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.