I hotswap my dirvish drives. IDE (PATA) hotswap is no longer in the kernel, so I have been experimenting with SATA hotswap on a 2.6.18 kernel (Scientific Linux 5, an RHEL5 clone).
My experiment does multiple passes of filling and emptying a 100GB file on a 240GB ext3 partition on a 250GB Hitachi PATA-100 drive. I wrote a little C program (filltest100.c) to write a 100GB file, which sits in a shell script (thrashc) that mounts the partition, writes the file, erases it, then unmounts the partition, reporting timing.
The computer is a 2.8!GHz dual core FX-2 Athlon, using the native SATA connectors on the motherboard. A Vantec PCI SATA card on another system works about as well, but is slower.
I tried a few different SATA to IDE translators. Here are the results, from awful to OK:
0) "Control" - direct SATA drive connection to a Seagate 160GB drive. Works at 50!MByte/sec. Tested by KeithLofstrom.
1) ViPower SATA-USB2 combo !SmartDOCK external cage, VP82581. USB2 works, but the SATA interface does not. Uses Silicon Image SataLink !Sil3611CT80 chip. Tested by KeithLofstrom.
2) Cables Unlimited (?), SATA to IDE bridge adapter, using the !JMicron 20330 chip. I bought this at Fry's, but it looks identical to the board that !CompUSA sells for $30, and that some (not all) PCCLUB stores sell for $12. Works at 30!MByte/second, 54 passes wrote 5 Terabytes in 2+ days. Sucks mechanically; it protrudes straight back about 4 cm from the drive, not including the cables which go straight back from that (it will probably fall off after a while). Tested by KeithLofstrom.
3) no name chinese "RXD268" (?), SATA to IDE bridge, chip unmarked, from local computer store. Board is red, mounts flat against the back of the hard drive. Works so far, though it once mounted as /dev/sdb rather than the expected /dev/sda (why?). Tested by KeithLofstrom.
Feel free to add to this.
I am also interested in external cases and swap cages with integral SATA to PATA adapters. Please report the chip type and run the thrash test if you can.