Exclusive product review: Infortrend EonStor B12S delivers big with small-form-factor drives
Built around 2.5-inch drives, EonStor B12S storage array yields space and energy savings without skimping on performance and featuresFollow @infoworld
SAS connectivity doesn’t favor attaching many hosts to the array. If you plan to have more than a couple of servers, opt for the FC model and a compatible switch. At the moment you cannot buy a SAS switch, although LSI Logic has been showing a prototype for some time. In my case, I installed one LSI Logic SAS adapter on each of my two Windows Server 2003 machines, connected each adapter to a separate B12S controller, and I was ready to go.
Light on size, not features
The B12S may be small, but it offers a set of management tools that, if not best in class, challenges many competitors. In addition to the small, easy-to-navigate control panel, I had the option of a CLI, a browser-based GUI, and SANWatch, a Java-based application.
All the management interfaces are functionally equivalent, so after setting an IP address consistent with my network using the control panel, I was able to switch between the browser and SANWatch with ease to manage the array. Thanks to the GUIs' intuitive designs, I had no trouble provisioning storage, monitoring the status of the hardware, or keeping an eye on the workload. One major difference between the two: The browser version lacked the rich and detailed online help I found on SANWatch.
I liked that you can create separate passwords for read-only access, maintenance tasks, and configuration, but other aspects of the security tools need improving. For example, I was able to change a password without having to type the previous password, which means that anyone passing by an unattended console could do the same. Despite these few glitches, the B12S's management tools are capable and easy to use.
The B12S maintains a detailed event log that traps error conditions and triggers the onboard alarm with custom thresholds. In addition, you can send critical warnings to an admin using messaging systems such as e-mail or SNMP.
Although not the most polished I have seen, the management tools of the EonStor B12S are adequate to the task. However, I was more interested measuring how fast the B12S could perform and how much energy it would use.
For that series of tests, I used SANWatch to create logical drives, each containing six physical drives in RAID5 with no spare. In a typical setting, a spare disk would, of course, be a good idea, but I wanted to make sure that all drives were spinning and using power during the test.
I assigned each logical drive to one of my servers, then I began running Iometer scripts to stress the number of I/Os per second and the transfer rate. During those test runs, my Watts Up Pro hardware meter was recording the power used by the array only.