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DELL PowerEdge R520 and eSATA compatibility

Hi Guys,

I am planning to install eSATA card on a DELL Power edge server R520.
This is because the stuff we wanna backup each day is about 700GB or so and e-SATA has the most reliable transfer rates (and it is more stable than USB 3.0)

So I have 2 questions -

1. Would any off the shelf eSATA card work on a DELL SERVER? HAs anyone had experience with this before

2. Will the server support installation of any eSATA card?

I need to be absolutely sure because we need to purchase 5 backup drives and these eSATA drives it seems are not cheap.
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manav08
Asked:
manav08
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1 Solution
 
DavidCommented:
Yes, any card would work, assuming the regular things, like right kind of bus interface; an empty slot; sufficient power; drivers; and card physically fitting.

Personally, with 700GB / day, you should look at tape, unless you ARE using an eSATA-attached tape drive.  (I am assuming disk) HDDs aren't the right technology for archiving.  They crash, have fewer ECC bits, and just aren't designed to be portable media units.  

I'm surprised you aren't looking at adding a dual ported 1Gbit or higher NIC specifically for backup and adding a dedicated computer with lots of ethernet ports and software RAID.  It will be faster, cheaper, and MUCH more reliable if you do it right.  Then you can add just one tape drive to that system for archiving.
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manav08Author Commented:
Hi mate,

The client doesn't have budget to purchase tape drive and then compatible add-on software for it.
When you say NIC, the server will already have DUAL NICS. Are you suggesting we use NAS for backup? Wewant something for offsite storage though
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DavidCommented:
For archiving (taking offsite), the correct solution is tape.  I was suggesting to use a NAS device with plenty of direct-attach ethernet ports to guarantee bandwidth to a relatively low-end server that would provide a centralized system to aggregate the backups.

It just seems to me you are throwing money away getting 5 individual external devices for 5 computers.  I could be totally missing the configuration, as this does not make the least bit sense to me the way it is designed.

As for licensing costs, one can put together an opensolaris system for free (no licenses, still you need hardware), as a centralized backup server.  You dont even need any RAID controllers,  as the O/S does this quite nicely with host-based RAID.  Throw in the built-in de-duplication and automatic compression if you want, then perhaps that 700GB might end up being 100GB or less.  You can use that system to create shares for windows, unix, iSCSI targets, even apple time machines for free.  Then you can also take snapshot backups hot.

Anyway just an idea based on what little info you posted about the design.  It may or may not be appropriate, but I just keyed on the need for 5 external devices and unless I am missing something, there are alternatives
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manav08Author Commented:
Let me try to explain to you scenario.

We have 2 servers which will be ESX hosts ?
And then obviously we have a SAN.
Additionally, we also have a VCENTER server which will also act as a backup server running VEEAM. This server will have enough space to keep 1 full backup and then 5 incrementals.

The idea is that we purchase this eSATA card such that we can transfer this full backup and incrementals to these eSATA drives.

Now as Veeam BAckup uses Reverse incrementals it means we would be transferring close to 700GB of new Data onto these eSATA drives which is the very reason we don't want to be using USB Drives.

What could you advise?
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Purple_TidderCommented:
Because of the nature of Veeam, you can't use tape anyway.  Veeam is an amazing piece of backup software and I think eSATA is the way to go.  I also use Veeam and I think you're right on track.

I've taken my Veeam one step further and adding to my daily backups to local storage, I'm using Veeam to connect to a remote linux box with redundant storage and do changed-block incrementals.  Just make sure to actually TEST your solution when done, and occasionally from now on.  I always write my local backups to two drives, and occasionally swap in a third off-site and take the swapped out drive back off-site thus always keeping two on site and two off-site (one off site drive and the other off site linux box).

eSATA sounds good to me.  Now back to your original question about eSATA add-on cards.  My personal preference would be to see what Dell would recommend first.  If Dell has no preference or says it's not supported my next line of action would be to see what slots I have available and check sites like newegg for a card with awesome reviews that would fit my slot.
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manav08Author Commented:
Thanks mate,

Good to know that I am on track atleast.
DELL SERVER range has no option for add-on eSATA or USB 3.0 cards

