SATA For Servers: Testing Backplanes

Addonics Disk Array 4SA

The Disk Array 4SA consists mainly of aluminum.

Addonics prefers to rely on light, elegant-looking aluminum for its Disk Array 4SA rather than steel cases. Here an 8 cm fan provides cooling for its hard drives, but it makes no more noise than the model from Adaptec. On the back there is a jumper block that allows the maximum temperature to be set at 55, 60 or 65 degrees Celsius - anything over that sets off an acoustic alarm.

On the front, the Addonics backplane sets itself apart from its competitors with numerous buttons that allow every drive to be switched on or off individually, for example. This is practical if you would like to use individual drives for irregular backups but do not want to keep them running all the time.

Left of the four slots are the catches to allow the drawer to be taken out. The slot-shaped button also serves as a lock so that the drive isn't taken out by accident. Still, you need to be very careful that you do not accidentally snap the drive out during opening or locking. At worst this will shut your system off or - if there is a RAID array - require you to do a rebuild that may take hours and will severely reduce the capabilities of the hard-drive setup.

The opening levers can be locked to prevent accidental removal of a drive.

Addonics allows the power to be supplied to the drives through the classic Molex connectors or the SATA elements.

If the interior temperature reaches 55, 60 or 65°C the 4SA starts to beep.

The aluminum is not just for looks - it absorbs the heat from the hard drives more quickly. Unfortunately there are not many vents on the front.