I'm looking for recommendations on what Intel server motherboard would have the highest I/O bandwidth, specifically for use on a backup server. I/O bandwidth is much more of a concern than processing power here, as we'll need the system to be able to ingest data as fast as possible over the network (potentially over multiple NICs on separate networks simultaneously) while sending the data to fibre-attached disk and/or tape at the same time. With that in mind, we're wondering what Intel board has the highest I/O capacity, spread over the most number of I/O busses?
We'll be using Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 5.x as the server OS, and we're using EMC NetWorker as the backup software. Our current tape jukebox is connected via one of the two ports on a dual-port QLA2462 (4 Gb) HBA. The jukebox currently has LTO3 drives, I expect that within a year we'll move to LTO-5. We're not yet certain whether we'll move to the 8 Gb QLogic HBAs or want to go with multiple 4 Gb HBAs, but we'll likely need to increase our SAN bandwidth to accommodate LTO-5 and potential staging to disk.
The critical situation we want to avoid is buying a server that in theory has lots of I/O expandability, but in practice has the on-board NIC(s) and any add-on NICs and HBAs all contending for the same bus.
Any suggestions, pointers, and thoughts appreciated
Intel® Server Board S5520HC could be a good choice for you. The 5520 I/O Hub provides 36 PCI-e Gen2 lanes. Two onboard Gbit NICs utilizes a x4 PCI-e lane, and you have another 4 PCI-e slots, each with PCI-e Gen2 x8 bandwidth (40Gb/s). That should meet your requirements.