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Unified Serial RAID Controllers for PCIe

Raidcore RC5252-8

Firmware Version: 3.0.0

Our first contact with Raidcore controllers in 2003 was impressive: the so-called Fulcrum architecture is a host-based RAID solution, which allowed the firm to create mighty RAID controller products that were largely hardware independent. As a result, Raidcore was one of the first storage vendors to offer controller solutions that were capable of spanning RAID arrays across multiple controller cards. This could be done because the logic runs on the host machine. The disadvantage is that all parity calculations have to be offloaded to the host CPU(s), though that is less of a problem these days, as dual and quad core processors are available.

The current Raidcore product is now offered by a company called Ciprico. The RC5000 series has four different models: two low-profile compliant models with four and eight ports, and two full-height cards with 12 and 16 ports. The suffix -8 stands for the port count, 5100 model numbers are based on PCI-X, while 5200 run PCI Express x1 or x4. Ciprico is the only vendor to offer controller spanning, which allows you to create huge RAID arrays across multiple (and even different) Raidcore controllers. The feature list is more comprehensive than what is offered by Adaptec/ICP or Atto, including drive roaming (plug and play drives to any port across any controller), mirror splitting, array hiding, flexible spares (dedicated/global/distributed) and more.

Raidcore does not yet support double redundancy RAID 6 or RAID 60, but it supports RAID 0, 1, 10, JBOD, 5, 50, 1n and 10n. There are drivers for all common Windows versions, Red Hat, Suse and Fedora Linux. Novell Netware, Sun Solaris and other aren’t supported. Ciprico provides a three-year warranty and we found the management software to be pretty straightforward and powerful. The performance of the RC5252-8 was good, though it highly depends on the host system. In our case, our dual processor single core Xeon (Nocona core) at 3.6 GHz was clearly a good choice. Any dual core Xeon 5200 (Woodcrest or Clovertown) will perform better, though.

RAID Array Creation