Someone I know recommended "Condor dual eSATA PCIe card". Not sure if its a good card. Can you make any suggestion?
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Purple_TidderCommented:
I have had very good success with the StarTech PEXESATA2 controller.  It's based on the Sil3132 controller which I've found to be very stable and solid.  It's definitely not the fastest on the market but it'll get the job done.  Check it out and see what you think.
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manav08Author Commented:
Don't think I can get this brand in Australia. They all should be similar with TF speeds, shouldn't they ??
Also it is not in the scope of the question but we are planning on using the VCENTRE/VEEAM server to backup 4 VMS (hosted on 2 hosts). Will 16GB RAM be enough for the VCENTER/VEEAM Server?
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Purple_TidderCommented:
Lots of SATA add on cards are based on the Sil3132, I'm willing to bet you can find one.  May not be StarTech brand.  If you can't find one, make sure you research which chipset is on the card that you do find and read up on it.  You definitely don't want to just cram anything in your safety net.  Also, cheaper cards/chipsets have compatibility issues with board chipsets and sometimes even certain hard drives.  Plus, I know the Sil3132 supports port multipliers in case you need to add more drives.

As far as ram goes, for backup purposes 4gb is more than enough.  If you're planning on temporarily running your backed up VMs from Veeam you'll want as much as it can handle.  Depending on the duties of the VMs, 16gb may not be enough if you have to run all of them at once.  Always plan for the worst day you can imagine.
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manav08Author Commented:
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manav08Author Commented:
IF there are any technical questions you would like me to ask DELL please let me know and I will try to get some answers.
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Purple_TidderCommented:
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manav08Author Commented:
DELL say it is only for distributors in US and not Australia.
Also they said they do not provide or support eSATA but as long as one works its fine.

They sent me the slot details. Does it help you?
See attached.
slots.PNG
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manav08Author Commented:
Hi Purple_Tidder,
Did you look at the above for me??
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manav08Author Commented:
Purple_Tidder??
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Purple_TidderCommented:
Sorry manav08, I've been out in the field for the past couple days.  I've made my recommendations and I don't want to tell you to try something I haven't actually used and tested myself.

That being said, either one of those cards you found would probably work.  They are based on the same chipset I've used and they're the same interface type.  I would prefer the DinoDirect one over the ebay one mainly because it fits the bill exactly without extra parts or internal connectors.
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manav08Author Commented:
Hi Purple_Tidler,

Just letting you know that I will award points as soon as I have tested this. Thanks for your patience.
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manav08Author Commented:
Hi Purple_Tidler,

Bought that card from ebay and tried on the server but get an error -

PCIe Training Error: Slot 2
System Halted!

As soon as I take out the card the server boots fine.
Readjusted all cards and even tried swapping the position on the riser but whichever slot I plug the eSATA card into spits out an error as above (with the number corresponding the eSATA slot on Riser)

What are my options now :( ?
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DavidCommented:
When you say it doesn't "boot", is it not even trying to boot, or does it die deep into the windows boot process?  If you go to ubuntu.com and follow instructions to make a bootable USB stick you can just try that to see if it is a windows issue or a hardware issue.

Testing the card in another PC will help.  But PCIe training error ALMOST ALWAYS means a bad card.  Remember when you buy used, no way most of these dealers test hardware first.  They let end-users do the testing and then send out replacements if they fail.  Look at the reseller's feedback to see if they are known for sending out bad hardware.
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manav08Author Commented:
it tries to boot, does POST test and other interrupts are there such as CTRL + R for Raid configuration and then it shows system halted.

My concern is whether any ESATA care will work on DELL server as it seems they dont officially support it.
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manav08Author Commented:
Hi Guys,

Any luck with this. Further to the above, I also bought a RITMO eSATA card (link below) and that that has a blue screening issue. As soon as I plug a ESATA hdd into it, it reboots.
Anyone knows compatible brands of ESATA card for DELL PE R520 Server?

http://ritmotech.com.au/satotech/product_info.php?products_id=699&osCsid=f187d259b92f0b529d1af6c747adec37
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DavidCommented:
Are you holding something back?  Specifically if you have a HDD with data on it that was previously behind the dell controller, and try to hook it up to the data card, then no way it will work.

Reason is that there is metadata starting at physical block #0.  

