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USB RAID Controller

Posted on 2007-10-16
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I am looking for a PCI or PCI Express RAID controller card with at least 3 external USB 2.0 ports - RAID 5

Bill
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Question by:billrush2
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Lee W, MVP earned 1000 total points
ID: 20084509
Never heard of such a thing and I doubt it exists.  Performance wouldn't be very good (USB2, compared to SATA, PATA, SAS, and SCSI is MUCH slower and no one I can think of would ever do this - besides, RAIDs need to be solid - not removable... USB2 is meant to be removable.

If you want something LIKE this, I would suggest you look into eSATA - those exist and performance is MUCH, MUCH better than what you could expect from a USB2 solution.
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by:jamietoner
ID: 20084749
I agree with leew, plus i suggest using an external esata raid enclosure so the drives stay together and only 1 esata cable would be required(multiple cables will usually end up causing headaches).
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817256018
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by:billrush2
ID: 20085785
I understand your comments regarding the USB 2.0 speed, however the solution I am working on needs to use 2.5" bus powered external hard drives.  So I need a controller to pull these drives together in RAID 5.  USB 2.0 is the only bus powered solution for external 2.5" drives I am familiar with, maybe there are others?

Bill
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by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 20086752
MAYBE you can use something like this:
http://www.addonics.com/products/flash_memory_reader/ae4udd.asp

Otherwise, powering 3 drives from the USB bus could put a strain on your system's power supply.
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by:CarlosMMartins
ID: 20094092
And keep in mind that even external 2.5", often require the power from 2 separate USB ports to work properly.

Using USB for what that purpose wouldn't be too reliable.
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by:billrush2
ID: 20094638
Carlos,

Yes I am aware of this - per MS website, the USB 2.0 spec is for max power not to exceed 500mW.  Many 2.5 inch drives operate above this level.  I am only using those at or below 500mW power consumption level.

Bill
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by:arthurjb
ID: 20094973
>>I am only using those at or below 500mW power consumption level.

This sounds like an interesting project, but there is no commercial solution available yet.

Maybe if you define your problem, we can help you with a solution, since there are some external usb solutions that have Raid1 capablity, but they need external power.

(Netgear 101  comes to mind.)
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by:billrush2
ID: 20095008
arthurjb,

I am unable to disclose the details of the system I am working on, but I think you are right that no commercial solution yet - thanks for your comments.

Bill
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by:arthurjb
ID: 20097850
You don't have to reveal too many of the details to get a better answer.

So here are a few questions that might help.

Is it the small size of he usb or do you just not want to use an internal raid card?

Is the lack of an external supply just a nice thing to have, or 100% necessary?

Is there a reason you cannot use an external raid box that is built for the purpose?
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by:billrush2
ID: 20098074
arthurjb,

Is it the small size of he usb or do you just not want to use an internal raid card?
Need small low energy consumption external drives

Is the lack of an external supply just a nice thing to have, or 100% necessary?
Nice to have

Is there a reason you cannot use an external raid box that is built for the purpose?
Yes - there is a reason (confidential)

Bill
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by:arthurjb
ID: 20098308
If you are stuck having to use windows, then I am not sure if there is a solution.

But, if you can use Solaris, you may be able to use the Disk Suite tools to use several of the drives as part of a raid set.

It seems like an interesting project, tomorrow I am going to try using a usb drive under disk suite, and let you know the results.  (I would do it now, but I don't have a Solaris machine here.)

Of course, the main reason to use raid is to provide data protection from a disk drive failure.  With the cost of solid state drives dropping, you may be further ahead to see if you can use solid state drives to meet your goal.  Since a failure of the solid state drive is much less likely, it may eliminate your need for raid, and reduce your power budget...


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by:kkrans
ID: 20105428
Makes me think about a software RAID with USB. I would not use any other RAID level than 1 due to potential breakage and need to rebuild a 0 or 3, 5, 6, 10 and so

USB bus is simply to unreliable to trust in a real RAID 5 scenario
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by:Computer101
ID: 20316474
Forced accept.

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