RAID arrays utilize cost effective Serial ATA hard drives, and are available with either dual Ultra320 SCSI host connections, or dual 2Gb Fibre Channel host connections. The 8-bay models are available as either a mini-tower or a 2U rackmount, the 12-bay models are available as a 2U rackmount only, and the 16-bay models are available as a 4U rackmount only. Capacity currently ranges from 2TB (8 x 250GB) to 6.4TB (16 x 400GB) in a single subsystem. All RedPath RAID arrays feature an Intel XScale 400MHz 64-bit RISC processor, and 64-bit 133MHz PCI-X architecture, which allows internal data transfer rates of up to 1067MB/s. The new RAID controller supports up to 1GB of DDR 200MHz cache compared to 512MB of 100MHz cache for the previous generation. All arrays feature hot swap redundant power supplies, and hot-swap redundant cooling modules, which offers greater confidence to the users of Serial ATA RAID solutions. The end-result is both improved performance and increased data reliability.
For 2005, three important new features, disk self-test, disk scrubbing, and disk cloning, became enabled with the latest firmware release.
Disk Self-Test (DST): Before the release of this function, users of RAID systems were forced to test suspected bad hard drives in a host computer individually using a drive manufacturers utility. This new function allows a drives health to be tested while still installed in the RAID array. DST performs write tests, servo analysis and read scan tests, and displays the test results on the LCD and hyper-terminal output. This helps the user to decide whether or not to replace a suspected failing hard drive.
Disk Scrubbing (DS): With todays RAID subsystems being capable of storing multiple terabytes, it is becoming increasingly difficult to manage and maintain such a large amount of data. To help maintain the datas health, our RAID arrays are now available with Disk Scrubbing. The data and/or parity bits stored on the hard drives can sometimes become corrupted, and can also reside in areas that are not accessed for long periods of time. DS will use idle time to test the disks, and if a sector is found to be corrupt, the data will be regenerated from other disks in the array, and will be written to an uncorrupted sector. The purpose of DS is to prevent the possibility of having multiple corrupted sectors in a single stripe, which is one of the main causes of data loss.
Disk Cloning (DC): Hard drives are the most likely component to fail in a RAID array, and almost impossible to predict when the failure will occur. When a failure does occur, the RAID unit will have to regenerate data from the non-failed drives in order to rebuild a new drive. During a drive rebuild, should another drive fail prior to completion, the array would be destroyed and all data would be lost. This is where Disk Cloning comes in. With the help of the hard drives built-in S.M.A.R.T. function, DC can determine when to begin cloning a bad drive to a hot spare. Upon completion of cloning, the new cloned disk can take the position of the failing disk or can stand-by until the original disk fails, and then take the failed disks position. Disk cloning helps eliminate data loss by preventing a rebuild from ever occurring during degraded mode.
The high-availability hardware and firmware architecture automatically detects bad sectors and failed disk drives. When installing a replacement disk, or using a drive as a hot spare, the system automatically
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