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RAIDConsole Software

SMB RAID for $49: Ciprico VST Pro

ciprico enterprise raid

We used the Intel ICH10R southbridge on an P45 motherboard and added a RAIDCore RC5252-8 card to try the drive roaming and controller spanning features. Please note that the southbridge was recognized as ICH9R, although in fact we used ICH10. However, that doesn’t make any difference.

ciprico enterprise raid

VST Pro 2008 displays all available hard drives. It does not matter whether these are operated through the motherboard controller or a RAIDCore controller card, the management console looks the same in both cases.

ciprico enterprise raid

Here is a look at the options context menu, which appears when you right-click on an array. As you can see, the options resemble the features listed on the previous page.

Simple Array Creation

ciprico enterprise raid

The creation of an array can be done within seconds; just select the drives you want to include. VST Pro 2008 will include all possible drives for which the underlying controllers are supported.

ciprico enterprise raid

An existing RAID array can easily be transformed into another one by selecting the array, changing the array type in the drop down menu, and clicking on “commit”. However, you can only transform RAID arrays if the target configuration provides sufficient capacity to hold the existing data.

Existing Data Cannot Be Imported to VST Pro

ciprico enterprise raid

Once you choose to create a RAID array across a given number of hard drives, the software has some bad news. It is not possible to import existing data from individual hard drives or existing RAID arrays to the new RAIDCore RAID array you want to create. So, be sure to back up your data to a secure location before continuing.

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  • 4 Hide
    Anonymous , July 16, 2008 3:56 PM
    If "VST stands for Virtual Storage Layer" then why isn't the acronym VSL and why does the picture of the box immediately above the quoted passage clearly say "Virtual Storage Technology?"

  • 6 Hide
    bounty , July 16, 2008 4:42 PM
    "powerful storage solution that smokes many professional SATA controllers" I didn't see any in the review to back up your conclusion. I did notice this "standalone controller cards don’t suffer from performance limitations " though. I would also like to have seen CPU utilization numbers.

    Maybe I'm just looking for an updated Raid shootout. Say 4 port controllers for small business (or power users.)

    ICH10R, areca, promise, koutech, syba, highpoint, adaptec, 3ware, LSI, rosewill... yeah even the slow/software ones. Show us the difference between a 50$ hardware/software card... 80$ software, 150$ to 300$ hardware, onboard, non-raid, PCI, PCI-E 4x etc. With CPU utilization, glitches, gotchas and price/performance. 0/1/5/10 synthetic and some real load/render etc time. It feels like it's been years since tom's has done a comprehensive Raid shootout.

  • 0 Hide
    dg6464 , July 16, 2008 5:19 PM
    I agree with bounty; I would love to see a new RAID shootout with some in-depth look at the newer-style RAID controllers, and RAID levels. Compare them to software solutions like this, inexpensive solutions, and ridiculously expensive solutions.
  • 2 Hide
    Anonymous , July 16, 2008 6:06 PM
    i would have really like to see how it performs vs. a windows server software raid 5 setup...they are a little harder to set up, but it supports drive roaming, raid 0,1,5, and 50, and can be put into any windows system after being set up. personally, i dont know why you would get this if you allready have server...
  • 0 Hide
    yyrkoon , July 17, 2008 6:43 AM
    $49usd really is not that much for 'software RAID', but to be honest I know very little about this product: even after reading this article. I suppose if implementation was simple, straight forward, and offered good manageability then it *could* be worth the cost. That said, like Dragon_Nin3 said above - Windows software RAID works very well in a lot of situation, not to mention the other implementations such as Linux mdraid, and Solaris RAIDz. The later here being very intuitive, and very well thought out from an administrators standpoint.
  • 2 Hide
    nihility , July 17, 2008 8:22 AM
    Does it support hot swapping?
  • 2 Hide
    MrCommunistGen , July 17, 2008 4:50 PM
    Who decided that making the I/O graphs *tiny* was a good idea. I can barely read them. I tried opening the image in a new window which didnt help, so I copied them into irfanview and blew them up a bit but they were still pretty fuzzy. Overall (as mentioned before) not terribly convincing if they expect it to compete with a hardware setup with a dedicated XOR processor... at least from what I could make out on the I/O graphs.

  • 2 Hide
    Anonymous , July 17, 2008 7:33 PM
    Why would I pay $49 plus the $150-$290 for their crippled SATA/SAS controllers when I can buy a dirt cheap 4 port SATA controller card and use Linux RAID tools to do almost exactly the same thing. My fileserver currently has a 2-drive RAID0 array, 2x 4-drive RAID5 arrays, and a 6 drive RAID6 array, and migrating/maintaining it is really pretty easy.
  • 0 Hide
    Luscious , July 18, 2008 1:54 PM
    I've been thinking of getting one of those 9U server cases that hold 50 hot swap drives, two 24-port areca cards and a decent xeon board for a media server. Yes, it's expensive, but it would give me virtually unlimited capacity for years of HD storage.

