Some months ago BVA was struggling to get more speed out of a client’s tape backup. We attempted updating firmware, drivers, and changing jobs but it did not yield the result we were expecting. During this time we were also running out of room on the main file share which slowed down the backups even more. One of our team members suggested to the client an archive process where we would move stale data to an external storage device. The client approved the process and we suggested that we could use this storage device to do backups to disk instead of tapes. Long story short, the BVA engineer went looking for a fast interface device with lots of storage that wouldn’t break the bank. An external eSATA device with 4 1TB drives for $600 was found. (http://www.cavalrystorage.com/CADA_SA4.htm)
The box comes with 4 drives, RAID controller, and an eSATA PCI-x card. We had to install the card on the server and just plug it in. The enclosure has its own RAID controller and the manufacturer sends it as RAID 5 so we got 3TB from it. Backups got faster. When other clients ran into a similar problem – low disk space/low budget/LOTS of Mac projects needing backups, I suggested this drive to them. This time however, the same drive was $450 (even cheaper).
I think the drive is a good external solution for non-critical data or data that doesn’t require the speed of Serial Attached SCSI. If everything runs as it should, the interface transfers data at 3Gbps which the same as an internal SATA drive.