With a challenge of improving performance in accessing its archival storage platform, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) has run through a rigorous testing of xiRAID, a software RAID solution developed by Xinnor Ltd. In comparison with other solutions xiRAID showed performance drastically outperforming other setups.
HPSS (High Performance Storage System) is operated at KIT as a storage platform for archival storage on magnetic tapes mainly for the Grid Computing Center Karlsruhe (GridKa) and the bwDataArchive service.
HPSS is currently based on 3 tape libraries storing more than 100PB distributed over 2 sites. Managing such large pool of data on tapes requires proper implementation of a cache for both writing and reading.
After testing 2 systems, one based on HDDs and one based on SSDs, KIT came to the conclusion that those systems do not offer expected stable performance due to limitations of their internal architecture. These trials highlighted the need for a system offering low latency, high throughput and storage redundancy. To cope with these requirements, KIT took a bold step by evaluating xiRAID, renowned for its ability to deliver performance and reliability with NVMe drives.
The testing configuration featured a standard server equipped with an AMD Epyc 9954P processor boasting 64 cores, 512GB of DRAM, and 10 Micron 9400 NVMe SSDs, each with a capacity of 30TB. It also included 4x100GbE links and Xinnor’s xiRAID in RAID-6 configuration with multiple logical volumes (LV). Following the RAID setup, the usable storage capacity was to 240TB. Notably, this RAID setup ensures the system can withstand the failure of up to 2 out of the 10 drives, offering assurance in terms of reliability and data integrity.
Through testing, KIT’s benchmark results shattered expectations. The NVMe SSD-based solution powered by xiRAID consistently achieved read speeds exceeding 50GB/s and write speeds surpassing 25GB/s. These performance levels outperformed previous storage systems by a wide margin.
The success of KIT’s xiRAID testing not only underscores the institute’s commitment to innovation but also highlights the transformative potential of software-defined storage solutions. KIT’s experiments to identify the best cache for their tape libraries highlight the efficiency of a setup utilizing a standard x86 server with local NVMe storage, safeguarded by xiRAID. This solution demonstrates performance at minimal power consumption and a notably lower cost compared to alternative options explored by KIT. With xiRAID ensuring data integrity, the solution effectively meets the performance requirements for operating the cache tier.