Tom Barclay, Wyman Chong, and Jim Gray
We have been investigating the use of low-cost, commodity components for multi-terabyte SQL Server databases [SQL]. Dubbed storage bricks, , these servers are white box PCs containing the largest ATA drives, value-priced AMD or Intel processors, and inexpensive ECC memory. One issue has been the wiring mess, air flow problems, length restrictions, and connector failures created by seven or more parallel ATA (PATA) ribbon cables and drives in]a tower or 3U rack-mount chassis. Large capacity Serial ATA (SATA) drives have recently become widely available for the PC environment at a reasonable price. In addition to being faster, the SATA connectors seem more reliable, have a more reasonable length restriction (1m) and allow better airflow. We tested two drive brands along with two RAID controllers to evaluate SATA drive performance and reliablility. This paper documents our results so far.