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Adaptec by PMC ASR-72405 Enterprise RAID Controller Review

By: Paul Alcorn | RAID/HBA in IT/Datacenter | Posted: Mar 1, 2013 2:59 pm
TweakTown Rating: 92%Manufacturer: Adaptec By PMC

Final Thoughts




Today's primary challenge in the datacenter is to do more with less, with tight budgets demanding reductions in Cost of Service (COS) per user, CapEX and OpEX expenses. Solving problems with high performance storage solutions in a dense package is necessary, and the Adaptec Series 7 RAID controllers are designed to fit this requirement.


The cornerstone of the Adaptec Series 7 RAID controllers is the PM8015 processor. This new processor provides speeds that lives up to its billing, and in our testing matched or exceeded every test that our hardware could handle. The PM8015's ability to saturate the PCIe Gen3 interface provides an assurance that every drop of storage power is fully utilized.


The sheer speed of the controller and the 24-port architecture also created a problem for the Adaptec by PMC team. Standard 6Gb/s cables and their large connectors would not allow for enough connections on a limited amount of PCB real estate. The need for a dense solution prompted Adaptec to utilize the new SAS HD cables, one generation early. These cables are easy to use and great for routing through tight bends and spaces. Their thin profile and available right angle connections also allow easy utilization in slim servers.


After the hardware end of a product is designed and successfully integrated, the onus falls onto the software developers to deliver an easy to use solution that just works. The maxView management software is responsive, intuitive and easy to use. It could use the addition of a status monitor for RAID rebuilds and other tasks.


Overall, the RAID controller is easy to install and use, and the inclusion of a new HBA Mode for the adapter is a welcome addition. This allows users to switch into HBA mode with a reboot, and then manage the connected devices directly. This is useful in a number of scenarios and simplifies management tremendously.




12Gb/s hardware is on the horizon, but surprisingly 3Gb/s solutions are still prevalent in the channel. The vast majority of customers are now broadly deploying 6Gb/s solutions, and being able to secure the highest performance and port count is essential. Customers with existing infrastructure can benefit from the Series 7 RAID controllers, with one card able to do the work of two with passive backplanes. There is also no need for an expander with an active backplane.


One area that Adaptec has vastly improved is the interoperability of their solution, with the new series tested with 25 leading vendors for servers, enclosures, motherboards, drives and software. The ASR-72405 performed well with our equipment, including the relatively rare wideport SanDisk Lightning SAS EFD's that we utilized for IOPS saturation.


The Series 7 adapters have many features currently not available elsewhere. It is the only PCIe Gen3 solution with 24 native ports, the only adapters to saturate the PCIe Gen3 interface, the only solution with 6,660MB/s in throughput, and the only PCIe Gen3 LP/MD2 form-factor with 16 native ports. These impressive specifications, and the competitive pricing, combine to make the Adaptec a sure winner.


It seems that the acquisition by PMC-Sierra has breathed new life into Adaptec's product line. Adaptec by PMC is offering solutions that are ambitious in scope and offer compelling features for their customers. For their class leading performance and density, we give the ASR-72405 the TweakTown Editor's Choice Award.



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