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Alternatives to using HBAs

I have a digital video recording application running on a PC with XP as the OS. We need close to 16 TB of storage on the SAN. What connecting hardware do I need? Can we just use an HBA to connect the PC to the SAN or is there another low-cost alternative?

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You have a couple of options for attaching 16 TB of storage to your PC server, which is running Microsoft Windows XP and XP Professional. Which option you choose will depend on your server's hardware configuration and capabilities. Assuming you have the ability to add PCI or PCI-X Fibre Channel adapter(s) to your server, you could then attach Fibre Channel storage that utilizes ATA, Fibre Channel, FATA, SATA or UltraSCSI disk drives. Another option is to utilize iSCSI with either standard Ethernet NICs (adapters) and a software initiator like that available from Microsoft, or an iSCSI accelerator card from one of the manufactures who produce TOE cards. If only one server needs to access the storage, there are also UltraSCSI-based storage systems with large capacity that you could use to attach the storage. Depending on what your performance requirements are, you could also use NAS-based storage. So, you see you have options, now it comes down to understanding more what your needs are and what approach best fits your needs and budget.

This was first published in September 2004

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