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Storage Review: SupremeRAID™ SR-1001 Review

The SupremeRAID™ SR-1001 by Graid Technology is an excellent choice for those seeking to balance cost with performance in small NVMe RAID configurations.”

written by Lyle Smith for Storage Review | May 2, 2024

The SupremeRAID™ SR-1001 by Graid Technology offers a compelling solution for those looking to enhance NVMe-based storage potential without the complexity, cost, or performance compromises associated with more traditional RAID solutions. Positioned as a more economical and scalable alternative to its big brother, the SupremeRAID™ SR-1010, the SR-1001 supports up to eight NVMe SSDs, making it an ideal choice for smaller setups like tower and edge servers, professional workstations, and high-end gaming systems.

Graid SupremeRAID SR-1001 WD SN655 SSDs

SupremeRAID™ SR-1001 Specifications

Graid offers top-line performance figures for the SupremeRAID™ SR-1001 leveraging Gen5 SSDs. In this configuration, the SR-1001 can hit 80GB/s sequential reads. Eight Gen4 NVMe SSDs pushing 7GB/s each at their interface limit will cap at 56GB/s.

Workload4K Random Read4K Random Write1M Sequential Read1M Sequential Write4K Random Read-In Rebuild4K Random Write-In RebuildMax SSD Supported
SupremeRAID SR-10016 M IOPS500 K IOPS80 GB/s30 GB/s1 M IOPS350 K IOPS8

Specifications

Card SpecificationsDetails
Host Interfacex16 PCIe Gen 3.0
Max Power Consumption30 W
Form Factor2.713″ H x 6.137″ L, Single Slot
Product Weight132.6 g
Software SpecificationsDetails
Supported RAID levelsRAID 0, 1, 5, 6, 10
Max Physical Drives32 (8 NVMe drives and up to 24 SAS/SATA Drives)
Max Drive GroupsLinux: 8 / Windows: 4
Max Virtual Drives per Drive GroupLinux: 1023 / Windows: 8
Max Drive Group SizeDefined by physical drive size
OS SupportAlmaLinux 8 CentOS 7 / 8 Debian 11 openSUSE Leap 15 Oracle Linux 7 / 8 / 9 SLES 15 RHEL 7 / 8 / 9 Rocky Linux 8 Ubuntu 20.04 / 22.04 Windows Server 2019 / 2022 Windows 11
Supported NVMe SSDsDapustor, Hagiwara, Kingston Technologies, KIOXIA, Memblaze, Micron, Phison, Samsung, Scaleflux, Seagate, Solidigm, Western Digital
Supported PlatformsAMD, ARM, Intel
Supported Virtualization EnvironmentsKVM, Proxmox VE, Virtuozzo OpenVZ, VMWare Workstation Pro 17, Windows Server Hyper-V

Traditional RAID Limitations

Traditional hardware RAID cards have been effective until the introduction of NVMe SSDs, which exposed hardware RAID as a bottleneck. Quite simply, the limitation arises from bandwidth constraints. For instance, a server equipped with a Gen4 PCIe slot can achieve a maximum of 16GB/s with an x8 slot and 32GB/s with an x16 slot. Typically, RAID cards are x8, meaning that even a moderate pool of NVMe SSDs in a single server necessitates using multiple RAID cards. To put it into perspective, a standard Gen4 enterprise SSD can deliver up to 7000MB/s in sequential read speed, quickly reaching the bandwidth limitations of a traditional RAID setup with just a few drives.

How SupremeRAID™ SR-1001 Works

To tackle these issues, the SupremeRAID™ SR-1001 operates by using a dedicated GPU on a PCIe Gen3 interface to manage RAID operations for NVMe SSDs, relieving the CPU of these demanding tasks. This design significantly improves the SSDs’ performance, allowing for efficient data processing and reliability without overwhelming the CPU. Moreover, the card handles data movement and RAID protection directly, ensuring seamless integration into existing systems. It supports various RAID configurations, making it versatile for different needs and environments.

