Dell VRTX Shared PERC8 finally uncrippled! Write-back supported!

Somehow I missed this, but Dell came out with a great product for small to mid sized companies called the Dell VRTX.  If you don’t know, it’s a “shared infrastructure” or, basically, a blade chassis – but the cool thing about it is that it can free stand outside of a rack as well as in a rack.  It’s similar to an M1000E blade chassis but smaller.  It takes VRTX-specific blades, but it supports the large CPU/large RAM configurations that can be found in larger blade systems.

VRTX ChassisThe biggest drag with the VRTX, though, is the redundant PERC8.  If you configure your chassis to have a fail-over PERC8, which makes sense in any production environment, it was crippled.  When you have a single PERC8 in the system write-back caching works fine – as one would expect.  The reason it was crippled is that because of the design, the VRTX chassis was unable to hand-off the write-back cached data in the PERC8 off to the fail-over unit and therefore you could not run write-back cache.  The result?  HORRIBLE write performance – seriously, seriously bad write performance.  Well, not any more!

Dell finally released a firmware update for the shared PERC8 that fixes the inability to enabled write-back caching in dual PERC8 configurations!  This is literally the only place the VRTX, in my opinion, fell short on.

Here is a link to the firmware.

And to quote the enhancements:

Enhancements:
– VDs can now be configured with write back caching in dual Shared PERC8 configurations
– Increased hard drive predictive failure polling interval to 5 minutes.
– Firmware TTY logs persist across controller and chassis resets.

Now that it’s fixed I will be sure to recommend the chassis!  Good on Dell!

Author: Jon

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