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SmugMug Found their Perfect Storage Array

SmugMug's CEO & Chief Geek Don MacAskill smugly (hard to resist) gushes over finally finding, after a long and arduous quest, their "best bang-for-the-buck storage array." It's the Dell MD300. His in-depth explanation of why he prefers the MD3000 should help anyone with their own painful storage deliberations. His key points are:

The price is right; DAS via SAS, 15 spindles at 15K rpm each, 512MB of mirrored battery-backed write cache; You can disable read caching; You can disable read-ahead prefetching; The stripe sizes are configurable up to 512KB; The controller ignores host-based flush commands by default; They support an ‘Enhanced JBOD’ mode.

His reasoning for the desirability each option is astute and he even gives you the configuration options for carrying out the configuration. This is not your average CEO.

Don also speculates that a three tier system using flash (system RAM + flash storage + RAID disks) is a possible future direction. Unfortunately, flash may not be the dream solution it has been thought to be. StorageMojo talks about this in Flash vs disk at DISKCON 2007.

Reader Comments (3)

Hey Todd,

Thanks for noticing. Love this blog - you're one of my favorites whenever Google Reader tells me I have new entries to read. :)

The flash thing has been disappointing so far. Current consumer-grade SSDs aren't gonna cut it - the poor random i/o performance and ~100K write cycle per cell are the final nails in that coffin. But, don't write flash off just yet - there are some very smart people who are starting to realize people like me would like to get our hands on devices that are designed for parallel random i/o and are thinking through the problems. The big guys are thinking about it, but so far, two guys in a garage I spoke to just last week have the best idea yet. Who'da thunk? :)

Anyway, thanks for your fantastic blog. Keep up the great work!

November 29, 1990 | Unregistered CommenterDon MacAskill

We purchased an MD300 for a rather largish state project involving around twenty Linux-based Oracle servers. We had specific needs for the MD300, and it seems to have fit the bill nicely. Also, if memory serves, the MD300 has more than one port to allow chaining. Or was that another model.. ? It's been a while since I reviewed those projects note. :)

Dustin Puryear
Author, "Best Practices for Managing Linux and UNIX Servers"

November 29, 1990 | Unregistered CommenterDustin Puryear

We have now a better performing machine. How awful it is that technology changes fast these days.

July 22, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRonald Redito

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