AIC HA201-AP – Intel Xeon D based high availability storage platform

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AIC HA201-AP Front three quarter
AIC HA201-AP Front three quarter

We received quite a bit of interest in the AIC active-active NVMe system from our Computex 2016 coverage and wanted to also share a few details on the Intel Xeon D based high-availability storage system we saw. The motherboards we saw were part of the AIC HA201-AP storage system. What makes this storage system unique is that it is an implementation of a high-availability SAS storage platform based on the Intel Xeon D SoCs. We have seen implementations of other vendors’ solutions specifically designed for scale-out or replication architectures using SATA or SAS drives, but not for HA controller pairs in the same node.

AIC HA201-AP Overview

One can see the AIC HA201-AP front has both 3.5″ and 2.5″ drives, eight of each for sixteen total drives.

AIC HA201-AP Front three quarter
AIC HA201-AP Front three quarter

The rear of the unit shows off redundant 600W power supplies as well as the two Xeon D controller nodes side-by-side. As one can see, each node has dual 10GbE (SFP+) and dual 1GbE networking, a management port, local access ports and two external SAS HD connectors to connect additional storage shelves.

AIC HA201-AP Rear
AIC HA201-AP Rear

The large heatsink covered the SAS 3008 chip and a SAS expander. That is how AIC is passing SAS ports to the motherboard ports, the backplane ports and the rear I/O ports for external connectivity. From the picture and the block diagram we see four Intel i210 Ethernet controllers, two for the rear I/O and two for the backplane.

AIC HA201-AP Node
AIC HA201-AP Node

We did not get the exact Intel Xeon D SKU but we can see that the ES processor on the node pictured above has a 1.9GHz rating and the block diagram mentions a 45W TDP SKU. The block diagram we received was slightly difficult to read. From what we can tell it is also one of the most complex Intel Xeon D based platform block diagrams we have seen. There are both Ethernet and NTB links on the backplane for the HA signaling.

AIC Apollo Block Diagram
AIC Apollo Block Diagram

We are going to request a review sample although we have not reviewed AIC products in the past. We are seeing a number of vendors select the Intel Xeon D platform to build network and storage appliances.

AIC HA201-AP Key Specs

  • 2U 16-bay with dual Intel Xeon D controller nodes
  • Broadcom/ Avago/ LSI SAS 3008 and 12Gbps SAS expander onboard
  • Fully redundant, fault-tolerant system supporting hot-swappable compute nodes and storage drives
  • GbE and NTB link between nodes for failover
  • Dual port 10GbE in SFP+
  • SFF8644 for JBOD connection
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Patrick has been running STH since 2009 and covers a wide variety of SME, SMB, and SOHO IT topics. Patrick is a consultant in the technology industry and has worked with numerous large hardware and storage vendors in the Silicon Valley. The goal of STH is simply to help users find some information about server, storage and networking, building blocks. If you have any helpful information please feel free to post on the forums.

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