Sans Digital MobileSTOR MS2UTN+
Author: Zahn Funk
Editor: Shawn Knight
Date: 04-19-2008
Provided by: Sans Digital
Installation / Testing

I am installing a pair of Seagate 7200.9 SATA-II hard drives and will be testing them in some of the different configurations. The drives slip into the trays very easy, although you do have to remove the rear support bar from the tray first as the screw hole is reused in mounting the drive. This bar seems only to give support to the frame when no drive is installed, as there is no bottom to the tray.

First up I tested the RAID0 and RAID1 performance using the USB interface to the computer. HD Tune was used to measure the throughput to the drive and as you can see, both configurations top out around 27MB/s. This is typical for an external USB 2.0 drive and shows that there is no speed advantage to using RAID0 when connected via USB. You would be better off selecting BIG (spanning) so that if one drive happens to fail at least you won't lose the contents of both drives as you would with RAID0.

Next I tested the RAID0 and RAID1 performance with the eSATA interface. Here you can see that the drives perform just as if they were connected internally, with the stripe set yielding nearly double the throughput of the mirrored array. I have used this pair of drives for testing in other enclosures and the results obtained from the Sans Digital tests are about dead-on with all the others.

I did not test performance in JBOD or BIG mode as these offer no speed benefit over operating a single standalone drive. And while I did try out the SAFE33 just to see how it worked, I didn't run HD Tune on those volumes either, figuring the results would most likely be similar to either the straight RAID1 array or the BIG.

Sans Digital includes a program called NTI Shadow with the MobileSTOR MS2UTN+ that can be used for backing up your files to the external DAS. Compared to some of the other bundled software I've seen, this one is quite good. I had not heard of the program before but it is very easy to use and has many different options for backup. If you are familiar with Microsoft's Shadow Copy utility, which is available with Server 2003 and some of the higher end Vista versions, the NTI Shadow program offers many of the same features. You can choose to schedule regular timed backups like most traditional software or you can have it make copies of modified files and keep multiple previous versions of the changes as well. For free software that comes bundled with a product, I was impressed with the NTI Shadow program.

Let's wrap things up with some final thoughts and conclusion.

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