PCI Express SATA RAID Controllers For SMB Servers

Promise SuperTrak EX4350

Performance of the new SuperTrak EX4350 is nice, only the RAID 1+0 results are a bit off-course when compared to the results in RAID 0 and RAID 5. Apart from that, this product seems to offer a great bang for the buck.

Only Areca and Promise offer a RAID 6 option by default, which allows running an array with double parity information. Thanks to this, not only one, but two hard drives may fail without harming your data. But don’t forget that your net capacity and performance decrease by going for RAID 6. Promise even offers a so-called Enhanced RAID 6, which works with triple redundancy. We find it hard to imagine that anyone would want to go for this option with a four-drive controller.

The EX4350 comes with only 64 MB DDR memory as a buffer, and there is an optional battery backup unit available. The other products come with 128 or 256 MB buffer memory, which doesn’t seem to make much of a difference. Promise deploys an Intel IOP333 to accelerate XOR in hardware. The card itself adheres to low-profile requirements and thus can be used in 2U rackmount servers easily.

Promise doesn’t support Mac OS X, Solaris or Netware, but sticks to Windows and Linux.

Array Creation

The management software is easy to handle. There is a step by step wizard that offers all necessary options.

  • Eric The Red
    This is a very well put together article! It would be nice if there was a review with recent RAID cards while doing the same thing you did here.