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I have been working on a system for processing data on large numbers of independent hard drives. To accomplish this, I purchased a Sil3124A 4-port eSATA controller card and a 10-bay external SATA drive enclosure.

Hardware links:
(Due to anti-spam policy of this site and my newbie status, I can only post one link. The Silicon Image Card is the second recommended card on the page I linked)

I managed to get it set up and running such that the drives in the enclosure are detected on boot up, but once the system is running, any disks added to the system aren't detected.

I'm not a linux novice, but I have a lot to learn as far as hardware goes. Is there a way to autodetect the new drives? Is there a command that will do this?


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If your SATA controller is truly hot-plug compatible, it's supposed to pick them up. However, you need just the right combination of drive, card, and breed of goat to make it work right reliably. You may have some luck rescanning the SCSI bus (yes, SATA drives live on the "SCSI" bus) to find the new drives you plugged in, but sometimes it just doesn't work right at all and reboots are the only option.

USB hotplug for the win, in my experience.

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I fully agree with the first paragraph. But not with the USB part. Especially with many drives it becames a mess (and slow). One just have to pick a decent controller that's all. – cstamas Jan 1 '10 at 10:36
A decent controller, and the right drives. Then never change your kernel version, in case something changes in there. SATA hotplug is just more of a hassle than it's worth, IMAO. – womble Jan 1 '10 at 23:02

It is likely that you will want to right a udev rule to handle the hot swapping.

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This is not necessary for detection, only needed if you want better device names in /dev – cstamas Jan 1 '10 at 10:37

I've found Debian & Ubuntu, even fairly old versions to "just work", properly detecting new drives and removing old ones.

They may have a Udev rule for this, but I can't see any on my system.

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