Tuesday 10 January 2012

Review: StarTech 4 Bay eSATA USB 3.0 to SATA Hard Drive Docking Station for iSCSI and Hyper-V VM Backups

We have been using the USB 3.0 only 4 bay docking station by StarTech with no issues to date as a backup media destination for our clustered and standalone VMs.

One of the issues we have run into in the past was with Vantec’s NexStar 3 eSATA/USB 2.0 enclosures where there was something about the way the enclosure’s internal management would cause Intel server board based servers to hang at POST on a warm boot.

So, we decided to see if the eSATA/USB 3.0 combination dock by StarTech would do the same.

From StarTech’s site:


In our own internal testing and now client deployed setups we have passed a very large amount of data through these docks tied to a StarTech 2 Port PCI Express SuperSpeed USB 3.0 Controller Adapter Card (PEXUSB3S2) via Windows Server 2008 R2 Standard. So far we have had zero issues with the dock and the card the operating system, the Intel Server Systems and hardware, and Microsoft’s iSCSI Software Target v3.3.

The dock has an internal fan setup that draws fresh air in from the back and blows it up through the drive slots to help the drives stay cool. The dials shown below control the fan speed for each bank of two drives.


Having active cooling for the larger 2TB and 3TB drives is a big plus since they run quite hot.

NOTE: When using iSCSI or direct attached USB storage for the built-in SBS Backup it is a good idea to use Disk Management to set the volume of OFFLINE prior to disconnecting in the iSCSI Initiator console or Hyper-V SCSI bus management. The process of flipping the “drive” to Offline can actually take a few minutes so be patient.

UPDATE: StarTech’s site: 4 Bay eSATA USB 3.0 to SATA Hard Drive Docking Station for 2.5/3.5 HDD (SATDOCK4U3E)

Philip Elder
Microsoft Small Business Specialists
Co-Author: SBS 2008 Blueprint Book

*Our original iMac was stolen (previous blog post). We now have a new MacBook Pro courtesy of Vlad Mazek, owner of OWN.

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