SupremeRAID™’s software-defined RAID solution leverages out-of-path RAID protection technology, which facilitates direct data movement from the CPU. It supports a range of RAID configurations (RAID 0, 1, 5, 6, 10) without introducing throughput bottlenecks. Graid also features an AI engine that operates directly on the card. This engine optimizes the entire system’s efficiency, ensuring smooth and effective performance across the ecosystem.

Additionally, as the card is a standard off-the-shelf NVIDIA T400, it offers plug-and-play compatibility with various systems. These features, combined with an easy installation and regular software updates, make it a versatile solution that seamlessly adapts to the evolving demands of current and next-generation data centers.

SupremeRAID™ SR-1001 Performance

Testing Configuration:

Test Methodology: The SupremeRAID™ SR-1001’s performance was evaluated using a variety of read-and-write tests to simulate different scenarios. These tests provided insights into the system’s IOPS and bandwidth capabilities under different conditions.

While the SupremeRAID™ SR-1001 lists fantastic overall performance, it’s essential to understand the context behind these results. The SR-1001 is marketed as an edge or endpoint solution, so we used more mainstream and cost-effective Gen4 SSDs instead of Graid’s advertised Gen5 SSDs. It’s worth noting that the SR-1001 possesses substantial headroom to scale performance via Gen5 SSDs if necessary.

Our test platform is the Supermicro AS-1115SV-WTNRT system. It is based on the AMD “Siena” 8004 Series CPUs and features a 64-core, 128-thread CPU. This system has more moderate cost and power consumption specifications, making it ideal as a testbed for edge use cases with the SupremeRAID™ SR-1001.

The accompanying table compares Graid SR-1001 HW Raid with software RAID to demonstrate the benefits of the approximately $900 Graid solution over free Linux-based alternatives.

TestGraid SR-1001 HW RAID 
(4KB Stripe)
SW RAID5
(mdadm) (32KB Chunk)
128KB sequential read (32T/32Q)43.6GB/s, 3.1ms54.6GB/s, 2.5ms
128KB sequential write(32T/32Q)20GB/s, 6.7ms2.1GB/s, 64.7ms
4K random read (32T/32Q)6M IOPS, 0.34ms5.1M IOPS, 0.4ms
4K random write (32T/32Q)530k IOPS, 3.9ms83.8k IOPS, 24.4ms

The sequential performance is particularly notable. With just eight SSDs, we achieved read speeds of over 43GB/s. Sequential writes came in at about 20GB/s. This is impressive, especially considering it’s a “value-oriented” solution. In contrast, mdadm software RAID edged out Graid with 54.6GB/s in sequential reads. However, software RAID fell significantly behind in writes, as we recorded just 2.1GB/s.

In the 4K random read tests, we observed over 6 million IOPS at 0.34ms of latency from Graid. Software RAID, by comparison, came in at 5.1M IOPS at 0.4ms. When switching to 4K random writes, we measured 530k IOPS at 3.9ms with Graid, whereas software RAID could only muster 83.8k IOPS at 24.4ms.

Conclusion

The SupremeRAID™ SR-1001 emerges as an impressive, innovative, and value-oriented solution if you need to leverage RAID across a smaller number of NVMe SSDs. Its capability to offload RAID computations to a dedicated GPU—thereby freeing up the main CPU—enables it to deliver impressive performance without taxing system resources. This feature makes it particularly appealing for organizations where budget considerations and moderate scalability are key factors. Although software RAID solutions have eliminated the need for a physical card to manage NVMe traffic, its performance has generally been poor compared to Graid, which relies on the host CPU to manage the drives.

Graid SupremeRAID SR-1001 T400 GPU

Ultimately, the SupremeRAID™ SR-1001 by Graid Technology is an excellent choice for those seeking to balance cost with performance in small NVMe RAID configurations. Remarkably, you can unlock your SSDs’ full performance with the SR-1001 for just around $900. Compared to a hardware RAID solution from, say, Broadcom, which would cost significantly more and might not even be available for the server you’re considering, the SR-1001 certainly stands out.

Read it on Storage Review

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