From: Michael Fernando <>
Date: Fri Oct 05 2001 - 17:09:32 EDT
Thanks:   Thomas Anders, Gashaw Mengistu, Colin Matthews, 
          Christopher Neitzert, Amit Mahajan, David Foster, 
          Tim Chipman, Joe Fletcher, David B Harrington, 
          Frederic Piard, Geoff Reed, Kevin Graham, Rob Wynne

I had two queries in my original post.  I will list each one separately.

** Can you please recommend hardware RAID boxes (other than A1000) 
   that you've had luck with?  A1000 is a bit expensive and I'm looking
   for something cheaper, smaller, yet, not too difficult to attach to 
   a Sun Ultra box.

Riadtec: "extremely good luck with Raidtec's HI-12 FlexArray boxes"  (two
votes, one said they use these boxes with Antares [PCI-LVD-UW3] SCSI card)

Winchester Systems: "Their RAID boxes are quite nice, extremely fast, and
consistently less expensive than A1000's (though still not cheap)."

RaidWeb (Arena Raid products): Three votes for this.  Tim Chipman sent a
faily detailed reply, which is appended at the end of this Summary.

NexStore:  "have been very pleased with them. price is much better also."

Compaq (Formerly DEC, future HP--maybe?) StorageWorks disk arrays  [We do have some of
dec/compaq raid boxes.  Not exactly happy with their wanting to drop 
support for older raids.]

Sun's T3.  (This is out of our price range)  "tested and benchmarked Sun's
T3, it beat the hell out of the A5100's we've been using for about a
year. Pretty pricey as well."

SANnet RAID Blade. (4x18G - 4x73G: $6k - $10K)

"hitachi." (that's the complete reply. :))

Baydel: "Superbly reliable kit in general - quite cheap per gig of
storage. ... approved by Sun as well I think now."

Nexsan: "There are a lot of custom/OEM arrays with standard RAID
controllers from either CMD, Chaparral or Mylex.  After some market
analysis we decided for the Nexsan XRaid 8V44."

** Also, are there any PCI RAID cards compatible with Ultra 10 or 
   Ultra 60 that I can use to create a small hardware RAID by attaching a
   couple of external drives?

"Only one I know of is the Sun SRC/P software raid card. Its a DPT card
repackaged by Sun w/ drivers and different firmware. I'd give them a
really lukewarm review, but performance is decent -- there's just
something unsubstantiable that keeps me from wanting to trust them."

"I was in your shoes about a year ago.. and I talked to this company that
made a PCI SCSI RAID card. I bought it through It
worked well with my Ultra 60 Solaris 7 install.. they didn't have a driver
for 8 at the time.. but should be out by now. I bought a generic disk pack
and 4 36GB SCSI drives and did raid 5 for a total of 72 gigs and hot

This is from Tim Chipman

If a1000 is a bit pricey than official (sun) solutions are out of the
question I guess.

The only "inexpensive" hardware raid I've ever seen (which still is on
the market) is gear sold from  In fact I'm quite sure
this is generic gear they are reselling, you might have luck finding
"asus" branded equivalent parts from any local generic PC dealer who has
access to dealer network.

Anyhow.  The gear as you can see at Raidweb comes in a few basic
flavours, accepting either (a) IDE drives or (b) SCSI drives. Also you
have choices for rackmount, desktop, or "tiny desktop" form factors.  In
all cases the raid hardware box allows your OS to see only a single scsi
volume via typical (ultra2?) scsi bus.  Clearly if you want to go as
cheap as possible you get the IDE version. I calculated it is < $10,000
canadian [< ~ 6.5k USD] to get a ~ 560gig (available storage) raid 5
brick from these folks, assuming you are using ~80gig IDE drives.
Clearly a fair bit cheaper than A-1000 :-)

If I recall, their sales rep told me you can happily chain a half-dozen
of these guys on a single scsi bus before you need to worry much about
bus saturation (assuming non-brutal access, I suspect, in the first
place).Thus, you can get ~ 3 Tb of storage per scsi controller, not too

Finally - in this vein - I am positive that someone did post a question
regarding use of this gear to the sun managers list sometime between 12
and 5 months ago. A search of the archives may reveal their email
address.  If I recall, the bottom line was that it worked fine with
Solaris gear since the raid box appears as a generic SCSI device, as far
as the host OS (Solaris) is concerned.

In a totally different vein:

Alternately, Quantum have FINALLY realeased a halfway-decent scaled
version of their "SNAP" storage product, the "12000" model I think. It
costs approx $20k USD though but has a bit more "brand name" behind the
product, which may be an issue with management there (who can say :-) .
I believe it operates on the NAS principle, ie, it has its own
super-minimal OS which runs NFS shares, Samba Shares, etc via
10/100/1000 mBit ether -- it is NOT connected via Scsi bus directly to
any given (file)server.

These are the only currently avaiable options I know of in the market,
other than (of course) building your own cheapo linux box in a 5-u case
and packing it with IDE drives (and running software raid, then using it
like an NAS device). However, this will likely be "barely" cheaper than
a raidweb box and FAR harder to manage IMHO so probably not worth the

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Received on Fri Oct 5 16:20:52 2001

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