USB 3.0 Transfer Times

Posted on 2011-10-05
Last Modified: 2012-08-13
Here's what I need to accomplish.  In order to run a procedure on one of our HP MSA's I need to copy all the VHD's that are stored on this about 1.1 to 1.5 TB worth of data.  Unfortuantely we're not currently backing them up using anything.  I have a 3.0 TB USB 3.0 USB drive that I can connect to my laptop and plug the laptop directly into the switchport near where the Hyper V servers are located.  Since i'll need to shutdown all guests on the hosts to copy the VHD's to the USB drive I need to schedule downtime for this location.  How much time do you think it will take to copy all this data to the connected USB drive on the laptop.
Question by:georgedschneider
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    Theoretical transfer rates aren't particularly useful here.

    First, it doesn't matter how close your laptop is to the servers.    Only two things are important:  (1)  What is the network rate (I presume gigabit); and (2) are the laptop's USB ports USB 3?

    Assuming the network is gigabit, then the key question is whether the laptop's ports are USB 3.

    If no (i.e. they're USB v2), then you can plan about 10 hours/TB ... so for 1.5TB you'll need close to 15 hours.

    If yes, the real-world transfer speed will be about double USB 2 speed, so you'll need about half the time ... possibly less.    You'll still need at least 5 hours ... and more likely 7 or 8.

    It's very unlikely that you're network limited, but if by any chance you're on a 100MB network, you'll need nearly triple the time of the USB v2 rate ==> i.e. about 40 hours.
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    A USB 3.0 interface will support realistically 3.2Gbit/sec transfer rate.  Only SSDs will make full use of this interface, so for regular 7200 rpm drives, a sustained transfer rate 80MBytes/sec is reasonable.  If you have a WD Velociraptor, 100MBytes/sec would be realistic.  1.5TB copied to a regular 7200 rpm drive with a USB 3.0 interface will take about 18,750 sec, or 5.2 hours.
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    ... as I'm sure you know, this would be much faster if you could use an eSATA connection to your drive.    This would be close to 4 times as fast as the USB 2 numbers -- so you could do the transfer in about 4 hours.    Note that it doesn't have to be connected to the server -- any PC that is connected via your network (assumign gigabit) would work.
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    With help of Google Translator you can look this German comparison work:
    They showed max rates and minimal transfer rates. Just excellent article. All the conclusion is that much depends on HDD inside of USB3.0 enclosure.

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