Ciprico, a company that acquired RAID specialist, Raidcore, along with its software RAID architecture "Fulcrum" a few years ago, is showing off a few very interesting innovations.
Raidcore solutions have repeatedly beaten practically all other competitors in our tests since the feature set of the complex software layer always trumps the competition's hardware. It was not only the first company to offer professional options such as online capacity expansion and RAID level migration in the small-business space (SATA). The company's controllers also provide unparalleled scalability due to the lack of an integrated RAID XOR unit. Instead, the system processor handles these calculations. The advantage is that you can simply add more controllers to a system, allowing easy expansion of existing RAID arrays.
Now, anyone can buy the Fulcrum RAID software architecture for only $49. VST Pro 2008 comes with the Raidcore software that is used in the RC5000-series of controllers. Provided the system contains an Intel S-ATA controller, you can now use the entire range of Raidcore's High-End RAID features on any computer, allowing you to create RAID arrays using the existing S-ATA ports.
The real advantage - if you should ever need more ports, you can just add a Raidcore RC5000 controller and continue using the VST Pro software, letting you expand the existing RAID array according to your needs. The software is compatible with Linux 2.6 and all Windows versions as well as Red Hat 4/5 and SuSE Linux 10 - this goes both for the 32 and 64 bit versions. Ciprico is contributing to the virtualisation of storage solutions with this product. We will test the VST Pro software shortly and take a closer look at its performance. With quad-core processors becoming as inexpensive as they are today, Ciprico's approach may lead to the demise of hardware XOR acceleration in the lower to mid price segment.