Questions

Can someone recommend a USB add-in card that works with Server 2003?

Tags:
+
0 Votes
Locked

Can someone recommend a USB add-in card that works with Server 2003?

Tech_Lady
Scenario: Older Dell PE 2800 running Server 2003 has now been designated as a backup server running BackupExec 2010. Backups are done to external HDDs and we do not have enough usb ports. New HDDs are usb 3.0 capable. No available power connectors.

So far: Purchased a Koutech usb 3.0 pci-e card (PEU-433) which I am returning after many hours with tech support to try to get a driver that doesn't blue-screen the system. I've looked at other cards but they either need a power connector attached, or reviews show problems with Server 2003 installations making me hesitant to order.

Other possibilities: I would settle for a usb 2.0 card if it didn't need a power connector, but most of these are just pci and all I have available is pci-e or pci-x. Will a standard pci card definitely work in a pci-x slot? My only pci slot is occupied by a modem which is used for network faxing.

Please make recommendations so I can move on and avoid more headaches. Anybody had a similar scenario and gotten a card that just works? Thanks.
  • +
    0 Votes
    robo_dev

    The basic rule is if it will go into the slot, it will work. There are performance issues, of course, but it will work.

    Not sure how much data you need to backup, but there are two issues:
    a) USB is sloooooooow compared to anything else
    b) Hard drives in external USB enclosures tend to live overheated and therefore short lives. Take that into account in terms of how frequently you backup and also look for enclosures with adequate cooling (e.g. fans).

    Not sure where you live, but you can get a Dell 1U rack mount server for less than $400 USD on ebay (4G RAM, dual 3 GHZ processor). these all have hot-pluggable SCSI-serial drives that have a data transfer rate that is probably 20x faster than USB 2.0 and probably 10X more reliable,

    +
    0 Votes
    OH Smeg

    Then why not add a USB Hub?

    There are powered 13 Port USB Hubs available or you can just daisy chain smaller USB Hubs till you get the number that you need.

    I totally agree with the above post about HDD's in External Cases overheating and having a considerably shorter life which you should take into account.

    Col

    +
    0 Votes
    Tech_Lady

    Thanks. We are aware of the issues with the external usb drives, but have been using them this way on a different server with an older version of Backup Exec for a couple of years. We do a differential backup each night and take these off site and have a rotation of drives and then do a full network backup weekly on Fridays. I've only had to restore a couple of files once and it worked. We are a small non-profit and while this setup may not be ideal, it works for us.

    You refer to a powered hub. Do you mean external with a plug in? As I originally stated, the server has no availalbe power connectors inside the box. Could you clarify... this might be all I need. Thanks.

    +
    0 Votes
    OH Smeg

    Is an external Device with a Power Pack that plugs into the mains.

    It allows you to connect more than 1 USB Device and it has 500 Milliwatts available at each USB Socket. It only takes a Signal from the Computer that it's attached to and provides the required power from the Plug Pack that comes with the Hub.

    They tend to range from 4 Ports to 13 Ports depending on the maker but you can daisy chain up to 127 USB Devices per USB Port.

    http://www.google.com.au/products/catalog?q=powered+usb+hub&hl=en&rlz=1R2ADRA_enAU429&prmd=imvnsr&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.,cf.osb&biw=1274&bih=754&wrapid=tlif132087308578110&um=1&ie=UTF-8&tbm=shop&cid=18294888900268355885&sa=X&ei=jey6TpTxF47zmAXcudSHCA&ved=0CGUQ8wIwAA#

    Col

    +
    0 Votes
    Tech_Lady

    Maybe the end result and actions will help someone else, so I'm posting...

