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We have an HP Proliant DL320e running CentOS 6.

We will get SATA hard disks with data in the formats NTFS, FAT, HFS and HFS+ from which we would like to copy the files to the server (read-only), preferably without having to reboot the server each time.

So some data supplier will mail us a hard disk, we connect it to the server, read the data, disconnect the hard disk and return the hard disk via mail. Each disk will have a few terabytes of data. We will simply copy it using cp -R or something similar. We currently assume the suppliers will not send us malicious data. The data will be written to a Synology RAID system that will be able to write the data much faster than we can read it from a single hard disk.

We have an HP RAID-controller "B120i" with several free slots, but probably we cannot use it to read non-raided disks sent to us by customers, correct?

Further we have an internal SATA connector that the seller intended to use to sell us an expensive DVD reader. We did not buy it so that SATA connector must be free.

Now the seller tells us that it is not possible to connect anything but the DVD-player to the internal SATA connector, and that our best option would be to connect the hard disks via USB instead. I have a feeling that USB will be slower than SATA.

Can we use the internal SATA connector, possibly with an extension cable?

Will we need any special drivers that are unavailable on CentOS, unless we connect the disks via USB?

What is the best way to get the data into the server?

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3 Answers 3

The HP Smart Array RAID controller in this system won't be of any use to you here, mainly because it uses a proprietary on-disk RAID format. You won't be able to read the raw disks you're receiving using the HP Smart Array on the server.

You should use a forensic drive dock and appropriate interface on your server (you have USB 3.0 available on the server). There's no need to touch any of the server's internals for this, especially if you only require read access.

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I would attach the disks to another unix/linux host and mount it there, then would use the rsync to copy from the external disks over. At least then, one is not altering production server configuration.

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Although I utterly adore HP SmartArray controllers in this particular case you need to avoid them, you need a 'dumb' controller of some type that doesn't do anything but expose a disk to the BIOS. Then you can hook this up, probably via eSATA, to an external enclosure. Make sure they're both hot-plug capable and you're done. You could use USB but I'd be tempted to stick to eSATA myself, less translations and it should be a lot quicker.

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