Which SmartArray adapter to use?

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With availability of HP ProLiant Gen8 servers, a new generation of SmartArray controllers are released, too. HP's general purpose PCIe RAID controller family was extended by the P420(internal storage only, as i-model already integrated on the motherboard), the P421 (the same controller but only for external storage like the D2000 enclosures) and the new flagship P822 (both internal and external connectors).


The good news is, all controllers share the same ROC (RAID-on-chip) controller (the PM8020 SRCv 8x6G), supplied by PMC-Sierra. So goodbye to the good old days where you have to choose the P8xx model to get a really fast and powerful controller especially in RAID6 configs.

One excemption still exists: the P222 controller is based on a 32bit MIPS processor, it has a smaller cache bandwidth and a max of 512MB of cache. So this is really an entry level controller that should only be used for low performance operations or tape integration.

The Px2x controllers only differ in the max number of attachable drives (P420: 27 drives, P421: 200 drives, P822: 227 drives) and some special features like the feature to use SSDs as an additional level of cache. HP calls this technique HP SmartCache and it works like a read-only cache for specific workloads. This feature is available as an additional license only for the P822 controller. as an additional license for the P42x series and is included in the P822 controller models.

Another difference is the cache memory speed that is 1333MHz on the P4xx models and 1600MHz on the P822.

Back to the main question: which controller to use... with the information above you shoul be able to answer this question yourself: it doesn't matter (as long as you do not choose the P222 controller).   

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