The ARS-3031 may look like another 1U rackmount server, but what Taiwan-based storage vendor Acard has designed is a storage appliance. Indeed, as a highly-specialized computer system, the ARS-3031 serves basic storage needs and offers RAID capabilities. The whole box can be attached to servers or workstations with an ultraSCSI connection, with 2 TB of storage capacity.
The storage device's components comprise a solid 1U 19" rackmount case, a hardware RAID controller that supports four SATA hard drives and an UltraSCSI bridge solution for SCSI infrastructure connections. To facilitate maintenance tasks, the hard drives are inserted with aluminum frames that are easy to remove. Finally, the system offers a DDR DIMM socket in order to plug in a memory module of your choice, which can be used as cache memory for the RAID controller.
So, is the SATA-to-UltraSCSI solution fast enough or does it generate performance bottlenecks? To find out, we compared the ARS-3031 to Areca's ARC-1220 PCIe SATA II RAID controller, which represents a RAID solution that would offer a good fit for the storage needs of an existing server.