Today, we are going to take a look at the AIC J4078-02-04X. This is the company’s 78-bay SAS4 JBOD. With a 4U chassis, it is designed to add a lot of hard drives to a rack alongside one of the company’s head node offerings.
A bit of background on this one. Last year we reviewed the AIC HA401-TU High-Availability SAS Storage Server. That review happened just as the move to Arizona was starting. The goal was to review AIC’s 78-bay JBOD at the same time. Toshiba lined up 78 of its MG08 16TB enterprise drives, but then between firmware updates and such, we missed our window before packing the Austin lab. A few months ago, we did something different. The system was at AIC’s warehouse in southern California so I jumped on a quick flight to go see the JBOD. If it looks like the photographs of AIC’s storage chassis are in a warehouse, that is because that is exactly the case. AIC let me put the JBOD on a cart and take photos in the warehouse among the forklifts moving pallets around me.
AIC J4078-02-04X 78-bay JBOD
This is the AIC J4078-02-04X JBOD on the cart AIC loaned me to roam its warehouse.
The front of the chassis is dominated by the airflow channels. Since the fans are at the rear of this chassis, we have smaller front slits to allow air into the chassis.
On the right side, we have the power button and status LEDs.
In the center, there are 78 drive indicators.
On the left side, we can see one of the latches to open the top.
The chassis is 31.9in or 810.5mm deep. Often these have cable management arms to allow easier access to the system’s top-loading drive bays. With the cable management arm, it is 38.4in or 974.7mm deep.
On the rear, we ave the SAS I/O modules, the power supplies, and fans.
The hot swap fan modules are replaced with thumb screws at the rear of the chassis.
The SAS I/O modules have both primary and secondary modules that handle drive connectivity and redundant paths.
One can hot swap these modules as we would expect.
The SAS4x48 expanders power both modules. There are ASPEED BMCs and fans on the modules as well.
The two power supplies are 1.6kW 80Plus Platinum units. Often when we see big 4U systems on the server and AI accelerator side we see multiple huge power supplies. It is fun to see a system this big and heavy with so many devices, and still using redundant 1.6kW power supplies.
Taking the top off, we have 78x 3.5″ drive bays.
These are setup as segments of 30 bays up front, and then two 24 bays behind.
We have seen denser JBODs but one of the big challenges with these types of disk shelves is the physical stress they put on racks and raised data center floors given the weight.
The drives we are using are 16TB Toshiba MG08 drives.
A special thanks to Toshiba for loaning the drives for this review.
The drives have quick tool-less trays, but there are still 78 of them.
Inside we can see the backplanes with SAS4 expanders on them and then the cables.
Here is another view of the middle 24-bay segment.
Here is looking at the other side.
Next, let us take a look at the block diagram.
AIC J4078-02-04X Block Diagram and Management
AIC publishes the block diagram not just for its servers, but for its JBODs as well.
Here we can see the dual paths to the drives and also how the other systems like power and fans connect to each other.
We showed the ASPEED BMCs on the rear SAS I/O modules. The chassis does have a BMC to help control and manage the JBOD. We found one cool trick, there is a hard drive management feature.
This shows if a drive is working properly or is malfunctioning. These JBODs are often deployed in data centers where there are racks and aisles of these. So being able to have a management solution that can track drive status and relay that to management tools is important.
AIC J4078-02-04X Performance
We did a few quick fio tests with the Toshiba MG08 drives. Here is an example of the sequential-read test at 8M size.
Here is the random-read which looks relatively similar outside of the tail latencies.
Just to see how this changes with size. Here is the 512K test size.
IOPS increases and throughput goes down as we would expect.
This was certainly a different way to review a box. Thank you again to Toshiba for loaning so many MG08 drives and to AIC for making the JBOD (and a cool warehouse) available for taking photos.
One of the early categories that STH worked on was with JBODs and SAS expanders. It is always fun when we can take a look at these JBODs, especially larger units like this 78-bay AIC J4078-02-04X. Hopefully, our readers liked this look as well.