    I went back to the beginning and rather than try to add more ports, I decided to try to get to the bottom of why the 2 front ports (of 4 total) wouldn't work. I started with Dell's support site and downloaded and installed a BMC firmware update and a DRAC firmware update. Then I updated the Dell OpenManage software and ran it to see what hardware condiitions it showed. Here's where I hit the nail on the head... OpenManage showed that the Perc RAID controller driver was out of date even though the actual driver was the right version. What WAS out of date was a Microsoft file, storport.sys, that I'm assuming is used by the RAID controller driver. I requested the hotfix from MS and as soon as I applied it which also updated the diskdump.sys file, the front USB ports started working. I still would like to have the increased speed of the 3.0 ports, but I'm letting it ride for now and may try another card at a later time to see if it will install. I spent a lot of time and had to reboot the server numerous times, but the original issue is now fixed! Thanks for all the suggestions.

  • +
    0 Votes
    robo_dev

    The basic rule is if it will go into the slot, it will work. There are performance issues, of course, but it will work.

    Not sure how much data you need to backup, but there are two issues:
    a) USB is sloooooooow compared to anything else
    b) Hard drives in external USB enclosures tend to live overheated and therefore short lives. Take that into account in terms of how frequently you backup and also look for enclosures with adequate cooling (e.g. fans).

    Not sure where you live, but you can get a Dell 1U rack mount server for less than $400 USD on ebay (4G RAM, dual 3 GHZ processor). these all have hot-pluggable SCSI-serial drives that have a data transfer rate that is probably 20x faster than USB 2.0 and probably 10X more reliable,

    +
    0 Votes
    OH Smeg

    Then why not add a USB Hub?

    There are powered 13 Port USB Hubs available or you can just daisy chain smaller USB Hubs till you get the number that you need.

    I totally agree with the above post about HDD's in External Cases overheating and having a considerably shorter life which you should take into account.

    Col

    +
    0 Votes
    Tech_Lady

    Thanks. We are aware of the issues with the external usb drives, but have been using them this way on a different server with an older version of Backup Exec for a couple of years. We do a differential backup each night and take these off site and have a rotation of drives and then do a full network backup weekly on Fridays. I've only had to restore a couple of files once and it worked. We are a small non-profit and while this setup may not be ideal, it works for us.

    You refer to a powered hub. Do you mean external with a plug in? As I originally stated, the server has no availalbe power connectors inside the box. Could you clarify... this might be all I need. Thanks.

    +
    0 Votes
    OH Smeg

    Is an external Device with a Power Pack that plugs into the mains.

    It allows you to connect more than 1 USB Device and it has 500 Milliwatts available at each USB Socket. It only takes a Signal from the Computer that it's attached to and provides the required power from the Plug Pack that comes with the Hub.

    They tend to range from 4 Ports to 13 Ports depending on the maker but you can daisy chain up to 127 USB Devices per USB Port.

    http://www.google.com.au/products/catalog?q=powered+usb+hub&hl=en&rlz=1R2ADRA_enAU429&prmd=imvnsr&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.,cf.osb&biw=1274&bih=754&wrapid=tlif132087308578110&um=1&ie=UTF-8&tbm=shop&cid=18294888900268355885&sa=X&ei=jey6TpTxF47zmAXcudSHCA&ved=0CGUQ8wIwAA#

    Col

    +
    0 Votes
    Tech_Lady

    Maybe the end result and actions will help someone else, so I'm posting...

    I went back to the beginning and rather than try to add more ports, I decided to try to get to the bottom of why the 2 front ports (of 4 total) wouldn't work. I started with Dell's support site and downloaded and installed a BMC firmware update and a DRAC firmware update. Then I updated the Dell OpenManage software and ran it to see what hardware condiitions it showed. Here's where I hit the nail on the head... OpenManage showed that the Perc RAID controller driver was out of date even though the actual driver was the right version. What WAS out of date was a Microsoft file, storport.sys, that I'm assuming is used by the RAID controller driver. I requested the hotfix from MS and as soon as I applied it which also updated the diskdump.sys file, the front USB ports started working. I still would like to have the increased speed of the 3.0 ports, but I'm letting it ride for now and may try another card at a later time to see if it will install. I spent a lot of time and had to reboot the server numerous times, but the original issue is now fixed! Thanks for all the suggestions.