ZFS Performance Testing: Intel P4 Clone using WD Blue Drives

In my previous post on ZFS performance testing I ran through various tests on a particular test system that I had running at the time. This time round, we are testing a Intel motherboard with a Pentium 4 CPU, 2GB of RAM, and 7x500GB drives. This system was literally thrown together with spare parts laying around the home office. This is the ultimate in home made, commodity parts, down and dirty NAS setups. Using seven (7) Western Digital WD5000AAKS (Known as WD Blue) drives attached to three different SATA II non-RAID controllers. Historically, these drives have been used in low cost and all around cheap builds up until the WD Green drives came out. Essentially, better than Green, worse than Black, but a good mix of price/GB. So here we go….

Test rig:

  • Custom Build
  • Intel Pentium 4 @ 3.0GHz Hyper Threading Enabled
  • 2GB RAM
  • Onboard SATA II
  • 7x500GB SATA II 7200 RPM – Seven (7) independent drives with no RAID. Model: Western Digital WD5000AAKS
  • FreeNAS 0.7.2 Sabanda (revision 5543)-ZFS v13

GNU dd:
Tests performed from the CLI using good ole’ GNU dd. The following command was used to first write, and then read back:

dd if=/dev/zero of=foo bs=2M count=10000 ; dd if=foo of=/dev/null bs=2M

Results:
Results are listed as configuration, write, then read.

  • ZFS stripe pool utilizing seven (7) SATA disks
    • 130 MB/s
    • 228 MB/s

  • ZFS stripe pool utilizing seven (7) SATA disks with dataset compression set to “On”
    • 301 MB/s
    • 508 MB/s

    • ZFS raidz pool utilizing seven (7) SATA disks
      • 81 MB/s
      • 149 MB/s

    • ZFS raidz pool utilizing seven (7) SATA disks with dataset compression set to “On”
      • 302 MB/s
      • 512 MB/s

    • ZFS raidz2 pool utilizing seven (7) SATA disks
      • 66 MB/s
      • 144 MB/s

    • ZFS raidz2 pool utilizing seven (7) SATA disks with dataset compression set to “On”
      • 298 MB/s
      • 515 MB/s

      Notes, Thoughts & Mentionables:
      There are a few things worth mentioning about this system:
      This is a truly down and dirty quick and ugly build using used parts. As such, you get what you pay for and the performance data here proves that. Possibly more influential to the performance scores here could and likely is the storage controllers. The motherboard only has four ports so used/cheap/old SATA II PCI controller was used to gain the additional three ports.

      As always, the tests involving compression provide interesting insight into the limitations of various processors. While running the compression off tests, the CPU load was relatively low and the systems audible sound was unchanged. While running compression on tests, the CPU was of course showing a heavy load, but it also prompted the CPU cooler to spin at a higher (more audible) rate. Guess those old P4’s still cook 🙂

      –himuraken

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