Areca vs. ZFS performance testing.

Danny Carroll fbsd at
Thu Oct 30 20:14:55 PDT 2008

Hello all,

I've just become the proud new owner of an Areca 1231-ML which I plan to
use to set up an office server.

I'm very curious as to how ZFS compares to a hardware solution so I plan
to run some tests before I put this thing to work.

The purpose of this email is to find out if anyone would like to see
specific things tested as well as perhaps get some advice on how to get
the most information out of the tests.

My setup:
Supermicro X7SBE board with 2Gb ram and an E6550 Core 2 Duo.
FreeBSD 7.0-Stable compiled with amd64 sources from mid August.
1 x ST9120822AS 120gb disk (for the OS)
For the array(s)
9 x ST31000340AS  1tb disks
1 x ST31000333AS  1tb disk (trying to swap this for a ST31000340AS)

My thoughts are to do the following tests with bonnie++:
1	5 disk Areca Raid5
2	5 Disk ZFS RaidZ1 (Connected to Areca in JBOD mode)
3	5 Disk ZFS RaidZ1 (Connected to ICH9 On board SATA controller)
4	5 disk Areca Raid6
5	5 Disk ZFS RaidZ2 (Connected to Areca in JBOD mode)
6	5 Disk ZFS RaidZ2 (Connected to ICH9 On board SATA controller)
7	10 disk Areca Raid5
8	10 Disk ZFS RaidZ1 (Connected to Areca in JBOD mode)
9	10 disk Areca Raid6
10	10 Disk ZFS RaidZ2 (Connected to Areca in JBOD mode)

My aim is to see what sort of performance gain you get by buying an
Areca card for use in JBOD as well as seeing how ZFS compares to the
hardware solution which offers write caching etc.  I'm really only
interested in testing ZFS's volume management performance, so for that
reason I will also put ZFS on the Areca Raid drives.  Not sure if it's a
good idea to create 2 Raid drives and stripe them or simply use 1 large
disk and give it to ZFS.

Any thoughts on this setup as well as advice on what options to give to
bonnie++ (or suggestions on another disk testing package) are very welcome.

I do have some concern about the size of the eventual array and ZFS' use
of system memory.  Are there guidelines available that give advice on
how much memory a box should have with large ZFS arrays?  Can an AMD64
kernel make use of memory above 2g?


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