SATA or SCSI drives - Multiple Read/write speeds.

Bill Broadley bill at
Mon Dec 8 17:18:52 EST 2003

In my experience there are many baises, religious opinions, and rules
of thumb that are just extremely BAD basis for making these related
decisions.  Especially since many people's idea about such things change
relatively slowly compared to the actual hardware.

My best recommendation is to either find a benchmark that closely resembles
your application load (Similar mix of read/writes, same level of RAID, same
size read/writes, same locality) and actually benchmark.

I'm sure people can produce a particular configuration of SCSI, ATA, and SATA that 
will be best AND worst for a given benchmark.

So I'd look at bonnie++, postmark, or one of the other opensource benchmarks
see if any of those can be configured to be similar to your workload.  If not
write a benchmark that is similar to your workload and post it to the list asking
people to run it on their hardware.  The more effort you put into it the
more responses your likely to get.  Posting a table of performance results
on a website seems to encourage more to participate.

There are no easy answers, it depends on many many variables, the type
of OS, how long the partition has been live (i.e. fragmentation),
the IDE/SCSI chipset, the drivers, the OS, even the cables can have
performance effects.

The market seems to be going towards SATA, seems like many if not all major
storage vendors have an entry level SATA product, I've no idea if this
is just the latest fad or justified from a pure price/performance perspective.

Good luck.

Bill Broadley
Information Architect
Computational Science and Engineering
UC Davis
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