Adaptec RAID Series 6 Family FAQs


How is the Adaptec Series 6 different from the Adaptec Series 5 and Series 5Z?
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The Adaptec Series 6 is our first 6Gb/s unified Serial RAID adapter channel storage solution. Series 5 and Series 5Z with ZMCP are both 3Gb/s. For maximum flexibility Series 6 includes our advanced Zero-Maintenance Cache Protection (ZMCP) as a separate module (AFM 600). ZMCP solves Lithium Ion Battery Back-up (BBU) deficiencies by providing full protection to cached data with no installation, monitoring, maintenance, or replacement costs. Like the Series 5 and Series 5Z, the Series 6 family also offers a full suite of RAID features and Intelligent Power Management.

What is the performance of the Series 6 versus the Series 5?   top of page

While the Series 5 still delivers high performance in all server-related workloads with a high number of I/O operations like OLTP and file servers, the Series 6 offers enhanced bandwidth with its 6Gb/s SAS 2.0 and PCIe Gen2 interfaces. In applications where bandwidth is a key differentiator the Series 6 can deliver up to 60% higher performance than Series 5.

What applications is 6Gb/s ideal for and why?   top of page

While 6Gb/s solution can play in all kinds of environments and applications, it provides its true benefit when high throughput and high bandwidth is required. Typical applications are such as editing and broadcasting uncompressed stereoscopic (3D) video streams or archiving. In addition, applications which use 6Gb/s enterprise class SSDs for high throughput can benefit, as typically such devices take advantage of the 6Gb/s SAS bandwidth.

What is Zero-Maintenance Cache Protection (ZMCP)?   top of page

Zero-Maintenance Cache Protection (pronounced zem-cap) is a revolutionary advancement that solves Lithium Ion BBU deficiencies by providing full protection to cached data with no installation, monitoring, maintenance, or replacement costs. It utilizes flash memory and super-cap technology to deliver an advanced and superior adapter cache protection solution. The super-cap charges while your system boots offering backup protection immediately, while 4GB of flash memory dedicated to protecting the data in adapter cache offers continued protection that never needs to be monitored or replaced after installation. Zero-Maintenance Cache Protection removes the hardware maintenance associated with other adapter cache backup solutions.

Why do I need to protect adapter cache?   top of page

Adapter cache should always be protected whenever write caching is enabled to guard against loss of data stored in the cache if system power goes out. Enabling the adapter cache offers benefits in performance – especially RAID 5 and RAID 6 performance – and extends the duration and cost savings of Adaptec's Intelligent Power Management by storing data rather than writing it to a spun-down drive.

I currently use a battery backup module to protect my adapter cache. How is Zero-Maintenance Cache Protection an improvement?   top of page

Zero-Maintenance Cache Protection (ZMCP) eliminates the inefficiencies of the Lithium Ion BBU protection model, resulting in cost savings over the life of the product and the lowest Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). By offering data protection that does not degrade over time, ZMCP removes the costs of monitoring, maintaining, replacing, and disposal associated with the Lithium Ion BBU model. With the data stored in flash memory, the Adaptec Series 6 stores protected data for years in case of power loss – a monumental improvement over the Lithium Ion BBU model which maintains data only for up to 72 hours before the battery power depletes. This extended data accessibility allows for less constrained disaster recovery plans, relieving remote data center response times from the 72 hour Lithium Ion BBU threshold.

What is the cost of Zero-Maintenance Cache Protection (ZMCP) and how much will I save from a Lithium Ion Battery Back-Up (BBU) model?   top of page

The actual cost of the Lithium Ion BBU protection model varies by use case, but there are several contributing variables to the Lithium Ion BBU cost equation. Battery charge reduces over time, requiring replacement during the system installation life. This replacement adds hardware costs and installation costs to physically replace the Lithium Ion BBU. Additionally, the system may suffer from unplanned downtime to replace a failed battery, resulting in loss of system resources that can be avoided with ZMCP. Disposal of old batteries usually requires adherence to hazardous material standards, adding even more cost. By adding up the hardware, maintenance, and disposal costs, savings can accumulate to thousands of dollars per year by implementing an Adaptec Series 6 solution.

Why isn't this feature offered on competitors' products?   top of page

Zero-Maintenance Cache Protection is an industry-first solution offered only by PMC Adaptec and is the result of conquering several technical hurdles in design and validation. We deliver the most innovative and impactful technological advances to our customers, emphasizing performance, efficiency, and value. The Series 6 extends all three of these criteria, and is essential to ensure your data is protected.

What is Hybrid RAID 1, 10?   top of page

Hybrid RAID arrays are mirrors of Solid State Drives (SSDs) and Hard Disk Drives (HDDs) offer tremendous performance gains over standard HDD RAID arrays by performing read operations from the faster SSD and write operations on both the SSD and HDD. The result is a higher number of read operations per second with no significant degradation of write I/O performance, and complete transparency to the operating system and all running applications.

What RAID levels do the Series 6 products support?   top of page

The Series 6 RAID adapter family supports standard RAID levels 0, 1, 1E, 5, 5EE, 6, 10, 50, 60, and JBOD. It also supports Copyback Hot Spare, which allows the user to specify a fixed physical location for the hot spare for improved manageability.

What operating systems are supported?   top of page

The Series 6 family supports a long list of operating systems including Windows, Linux, VMware, Solaris, and FreeBSD. For a complete list of available operating systems and drivers, please consult the Adaptec support site.

What management utilities are included with the Series 6?   top of page

Adaptec Storage Manager™ is a one-view utility that centralizes management of all Adaptec RAID products. Adaptec Storage Manager enables remote RAID management, monitoring, and configuration through secure, encrypted communication.

ARCCONF (Command Line Interface – CLI) - Text-based command line interface that provides the same functions as Adaptec Storage Manager in environments where a GUI is not available.

BIOS configuration utility (ACU) – used for quick and easy local setup without booting the OS.

How compatible is the Series 6 family?   top of page

The Series 6 adapters are tested and supported on all the major vendors' motherboard, enclosures, and disk drives.

Is Adaptec Series 6 compatible with the existing Series 2 and Series 5 products?   top of page

Yes, Series-6 is fully compatible with its predecessors: Series 2 and Series 5. Existing RAID arrays can be migrated from Series 2 and series 5 to Series 6 and vice versa. Series 6 adapters cards can co-exist in the same system with Series1-5 adapters.

What is the warranty period on the Series 6 RAID adapter Family?   top of page

The Series 6 RAID adapter Family has been extensively tested with third-party systems to deliver the utmost in compatibility, now and in the future. Each is backed by a 3-year warranty and Adaptec industry-leading technical support.

What is Unified Serial?   top of page

SAS/SATA adapters, like the Series 6 family, support both SATA and SAS disk drives using a serial point-to-point interface. The command set is an enriched SCSI command set providing robust data management, error handling, and performance characteristics.

This flexibility of supporting both SATA and SAS disk drives makes it easy for companies to standardize on a single I/O infrastructure for both mission-critical storage and secondary storage – dependent solely upon whether SATA or SAS disk drives are installed. Customers can standardize on a single I/O adapter or storage system for all of their storage configurations, reducing training and repair costs.