AMD Partners With Dot Hill for APU Virtual RAID Adapter Technology – Is It Better Than Hardware RAID?

Storage specialist Dot Hill has announced a partnership with AMD to provide virtual RAID adapter technology to be utilized with AMD’s newer generation of APUs.  Dot Hill’s Virtual RAID Adapter technology is proving to be more flexible, and in many cases, better-performing than traditional RAID-on-motherboard or hardware RAID solutions.

What is a Virtual RAID Adapter?  Traditionally, RAID protection has been visualized as either an internal RAID adapter card in a server, or a RAID controller with a dedicated processor utilizing hardware components and related circuitry supporting an external storage array.  For system builders, this sometimes included utilizing traditional RAID-on-motherboard software RAID.  With the latest technology advances from AMD and other processor designers, a compelling and interesting alternative has emerged — the Virtual RAID Adapter.  This new form of software RAID  allows the innovation of moving this vital storage function onto the main processor.  This Virtual RAID Adapter reduces design and manufacturing costs, and adds the significant benefit of lower acquisition and operating costs for the end-user.


Today’s latest multi-core processors and virtual machines make it possible, and even efficient, to run RAID right alongside other processes inside the server or work station.  AMD processors have proven that they have the power to handle the additional workload.  RAIDCore, as a Virtual RAID Adapter, gives motherboard vendors, system builders, and end users the ability to choose where and how they utilize and implement RAID.  Virtualizing the RAID functions makes them available in more ways than ever.

Integrated into the BIOS, AMD is providing this newer version of RAID-on-motherboard as a reference solution for motherboard vendors and OEMs that support either AMD’s SP5100 southbridge chipset; or Dot Hill’s server class RAIDCore VST host-based RAID stack.  Have you ever struggled with finding and utilizing the correct driver to implement a RAID array?  A single driver will now handle multiple manufacturers and controller types.


The key benefits of Dot Hill’s software RAID are:

  • Hardware RAID Adapter replacement
  • Pure host software RAID implementation with features targeted at the hardware RAID adapter level
  • Elimination of cost, heat and power from a typical server system
  • Ability to scale to significantly lower cost point
  • Universal RAID = freedom of choice
  • Single driver/RAID management/BIOS for multiple controller types and manufacturers
  • High performance RAID stack
  • Up to 2-3x faster on RAID 5 writes than hardware RAID – near RAID 0 write performance

Dot Hill’s AssuredVRA supports core-logic SATA ports, enabling motherboard and system vendors to add and/or offer RAID 0,1,5,and 10 capablities to unused native SATA controllers.  The announcement can be viewed here.

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