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Port Multiplier and WHS RRS feed

  • Question

  • Will WHS work with an external multidrive enclosure housing multiple SATA drives through a port multiplier?
    Saturday, February 24, 2007 4:41 AM

Answers

  • I haven't tested this configuration, but I expect that, if there is a Windows Server 2003 driver for your SATA HBA you won't have any problems. As far as I can tell, all the port multiplier does is multiplex the drives onto a single eSATA cable for transmission of data from the external enclosure to the PC. Then the HBA demuxes the signal somehow.

    If there's no Windows Server 2003 driver, you may be out of luck.

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    Ken
    Saturday, February 24, 2007 5:24 AM
    Moderator

All replies

  • I haven't tested this configuration, but I expect that, if there is a Windows Server 2003 driver for your SATA HBA you won't have any problems. As far as I can tell, all the port multiplier does is multiplex the drives onto a single eSATA cable for transmission of data from the external enclosure to the PC. Then the HBA demuxes the signal somehow.

    If there's no Windows Server 2003 driver, you may be out of luck.

    --
    Ken
    Saturday, February 24, 2007 5:24 AM
    Moderator
  • can you buy port multipliers by themselves?  Or are they always integrated into an external enclosure?  It'd be nice to repurpose an old box with lots of drive bays if I don't have to run 10 cables between the two systems...
    Sunday, February 25, 2007 6:45 PM
  •  tfieldho wrote:
    can you buy port multipliers by themselves? Or are they always integrated into an external enclosure? It'd be nice to repurpose an old box with lots of drive bays if I don't have to run 10 cables between the two systems...


    You can buy port multipliers separate from enclosures: Addonics 5x1 eSATA Port Multiplier for example. However, they are typically dependent on your HBA for operation, because of how they work.

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    Ken
    Sunday, February 25, 2007 7:01 PM
    Moderator
  • Thanks!

     Ken Warren wrote:
    However, they are typically dependent on your HBA for operation, because of how they work.
    Meaning your HBA needs to support port multipliers, correct?  I was looking through SATA adapters on newegg and saw several that mentioned port multiplier support but strangely newegg didn't appear to sell any independant port multipliers - just enclosures.  Seemed a little odd and definitely didn't help releive any confusion.

     

    Sunday, February 25, 2007 7:23 PM
  •  tfieldho wrote:
    Meaning your HBA needs to support port multipliers, correct?

    That's right. I'm not surprised that Newegg doesn't carry separate port multipliers. If you look at that link I posted, you'll see it's really designed to replace a SCSI interface. I'm sure there are others out there, but they're mostly an OEM item at this point.

    One interesting thing that I've noticed is that they all seem to use basically the same chipset, so any HBA that supports a port multiplier right now supports pretty much any port multiplier.

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    Ken
    Sunday, February 25, 2007 7:44 PM
    Moderator
  •  Ken Warren wrote:
     tfieldho wrote:
    Meaning your HBA needs to support port multipliers, correct?


    That's right. I'm not surprised that Newegg doesn't carry separate port multipliers. If you look at that link I posted, you'll see it's really designed to replace a SCSI interface. I'm sure there are others out there, but they're mostly an OEM item at this point.

    One interesting thing that I've noticed is that they all seem to use basically the same chipset, so any HBA that supports a port multiplier right now supports pretty much any port multiplier.

    --
    Ken

    Not necassarily. There are quite a few compatibility issues with port multipliers. A lot of cards "say" they are PM capable, but in reality they are not. Most of the PMs on the market today are either SIl 3726 or 4726 based. Most of the hardware RAID cards, if not all, will not work with these PMs as you need a FIS capable host card, and most (if not all) of these h/w RAID cards are NCQ based. The 3124 based HBAs are some of the frst one's that are FIS based, and support PMs, but right now they only work with 3726 based PMs, not 4726. I suspect we'll see more HBAs in the future that can work with PMs but right now there's a very limited selection.

    Sunday, February 25, 2007 11:11 PM
  • Ken,

    I am thinking of buying one of these Addonics Port Multipliers to use to connect an external rack of 4 sata drives
     
    Thinking I would buy the sata - esata cables to connect each drive to the port multiplier
    http://www.shopaddonics.com/itemdesc.asp?ic=AASA2SA100C

    then buy the esata to USB cable AAU2ESA to connect the addonics PM to my WHS.
    http://www.shopaddonics.com/itemdesc.asp?ic=AAU2ESA

    Do you see any reason why this would not work?

    Thanks

    Jay


    Jay
    Tuesday, February 24, 2009 2:45 PM
  • Did you notice that you were replying to a thread that hadn't been touched in 2 years? :)

    I wouldn't generally advise the use of USB devices in the storage pool of your server; not everyone has had good luck with them. Connect your port multiplier to your server using an eSATA cable and PM aware HBA for best performance and reliability.

    I don't recommend (or recommend against) hardware I haven't personally tested, so I'm not going to comment on your proposed configuration beyond saying that it sounds like it should work.

    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Tuesday, February 24, 2009 6:38 PM
    Moderator