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I had originally intended to put a 1Tb SATA drive in our new server 2012 which will most likely be a Dell or HP. The idea was that in the event of disaster recovery that SATA drive could simply be installed and read in a different machine, I have done that before with normal SATA drive caddies.

However it now transpires that doing the same with an HP or Dell is not likely to work as the drives may not be readable on another machine.

What about eSata or a USB connected SATA drive that would at least guarantee that the drive could be transferred to another machine and work properly. Not anywhere near as fast as having it connected to the disk controller. Would that work on a server.

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Can you give a reason why it should NOT work? I mean, seriously. Magic? USB is USB and windows is windows - so the manufacturer makes no difference once you are on USB. And speed - a single drive... with modern USB won't really slow down. USB 3 may be tricky to get in a server though. – TomTom Jan 17 '14 at 13:57
The drives themselves will be readable, it's the actual caddies you're likely to run into issues with. – tombull89 Jan 17 '14 at 13:59
WHich won't "exist" on a USB external drive ;) – TomTom Jan 17 '14 at 14:10
Will the drives really be readable? Not worried about the caddies would be removing the drives from them anyway. Others have advised that the drives would not be readable on a standard SATA controller because the drives firmware has been altered to make it a proprietary drive. Also RAID metadata would be present if it had been in a controller with raid enabled even if that was not actually being used for this particular drive. – NickC Jan 17 '14 at 14:27
Forgive me for saying so, but nobody I know or have ever known has used this method for backup and/or disaster recovery purposes. Do yourself a favor and invest your efforts in a proper backup solution that will allow you to perform a bare metal restore to dissimilar hardware. Windows Server Backup (which is free and already available as an optional feature in Windows) is perfectly capable of this. – joeqwerty Jan 17 '14 at 14:56
up vote 1 down vote accepted

The method you discuss is commonly done on workstations, less on servers (and is not considered a pro approach on servers at all, barely on wksns)


  • add 1 tb sata drive to server, internal or external
  • do file backup and/or image backup to the sata drive
  • in event of failure, connect the drive (internally or externally) to new server
  • restore from sata

If restoring files, ya gotta get the OS loaded on new server If restoring from acronis (or whatever) image, you can boot from dvd on new server and restore image directly

FWIW, I have done this exact setup many times. It absolutely works. You absolutely can take a SATA drive from internal to external USB or eSATA or external USB3, and visa versa and it always works.

Strongly (very very strongly) suggest using mozy, jungledisk, or some similar system to get your data off site in addition to the sata.

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Thanks samsmith. There will be other offsite backups as well so that is not an issue. All the virtual machines as well as the data can be backed up to this SATA drive. We might even rotate a couple of them and have one stored offsite. That way in the event of a catastrophic failure we just need to do a quick Hyper-V install and all the rest can easily be restored from this disk. – NickC Jan 18 '14 at 17:05
My biggest concern is that we find, if we use a proprietary HP/Dell SATA disk plugged into the Raid controller, that it might not be readable on a normal SATA port. Another alternative might be to use a normal SATA disk here rather than a proprietary one but I don't know how much a Dell/HP server would complain about that. – NickC Jan 18 '14 at 17:08
@NickC So don't use a proprietary drive, Get a commodity drive. The only proprietary thing would be the rails. Keep an external SATA cabinet (w both eSATA and USB3) in case you need to hang the drive off a new box. – samsmith Jan 19 '14 at 2:59
@NickC "Proprietary" HP/Dell drive? I'm pretty sure no such thing exists. The hard disks that come with a "Dell"/"HP" label on them are actually produced by one of the major hard disk OEMs and have a Dell or HP label slapped on them. – HopelessN00b Jan 19 '14 at 7:49
@HopelessN00b - I know neither of them actually make their own drives but it seems they either flash their own proprietary firmware or perhaps they even replace the circuit board. All rumors no way of knowing for definite. – NickC Jan 19 '14 at 12:40

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