Low-cost kits for RAID servers take pain out of doing it yourself

Low-cost kits for RAID servers take pain out of doing it yourself

Several manufacturers, including ATTO Technology Inc. and Promise Technology Inc., have developed prepackaged RAID kits for PCs and Macs that come with one or two controllers, cabling, and associated setup and configuration software.

The kits can take the pain out of building a do-it-yourself RAID server, but you may not want to bet your data center on them.

ATTO's Express PCI Series products, priced between $349 and $749, each come with one or two channels and either 80-Mbps Ultra2 SCSI or 40-Mbps Ultra Wide SCSI interfaces. They are well-designed for building workstation and entry-level RAID systems.

If you need something larger, consider an external RAID module or a RAI server-based controller with enough bells and whistles to power up a small enterprise.

Promise Technology's $349 FastSwap Pro Kit plays to the growing market for low-cost RAID based on inexpensive IDE drives. New IDE drives are plenty fast and often sell for about half the price of equivalent SCSI drives.

Because two of Promise's FastTrak IDE RAID controllers and two FastSwap RAID chassis plus software are included to support eight IDE drives, this could amount to a real bargain for cost-conscious users.

The hitch? The unit supports only RAID Levels 0, 1 and 0+1, so no significant data redundancy is provided beyond disk mirroring. But a little RAID is better than none, and for $349, this kit provides some peace of mind.

'J.B. Miles


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