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eSATA or more like SATA-outside? RRS feed

  • Question

  • I home-built my WHS box on a Dell Inspiron 531 (AMD x2 4000+) and I just bought an Icy Box eSATA enclosure into which I added a 400 GB WD drive.  The eSATA card that came with the Icy Dock was really just a bracket that connects internally to one of my SATA ports.  If I plug the Icy Dock up to the WHS while it's running, it won't see the drive, even when I "scan for hardware changes".  If I boot WHS with the Icy Dock connected, WHS sees it fine, but treats it as an internal drive (which it essentially is).

    I want to use it solely to back up my WHS data, but I do not have an option to "temporarily" remove the drive through the WHS Console.  Instead, I have only the option to permanently remove it.  I have experimented just a bit with device manager, disabling the drive there before removing it and enabling it after adding it back.

    Aside from buying an eSATA add-in card, is there a better way to do this?  Will WHS have a tantrum at some point if this "internal" drive comes and goes?  (Clearly, I don't want to add it to the drive pool.)  I did find a utility at http://www.driveswap.com/ that might be useful, but I'm wondering if I'm overlooking any simple solutions?  I would love to be able to hot-plug it like I can a USB drive.
    Friday, September 5, 2008 3:08 PM

Answers

  • The PCIe card I use includes a JMicron 363 chip. Installed correctly, it does give me an option to eject the drive. I only use it for server backups, so WHS doesn't seem to have a problem with it.

    With Nvidia chipsets, you will need the Nvidia MediaShield RAID Controller. This says it supports hot-swap
    http://www.nvidia.com/content/nforce5/TB-01760-00_v02_MediaShield.pdf

    For Intel chipsets, they have to support Intel Matrix Strorage
    http://support.intel.com/support/chipsets/imst/sb/CS-012308.htm

    I can't vouch that these will work with WHS, but perhaps some others on this forum can help :)
    Saturday, September 6, 2008 8:28 PM

All replies

  • Hi,

    You cannot 'hot-swap' SATA drives with WHS, as you have found. A 3rd party utility will, in all probability, really screw up your system, as WHS itself needs to keep track of each drive that it might use. All add/remove operations are done through the Console.
    You need to attach the drive when the server is down, then when you re-start it, your server will see the 'new' drive. When you go through the Server Storage page of the Console, you will have the option to add the drive to the server or not. After you select 'add', you will then have the choice of either adding the drive to the storage pool, or retain it as a backup drive for your Shared Folders. (The first add or not option, is there in case you are just going to add a drive to the server - outside - WHS itself).

    Colin
    If anyone answers your query successfully, please mark it as 'Helpful', to guide other users.
    Friday, September 5, 2008 5:14 PM
    Moderator
  • Colin Hodgson said:


    You need to attach the drive when the server is down, then when you re-start it, your server will see the 'new' drive. When you go through the Server Storage page of the Console, you will have the option to add the drive to the server or not. After you select 'add', you will then have the choice of either adding the drive to the storage pool, or retain it as a backup drive for your Shared Folders. (The first add or not option, is there in case you are just going to add a drive to the server - outside - WHS itself).


    I already did this, choosing not to add the drive to the pool.  I then created a WHS backup on the external drive.  My issue now is REMOVING the drive until next I want to use it.  When using the WHS Console with a USB drive, I can remove my backup drive by selecting to "temporarily" remove it.  With this external SATA drive, the only option I have through the WHS Console is to "permanently" remove it!  That's why I used the Device Manager, found the drive, right-clicked, and chose to disable the device.  When I did this, WHS removed it from the list of drives in the Console.  When I re-enabled the drive in Device Manager, the drive came back.  I did NOT see anything in the event logs that looked like WHS was "bothered" about the drive going missing.  That said, I haven't tested it very much.

    It looks like when I want to use this drive, I must power my server off, attach the drive, boot the server, back up my server data, power the server off again, remove the drive, and boot the server one last time.

    If I buy an add-in card to provide hot-plug ability, I assume the WHS Console would give the option to "temporarily" remove the drive?  (FYI, this external drive currently shows up as an internal drive just as the two internal drives do, which I suppose is why WHS doesn't let me choose to remove the drive "temporarily".)

    Thanks for your response!

    Friday, September 5, 2008 6:49 PM
  • If your chipset supports hotswap, then it should be possible to do it. I don't know how it interacts with WHS (I don't add it to the storage pool), but I have a seperate PCIe SATA card that allows me to hotswap a drive. Very cool to transfer large files, not bogged down by wireless.

    Better, you put it into a mobile tray that allows you to pull the drive directly out with disassembling anything.
    Friday, September 5, 2008 7:49 PM
  • Evaders99, am I correct that you get an option to "eject" or "disconnect" your drive once you attach it?  I only get that if I connect a USB hard drive.  This is what I'm trying to better understand and/or work around.  I think the AMD chipset would support it, but I also think the BIOS must support it, and Dell's site seems to having nothing about it.

    I could consider a mobile tray, but this little project's costs keep rising.  I'd like a solution that doesn't involve more money now, even if I have to shut the server down, attach the drive, and shut it back down to disconnect the drive.

    Thanks.
    Friday, September 5, 2008 8:32 PM
  • Hi again,

    As WHS itself doesn't support the hot swap, you have to ensure that either your motherboard chipset/BIOS has it built-in, or if you use a PCI card, it comes with this facility in it's firmware.
    However, as mentioned, you would be better getting a a tray that is designed for mutiple add/remoce cycles. If not, at least get another short lead, and leave that one attached permanently to the computer.

    Colin
    If anyone answers your query successfully, please mark it as 'Helpful', to guide other users.
    Saturday, September 6, 2008 5:28 PM
    Moderator
  • The PCIe card I use includes a JMicron 363 chip. Installed correctly, it does give me an option to eject the drive. I only use it for server backups, so WHS doesn't seem to have a problem with it.

    With Nvidia chipsets, you will need the Nvidia MediaShield RAID Controller. This says it supports hot-swap
    http://www.nvidia.com/content/nforce5/TB-01760-00_v02_MediaShield.pdf

    For Intel chipsets, they have to support Intel Matrix Strorage
    http://support.intel.com/support/chipsets/imst/sb/CS-012308.htm

    I can't vouch that these will work with WHS, but perhaps some others on this forum can help :)
    Saturday, September 6, 2008 8:28 PM