Q

Software mirroring vs. hardware mirroring

Please clarify the difference between software mirroring and hardware mirroring. Will the 865G Intel chipset support hardware mirroring?

The difference between software mirroring and hardware mirroring is really in where the CPU cycles that perform the mirroring come from. After all, in the end, it's hardware (disks, and the data that is contained on them) that are being mirrored, following software-based instructions.

In software mirroring, a piece of mirroring software, such as Veritas Volume Manager or Sun's Solstice Disk Suite, runs on the server that is attached to the disks that are mirrored, and it does all the heavy lifting associated with the mirroring.

In hardware mirroring, the mirroring work is done on the disk array where the disks are physically located by a CPU that is located in that array. Virtually of the major array vendors have this capability.

As for the ability of a particular chipset to be able to perform this mirroring, it's really a function of the software that has been written for that chipset. If the right code were written for it, your Playstation could mirror disks.

This was first published in July 2004

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