Given the fact that most SATA drives have only an 8MB cache, and your RAID
controller should have at least 64MB, I would argue that the system with the
RAID controller should always be faster. If it's not, you're getting
short-changed somewhere, which is typical on linux, because the drivers just
aren't there for a great many controllers that are out there.
On 6/15/06, Mark Lewis <mark(dot)lewis(at)mir3(dot)com> wrote:
> On Thu, 2006-06-15 at 18:24 -0400, Tom Lane wrote:
> > I agree with Brian's suspicion that the SATA drive isn't properly
> > fsync'ing to disk, resulting in bogusly high throughput. However,
> > ISTM a well-configured SAN ought to be able to match even the bogus
> > throughput, because it should be able to rely on battery-backed
> > cache to hold written blocks across a power failure, and hence should
> > be able to report write-complete as soon as it's got the page in cache
> > rather than having to wait till it's really down on magnetic platter.
> > Which is what the SATA drive is doing ... only it can't keep the promise
> > it's making for lack of any battery backup on its on-board cache.
> It really depends on your SAN RAID controller. We have an HP SAN; I
> don't remember the model number exactly, but we ran some tests and with
> the battery-backed write cache enabled, we got some improvement in write
> performance but it wasn't NEARLY as fast as an SATA drive which lied
> about write completion.
> The write-and-fsync latency was only about 2-3 times better than with no
> write cache at all. So I wouldn't assume that just because you've got a
> write cache on your SAN, that you're getting the same speed as
> fsync=off, at least for some cheap controllers.
> -- Mark Lewis
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