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SATA RAID controller recommendation

by adamk1 / January 16, 2007 2:42 AM PST

I am looking for a recommendation for a PCI express or PCI x SATA Raid controller card for a nonprofit group I am helping. The received a brand new server but it only came with one 73GB SCSI drive. We want to run RAID 1 and need at least 160 GB drives for storage/OS. I figured we could add in a SATA controller card and get the drives for the price on one high capacity SCSI drive. So does anyone have a recommendation for a card/drive combination that is relatively fast but also affordable (around $400 or $500). Is having cache on the card really important?

Thanks in advance.

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I advise against this.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / January 16, 2007 2:55 AM PST

RAID 1 provided one "save" over the past 2 decades of my work in the field. Not only that but the strain of installing said unit on a SCSI based "Windows?" server usually outstrips most IT staffers.

If a backup is required try something simpler like a copy off to some NAS with Acronis. I've see that survice lightning strikes and theft of the server.

If you insist there is something you should know. Said controllers are a commodity item unless you look to Adaptec. Example at http://www.adaptec.com/en-US/products/sata_prod/

Bob

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Good point...but if...
by adamk1 / January 16, 2007 3:32 AM PST
In reply to: I advise against this.

Thanks for this opinion. I always wondered how often RAID 1 actually saves the day. Either way, IF we were to still go this route, you would recommend an adaptec card? At the very least we need an inexpensive, decent speed, high capacity solution. And this 73 GB SCSI drive is not going to cut it. Do you have an adaptec card in mind that would work well? Do we need cache on the card? BTW, this will be an Win SBS 2003 environment with 25 users (not running Exchange).

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The thing is...
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / January 16, 2007 4:50 AM PST
In reply to: Good point...but if...

That the ethernet is only 100 meagerbits per second (typo intentional) whereas the SATA rate is far beyond that. There is no speed issue here.

As to the specific card, you note "inexpensive" yet this sounds mission critical. Sorry to read that.

-> Let me be blunt. You can fit a 10 buck SATA card and move on or spend time to research the better adapatecs. How are they better? Support and features.

Bob

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raid recommendation
by ramarc / January 16, 2007 6:11 AM PST
In reply to: Good point...but if...

first, are you totally against mirroring your scsi drive? depending on the type, an extra scsi drive could only be about $200 (fujitsu 74gb 10k rpm). windows server can manage the mirror for you even if you don't have a hardware raid controller.

as for a sata raid controller, tomshardware recently ran a roundup (sans any adaptec since they don't have any pci-express raid cards): http://www.tomshardware.com/2006/12/13/pci-express-sata-raid-controllers-for-smb-servers/
i wouldn't use any standard pci raid controller in a server nowadays since drives are fast enough to exceed the bus limits... stick with 66mhz pci, pci-x or pci-express.

i've had good experience with highpoint's rocketraid line but if you need tech support, lsi logic would be a better (but more expensive) choice.
rocketraid 2310 ($140, pci-express x4, software raid): http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16816115027
lsi logic SAS/SATA ($210, pci-express x4, hardware raid) *my recommendation*:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16816118058

if you get a sata controller, i strongly recommend you install it in a test server/pc first.

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