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Internal RAID card connection

Posted on 2006-05-12
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Last Modified: 2010-04-26
Dear Sir,

May I know how does RAID card connect to HD and to the internal Bus of server?

Is it   PCI slot --> RAID card --> Harddisk ?

thx

Eric
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Question by:bigeric
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by:jhance
ID: 16673296
Yes.  Most RAID cards are PCI bus so they connect to your computer via that bus.  The drives are connected by whatever drive interface is on the card.  There exist versions for IDE/ATA, SCSI, and SATA.
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by:rindi
ID: 16674046
There are also mainboards with raid built in, or cards that connect to the PCI-X or PCI-Express Bus, which of course are faster than standard PCI cards.
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by:bigeric
ID: 16677131
Dear Sir,

(1) For RAID(eg: RAID 1, RAID 5), is it independent of the interface type of the HD (eg: SATA, SCSI) as long as the RAID card has the interface ?

(2) For RAID card, its PCI interface will be connected to the PCI slot of the server, so does the card need to be physcially connected to the harddisk ?

thx

Eric
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by:SaxicolousOne
ID: 16677935
1. Yes. Whatever RAID levels the card supports, it can run them on whatever type of HD the card uses. The RAID level is, as you say, independent of the interface type of the HD.

2. Again, that is right. The drives that you want to be handled by your RAID card will be plugged into ports right on the card. Of course, they will take a power connector straight from the power supply, just like any other HD, but their data cables will be plugged into your RAID card instead of the motherboard's ports. The card will have some drivers to install first, and it will come with some sort of utility to run in order to access the card's functions and set up the type of array you want, then the entire array of drives plugged into the card will look like a single drive to the operating system.
There is one exception, and please don't let this confuse you: there is such a thing as a zero channel raid (ZCR) card. It's a RAID card with no HD connectors! The motherboard has to be specifically designed to be able to use such a card, and when used, it provides RAID functionality to the motherboard's own HD ports. If you've never heard of it, you don't need to worry about it.
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by:NetTechDude
ID: 16678924
Not so fast, friensds !

I know of at least one Fujitsu Siemens server that has a raid5 card that uses the onboard scsi controller, so there the HDs stay attached to the standard port (SCSI controller) but all raid features are only available as long as that add on card is seated on the pci bus.
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by:SaxicolousOne
ID: 16691088
Aha, NetTechDude's Fujitsu Siemens server must be using a zero channel raid card.
Bigeric, if you've got a RAID card with no HD connectors, it's a ZCR card. They are so called because instead of 4, or 8, or however many HD ports (channels) other RAID cards may have, these have none. I think the motherboard has to be made to work with such a card, and as NetTechDude poits out, they allow you to make RAID arrays out of drives plugged in to the motherboard's own HD ports.
However, the more common type of RAID card has HD ports right on it--SCSI, SATA, or PATA--and the drives will plug into the card in that situation.
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by:NetTechDude
ID: 16696200
Thanks for naming it. I never knew how that weird setup was called. Works pretty well, though. At least after F-S servicemen arrived, taking the *brand new* out-of-the-box server back after a colleague failed to install *any* OS and lots of calls to all of their support lines. They returned it in working condition after 8 days. Impressive. The raid card was bad :(
--NTD
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