Imperial Unit Ably Lives Up to Its Name

Imperial Technology Inc.'s SANaccelerator quenches the thirst for high-speed storage access.

Imperial Technology Inc.s SANaccelerator quenches the thirst for high-speed storage access.

In eWeek Labs tests, the SANaccelerator delivered phenomenal performance—numbers that cannot be approached by standard SCSI and Fibre Channel hard drives. The SANaccelerator is a great buy for sites that need high performance and have deep pockets. The 6GB SANaccelerator unit we tested (which became generally available last month) lists for $48,000; a maxed-out unit with 36GB costs $144,000.

In tests using Intel Corp.s Iometer storage benchmark running on a four-way Dell Computer Corp. PowerEdge 4200 server, the SANaccelerator had a maximum throughput of 164MB per second running a sequential read test with a 512KB request size.

More impressively, when we reran the test using a 100 percent randomized workload, instead of a simple sequential one, performance was still relatively high, at 133MB per second.

We also ran tests with small request sizes (512 bytes) to see how many I/Os per second the SANaccelerator could handle. In sequential tests, the SAN- accelerator processed 9,164 I/Os per second; in randomized requests, this dropped to 8,678 I/Os per second.

The SANaccelerators high rate of storage throughput and I/Os per second make it an ideal storage receptacle for heavily hit database index files or caching solutions.

The new SANaccelerator looks virtually identical to Imperial Technologys MegaRam solid-state-disk product line, but the SANaccelerator includes features that make it more suitable for shared storage environments.

For example, unlike the MegaRam unit, the SANaccelerator has a 2G-bps Fibre Channel network port. Using it, we could easily share the resources of the SANaccelerator with all the servers in our SAN (storage area network). In contrast, the MegaRam unit must be attached to each server via a SCSI connection.

Another feature that makes the SANaccelerator more SAN-friendly than its predecessor is the addition of new SANaccess software, which let us easily carve up our SANaccelerator into several physical units that could be shared by test servers.

However, the key benefit of SAN- access is that it provides LUN (logical unit number) security, also known as LUN masking. This let us assign specific storage units and bind them to the domain names of specific servers.

Senior Analyst Henry Baltazar is at