Some of you read my post on drive performance, 'How fast are your drives?,' and have wondered if investing in a 6Gb/s SAS storage infrastructure makes sense for your environment. Traditional SAS systems have a transfer rate of 3Gb/s, so the new HP 6Gb/s SAS drives and Smart Array controllers have doubled the available bandwidth of storage subsystems.
Given that 6Gb/s refers to the system throughput or the speed at which data travels among the components of the storage subsystem (the drive, controller, server backplane, and/or SAS expander and JBOD), will your system performance really improve? Well, if your environment consists of a small number of storage devices and your I/O workload is 40% or less, you probably won't see any benefits beyond generational improvements (e.g. performance and technology improvements that happen over time). In such environments, the bottleneck may actually be the speed at which bits can be moved to (from) the hard disk platters from (to) the hard disk's integrated controller and the fast transfer among storage devices may be "wasted."
However, if you're running multi-device, storage-intensive applications, such as video streaming, server virtualization, or real-time backup systems, you'll want to make sure your system doesn't saturate as often and pumping data through the system faster will help keep up with your heavy I/O demands.
If you're running a ProLiant G6 server and have a 6Gb/s SAS storage infrastructure, let's hear what kind of application you're running.