Arco's RAID-based Storage Has No Smoke and Many Mirrors

Arco DupliDisk: An Upgrade To RAID

The DupliDisk3 is installed into a free 5.25" drive bay.

Taken literally, DupliDisk means the act of duplicating the contents of one hard-drive to another. The goal of this real-time mirroring is to make hard-drive backup protection easy and effective. Arco does this with a RAID controller of its own design, which works transparently with any Ultra-ATA compliant IDE interface and requires no drivers.

The DupliDisk3 is installed into a free drive bay and connects the source and mirror drives to their respective cables. The setup process is completed by simply connecting the DupliDisk3 to the IDE channel to which the source drive was previously attached.

While it may already seem obvious, the main advantage of the DupliDisk over conventional RAID-controllers is how easily it can upgrade existing systems to a functioning RAID-1. Under Windows, the "new" array is totally transparent. No changes to the system or installing additional drivers are required. In today's Windows-dominated world, this is a big deal. This feature should also please those whose motto is "never touch a running system."

However, while the DupliDisk3 worked in our test setup without a hitch, the device was not overly rapid. For example, creating a mirrored drive using an IBM/Hitachi IC35 L040 took over one hour with only 2 GB of data on the source drive. Then again, mirroring does not require another drive of the same type but will also work with any other hard drive, as long as the capacity is at least the same as that of the source drive.

A look at the mainboard / circuit board shows how easy the installation is. One cable connects the DupliDisk with the IDE-controller, another is used to hook up the two drives.

LEDs on the front of the device keep the user informed of the status of the RAID-1 array.