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USB drives in RAID?

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April 25, 2007 5:59:00 AM

Can multiple USB drives be RAIDed together?

I was thinking that I could put 4 x 4GB USB2 sticks in RAID-0... which would potentially provide up to 200MB in transfer speeds... this array could then be used as a high performance scratch disk.

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April 25, 2007 6:14:10 AM

Quote:
Can multiple USB drives be RAIDed together?

I was thinking that I could put 4 x 4GB USB2 sticks in RAID-0... which would potentially provide up to 200MB in transfer speeds... this array could then be used as a high performance scratch disk.


You would need a usb RAID host controller. Not available as far as I know.
April 25, 2007 6:23:18 AM

Quote:
Can multiple USB drives be RAIDed together?

I was thinking that I could put 4 x 4GB USB2 sticks in RAID-0... which would potentially provide up to 200MB in transfer speeds... this array could then be used as a high performance scratch disk.


You would need a usb RAID host controller. Not available as far as I know.
What about setting it up as a software RAID? I plug the drives into the USB ports as normal, and then software would stitch them together as a logical drive.
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April 25, 2007 6:28:34 AM

Windows XP Pro will run RAID through software, but not with usb utilized drives.
April 25, 2007 6:50:07 AM

Holy smokes, it's possible! This guy was able to set up a USB RAID array in Linux.

http://www.bigbruin.com/reviews05/thumbraid_1

The results were not very good due to poor drivers and shoddy hardware. But it proves that it can be done! And you really do get the performance gains that you would expect from a RAID-0 array.

Are there USB drives that utilize the full interface speed of USB 2.0? I can only find drives that max out at 30MB/20MB for Read/Write speeds. 50-60MBps r/w would be preferable to attempt a USB RAID.
April 25, 2007 7:08:14 AM

Quote:
Holy smokes, it's possible! This guy was able to set up a USB RAID array in Linux.

http://www.bigbruin.com/reviews05/thumbraid_1

The results were not very good due to poor drivers and shoddy hardware. But it proves that it can be done! And you really do get the performance gains that you would expect from a RAID-0 array.

Are there USB drives that utilize the full interface speed of USB 2.0? I can only find drives that max out at 30MB/20MB for Read/Write speeds. 50-60MBps r/w would be preferable to attempt a USB RAID.


Yeah, his review consisted of his inability to make the project work and was basically a lesson in failure to convert 4 usb drives into a dependable, working RAID array. Someday it will happen if there is a use for it. Maybe MS will develop their next OS to utilize usb drives in a RAID array. Who knows? Interesting idea.
April 25, 2007 7:35:28 AM

Quote:
Someday it will happen if there is a use for it.

Oh, there is definitely a use for it. We're essentially talking about "cheap" solid state drives. That's great for anyone who needs scratch space (photo, video and audio editors) and it would also be great for small file servers. Also, enthusiasts would enjoy installing operating systems on them and even games.

The key is to be able to RAID them... this way you get fast interface speeds. 4 to 6 maxed out USB ports could provide 200-300MBps in sustained transfer rates!
April 25, 2007 7:41:07 AM

Surely contemporary micro drives will become more sturdy and capable of non-failure, data loss proof in the future. I'm using one now as a Readyboost drive on Vista. Looks like MS is ahead in the game so far in that regard anyway. Still very interesting and you are corect in thinking rewritable drives (like today's flash drive) will be used for rewritable memory even more so in the future.
!