Hard Drive Storage -USB3/Ethernet/Sata Fastest Recovery Time

Posted on 2010-09-21
Last Modified: 2012-05-10
Dell Poweredge 2950
OS: Windows Server 2003 SBS

Backup software: StorageCraft ShadowProtect or Macrium Reflect Full (we have licenses for both, we are using StorageCraft for now). Full Images are being created nightly

What would you recommend for an external storage that would be faster then our current 1TB drive usb 2.0 solution.

We are quite happy with the software backups that are being created now. Situation leaves us wishing for more speed wise. About 120GB image takes 1 hours 45 minutes on average if a full recover takes place.

My question is, is there a technology (and I spent time looking at 3 possible solutions - Network Recovery(NAS), USB 3.0 recovery - Promises speeds 10 times faster then USB 2.0 and SATA 6Gb's ) that would allow faster recovery times.

I'm wondering if first

1) Keeping the same software and performing a recovery over let's say USB 3.0 would be a faster process or is there a software limitation as well)
2) Server has a built it Gigabyte ethernet card, what NAS storages are my options and can NAS be used just like a 1TB NTFS formatted external drive would, as in using a NAS storage like a read/write drive with ability to write nightly images and performing recovery via network as a normal drive
3) is SATA 6GB noticeably faster then USB 3.0?

Here's the link to the server:

I'm not sure on what Sata version is built in.
The ethernet card is Gigabit
I'd buy a USB3 pci-e card if thats what we'll go with.
Question by:Anti-Mhz

Expert Comment

ID: 33723172
see the attached excel file having the max interface speed.It may help you to take the decision
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Expert Comment

ID: 33731090
USB is not a good solution, use eSATA or even better external SAS drives with 15 K speed.

I hope this helps !
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Accepted Solution

ocanada_techguy earned 250 total points
ID: 33735904
I agree USB 2 is not as fast as you would like or could go.
Finally USB 3 is starting to appear and has a theoretical throughput that can t least be comparable to eSATA II 3Gbit/s.  SATA 6Gbit/s is faster still.
However, the maximum throughput of the channel is NOT the speed you're going to get.
A single physical hard disk simply cannot sustain those speeds.
The idea of the SATA channel having such higher speeds is that many people could have 2, or 3, or multiple drives in a RAID, and so it's beneficial that the channel can take bursts of data from the drives via communication at much faster speeds than the data can be read or written to the platters.  That is in part why the size of a memory cache on the hard disk can make some difference to the normal minute-by-minute operation.
Also, there are SSD Solid State Drives and these go considerably faster than physical platter drives, so again having a standard for a communication interface that can go somewhat faster lessens the chance of a bottleneck if multiple SSDs were employed.
Also keep in mind that writing is somewhat slower than reading, even more of a difference on SSDs.
Is USB 2 going as fast as your physical 1TB hard disk?  No it's likely not.
Will your 1TB physical hard disk go as fast as eSATA, USB 3 or NAS?  No, so, in a sense, the question is moot.  Any one of them should give you best possible speed for that situation.

Did you know at first USB3 was going to be slower than eSATA?  Well the standards comittee changed that right quick LOL  So yeah, eSATA has standardized on the 3Gbit/s and not the specialized 6Gbit/s that a few offer, while theoretically USB3 can go 4Gbit/s

I still like eSATAp much much better than USB, since SATA completely dominates USB2, but also because there are cases where the USB controller cannot kick the channel up to the highest speeds if there are other slower devices simultaneously attached (solvable by detaching the slow speed devices of course but eSATA just plain does not have that problem)  The issue with eSATA is power, eSATAp you don't see too much, but that's more of an issue using a laptop on a train and wanting to use a pocket drive without having to plug in AC, not desktops.
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Expert Comment

ID: 33736198
PassMark has drive benchmarking and compiles myriads of tests results for comparisons, SSDs included.
To benchmark yourself  test can be done on mounted drives whether attached via network, usb, etc

Author Comment

ID: 33769496
is there eSATA for 6Gbit/s as well?
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Expert Comment

ID: 33772073
Um, technically no not "standard" but yes I believe there are somewhat proprietary cards/devices that leverage SATA 6Gbit speed yes, few and far between, obscure, and much more expensive of course.

Why?  You have a HD that goes that fast? (A: not)  To go that fast you'd probably be looking at an external RAID array enclosure of multiple drives just to try to keep up or come close to that speed, or SAS or a SAN.

Think of it this way, even IF you installed a somewhat proprietary eSATA that does go at 6Gbit/s instead of the 3Gbit/s that eSATA has pretty-much standardized on a.t.m., how fast is the a) the device itself (as explained previously, so at the risk of being repetitive) the 1TB hard disk drive itself only goes so fast, faster than usb2 yes, faster than eSATA 3Gbit/s, NO not except for brief burst, ditto usb 3.
 b) how fast is the storage devices INSIDE the Dell PowerEdge that you're backing up from / recovering to?  If your external backup is a Ferrari but your server is the fastest Kenilworth 18-wheeler, well guess where the bottleneck will be then.  Just because you're on an autobahn with a speed limit of 250km/h doesn't mean the truck will keep up.  Just because USB 3 channel speed is 4Gbit doesn't mean the hard disk and/or computer can go that fast (and in fact a physical hard drive can't, or even most SSDs for that matter)

You could have the fastest internet service in the world but if the server you're communicating with at the other end is throttled to 500kbit then that's all you're gonna get  (Something to consider if looking at online backup service, a faster internet is no guarantee of what their speed is going to be)

Consider intelligent differential backup and/or incremental backup so only the changes have to be backed up.  BUT your post's title reads "fastest RECOVERY time" and usually to recover from a failure you have to recover the whole thing.

It's the whole chain only as strong as its weakest link only as fast as its slowest link you have to look at all the parts and how they work together THE definition of what a bottleneck is thing.
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Expert Comment

ID: 33775229
I would start with eSATA and see if there is any speed improvement. It could be 3 times faster. If that is sufficient, then you can wait until prices come down for faster options (   SATA 6Gbit drives at 15K or better )

Since eSATA is simply external SATA, then any controller that can handle SATA 6Gbit should be able to do it internally or externally.

I hope this helps !

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