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Separate Raid Controller Needed for SSD drives

sglee
sglee asked
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Last Modified: 2019-04-06
Hi,
 
 I am trying to build a new server with three Micron 960GB SSD drives doing Raid 1 + hot spare. The motherboard is Supermicro SM X11SCH-F on Supermicro SM 733 TOWER CHASSIS.
 The question is whether to utilize built-in RAID controller to do what I want to do or buy more expensive controller like "LSI Logic LSI00344 9300-8i SGL SAS 8Port 12Gb/s".
 In the past, I always purchased  "LSI Logic LSI00344 9300-8i SGL SAS 8Port 12Gb/s".
 However, I am getting SSD drives which are so much faster than SATA or 12Gbps SAS, so I am wondering if there arereal benefits of spending $700 for  "LSI Logic LSI00344 9300-8i SGL SAS 8Port 12Gb/s".

 I would appreciate your insight.
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retired saggar maker
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Polydore DracopoulosPrincipal Engineer
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Commented:
Hi,

I guess this depends on the purpose of the server and what you will be doing.  if this is a high volume with lots of I/O then a dedicated controller will be beneficial.  

Another reason for a controller is the cache and write back features in case of power outage, etc..

if on the other hand, you just cared for redundancy, maybe the onboard controller will suffice.

hope this helps.
SteveArchitect/Designer
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Commented:
compare the specs of the built in controller and the one you are considering. if it can deliver a better throughput it may be worth it, but its unlikely to be noticeable unless you have a seriously heavy load.
Many question the advantages of using RAID for SSDs anyway as many of the features (buffers, caches distributed load etc) arent really needed for good SSD drives.
In these cases, a build in raid will be fine as the SSD may not benefit from faster/larger caches etc. found in more expensive RAID cards.

Author

Commented:
What OS are you running? ---> Windows Server 2019
you have a seriously heavy load. --> 8 user network, word/excel files. typical office documents. No database software. No exchange server - migrated to online exchange.
andyalderretired saggar maker
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Unless you need automatic rebuild rather than having to manually do it I would put the onboard controller into non-RAID mode and use software RAID. At least TRIM will then be used (although enterprise SSDs don't really need it).
Jim MillardSenior Solution Engineer
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With SSD, the queue depth of the HBA can make an enormous difference. The onboard controller is limited & relies as much on the drivers as the hardware itself for its features, while the LSI is a hardware controller that has good queue depth & performance/features independent of the drivers. SSDs based on the SATA interface will not perform as well as SAS, but at least this controller can utilize either type, where the onboard controller can only work with SATA.

If this system is intended to support high-intensity writes and will be pushing the edges of the performance envelope, you want the add-in card.
Polydore DracopoulosPrincipal Engineer
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Commented:
Sglee,

for 8 users only, your onboard will be plenty, either RAID 1 or RAID 5 will be good.

Good Luck
SteveArchitect/Designer
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Commented:
Agreed. For the load youve specified the server youve speccd should be fine. A dedicated raid card is unlikely to provide any noticable improvement in performance.

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