    Another option that I like which works great with laptops is to get a 7-port usb hub, 7 external hard drives and connect it all using a single cord. It's a dirt cheap way to add 7TB to your device, if you can deal with all the ac adapters.
  • 0 Hide
    garydale , July 18, 2008 2:27 PM
    I recently upgraded my desktop box by adding two more 500G SATA drives to the one 500G drive already there, taking out a 250G drive in the process. With Linux's software RAID, I was able to configure a /boot partition as RAID1 with two spares, / & /home as RAID5, and 3 swap partitions without RAID. And I was able to do this with the live data - no need to back up, reformat and restore. Once set up, I got a noticeable performance boost in addition to having the peace of mind RAID5 brings.

    It's nice that someone is finally bringing software RAID to Windows, but I can't see anyone actually wanting to purchase this for Linux when there already is a robust and efficient free implementation.
  • 0 Hide
    Mondoman , July 19, 2008 4:49 AM
    bounty is right. It's probably better to check out other sites like Anand's that understand the tech better and aim their articles at a more technical audience.
  • 0 Hide
    mr roboto , July 24, 2008 5:36 AM
    This was an advertisement infomercial style. They give you just enough info to make it look like it can compete with more expensive solutions and to make it sound interesting in hopes you'll ask more about it. Who wrote this article, Cipro?
  • 0 Hide
    skythra , July 27, 2008 4:55 PM
    Mr RobotoThis was an advertisement infomercial style. They give you just enough info to make it look like it can compete with more expensive solutions and to make it sound interesting in hopes you'll ask more about it. Who wrote this article, Cipro?

    I'm tired of people registering on this site and just saying stuff like that over and over. Think of Toms often doing not only technical articles, but also like a press release (news site style) of various new to the market products.

    In fact, its really simple to NOT read it. The label says Ciprico VST Pro. Its going to be talking ABOUT a product. If you dont want to see that product, then go read another article.

    Honestly though, I'd rather a third party writing this up. Even if they are going to reflect the first parties opinions, im still actually going to see it. Ciprico may advertise, but FF3 Plugin AdBlockerPro will cause it to go away. and most "new to the market" things dont have the start up dosh to get to their target market by mass advertising right away.

    Of course if you do manage to get toms to stop putting infomertials on their site, can you get newspapers to stop talking about the iphone?
  • 0 Hide
    Advertisement , August 14, 2008 1:02 AM
    Beware the EULA:
    2. Acknowledgment of Beta Status
    You acknowledge and agree that the Software is a beta (non-commercial, pre-release) test version that may contain bugs, defects, and errors, [etc]

    3. License
    e. No Production Version. [...]
    Ciprico does not guarantee that the Software will become a production release. If a production version is announced replacing the Software, Ciprico does not guarantee that the production version will be made available to you, [etc]
    4. Right of Ciprico to Use Your Evaluation
    You agree that Ciprico shall have the right to use, in any manner and for any purpose, [...]
    [...]you agree to execute such further instruments as Ciprico may reasonably request confirming Ciprico's ownership interest in such Feedback.
    5. No Right to Obtain Support
    6. Ownership of Software
    You agree that Ciprico owns all rights,[...]
    If you are ever held or deemed to be the owner of any copyright or patent rights in the Software or any changes, modifications, derivative works, or corrections to the Software, then you agree to assign and hereby irrevocably assign to Ciprico all right, title and interest in and to such rights.[etc]

    End EULA offensiveness.

    Some of that is just egregious. Too bad the OCE and OLRM looked interesting. I would have tested it if not for the EULA.

  • 0 Hide
    stewartwb , September 2, 2008 1:59 AM
    I have tested their software to build a RAID-5 array (3 x 640GB WD SATA), and I am very impressed with its features. I can't comment on reliability, since I've only used it for a few days.
    However, before buying, I decided to check out the company. I found this news article regarding their recent bankruptcy filing and a bid to purchase their intellectual property (specifically rights to their VST Pro software). Given the buyout interest, it appears that their software will live on even if the company ends. However, I wonder how the next company would handle the customers they inherit with the software. (I think I should buy the software now, since $49 is a great price for everything the software can do, and the new owner might increase the price. On the other hand, it's possible that the new owner would stop supporting it without buying a steep upgrade... many unknowns.)

    -- Brian
  • 0 Hide
    stewartwb , September 2, 2008 2:01 AM
    Here is the bankruptcy filing link (omitted from my previous post)
  • 0 Hide
    stewartwb , September 2, 2008 7:03 PM
    Here is a response from an email on the subject to Ciprico's support address.

    -- Brian

    Subject: RE: VST Pro 2008 license
    Date: Tue, 2 Sep 2008 12:48:43 -0500
    From: tomh@
    To: stewartwb

    Hello Brian,

    Thank you for your interest in VST 2008. As for the current status of VST/RAIDCore software RAID, there is an interested party that has come forward and has presented an offer to acquire the VST/RAIDCore software line and carry forward any licensing agreements and continue to invest and enhance the product. The deal should be finalized very soon.


    Ciprico Support
  • 0 Hide
    Gremlin , November 2, 2008 7:36 PM
    Looks like Dot Hill have acquired the RaidCore IP, has anyone tried getting support for this product lately and received a response?
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , January 5, 2009 6:43 PM
    I've been struggling to find information on where to purchase this software. We had the demo running at our office and it expired right when this deal was going through. I was able to get in contact with Dot Hill and they aren't even sure right now. I should find out later today if I can actually purchase a license...fantastic