RAID Server Network Performance

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by 1nfr4r3d, Nov 24, 2011.

  1. 1nfr4r3d macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2011
    #1
    Hi Guys, first time posting here, sorry its such a long one but I wonder if anyone can help me with this?

    I'm trying to eek the utmost performance out of my network and server combo and wonder if anyone can help shed some light on the matter. I have a Mac Pro 3.1 with 2GB RAM running OS 10.6.8 set up as our office server, I run a graphic design company, only 3 of us max at any time accessing the files on there, mainly large graphic files but also small-ish artwork files.

    It has a Caldigit RAID card using a Raid 5 configuration using 4x 1TB disks. System boot is on a separate drive. Using xbench i can see the drive is achieving some pretty decent speeds (although i admit not understanding them fully), figures as follows:

    Disk Test - 125.62
    Sequential - 398.56
    Uncached Write 1027.25 - 630.72 MB/sec [4K blocks]
    Uncached Write 524.94 - 297.01 MB/sec [256K blocks]
    Uncached Read 160.84 - 47.07 MB/sec [4K blocks]
    Uncached Read 1063.35 - 534.43 MB/sec [256K blocks]​
    Random - 74.56
    Uncached Write 19.57 - 2.07 MB/sec [4K blocks]
    Uncached Write 550.09 - 176.10 MB/sec [256K blocks]
    Uncached Read 3156.87 - 22.37 MB/sec [4K blocks]
    Uncached Read 2364.65 - 438.78 MB/sec [256K blocks]​

    The network is using cat6 cables so should be capable of massive throughput, however, when accessing files from the server, the most i am able to achieve in terms of peak throughput is between 58-70 MB/sec - depending which mac i use. This is measured using Activity Monitor under the Network tab. Test file is a 690MB layered photoshop file. The network is connected via a Netgear 8 port hub.

    I suppose i was expecting to get speeds higher than 100 MB/sec across the network seeing as gigabit ethernet is more than capable of that and the RAID server's hard drive is also capable of alot more. Am i being unrealistic or are there other forces at work that could be hindering performance. I know there are various other overheads involved in network speeds, i'm no expert, i read forums and other articles so i'm not a complete newbie either.

    Any input would be greatly appreciated as to how i can increase the speed or at least to understand where the physical limitations are and how to reach them :D

    If you need any more info on the equipment setup just let me know...
     
  2. derbothaus macrumors 601

    derbothaus

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2010
    #2
    File protocol matters here as well (SMB, AFP, CIFS, etc). You may get faster speeds via AFP depending on server version. Those look about right for SMB/ CIFS over GigE maybe on the lowish side. You have 128MB/s theoretical. You'll never see that with overhead to the desktop. You could bond it out of the pro but still limited with the switch performance. Netgear is OK but build quality could be the problem. I have super expensive Cisco racks and don't get all that much more but my latency is pretty good.
     
  3. 1nfr4r3d thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Nov 24, 2011
    #3
    hi Derbo, thanks for the swift reply.

    We're running over AFP, server version is Snow Leopard 10.6.8 (latest to date).

    I looked into bonding the mac but know the switch doesn't support such features, it was purchased at a time long before i understood any of this (was the cheapest available at the time).

    I suppose this could be contributing to the issues we see here then? Would you have any recommendations for a fast switch that isn't enterprise cost but delivers enterprise performance? :D
     
  4. cutterman, Nov 25, 2011
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2011

    cutterman macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2010
    #4
    I get up to 118MB/s between a mac pro and a mac mini using Dell 27XX switches, only when transferring large media files. This drops to 40MB/s or less when copying many small files.

    I think you would get better performance if you ditch the Netgear and get a better switch. I've had good luck with the Dell 2716- No fan, has pro-level features with a web-managed interface, and can usually be had on Ebay for the cheap. Alternatively, most switches with "management" capability will likely suit your needs.
     
  5. 1nfr4r3d thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Nov 24, 2011
    #5
    118MB/s now thats what i'm talking about!

    just checked ebay and there's a 2716 16 port one going for £50 - sound like a bargain?
     
  6. cutterman macrumors regular

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    Apr 27, 2010
    #6
    Yes that is a good deal. Most managed network switches with 16 ports will run $350 and higher (some much higher).
     
  7. 1nfr4r3d thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Nov 24, 2011
    #7
    Done, purchased and will report back with some stats.

    Thanks to both you guys for your input, much appreciated :D
     
  8. 1nfr4r3d thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2011
    #8
    Received my switch this afternoon and first round of results are looking very promising.

    Initial testing (using the switch unmanaged) has yielded between 83-118 MB/sec depending on which Mac i'm using which is a good 30-50% increase in speed from the original setup :D

    I'm now trying to go the "managed" route and setup link aggregation from the server but am having some teething trouble getting it all connected and running right. Am sitting down with the manual and trying to get it going, will update on further test results as and when they come in but needless to say so far, we have one happy camper.

    Thanks for the advice guys...
     
  9. derbothaus macrumors 601

    derbothaus

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2010
    #9
    Thanks for the post back. I will most likely avoid the netgear switches from now on myself.
     
  10. 1nfr4r3d thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2011
    #10
    ok this is killing me! :mad: cutterman i wonder if you may be able to help (or anyone for that matter).

    I'm trying to set up link aggregation so the server is utilising both ethernet ports - i have set the switch set up combing ports 1 + 2 into a LAG group.

    I then go through the network preference pane and set up a virtual interface combining the 2 ethernet ports into 1 bond or LAG. This works for about 60 secs then drops connection saying the port on the switch doesn't have 802.3ad link aggregation enabled???

    Any ideas what i may be doing wrong? I have sat here with the manual for hours, scoured the web for help and everything seems to point back to the same advice which i'm following over and over and i feel like i've hit a brick wall.
     
  11. cutterman, Nov 30, 2011
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2011

    cutterman macrumors regular

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    Apr 27, 2010
  12. 1nfr4r3d thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Nov 24, 2011
    #12
    Might be worth creating a new thread with this issue i'm guessing? :)
     
  13. 1nfr4r3d thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Nov 24, 2011
    #13
    hi cutterman, sorry to revive a dead post but i just wondered if you'd ever tried setting up link aggregation with the 2716 switch and if you had any success with it?
     
  14. cutterman macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2010
    #14
    Yes I did try it and got the exact same results you did. It worked for about a minute. I also suspect the Dell switch does not support the protocol used by the Intel nic and driver in the macpro.
     
  15. 1nfr4r3d thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Nov 24, 2011
    #15
    thanks for getting back to me - at least i know its not me being a complete bell-end
     
  16. nanofrog macrumors G4

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    #16
    This is what I'm thinking, particularly as the 2716 doesn't support 802.1AX as it's firmware is from 2005 (entered service early 2006 IIRC).
     
  17. 1nfr4r3d thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Nov 24, 2011
    #17
    well, that saved me a lot of time and frustration, thanks.
     

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