Thursday 28 July 2011

iSCSI Target Update: Desktop Setup as “Server” Fail

Okay, so not long after yesterday’s post things started to go downhill big time.

The USB 3.0 ports and the docks started to break communication with each other randomly while the eSATA connections failed altogether.

So, it looks as though the desktop board setup will not work.

StarTech Renesas USB 3.0 Card

We took the StarTech Renesas USB 3.0 card and installed it in one of our servers here in the shop. We configured the driver and connected two NexStar USB 3.0 docks to a NexStar USB 3.0 hub which was then connected to the USB 3.0 port.

We ran into the same funky behaviours with the NexStar SuperSpeed docks where we could not have more than two of them hooked in with live hard drives no matter what. before t The third drive connection would cycle in and out.

However, the two docks that have been connected to the StarTech card via USB 3.0 hub have been moving data non-stop since yesterday.

We have been moving the original iSCSI target VHDs from the drives we started with to a couple of large drives to consolidate the backups to two drive destinations.

The copy process runs at about 100MB/Second on average. We have moved Terabytes of data between the two docks without a hiccup as of yet.

Plus, we brought the iSCSI Software Target service online and hooked up our largest VHDs to their initiators to allow backups to run last night without a hitch.

StarTech USB 3.0 Drive Dock

As an alternative to the NexStar SuperSpeed docks we have ordered in one of these:


It will be interesting to see if the StarTech dock can plug directly into the USB 3.0 card and allow more than one drive to be connected without a USB 3.0 hub.


For now, it is looking like a real server will be needed as our dedicated iSCSI Software Target. :)

Does the HP ProLiant MicroServer count as a “real server”? Well, we will see.

The next step in this investigation is to drop a StarTech USB 3.0 card into one and run through these tests again. If things work out then we will have a very reasonably priced setup for our smaller clients.

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.

Windows Live Writer


Seanpt said...

Ive been following these iSCSI posts with a lot of interest so thank you for them.

In my trial office instead of messing with external drives, we just opened up the Dells and popped the drives in there.

My goal with this is to provide redundant local backup and 2 weeks in it has been running great (and cheap).

Philip Elder Cluster MVP said...


How would they be rotated?

There are hot swap like caddy based solutions, but they are quite expensive relative to what we are trying to accomplish here.