By Dave Simpson
– Dot Hill Systems today introduced software in what it hopes to be a new category of RAID, dubbed Virtual RAID Adapter (VRA). The software-only RAID technology promises to decrease the cost of adding RAID functionality to low-end and mid-range servers by providing an alternative to dedicated RAID-on-chip accelerators and hardware-based controllers from vendors such as Adaptec and LSI/3ware.
Dot Hill's RAIDcore VRA software is targeted at Windows/Linux server OEMs and integrators, leverages multi-core system processors and system memory, and uses the SATA I/O ports on Intel-compatible server motherboards or the I/O ports on SAS/SATA controllers. A "universal" RAID driver and management interface supports controllers from multiple vendors. The software supports RAID 0, 1, 5, 10 and 50, and is implemented in the operating system driver layers.
At least one large OEM announcement is expected later this month.
Andy Mills, vice president of marketing and business development, claims that the performance of RAIDCore VRA coupled with multi-core host CPUs rivals the performance of hardware-based RAID controllers.
And RAIDCore VRA offers functionality not available with some other software-only RAID solutions, such as boot drive protection and fast recovery from system power loss, according to Mills.
Other functions, typically available only on hardware-based RAID controllers, include online RAID-level migration and capacity expansion, and background "scrubbing" and consistency checking.