channel of the 3200 then you aren't going to read the data faster than 80GB/s anyway.
    LVL 3

    Expert Comment

    If your tape is ULTRA 160 I'd suggest to connect it to that Controller ...
    if speed is the bottleneck like I understood from your post ... I'd definatley leave Hard drives at 320 ... and put tape on 160...
    it will ballance the load on 320... since you need much of the speed for mirroring on 320...

    If you want to gain more speed (RAID 1 is pretty much slow solution) I'd suggest to take a look at

    hjttp:// it's pretty good and intuitive ... with all the neccesarry informaion

    and here you can find appropriate RAID level solution and implement it via software to... if your reliability is at question then I wouldn't consider other options .. RAID 1 is the most reliable option.

    Cheers !

    Hope this helps ...
    LVL 6

    Expert Comment

    Specs of the Smart Array 3200

    SCSI Channels 2
    Drives Supported (maximum, internal and external) 28
    Data Transfer Method 32 Bit Bus Master
    SCSI Bus Transfer Rate (maximum) 160 MB/s (80 MB's per channel)
    PCI Bus Transfer Rate (maximum) 132 MB/s
    SCSI Bus Termination Required
    SCSI Port Connectors (internal and external) Two external Very High Density Cable Interconnect (VHDCI) connectors. Daughterboard equipped with one or two internal wide SCSI 68-pin connectors

    Supports Wide-Ultra2 SCSI, a 16-bit, 40 MHz bus with a data transfer rate of 80 MB/s
    Has two channels with support for up to 30 drives (15 per channel)
    Supports two external Wide-Ultra2 SCSI connections or can be custom configured for internal or external connections using daughter boards
    Has a removable Array Accelerator battery-backed 64 MB read/write cache board with ECC (Error Checking and Correcting) memory*
    Has read ahead caching
    Supports hot-plug PCI
    Allows multiple logical drives per drive array
    Supports RAID 0, 0+1 (also called RAID 10), 1, 4, and 5 fault tolerance options
    Supports advanced RAID Features:
    Online capacity expansion
    User selectable stripe size
    Adjustable read/write cache ratio
    Automatic performance tuning
    Global online spare
    Supports Wide-Ultra2 SCSI, Wide-Ultra SCSI-3, Fast-Wide SCSI-2, and Fast SCSI-2 hard drives
    Allows performance monitoring through Compaq Insight Manager
    Has pre-failure notification
    Has tagged command queuing
    Is available in 32 bit PCI Bus Master interface
    LVL 55

    Expert Comment

    >Supports Wide-Ultra2 SCSI, Wide-Ultra SCSI-3, Fast-Wide SCSI-2, and Fast SCSI-2 hard drives

    Supports faster ones as well, the drives just fall back to the slower speed. But to speed up the box you would have to upgrade the disk backplane as well as the controller and then you would be faced with a CPU or PCI bottleneck instead. You'd probably get the same performance buying an ultra2 controller for the tape since it can probably switch down to the slower speed/protocol as well as the disks can. Might as well save a few bob buying a slower tape unless it's an investment for the future.

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