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Sharing Drives at High Speed

Last response: in Storage
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October 1, 2006 3:45:17 PM

Is there any way to share a hard drive over two computers at the speed of sata, or at least ata.
October 1, 2006 5:54:10 PM

Are refering to a network drive? 1Gb transfer rates there, or perhaps a 2.0 usb\Firewire hub?
October 1, 2006 7:41:37 PM

You can use an external enclosure that connects via SATA. Dirves connected via SATA perform the same as internal drives.

There are two types of ports though, regular and eSATA. Some external enclosures use the regular "L" connectors some use eSATA's "I" connector.

External ports can be provided by your motherboard, a SATA controller, or adapter connected to an internal SATA port.

You can even have a long SATA cable just dangling out the back of you system.

Just make your the connection type match up.

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However that will just let you use the drive with one PC at a time.

To get the 2nd PC to access the drive at full speed you will have to share it over a network.

A 100Mbps network limits you to under 12.5MBps performance. For full speed access you will need a 1000 Mbps network. The network cards are cheap but the hubs/switches/routers are pricy.

I haven't seen any external enclosures with 1000Mbps network connections.
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October 1, 2006 8:50:44 PM

I have been looking at network drives and have in general been dissatisfied with the throughput to them. Currently my interest is with the Infrant product "ReadyNAS NV" which has Gigabit interface and uses Jumbo Frames but even with gigabit speeds, these things seem kind of slow.

You can share pretty much any drive internal or external over your network, but I doubt you will actually find a way to get direct SATA speeds out of the connection.
October 1, 2006 8:53:04 PM

right now im just sharing the drives over gigabit, but i only have a 10/100 router, so every time i want to transfer files i have to disable the card for the router on one of the computers, then hit copy, then reenable it, so its a pain.
October 1, 2006 11:55:41 PM

Theres many ways to increase "sharing" speed.

The easiest is to move up to a cheapy Gigabit switch. You should be able to get a cheapy 8 port gigabit switch for under $75.

However, be aware, that these devices do NOT support "Jumbo Frames". Jumbo frames are needed to really take advantage of Gigabit (1000mbps) transfer rates.

A Decent gigabit switch will run you >$200. There are some really great Cisco switches (rebranded as Linksys) avail for about ~$300+ CAD ($250USD). These 16/24/48 port badboys support 802.3ad (Link Aggregation) so you can combine two (802.3ad) compliant network cards together to make a 2gbps bridge to the switch for-the-win.

http://www.linksys.com/servlet/Satellite?c=L_Product_C2...

Keep in mind that for gigabit Category 5e compliant cabling, ends, patchpanels, etcs are needed, Category 6 cabling is preferable if you have a choice tho. (Cat6 is needed for full throughput if you're really going to press upwards into the upper end of gigabit).

With a dell switch I bought for $160 a while ago (16 port gigabit) that doesn't support Jumbo Frames, on Cat5e cable, I get about 26 MB/sec thru the network. Thats fast enough to xfer 1GB/minute. (Roughly 20-30% of true gigabit speeds). In order to get > 300mbps, you'll need cat 6 cabling, jumbo frame supporting devices, etc.

But 1GB/minute is pretty sweet, thats *ALMOST* as fast as having the hard drive plugged in directly to the computer instead of over the network.
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