The migration to smaller 2.5" HDD's and SSD's has created a need for quality converters for enterprise applications. In many cases, extensive existing infrastructure would require a large investment to replace, and that is not always an option.
Utilizing SSDs in the server has become far more commonplace as complex caching and tiering systems are becoming more widespread. Placing SSDs on the other end of a networking connection in NAS and SAN environments is not always the best option. The key to getting the most performance out of flash solutions is to keep the SSD's as close to the processor as possible, maximizing performance, and keeping latency as low as possible.
The same approach with more energy efficient 2.5" HDD's also necessitates the use of drive bay converters to continue the use of existing servers.
In order to deliver a solution that allows the easy placement of the SSDs into the server requires a product that does not hamper the performance of the underlying storage. Many of the available drive-bay converters on the market can hamper the performance of the HDD or SSD, defeating the purpose of keeping the flash in the server in the first place.
The Icy Dock MB982IP-1S-1 is designed to provide that easy conversion from a 2.5" to a 3.5" drive with absolutely no impact to the performance of the underlying storage solution. The design provides essentially an unaltered connection between the SAS port on the server and the SSD or HDD.
To test the converter we are utilizing the fastest SSD interface at our disposal, 12Gb/s, and the Toshiba PX02SMF080 (reviewed here). The Toshiba PX02SMF080 is a cutting-edge 12Gb/s SSD. The Toshiba PX02SMF080 is the first publicly available 12Gb/s SSD, and to this date there is only one other 12Gb/s SSD available.
Pairing this with the LSI 9300-8e, the only publicly available 12Gb/s HBA, creates a test situation that is rather unfair for the Icy Dock converter. When the Icy Dock MB982IP-1S-1 was designed, the 12Gb/s SAS specification was still on the horizon, and there was virtually no means of determining if the converter can handle the massive speeds of the 12Gb/s specification without interfering with performance.
The Icy Dock converter comes in two versions, one for consumer, and one for enterprise applications. The SAS version we are testing today comes with a wide compatibility for any 7mm, 9.5mm, 12.5mm or 15mm 2.5" SAS drive, be it an HDD or an SSD.
The solid metal construction actually is rather light, weighing in at a mere .72 pounds. This light weight detail is surprising considering the heft and rugged construction of the unit.
Drive installation is tool-less, there are no screws required. This is accomplished via the Icy Dock True Fit system, which we will take a closer look at in the following pages.