SMB RAID for $49: Ciprico VST Pro

VST Pro 2008 Software

The software package is available for download on the Ciprico website: For those who want to give it a try without having to purchase the product right away, we recommend the trial version — its only limitation is the 30 day trial period. However, the unlimited VST Pro 2008 software is hardly expensive. Ciprico prices the app as low as $49 - likely less than what you’d fork out for a 4-port SATA controller.

The feature set and management software are identical to what you get when you purchase a Ciprico RAIDCore controller card. The only difference is that VST Pro 2008 must be installed on a Windows XP, Windows Server, Red Hat or Suse system, and that VST Pro 2008 is limited to the number of storage ports available on your host system.

VST Pro 2008: Features The list of features is long and exhaustive. We have highlighted the most interesting ones here:

  • RAID Levels: 0, 1, 10, 5, 50, 1n, 10n, JBOD
  • Migration from SATA to SAS
  • Seamlessly spans arrays from motherboard to HBA (sold separately)
  • Supports RAID 50 and 10N
  • Online RAID Level Migration (ORLM)
  • Single step RAID Level Migration
  • Global spare
  • Mirror splitting and hiding
  • Hide / unhide array
  • Configurable rebuild priority
  • Flexible viewing
  • Drive roaming
  • Flexible cache management
  • Selectable boot array
  • Programmable staggered spin-up
  • Background array initialization
  • Create and delete without reboot
  • Consistency check (Background / Scheduled)
  • Task prioritization
  • Flexible hot spare support
  • Advanced array partitioning
  • Touched region logging
  • E-mail event notification
  • NT event log integration
  • Instant RAID array creation
  • Hot swap support
  • BIOS support (Create / Boot / INT13 control)

Create, Span, Upgrade and Migrate

Most of the features above are also supported by many of Ciprico’s competitors, but the most interesting one is called drive roaming. This simply means you can connect a hard drive to any port you want. Switching ports of array member hard drives will not destroy the array or lead to other consequences. Together with the controller spanning feature, it is possible to create a RAIDCore array on an Intel ICH7+ host machine, upgrade a RAIDCore storage controller later on to add more ports (or support for SAS drives) and even migrate the entire solution to another host system. We missed RAID 6 support, though.