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Adaptec adds power management to RAID controllers

Adaptec’s Series 2 and Series 5 SAS/SATA RAID controllers can now spin down disk drives from several drive manufacturers — Hitachi, Fujitsu, Seagate, Western Digital and Samsung.

Adaptec director of worldwide marketing Suresh Paniker said spin-down is already a part of the serial drive interface specs, so no API or special integration is required for Adaptec’s product to put drives into idle mode or power them off entirely. Sensitive data that may be unexpectedly accessed, such as registry information for Windows apps, can be kept on battery-backed cache within the controller.

The controller will set the rotation, and power draw, of the drives at three levels: normal, standby and power-off. The speed and power draw of the standby stage will vary by drive manufacturer, but generally drives on standby will require 7 to 10 seconds to return to normal operation and will draw between 5 and 7 watts per drive. Power-off requires 20 to 40 seconds for the disk drive to spin up, and though not spinning, the rest of the drive’s internal mechanisms will still draw about 3 watts of power.

The feature will be made available this week through distributors to resellers, OEMs and end users, along with new fields in the controllers’ software interface to manage spin-down policies. Getting the controller and other system parts from a distributor is a cheaper way of building your own storage system, and to some extent, the availability of this feature from Adaptec suggests MAID is going mainstream. But obviously, some assembly is required.

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