The way to get around the problem is to use a non-RAID controller and a bootable system (boot to windows PE as example on a USB stick or CDROM)... then buy a product such as runtime.org raid reconstructor.  You then migrate that data to a different disk. Then you can boot that otherdisk on a non-raid controller.
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manav08Author Commented:
dlethe,

Please read original question and following comments.
I need advice on which PCI-E eSATA card to use with DELL PE 520 server such that a brand new external eSATA HDD can be connected to it. I have 5 of these external HDDs.

Suggest you read comments by Purple Tiddler and others.
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Purple_TidderCommented:
Wow manav08, I'm sorry you had such trouble with this, sounds like one of the worst possible scenarios that could have happened really!

Sounds like you received a bad card.

Sorry for the delay in response, haven't had much time for EE lately. :(
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manav08Author Commented:
I have actually given up on this now as no card seems to be suitable on these DELL Servers. I will be closing this question for now and award you points
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Purple_TidderCommented:
Don't think I was deserving of a 'C' grade because you couldn't find a working card.
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manav08Author Commented:
@Purple_Tiddler,

Mate, I really appreciate your help, but The "C" Grade was because none of the 2 brands of cards that I purchased worked (One of them was the SIL3132). And both of them worked on another machine, just not the DELL Server. So really the solution did not work.

If I were to give you an "A" grade that really is a misinterpretation because people who are browsing through the question will think the solution actually worked and waste their dollars in purchasing a card that might not work.
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manav08Author Commented:
Also you have to be more responsive to be deserving of an "A" grade.
PS: I understand you were busy but so is life..no offense
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Purple_TidderCommented:
Well if you want to get technical about it, the comment of mine you marked as the answer isn't actually the answer at all.  So instead of marking it right and giving me a 'C', perhaps you should have just requested the question closed with no answer.  Seems that would have been the better way to go.

And no, being active in a question doesn't have anything to do with getting an "A".  Getting an "A" is having the right answer with in-depth reasoning behind it.  That's it.  You tried to turn this question into more than what the original question was.  That's not really how EE works.

I've been a member here for 7 years, I do know a little about proper question/answer etiquette.
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manav08Author Commented:
@Purple_Tiddler,

You really confuse me...would you have rather have 500 points or 0 points.
I think the solution was not achieved and the engagement was not there which is why a 'C' was given.

Should you feel what I have done is not right, by all means you can engage a Mod in this question and he can decide. Maybe it will help clarify the EE rules as well. Now I am curious as well.

I am happy to support you either way for change of score to "A" if the Mod thinks this is what you deserve.
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Purple_TidderCommented:
I'm not here for points, I'm just here for the fun in helping.  I'm not asking for an 'A' either.

If you think the solution was not achieved then why accept an answer?  That's all I'm saying.  Sadly this happens quite often, an asker doesn't get an answer that actually helps and instead of going through the process to close the question with no answer, they just accept any answer and give a 'C' grade.  I feel that's what you're doing here.

And, what would really suck is someone looking for the same answer, "What eSATA card works with an R520?" and they pay EE to see this answer.  Would definitely be better in that case to close this question with no answer received.
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manav08Author Commented:
Well, I always award points based on effort and this is because I understand the effort every contributor at EE makes. If you check my profile, I used to contribute until a while ago before I became a paid member.

People who come across this question should see the grading of the answer and understand that it wasn't that good. Secondly they should scroll right to the bottom and see the comments where I clearly specify no solution was achieved. This was done for a purpose.
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Purple_TidderCommented:
I will try to explain my stance once more, and then I will leave it be.

You came here with two questions:

1. Would any off the shelf eSATA card work on a DELL SERVER? HAs anyone had experience with this before

2. Will the server support installation of any eSATA card?

I believe I went pretty in-depth in helping you by explaining what has worked in the past for me, by telling you to check with Dell first, and then by telling you to research chipsets and compatibility.  I then continued to tell you that I would not make any recommendations on actual cards with a configuration I haven't actually tested myself.  I have used Sil3132 based cards in plenty of Dells, all with good results, but never in an R520 yet.

Based on these facts, I wouldn't have expected any answer really to be accepted, as all I had were suggestions and ideas.  I had no answer for you specific to your two questions.  Nor did my questions help give you a push in the right direction like I would expect a 'C' graded answer to do.

Realistically, I should have gotten an 'F'.  We failed completely here, and I think this question should reflect that by being closed with no answer.
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